This year’s Outdoor Bloggers Weekend took place in the beautiful Snowdonia National Park with a total of 15 Outdoor Bloggers members with some of us bringing along a partner or friend.
Zoe from Splodz Blogz and I set up Outdoor Bloggers a couple of years ago as a way to bring like-minded bloggers together to make friends and share adventures and stories. Now with over 100 members, we wanted to organise a weekend that was inclusive for all our members and easy to get to for those who don’t own cars. Snowdonia was the perfect choice as it’s reasonable easy to reach and geared up for outdoor lovers. Those who couldn’t get there by car could be easily collected from a train station on route.
Both Zoe and I were delighted when Mud and Routes got in touch to find out more about the Outdoor Bloggers Weekend and asked to be the official. Mud and Routes is an online hub for free routes in the UK and the majority of the team are based in Snowdonia, making them the ideal sponsor for the event. Mud and Routes arranged for our group to stay at the fantastic Llyn Gwynant campsite situated in the valley just below Snowdon itself.
Several other brands contributed outdoor-related items to the goodie bags that were to be handed out to each blogger. Each bag was filled with a Buff and branded accessorised from Kitshack, a pack of Real Handful snacks, super-warm walking socks from Hi-Tec, a waterproof phone pouch from AquaPak, walking boot cleaners from NikWax.
I collected Allysse from Beste Glatisant and Danielle and Cristian from Go Straight Ahead from Chester station which was on my way from my home in East Yorkshire to Snowdonia. Is was great to spend some time with Allysse after not seeing for a year and to get to know Danielle and Cristian for the first time on the way.
We arrived at the campsite around 5pm and were greeted in our designated area by Zoe who had arrived shortly before us. Both Zoe and I squeaked with excitement over the fact there was a sign with ‘Outdoor Bloggers’ written on it to mark our spot by the lake. It felt so official!
Throughout the evening, the other bloggers and their guests arrived. Helen from Camping Tails gained help from some of us to put up her impressive bell tent while others lit the campfire for us to huddle around and introduce ourselves.
In the morning we woke up to good old Welsh rain. The towering mountainsides that surround the campsite were no longer visible. Everything was grey but being the outdoor lovers we are, we wouldn’t let our spirits be dampened (or at least we wouldn’t show it!). Tryfan and Nia from Mud and Routes arrived at the campsite to join us for the day ahead.
The main challenge for the weekend was to climb the famous peak of Snowdon. To show us the way and tell us more about the mountain, we were led by local mountaineering experts Ross and Craig from Climb Snowdon. Climb Snowdon has recently teamed up with Snowdonia Distillery to run weekend events that combine learning about the botanicals of the gin foraged from the slopes of Snowdon with the climb of the mountain itself and a tour of Snowdonia Distillery. The weekend concept was very new and Climb Snowdon invited the Outdoor Bloggers team to be their Guinea pigs- how cool is that?!
I’ll write more about our awesome Snowdown climb in a later blog post. For now, let me get back to telling you about the Snowdonia Distillery!
When we returned back to the campsite after a fantastic day on Snowdon, we were joined by Chris, the director and owner of Snowdon Distillery. The group gathered in a circle in Shell and Alistair’s (from Camping With Style) awesome bell tent which had plenty of space for everyone and had a log burner to keep us toasty.
Photo by Katy from Katyish.me
Chris came to share his story about his journey to opening the first distillery in Snowdonia and create a two gins that enable anyone to ‘taste’ Snowdonia. He explained how he and his team selected and tested different botanicals from the region to find the ideal combination. The result is 2 distinct gins- Foragers Yellow Label and Forager Black Label.
Being a marketer, I get excited by authentic brand stories, carefully thought-out products, good design and inspirational copywriting. Snowdon Distillery has really nailed all three in my opinion.
The best bit; Chris gave each of us a small bottle of his Foragers Yellow Label gin to try. He even brought good quality tonic to go with it!
I’m by no means a spirit connoisseur, in fact, I hardly drink! However, I sipped the gin while listening to Chris tell us his story. It really does taste fantastic. Unlike the mainstream alcohol I am used to, this gin had flavour that isn’t masked by the harsh taste of alcohol.
That evening, we gathered around the campfire to listen to Helen from Camping Tails sing folk songs underneath an almost full moon and clear skies. It was a perfect evening.
The next morning, we awoke to yet more rain. I stuck my head out of the tent door to see, well, not much. It was that sort of thick rain, like fog. Several of us had planned to spend the morning kayaking before leaving for home. The weather seemed to have other ideas. Luckily, the wind moved the clouds along quickly to reveal a beautiful blue sky.
Most of the bloggers and their guests said their goodbyes while the rest of us (Allysse, Zoe, Katy, Cristian, Daniela and I) were seen into our kayaks by one of the campsite’s staff. Katy from Katyish kayaks for a hobby so brought her own and the rest of us hired boats from the campsite for just £6 each.
Photo by Zoe from SplodzBlogz.co.uk
After an hour on the lake, we returned to land to pack down our tents and say our final farewells.
It was such an amazing weekend. I’m so thrilled that so many great bloggers came all the way to Wales to spend the weekend attending an event organised by two ordinary ladies who thought it would be a good idea! I’m so happy that Mud and Routes, Climb Snowdon and Snowdon Distillery asked to be actively involved with the Outdoor Bloggers Weekend 2016.
The Outdoor Bloggers Weekend 2016 attendees were:
Zoe from Splodz Blogz (Outdoor Bloggers co-organiser)
Tryfan and Nia from Mud and Routes (Outdoor Bloggers Weekend 2016 sponsor)
Shell from Camping With Style
Ben from The Water Boy
Catherine from Muddy Mam
Katy from Katyish
Lucy from Paddle Pedal Pace
Cristian and Daniela from Go Straight Ahead
Chelsea from Loving Life In Wellies
Cerys from Mascara and Mud
Helen from Camping Tails
And, or course, me!
Title image by Zoe from SplodzBlogz.co.uk