Storm Brian passed by sunrise, though the rain stayed around for much of the day. The wind was considerably reduced though. Jacqueline and I had breakfast in our hotel; there was a buffet breakfast for those who were staying there. We didn’t delay in getting things ready to head out, we had an exciting activity planned.
We headed out of town, walking up the main road towards the old slate mines. About half an hour up the road, we came to the activity centre. The old slate caverns had been turned into a hub for tourist activities. Along the mountainside were multiple different mountain biking runs, there was a large, long distance zip line overhead, and the caverns themselves were being utilised for tourists as well. Today, we were going on an activity called “Bounce Below”.
We arrived at the check in almost an hour early, so the staff put us on an earlier session. We took a moment to get ourselves ready and put our jackets and scarves into a locker. Then we sat around in a waiting room where the staff gave us hair nets and helmets. We were soon to be going underground.
There was a brief safety talk, before the instructor lead the seven of us through and into the caverns. We got our first glimpse of our activity, the caverns we were in were filled with giant underground trampolines. Suspended from the walls of the cavern, the trampolines ranged from the size of a basketball court to the size of a squash court, with high side nets preventing people from falling out. It behaved differently from regular trampolines; the tension was lower so you couldn’t bounce quite as high, but that also made it somewhat cumbersome to move around. Typically, one had to bound around, like they were triple jumping, which often ended in falling over.
The trampolines were connected by a number of passageways, either suspended in the air or cut through the rock. Overall, there were three different caverns, each with trampolines. The trampolines were also connected by a number of slides. There were mats provided which assisted avoiding friction. The slides were covered over, so you couldn’t see where you were going, and then you would end up on another trampoline.
Jacqueline and I bounced around for a total of an hour. Halfway through, another group entered, which meant the trampolines were even harder to bounce on. We really started to work up a sweat, but were laughing around and having heaps of fun. Eventually, though, the time came to an end, and we had to make our way back out of the caverns.
We went to the cafe at the activity centre for a quick bite to eat to refuel our exhausted selves. We made our way back down into town to change our clothes and rest a little. We still had much of the day to expend, so got out our map and decided to head out on a hike.
Following the roads back out of town, we passed by the heritage train coming past for another run. We then headed up and across the side of a mountain, through a boggy field with a few sheep running around. It started raining too, which made the ground even wetter. According to our map, there was supposedly a path here, which was true to some extent. However, it was also clear that it was hardly used and nobody bothered to maintain it. We took a slight detour around the wrong side of a small, steep outcrop, which meant we had to scramble around some rocks, through a marsh and jump over a fence to get back to where we wanted to be.
We ended up in the town of Tanygrisiau and followed the road up to a waterfall. Now the rain really started to bucket, and there was nowhere to shelter while we ate our lunch. We considered going back, but the rain started to clear a little, and so we decided to head on. The path now was bituminised, and climbed up the side of the valley. It was a pleasant walk that quickly gave us vast and expansive views over the valley. In the distance, we could see a large castle, in the foreground, the heritage train was puffing along. Towards the top of the path, we reached a reservoir; the road was a service road.
We left the road to see if we could get to the top of the dam wall. This meant a scramble up an escarpment, but we were soon greeted with the rather windy sight of the body of water, and the additional mountains beyond. It was time to head back down, so we followed along an old stone wall that headed down the mountain. Unfortunately, the path was again poorly made, so we were having to take it slow and steady down the mountainside.
We eventually found ourselves by the railway line, and there was a path that took us back towards Blaenau Ffestiniog. When passing back through Tanygrisiau, there was a lakeside cafe, so we stopped by to grab an early dinner. Jacqueline had a chilli, and I had a chicken burger. We got back to our hotel as it was starting to darken. There wasn’t much going on in town that night; so we mostly stayed in our hotel. There were yet more activities awaiting us in the morning.