It turns out the best quiz team name when holidaying in North Wales is quite simply: ‘Does it always rain here?’.
You get a lot of laughs – from the locals who grin with an amused ‘aw, they actually thought it might be sunny’, and the holidaymakers who pretend to chuckle while wiping the rain off their glasses.
As it happens, the answer is yes. It does always rain in Wales. And so you end up forgoing all elements of style in an attempt to stay at least 10% dry, and look like this:
But you know what, once you embrace the rain, and realise dry socks are a luxury not destined for UK holiday makers, all this adventuring malarky is actually pretty fun.
Last week, Ben & I packed up the car and drove for three and a half hours to North Wales, right next to Bala Lake, where everything looks green and lush.
It was one of those holidays where you have a timetable of activities, and then a few gaps in the day to relax in the spa (lovely), read a book (The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender – compelling), crochet (colourful) and take a little snooze, if you so wish (I did).
The activities we signed up for were awesome. We did a few at the site where we were staying including laser clay, which is like clay pigeon shooting but with laser rifles rather than proper ones, and crossbow shooting which was way more fun than I was expecting. Somehow I even managed to do a completely perfect shot and go straight through an arrow I’d already fired. Move over Katniss Everdeen right?
We also did a segway adventure, splashing through all the puddles in the rain and racing up and down dirt tracks. It’s the third time I’ve been on a segway and it’s still every bit as fun as the first time.
On Thursday we went off site, to Zip World and Surf Snowdonia for a bit more hardcore adventuring. Zip World is an impressive complex. It used to be a quarry and has been totally transformed into an adrenaline junkie’s dreamworld. There are huge zip wires which send people soaring over the ravines, caverns you can climb around using harnesses, tree top nets, quarry tours and a thing called Plummet which looks as terrifying as it sounds.
We went for the less stomach churning option, Bounce Below, which is essentially a trampoline park inside a cave. It’s seriously cool, with rope nets and ramps to clamber up, ladders, trampoline areas and slides (although they didn’t slide well with jeans on as the whole place is quite new and the slides need breaking in a little). It was really cool being in the caves though, and you could see right through the trampoline netting to the bottom. I didn’t get any photos, for fear of losing my phone to a rocky grave, but you can check some out on the Bounce Below website. I’d definitely recommend a visit to the caves.
After that we headed over to Surf Snowdonia which is an artificial wave lagoon. Instead of surfing though we decided to test out the Crash and Splash zone, after hearing from a few friends who had already been that it was pretty cool. It’s essentially a mini version of Total Wipeout, and the Blob. Let me say the Blob again, but image more ‘dum, dum, duuuuum’ sound effects. THE. Blob. There we go.
The Blob is a huge, inflatable platform, which you jump down on to from a height. And if you think the jumping sounds a bit daunting, just wait until it’s your turn to be the one at the end of the Blob, who gets fired off, like a pea out of a peashooter. Two pretty big lads jumped on my turn and I flew up, limbs flailing, with a mid-air realisation of ‘oh shit, I’m going to land head first’. I did. And it felt like I had been punched in the face. Needless to say, I realised pretty quickly this wasn’t one for me, and watched three bonkers lads jumping and splashing instead.
The total wipeout bit was okay, with a few different obstacles to clamber over like pendulum balls, a rolling walkway and a rope crossing, but it could have done with being a bit bigger, and having an actual course to get through rather than just a play zone.
After all that clambering and jumping, it was time to put our feet up and enjoy some awesome food and a few cheeky holiday cocktails. I’ve never been an outdoorsy kind of person, give me a lush, cosy duvet over a forest floor any day, but actually I’m so proud that I did all those cool things, and that they were awesome. Maybe at 28 I’m finally discovering my sense of adventure – but where will it take us next?!