Bothies are brilliant! Simple shelters in remote country for the use and benefit of all who love wild and lonely places.
A log burner and a view, what could be better? If you’re lucky you even get lumps of firewood left and leftover food, canned of course.
Great for a planned overnight stop in the mountains, traditional to Scotland but widespread throughout the more remote parts of Wales and Northern England.
This was only my third ever bothy experience. My bothy virginity was lost to the rather tiny hut on Arenig fawr. In comparison the Dulyn bothy is a palace. It may not look much but; chairs, tables, a selection of sleeping mats to choose from, a fantastic Log burner these are luxury commodities in the bothy world, it even has a Guest book. This truly is a ‘posh’ bothy!
And just look at the location…
We planned to stay in this bothy one Saturday night. The plan started out simple, hike into the bothy early Saturday evening. We would then spend the night under the stars and climb up and out from the back of the Carneddau out to the front, at our designated pick up point on the A5.
Quickly, things didn’t go to plan…
What should’ve been a gentle walk from the car park of about four or five kilometres turned out to be a relentless backward and forward dashing repetition, of instead about four or five times back to the car park. All in the name of warmth!
Yes! Firewood… and it was down to me to do the carting. Liz did her fair share to be honest, carrying two bags and her pack. But it was down to me to step up and relay the wood from car park to bothy.
The weather started out dreadful, rain and strong gales. It wasn’t fun with the multi-trips, but we soon got into the spirit of things mesmerised by the raw power of nature and the surroundings we were in.
We arrived at the bothy with all that we needed for the night and the next day in good time. We were amazed to be greeted by one of the wild ponies and her young foal grazing by the doorway.
Even better the autumnal afternoon Had developed into something a fine late summers day would be proud of. The wind was still rattling around the hills but at last, we had clear skies and amazing views around the valley.
We had a brew and piled the wood by the fire place, carried out a few general admin tasks with some of our kit. Then we wondered off for a little walk of the ‘neighbourhood’.
The cliffs that surround the Dulyn reservoir are spectacular and make the whole landscape feel vast and endless. This complemented by great views down the valley towards the sea really gives the place a unique feel, topped off by the fine evening weather. Amazing! We walked a spontaneous circular route around the surrounding valley stopping to watch the majestic ponies eat their mountain grass as the day began to grow old.
Most of these ponies have vivid markings and imaginative colours, they almost look like a child’s painting. Encountering these animals is always a pleasure with their rugged mountain hair and soft eyes staring back at you.
We made our way back to the bothy and cooked our chicken curry cracking open our supply of red wine. I washed up in the little stream outside just as it was going dark and witnessed the most spectacular sunset imaginable over the rolling hills. The final rays of the day dropped down over the mountain side under perfect clear skies as the ponies grazed silently side by side.
We settled in for the night and played a few hands of cards chatting in front of a merrily crackling fire, for a while thinking we had the place to ourselves. Suddenly, a flick of a head torch outside, the distinct sound of the outer door being clicked opened and we had ourselves a little friendly Irish bothy pal. We cleared our gear to make some room for him and offered him some wine.
A grand night of swapping stories and drinking wine was in store as our new found chum happened to be a rather interesting character, and the best was, it was his first time in Wales!!
As the night grew, Liz went to bed as me and the interesting Irish guy sat up chatting by the fire. It was well into the night until we slowly retired to the comfort of the sleeping bags one by one and stretched out in front of our roaring fire. There was plenty of room, this particular bothy has two separate rooms, and they are both huge! It defiantly beats the last time we stayed when 11 people turned up from 3 separate parties – the snoring was horrendous!
Prepared with our ear plugs, dawn came fast and the wind seemed to of calmed with the new day. The fire was stoked up and breakfasts were made before the inevitable goodbyes were made with our little Irish pal. Then we were on our way.
The day started with a steep climb up onto the ridge between the two reservoirs rewarding us early on with panoramas of the valleys below the skidding clouds.
We continued up and over the lip of Cwm Eigiau to be confronted by the amphitheatre Craig yr Ysfa for the first time. An impressive mountain crag that stands proud, piercing the clouds as if guarding the mountain passage to the ridge above. We identified our route and made a bee line round the lip of the Cwm towards it.
A little lunch break was had at the bottom of the route while we geared up before sauntering up the meandering alpine ridge of this classic mountaineering line. The route offered entertaining climbing in some airy positions nestled high in the Carneddau from where we could peer down through the clouds at the expense below. A network of easy slabs and grooves led us up to a ledge with spectacular gendarme covering a gap leading onto a knife edge ridge that eventually leads to the top. A superb mountaineering outing.
A great couple of days roaming round the Carneddau were finally over. Witnessing fascinating wildlife and breath-taking scenery with a remoteness normally not found in North Wales. We headed off down the access track to our pre-arranged pick up point admiring the views down Ogwen valley with clouds rolling in over the jagged Glyders.
Another perfect weekend in Snowdonia and another quirky bothy experience to add to the list, until next time!
Thanks for reading.