After a hiking-rafting trip on Snowdon, our writer tries out other hybrid sports made possible by hi-tech ultra-lightweight kit
We get some funny looks as we set off up the path from Pen-y-Pass at the foot of Snowdon. There are the usual crowds: gangs in matching T-shirts on a charity ascent, Brummie lads in trainers and baseball caps, couples in matching outdoor gear. And there’s us, with paddles and life vests attached to our dry bag rucksacks.
We have to explain several times: we are going to inflate small rafts, paddle across Llydaw, the blue lake below the summit, trek down the valley to where the Glaslyn River is sufficiently deep, then paddle on to Gwynant lake before we start walking again. My guides on this journey, Jason and Marianne Taylor of adventure company Tirio, tell me packrafting is not new. In fact, Jason tells me, Royal Navy Lieutenant Peter Halkett started it in the 1840s, when he devised an ingenious rainproof cloak that would double as an inflatable boat. It had a positive reception from Arctic explorers, but the navy refused to adopt the idea.