"Each step forward has a sacred meaning of its own"   Sri Chinmoy

Peace Statue Challenge - HIKE - 2019

This was an epic - I started in the dark and finished in the dark and in between I was on the move constantly - despite having planned a food stop in Llanberis at the half-way stage! As so often happens I found myself racing against the clock to finish before night fell, mostly because I had 4-5 hours of driving ahead of me to get back to Bristol and work the next day.....

Even in the stygian gloom of the forest I had an illumining few minutes meditating at the Peace Statue - the song of the wind in the trees was loud and energetic, a warning of things to come when I hit the high ground later on. Headtorch on, I set off at a brisk pace out of the woods, over the road and up to the hospital where I picked up the rough path towards the University. This was a good workout - a first hill to get warmed up - and brought me out near Evolution Bikes where I got back off the road and on to a lovely path that followed a brook out of town and into the tract of farmland between the mountains and the coast. At first it headed past a cement works but soon the woodland became thicker and less urban - the sun rose and I stopped to grab a pic of my hiking companion on the trail...

The next section was silent lane - cold and exposed in the strengthening wind - and here I saw an unusual cloud of vivid pink and green - a strange portent maybe but it was an uplifting sight - like a rainbow. The photo doesn't do the colours justice.

I soon found the way off the road - a path leading down into a valley by a farm in the shadow of Moel y Ci.

The path led down to a stream and crossed and recrossed it a number of times before I headed over a road and up into the hills. The wind was fierce now and I was glad to be climbing to get warm.

The paths were once again easy to find from my rather old 1:25,000 map and I was loving being back out in hill farm country. I even detoured a while to include the summit of Moel y Ci, which involved a major struggle into the wind across trackless heather. From here the route was sheep trod / shepherd's track through deep heather, with a couple of climbs over walls and fences where the paths marked on the map didn't seem to benefit from any styles - anyway without that summit detour it would have been easier and more direct!

Finally hitting the road at Dinorwig I had a choice of routes and tool the shorter, steeper one. Passing through tiny hamlets on the cold and windswept hillside there was little sign of life, just a couple of dog walkers and someone struggling home from the valley with a bag of shopping. Summer here must be idyllic but the winter must feel long and cold...

The final descent into Parc Padarn was on lovely paths alongside watercourses and through woodland, culminating in a peaceful moment of meditation at the Llanberis Peace Statue.

I had no time to spare for the visit to Pete's Eats I had planned, and the cafe at Parc Padarn was closed, so my lunch break was a quick bite of malt loaf and some electrolyte drink (not the tea and breakfast I'd hoped for!) then I was back out looking for a trail route back to Treborth. This involved some hopeful interpretations of the OS Map - old and of dubious reliability!

I crossed thetip marshy land by the head of Llyn Padarn following the white trail marks and joined up with the Lon Las Peris, a great cycle/walking route that fringes the lake all the way down to the old stone bridge where the river spills out at the northern shore.

The next stage was the old line of the lakeside railway, now just a footpath or dead-end lane, with a few boggy sections to negotiate.

That tool me to the road I'd used for my run the day before but I determinedly tried to find a trail route through to the coast. Three trails that took the right line on the map all proved fruitless - they ended blindly in impassable woodland, marsh or hedge. It used all my energy and most of my time - it was looking like I'd be finishing in the dark or having to abort the coast path route and find a shortcut back to Treborth! In the end my perseverance paid off as I found a great alternative - quiet lanes from Llandeiniolen down to Dinorwig Marina and then the glorious coastal path for the last few miles to Treborth.

The lane reminded me of Audax rides - grass and moss down the middle, totally quiet and serene in the cool of the afternoon.

I finished with a hard hike at 15 minute pace around the coast path as night drew in - my final meditation with the Peace Statue was in virtual darkness, the light filtering through the trees in this photo was not so bright in reality, it must be the camera setting! I needed the head torch to find my way out to the car from the lovely, dark and deep woods of Treborth.

Fortunately the drive home ended up being way quicker than expected, as google for once found me an A road route that was fast and easy. I got a great sleep and after 2 days of exertion from dawn to dusk I definitely needed it! That was my final challenge of 2019, a year of struggles of all kinds finally coming to an end with a moment of peace.

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