Traveling Tasha

Just here for a good time

Eight and a Half Miles of Sheep Shit

I’ve had many classic backpacking experiences so far, from wandering around Barcelona bed-less at 4am to having my bag stolen, but the story of how we got to Pen Y Pass in Snowdonia National Park might be the best yet. 
Everything could have gone smoothly, had I taken into account that on Sunday’s in Europe and the UK bus services stop functioning regularly. After a long and frustrating day of waiting for busses (and narrowly missing them) it became clear that getting to the hostel would prove more challenging than anticipated. 
This story begins with me standing on the side of the highway in Tremadog with my thumb out, while it’s pitch black and pissing rain. 
Now, I’ve ALWAYS wanted to hitchhike – so badly in fact, that I once hitched a ride to work in Vancouver – so I happily stood there, never discouraged as car after car zoomed by us. And then it happened. Someone pulled over. At a glance, it didn’t look like a car you should get in (white service vans usually set off alarm bells) but after speaking with the driver it was obvious that he had once been a young hitchhiker himself, and was more than happy to help. He couldn’t take us all the way to Pen Y Pass, but he went out of his way to take us to Beddgelert (a town comprised of a pub and a few houses)- despite the fact that he had to get to work. He told us stories about each tiny village, pointed out the rivers and gulleys (though they were invisible to us in the night), and spoke in a thick welsh accent. When he dropped us off we were just 8.5 miles from the hostel but the night was still far from over. 
It was clear that few to no cars would be passing through this town (if you can call it a town) so we decided the only way to get there would be by foot. Now, 8.5 miles sounds like a walkable distance, and it is – I’m not one to be deterred by long walks – but 8.5 miles of pathways and 8.5 miles of what we ended up walking are hardly comparable. The first 2 miles were a lie. There was a nice gravel pathway to follow, minimal puddles, even occasional light from houses, but soon enough the quality of our walk deteriorated. And by deteriorate I mean went to shit. Literal cow and sheep shit. It was everywhere as we ended up trekking through field after field of sheep with the occasional cow thrown in the mix. I don’t know who the hell decided that these goat paths we had to navigate were fit to be an actual route, but at that point it was too late to turn around. We were committed. 
In the dark, it was impossible to dodge the massive cow patties that scattered the “paths” like land mines, and after a certain point I accepted that my shoes would be full of this stuff for the discernible future. Despite the terrain we were still making good time, that is until things took another turn for the worse. The mostly-flat route began to turn into a true hiking path. Not fields and gates anymore, but full on hiking. I love hiking, but not in the dark, in the rain, with a huge pack, when there’s a good possibility of being lost at any given time. Trying not to slip in the copious amounts of mud took all my balance and concentration, and I almost lost my shoe several times. Also, because we weren’t on a legitimate path, there were constant forks that led off in very different directions through the trees, forks that weren’t visible on the map. 90% of the journey was guesswork, but there wasn’t any other option. 
At long last, the hostel lights appeared in the distance, but covering the 1km that stood between us and a bed took much longer than anticipated. You see, the hostel is on the side of a mountain; after 3 hours of hiking in the cold our legs were numb, ankles were shot, and I was starting to regret putting all that canned corn and soup into my bag. 
We made it – 20 minutes before reception closed at 11pm. It took four hours of sheep shit, mud, rain, cliffs, gulleys, and flooded rivers to get here but it was worth every hilarious second. 
I think we just created the quintessential Welsh backpacking experience. I reckon not many people have hiked from Beddgelert to Pen Y Pass, and I can understand why. 

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4 Comments

  1. Monique Morden November 8, 2016

    Google says it should have taken 2:50 to get there. You guys must just be out of shape!

    It looks like the views were well worth the hike in. And what a great story!

  2. Rhonda Doty November 8, 2016

    Wow !!! Now that is an excellent adventure. Love your story telling Tasha , looking forward to the next !

  3. Sherri November 16, 2016

    What a great story!!

  4. Chrinstine December 1, 2016

    It’s perfect time to make some plans for the future
    and it’s time to be happy. I have read this post and if I could I want to suggest you few interesting things or advice.
    Perhaps you could write next articles referring to this article.

    I wish to read even more things about it!

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