Hiking, Bivvying and a very cold swim – a weekend away with the Adventure Queens
Firstly, I want to start by giving a shout out to the Adventure Queens Facebook group. It is the kindest, most supportive and most inspiring group I have ever been a member of. A group of women of all ages and all backgrounds who are brought together by a love for adventure and by founders Anna McNuff and Emma Frampton and it has become a big part of my life recently.
I had never sighted an Adventure Queen in the wild before and so I was excited to meet up with some through the Snowdonia bivvy event organised by the lovely Clarre. It all started a little manically with Clare’s initial little dream to climb a mountain and have a go at bivvying spiralling into a well oversubscribed event! And typically, I missed the boat to sign up. I was asked if I would be interested in hosting a second similar event which I agreed to but long story short, despite a lot of route planning and organising, my splinter group gradually fell apart due to cancellations. At the very last minute, as the last queen standing in my group, I was very kindly adopted back by Clare and the gang.
Due to my latecoming to the group, the ladies had already had a night of hanging out and bonding at the Chester Mountaineering Club Hut under their belt but I was welcomed with open arms on the Saturday morning just in time for our hike. Ellen is training for her Hill and Moorland leader cert so we were a good practice group walk for her and her wonderful route planning and group care made for a great day in the soggy hills. We climbed Moel Eilio and Foel Goch as well as a mystery mountain along the ridge. This was dubbed Moel McFramps by the group after our glorious Adventure Queen leaders! The group were a real mix of experience and the weather was distinctly soggy but the vibe was a relaxed one. Everyone was patient, supportive and Clare’s enthusiasm was truly infectious!
After our walk, some tucked into chippy tea while others were treated to a fabulous curry cooked by Anne back at the hut before a bit of gear chat around the fire. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much variety of women’s gear all in one place – certainly better than any outdoors shop! We all had a go with each other’s rucksacks and boasted about how tiny our rollmats could go while surreptitiously online shopping for new gear on our phones!
Then it was time to pop our bivvying cherries. I was the most unprepared with just a borrowed survival bag but everyone got their gear together and we headed outside – to the back garden! Ok, so we aren’t hard core bivviers yet but we had an amazing time. Despite such a rainy day, the clouds cleared and we got an amazingly clear night with an unbelievable number of stars! Everyone was snuggled up warm and toasty and we all slept pretty soundly. The Alpkit Hunka XL came out on top as the favourite of the bivvies and the Alpkit Hunka in close second. General consensus was definitely that we all loved it and are already planning our next night al fresco!
Some of the super keen bean members of the group were up early running and hiking up the Llanberis Snowdon path on Sunday morning while a second group decided that a dip in the ice cold Llyn Padarn was more up our street! Inspired and encouraged by seasoned dipper Julie, we all braved the cold in our cozzies and had the most amazing start to our day. There is nothing like sharing a crazy activity with wonderful women to bring you all closer together.
Its a crime to visit Llanberis and not pop into Pete’s Eats so we rounded off the weekend with lots of yummy food and pints of tea. Then we headed home full of food, stories and with a whole crowd of new friends and adventure buddies!