About

Welcome to my site! Here you will find accounts of all the backpacking trips with wild camping I have done in Snowdonia, a gear list, a book list and other information.

My trip reports tell not only of my appreciation of North Wales and its mountains, but also of my trials and tribulations during my self-taught apprenticeship in the wilds.

This is not intended to be a site that contains lists of routes with directions, there are a number of other sites that do that; it does not contain many pictures either, something else that is more than adequately catered for on other sites, though I have added thumbnails to all trip reports from 2007 which was when I started taking a digital camera. Ones before that are 35mm slides which need to be copied; I’d like to do them one day but it is well down my to-do list.

Never having been acquainted with anyone else who goes backpacking, everything I do was learned initially from books and magazines, followed by experience. I live more than 200 miles away from Snowdonia, so I am not one of the lucky people who can slip out at weekends for a bit of practice in the hills. Nor am I any sort of super-fit type; I have good stamina but I have always been slightly weaker compared to my contemporaries, and I don’t mind admitting I am scared of heights!

Perhaps the contents of Snowdonia Backpacking will inform you, pass on some of my hard-gained know-how and maybe entertain you, but my main hope is that it will fill you with enthusiasm and inspiration, in much the same way as the books I read did for me when I started.

Latest:

March 2020: Regrettably I will not be making a trip in May due to the coronavirus crisis.

December 2020: Even without the pandemic, I still wouldn’t have gone in either May or September due to unexpected ill health. I had cancer surgery in June followed by 3 months convalescence – many thanks go to the number of people who wished me well – after which I recovered rapidly. But although I am currenly almost back to my former self, old age has caught up with me, so I am now extremely unsure that my body will be able to cope with the rigours of walking and camping in rough hill country while carrying a heavy pack. But I haven’t given up hope!

Some Background Information:

Although born in a north Wales coastal town, I am not of Welsh blood; it was a result of of wartime evacuation, and I only lived there till my fifth birthday, when my family moved to the outer London suburbs of Middlesex, where I have remained as the area is good for work, transport and facilities which I would miss if I lived anywhere else in the UK.

Married since the end of the 1960s, I have two grown up sons, and I was a precision engineer before becoming a field service engineer in 1975, until I had to retire prematurely in 2003. My interests are natural history – ferns above all else – gardening, the countryside, walking, travel, and out-of-print books.

I am a very independent person, and although sociable I am also quite happy with my own company, consequently going on long walks and backpacking are things I prefer to do on my own. My wife? She is a sun worshipper; her own holidays, as well as the ones we share together, are exclusively to hot countries, so it is understandable that she always declines to accompany me to Wales!

Some more background is included in my 1981 Prologue & 1st Trip which is in The Walks page.

6 responses

  1. Raymond Nosek | Reply

    It’s been on my bucket list for decades to backpack, and getting out into the wilderness

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  2. I am very sorry to hear about your illness. I have enjoyed reading about your many trips. I had surgery to remove part of my bowel (bowel cancer) in January 2016. Although it did take about a year to recover fully, I was still able to cycle and managed to walk up Cnicht about 5 months post operation. So don’t give up yet!

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    1. Thanks Ian. That’s very encouraging, but maybe you’re younger than me? I’m reluctant to make my age public, but it can be worked out from my early trip reports. The fact is I was already reaching my limit *before* my illness, and by the time I’m over it (they say a year before back to normal) I really do think it will be too late to start again. Right now it’s four weeks since my operation, I’ve lost a stone (6.3kg) in weight, I have pain, bowel and waterworks problems, and soon there will be six months of chemotherapy. I have had a few slow plods around the block with walking poles but this morning I made it to the pharmacy and back, normally about seven minutes walk but it was quite an expedition for me.

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      1. I am 65. Everyone is different and recovers at different rates. I lost 10kg while I was I hospital because I couldn’t eat anything for about 8 days. I don’t know what chemotherapy you are having, but they will give you a huge list of all the possible side effects. With any luck, only a few will happen to you or turn out not to be really bad. In my case I felt quite sick in the first week after a treatment cycle. However, I wasn’t actually sick and I stopped taking the anti-sickness drugs, which had more side effects than just feeling a bit sick!

        Walking is a good way to build up your strength and resistance. It took me a few weeks to walk more than about half a mile. Being fit and used to walking a decent distance pre-op definitely helps your recovery.

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  3. Hello sir how are you after your treatment? I’m very sorry to hear of your health situation and sadly age catching up. I do hope you are recovering ok and still managing to get out for walks and being able to get your medicine of the outdoors. Just a reminder that I met you a few years ago in a campsite near betwys y coed. You had your zephros with you and you were about to tackle the moelwyns. Your story inspired me to get out further afield from my usual day walks and mountain biking. Since being inspired I’ve backpacked many weekend around Snowdonia. I started by getting to know the moelwyns. That’s where I honed my navigation skills. So thank you for the inspiration from meeting you and taking the time to document your trips ect, they have been very useful. I do hope your well
    Steve Gahan

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  4. Dear Steve, after much head scratching I have worked out that we must have met in September 2016 at Cwmlanerch camp site https://www.snowdonia-cwmlanerch.co.uk/ a lovely little site that deserves a bit of publicity. Thank you so much for your news, I am deeply touched not only because you remember our encounter and have taken the trouble to track me down, but also because I appear to have influenced you!
    I would like to assure you that I started to feel well three months on from my surgery and I am now more or less back to my old self, just a bit older and lighter in weight. I have recently restarted doing local day walks again and I have just bought new boots. I’m not sure how I’ll get on with carrying a heavy rucksack for 3 or 4 days, but every night when I get into bed I lay there imagining I’m in my sleeping bag in my little tent up in the mountains, so who knows, we might bump into each other again one day!
    Very best wishes, Howard.

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