A stack of wooden shelves, piles of dust and a massive metal bulkhead separating the cab from the back are not going to put us off sleeping in the newly acquired van on a sunny bank holiday weekend.

Andy sets to work removing the work shelves and bulkhead, then we brush out the van as best we can, shove an old rug, a futon mattress and the dogs’ beds in the back, pack a few clothes and some food, and head further into Wales.

Just 45mins from our house lies the beautiful Llyn Tegid, the perfect starting place. Llyn Tegid means Tegid’s Lake – in English it’s called Bala Lake after the town of Bala the lake sits next to. Tegid was married to Ceridwen, a powerful witch who created the cauldron of Awen (inspiration) that transformed a poor stable boy called Gwion Bach into Wales’ most celebrated, mythical poet, Taliesin. There’s more to the myth of Taliesin’s birth, including an amazing shape-shifting sequence that sees him transform from rabbit to fish to bird to a single grain as he tries to escape Ceridwen who shapeshifts to greyhound, otter, hawk then large black hen in pursuit. As the black hen she eats Gwion Bach (the grain), and nine months later gives birth to a baby boy who is later named Taliesin (radiant brow).

Next morning we drive straight over to Cadair Idris to hike the ridge. Cadair is Cymraeg for chair, so the mountain is called Idris’ Chair (Idris was probably a giant, given the size of the place). Legend has it that if you spend the night at the top you come down the next day either mad or a poet, although we’re probably all a bit both these days.

First we hike up to Llyn Cau. The Cymraeg names for places will often tell you exactly what you need to know. In this case Llyn means lake and Cau means close, or closed. Llyn Cau is a glacial lake surrounded by 400m mountain walls in a horseshoe. No river feeds the lake, only water from the mountain, hence it being ‘closed’.

I feel the urge to swim, but bottle it. I haven’t brought swimming gear but could just swim in sports bra and pants, which look like a sports bikini anyway. On a busy day, when no one else is swimming, self-consciousness can still take over. I know it’s daft. I have swam in there before but this time paddling in to thigh-height will have to suffice. A shock of cold reminds that Llyn Cau is 350m high.

The hike is beautiful. You can see right across to the Llyn Pennisula. We get back to the van knackered after a five hour trek, have a sort of a flannel wash and cool our feet in the crystal clear river before I make a massive pan of vegan Red Lentil & Tomato Veggie Stew.

Next day we’re up first thing and over to Borth. This time, still gutted about not swimming the day before, we’re both swimming in crashing waves at 8am as more surfers pour from the carpark into the sea. We stay until the next morning when we wake early and drive straight over to the harbour in Aberystwyth for breakfast, which consists of scoffing scrambled eggs and beans with fresh coffee made on the camping stove as we watch the world meander past. First trip in the van and we’re hooked.