I don’t have an actual bucket list on paper but the never-ending list being compiled in my head grows by the day. For every one challenge I complete, another two appear and this year already has seen quite a few ‘wow’ moments for me. I have gone off the idea of getting a tattoo, I will one day get round to giving blood and I’ve already done Ben Nevis before I turned 50!! I am fair flying through this list…
Last weekend, experience number 3,619 (or not far off!) was to visit the Hidden Valley.
Last year, I had started walking with a small group of lovely people and I had been harassing, annoying, black-mailing ‘gently persuading’ them to go to the Hidden Valley (or Lost Glen as I kept calling it!) Twice before, several broken dates fell through due to bad weather conditions and this third time the forecast didn’t look too enticing either. There was, however, a promising window which looked to give us a long, dry episode but being the seeker of the perfect experience, I wanted nothing but glorious sunshine and a gentle breeze to keep the beasties away. After my initial grumbles, and 90 minute drive through very erratic weather, we arrived at the 3 sisters parking area without rain.
The walk is relatively easy and if you have a moderate level of fitness, you should find this effortless. A few ‘yikes’ moments with steep drops from a firm, narrow path and a (non-dangerous) climb up a smooth rock face but nothing too dramatic. Maybe not best to do with a hangover if you have the wobbles… The whole walk can be done in about 2.5 – 4hours. We took 4 hours up, down, with lots of wandering, photography and lunch in between. The 360 views even from the Three Sisters carpark are quite spectacular and i did spend the vast majority of the climb looking back and all around me, it’s impossible not too (although don’t do that near the drops to the river as it makes you dizzy spinning around trying to take everything in!!) There is a river crossing which we found fine even though there had been some rain over the days prior to the walk. Having a walking pole or two is helpful for balance across the well-positioned stones.
The walk up there is quite breathtaking in itself and i have to admit that I wasn’t expecting to see such majestic views on looking down into the glen. I swore because saying ‘wow’ didn’t quite capture the scene before us. The 4 of us stood and looked before the descent into the actual valley. It’s difficult to describe: walking on the moon? Not quite. It just has to be experienced. The expanse of the plateau is surrounded by a horseshoe of steep mountains and really is quite surreal. It’s so huge and difficult to comprehend. Its weird, I can’t explain it but it’s definitely down as my second best outdoors experience. I loved it
If I remember correctly, the visit to the valley stayed dry while we were there but as the scenery was such a distraction, it could have hailstoned and i wouldn’t have noticed. Once lunch was over, the rain arrived to give notice that it was time to move on. Then the MEGA huge raindrops fell when we were 20minutes from the car…
If you leave the house for a wee challenge once before the year is up, you could do so much worse than the Hidden Valley. See for your self but in the meantime, here are some pictures of the day… (in no particular order)