Chevening Scholars take on Mount Snowdon
46 scholars gathered together in north Wales for one of Chevening’s final events for the year. Hosted by the University of Bangor, the two-day event took place between 28 and 29 July.
Despite the grey skies and constant drizzle, from the get-go we received a warm welcome from programme officers Matthew and Susie as well as representatives from Bangor University’s international office.
After checking into the university accommodation on Ffriddoedd campus and a briefing by Bangor rep Alan Edwards, it was straight to Caernarfon Castle - and what better setting for an afternoon lecture on Welsh history and culture than a room in a 13th century building!
Following a round of questions on Welsh language and identity, scholars did a little DIY tour through the maze-like castle grounds, navigating along castle walls, discovering art exhibitions and a museum in the castle, and in what seemed like a foreshadow of the hike the next morning, endless climbing up towers in search of stunning views.
After all that walking, it seemed the evening’s programme was yet another fitness test, this time in the form of cardio. If you YouTube-d ‘twmpath’, a traditional Welsh dance and music, it may appear fairly simple and almost mundane to some. But try enduring two consecutive hours of spinning, side-skipping, and ‘do-si-do-ing’ to the increasing pace of the accordion, and you have yourself a fun workout, plenty of new friends, and a new appreciation for traditional folk dance!
The next morning, after a full power breakfast — eggs sunny side up, bacon, yoghurt, Coco Pops, you name it — at the university’s Bar Uno, we were good on time for a 30-minute drive to Snowdonia National Park to take on Mount Snowdon.
Spirits were high, the weather was kind (i.e. no rain). The hike up was about two-and-a-half hours. There are six walking trails up Mount Snowdon, the highest peak in Wales at an elevation of 1,085 metres; we took the longest trail with the least inclination and probably with the most tourists, families, and cute dogs!
For experienced hikers, this trail is relatively easy, with the only hurdle being the strong winds and cold weather nearing Copa Peak. Once at the top (and because ‘if it’s not on Instagram it didn’t happen’, of course!) there was a queue to the summit where you can take a photo with a brass plate that points to the various summits. Unfortunately it was too cloudy and too busy to make use of the brass plate, so a photo with a white backdrop would have to do!
The descent was a relief for many - mainly to escape the cold - and we were greeted with clearer skies that called for spontaneous short picnic stops along the way. All in all, everyone made it in good time.
After an intensive 48 hours of funtivities, it was a sad farewell; some were dropped off at the train station and a few others staying behind for an extra night in Bangor.
Personally, the north Wales trip has been my favourite Chevening event by far. It was an opportunity to get to know Cheveners in various social situations in just 48 hours and a chance to cross off one of my bucket list items: hiking Mount Snowdon. A big thank you to the Chevening team, programme officers, and organising team at Bangor University - especially Alan, who made the weekend such an enjoyable and memorable one! Diolch! (‘Thank you!’)
Find out more about studying at Bangor University with a Chevening Scholarship here.