When you take a trip to the mountains, you might think you’re more likely to get stuck on a mountain (yip pretty much did that) rather than getting stuck in a muddy paddock.
Well, I have the dubious honour of being able to say I essentially achieved both in my recent trip to Snowdonia in Wales.
Before I regale you with the tale of diesel fumes and mud, I’d quickly like to point out that I wasn’t driving – so just before anyone shouts female driver…
It was dark, the road was skinny, a steep one-lane, barely tar sealed path that wound itself up the side of Snowdon.
We couldn’t find the hut.
A quick call to one of the bods already at the hut ascertained we had driven right past. Drat! So, that would mean we needed to either reverse down a steep lane in the pitch dark or attempt a 36-point turn to at least be facing in the right driving direction. The odds of success could go either way.
As luck would have it, I’d noticed an opening to a paddock about 5 metres back. The thinking went, we gingerly reverse down the road, turn into the opening and drive out again. Simples.
Only, as already mentioned, I wasn’t the one driving. Del, being a typical male driver, took control and drove through the opening, missing the paved driveway that was conveniently placed there and instead drove down the hill towards a paddock.
I guess we shouldn’t have been surprised that when we tried to reverse into a three-point turn all we got were whirring tyres, a whole lot of wet mud and no movement. As Del is always right he thought it best to continue driving into the paddock in the hope of finding a flat bit to turn around in.
What can I say other than there wasn’t really a flat bit and we very quickly found we couldn’t turn around. After 10 mins of revving the engine and ploughing up wads of mud and grass and cow pats we made the conclusion the car was well and truly stuck. It wasn’t going anywhere.
We removed the essentials and walked down the hill to the hut, leaving the car with the intention of returning in the morning to drive it out.
The sun rose on a glorious day of crisp blue skies and winter-filtered sunlight. We trudged up the hill to rescue the abandoned car.
In the daylight, we could see more clearly the predicament we had got ourselves into. There was our car, about 25 metres from the lane, down a slight grassy slope in the middle of a paddock, surrounded by tufts of tussocky grass and next to a church ruin. This was going to be interesting.
We placed down wooden boards at strategic locations behind the wheels, turned the key in the ignition and… moved not an inch – unless, of course, you consider getting deeper into the soft, boggy mud moving.
We tried again – numerous times, in fact – but the car barely budged. We tried scraping the mud from the tyres, wedging small rocks under the wheels and using my miniscule muscle strength to coax the car out from its mud trap – all to no avail.
Just as we were on the borderline of a meltdown we changed tactics, which saw me behind the wheel and Del pushing – the combination of Del’s superior muscle power and my tidy driving skills saw the car inch backwards. Woo hoo, we were moving.
But our celebrations were short lived as the car soon became stuck again as we tried to drive her up the slope to the road. And this time she was being really stubborn.
It was only with the help of two burly Welsh dog walkers that the car was finally freed from the mud’s grasp and was back on solid land. The whole effort took three and a half hours.
The plus side was that our delay to hill walking meant we caught the brilliant orange sunset from the summit of Snowdon. You couldn’t get more chocolate box perfect than that.
The downside was we were the last to leave the hut and locked the door behind us. Little did we know that we had unwittingly locked the key inside and none of our climbing companions, who were out on the mountains at the time, were carrying a spare. On our return after dark, it transpired that breaking windows had been considered before it was discovered that a local establishment had a spare key.
There had certainly been enough adventures for one day.
What mishaps and tricky spots have you found yourself in while on an adventure?