When foreign destinations flipped colours more often than a faulty set of traffic lights, it was time to take the road less travelled. Tom Trevatt took us along on his campervan voyage out of London…
The Welsh countryside had been calling for a while. I have family in North Wales and memories of heather covered mountains and salty sea air were enticing me back, especially over this last eighteen months when travel has been if not impossible, somewhat fraught. I decided I needed a short road trip up the country, visiting a number of friends, family and attractions along the way. Oh, and I needed to climb Pen y Fan again – the first time was over twenty years ago. Organising trains and accommodation for a journey that might need to change last minute, just seemed like too much hassle, so I opted for a campervan from Camper Tribe. I’ve been enamoured by van life for a long time and Camper Tribe have some adorable VW Campervans. They have just the right amount of quirkiness and convenience, the pop top roof providing much needed headroom for me (I’m 6’1) but not too large, meaning I didn’t get stuck down narrow Welsh lanes (too often).
Somehow, I managed to find the only sunny week this summer in which to travel, dodging the storms and floods, instead enjoying the scorching heat. It was a welcome break from London life, the stale indoor air replaced by the fresh breeze blowing off the Irish Sea as I traversed the country, starting in the Brecon Beacons and gradually driving up to the Snowdonia National Park. I got my Pen y Fan climb done in blistering afternoon heat, and made the mistake of running back down (or I did until my legs were buzzing so much I could barely walk). My thighs were burning for the next three days – I don’t recommend exercise.
I stayed in some gorgeous campsites with lovely green views, and drove through mountain passes from my childhood, retracing the drive my parents had done countless times with me in the back seat. A lot and nothing has changed since those early days. New roads, but old buildings, and even older rock formations.
Forestry and lakes that I would have loved as a child now took on a different complexion – they became aesthetic; views to photograph rather than just marvel at. Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon) has been a draw for tourists and mountaineering folk for decades, its mystical nature and imposing grandeur means it stands out as a climb to aspire to, unless you take the train to the top. I did neither of these things. My burning thighs meant walking more than ten metres was painful so, Rhita Gawr’s grave will have to wait until the next time I make it to Wales. But I did go for a lovely drive around the horseshoe, and took some stunning photos. Then it was straight to Barmouth beach front to share fish and chips with my family, watching the sun go down over the bay.
My Welsh road trip was made possible by the kind folk of CamperTribe who let me take out one of their flagship VW Campervans, a little gem of a vehicle that got a lot of attention in the campsites filled with much larger motorhomes. As I drove back to London, I contemplated whether I should buy one, probably not (they’re pricey), but now I know where to hire one from, I can head into the countryside whenever I like!
Words and photography by Tom Trevatt http://www.tomtrevatt.com |Instagram @tomtrevatt
Looking for an Autumn get away?
Escape to the wild this Autumn with Camper Tribe from £115 per day. Visit http://www.campertribe.co.uk
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