As accommodating as ever, the PR team at Suzuki were kind enough to fit a roof bar system to the Vitara S that I’d booked as I wanted to take Winona out for one last paddle before the weather turned too grim.
Llyn Padarn in North Wales was chosen as it was a recommendation on the ‘Campervan Overnight Camping’ FaceBook page. I had asked for a lake or river where I could park up, launch Winona and have a BBQ on the shore without having to walk miles and miles, and amongst others, Llyn Padarn was suggested.
Located just off the A4086 and around 7 miles (15 minutes) away from Caernarfon, Llyn Padarn is around 2 miles long and at its deepest point is 94 feet deep. It’s a stunning area, and here comes a bit of trivia, it’s one of the largest natural lakes in Wales, so there you go.
Using my new and brilliant Thule Portage kit, I securely strapped Winona to the Vitara S, and after loading a pile of cooking paraphernalia in the boot, we set forth with excitement. Unfortunately the beautiful blue sky that had kept us warm when we left Muddy Towers turned to menacing grey during the 2-hour drive from Bolton, and as we turned off the A55 and Junction 11, the heavens opened, great.
Thankfully, when we arrived at Llyn Padarn the rain had eased and was now a slight drizzle. After finding a suitable spot in one of the many small coves, we unloaded Wenona, placed her by the waters edge and began creating our own little encampment. With chairs, a small table and food at the ready, I set up the Ghillie Kettle for a much needed brew, and set up the Pop-Up BBQ grill from Silverpoint. Using a Woodson fire starter we got the charcoal going and waited in anticipation until we could begin cooking our lunch. I had sausage, bacon and egg Butty whilst Muddy Madam had a mixed bean concoction.
Suitably nourished we relaxed for a while and watched as families and other groups messed around in the shallow waters and relative safety of the coves, I would imagine that in the height of summer this place is heaving.
By this time the drizzle had eased off and there was a hint of blue sky, not much, but it was there, so we swiftly packed the cooking gear and chairs back in the Vitara S and prepared for a paddle. We left the safety of the cove and ventured towards the east of the lake, but there was a stiff breeze which made the water near the centre quite choppy, so we hugged the shore-line as much as we could.
It didn’t take long for the blue sky to disappear again and for the wind to pick up, the sky looked vexed and there was now a distinct chill in the air, but the views remained spectacular and the solitude was welcome. Occasionally we would pass other paddlers and offered a friendly nod and a smile, but mainly Llyn Padarn was ours for the afternoon.
With the threat of another downpour we begrudgingly headed back to camp and quickly secured Winona back onto the Vitara S. After getting changed and making certain that our encampment was left as we found it, we headed back to Muddy Towers with a promise to return sometime soon.