Snowdonia Tour, Day 3 (of 4), Betws-y-Coed to the Pen-y-Gwryd Hotel, North Wales

After a hearty breakfast at the Glan Aber Hotel, we set off on what would be the most climbing of any of the days, at nearly 4,000ft (or 1,200m). Our route was initially along yet another section of the Snowdonia Slate Trail, alongside of the Afon Llugwy (river) and past the Swallow Falls. From there we wandered through the woods and across the moor to Capel Curig. That’s where we parted from the Slate Trail and the ‘serious’ climbing started, up to Y Foel Goch (@ 2,640ft or 805m) and, from there, slightly down to the Miner’s track.

Eager to ‘bag’ Glyder Fach (@3,262ft or 994m), Dave, Pete and I carried on to the top, leaving Tim and Liam to meander down to the Pen-y-Gwryd Hotel. The summit was a mass of random boulders, which took some navigating to get onto the actual top but, with Dave’s ‘perfectly safe’ assistance, we managed it. (See pics 29P and 30). We scrambled back down and returned to the Miner’s track to reach the hotel in good time for dinner. πŸ˜‹

The Pen-y-Gwryd hotel has quite a history, it’s famous for being the training headquarters of the first successful Everest expedition in 1953. Several well known climbers and celebrities have signed their names on one of the ceilings, including Sir Edmund Hilary, George Mallory, Alan Hinkes, Don Willans and Sir Roger Bannister. The Beatles once visited the hotel, but they were not deemed famous enough (at the time no doubt) to be invited to sign the ceiling!
For more information on this rather amazing place, please click or touch here.

With thanks to Pete for the use of some of his photos (suitably watermarked) and the ‘loan’ of his camera to take the summit selfie, (pic 30).

Cute or menace?

We awoke on Wednesday morning to find these little chaps and/or chapesses exploring our vegetable garden. We think it was their first outing of the year (from a burrow under one of the plots), so one of the parents was keeping a close eye on them (and me, videoing from behind the wall above).

Jude and I had mixed emotions. Yes, it’s nice to see the little darlings and nature blossoming, but it’s a constant battle keeping them away from the new shoots… (You will no doubt spot some of the defences in the video).

Just like Mr McGregor’s garden…

The Royal Yacht, Britannia, Edinburgh, Scotland

As mentioned in my previous post, our main reason for going to Edinburgh was to see the Royal Yacht, Britannia. The ship was ordered in 1952 and launched by Queen Elizabeth II herself on April 16th 1953. It was decommissioned in 1997 and is now moored as a visitor attraction in the port of Leith in Edinburgh.

As you will see it was a pretty wet and grey day for, certainly external, photography, but hopefully the images give you a flavour for what life must have been like for not only the Queen and Prince Phillip (& their family, when on board) but also the officers and crew.

Gone mobile…

I’ve often wondered how easy it would/should be to create posts on the move. Given the quality of mobile phone images these days, it ought to be simple to post something semi-live… (Or is that what Facebook is for…? πŸ€”)

Anyway, I’ve just downloaded Jetpack on my phone and thought I’d try it out, because…

I’m currently on a 5 day walk along the Dee Way. (Today is day 2). As usual, I’ve been taking photos with my trusty point and shoot, so the full set of 5 posts will be sometime next week… In the meantime to give you a flavour for the weather today (& I hope this works), here is a picture taken from the B&B bedroom this morning and below that one from the evening before – of the Bala railway terminus at Llanuwchllyn.

Elter Water from the New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel, Lake District, England

Following on from our walk up to the top of Side Pike yesterday, Jude and I decided to head in the opposite direction, along the Cumbria Way, towards Elterwater. It was absolutely freezing when we set off and we soon discovered some rather interesting ice shapes en route. See pics 1, 3 and 6.

Another rather bizarre discovery was a frying pan on the hill near Oak Howe. (See pic 13). This is not the first time I’ve come across a pan. See here for a saucepan left behind in the woods near our previous home in EvolΓ¨ne, (pic 13). I would bet that it’s still there!

After a fine lunch in the Britannia Inn (I highly recommend the roast pork sandwich πŸ˜‹) we left the village of Elterwater and continued on the Cumbria Way, alongside the river, to have a look at Elter Water – that is, the lake of that name. (See pic 21).

Now here’s an interesting fact: Despite the Lake District being called the Lake District, only one of the 19 or so major bodies of water is actually called a lake and that is Bassenthwaite Lake. Like Elter Water, some of the others, for example, are called Windermere, Rydal Water, Brotherswater and Haweswater Reservoir. Strange but true.

Now since the return to our hotel would be more or less the same way, we decided to catch the bus! But, fear not, I shall be covering that section in a slightly different way again tomorrow… 😊

Portmeirion, Gwynedd, North Wales

I’ve mentioned a few times that our house looks over an estuary towards the tourist village of Portmeirion. (See banner picture at the top of the website – which now includes a winter view taken this morning). I went there many years ago, but have not been since arriving back in the UK. That is until last weekend, when they were hosting a Food and Craft Fair. Entry to the village was a tad cheaper than normal, so I thought I’d take advantage and have a look around (not to mention taking a few photos to post of course! 😊).

Portmeirion was the brainchild of Sir Bertram Clough Williams-Ellis. He was an architect and he essentially designed the whole village, often using bits and pieces from other dilapidated or demolished buildings. The land was acquired in 1925 and the village was pegged out and the most distinctive buildings erected between then and 1939. Between 1954 and 1976 he filled in the details.

Though, I have to say that it’s not all about the buildings, as the grounds, “The Gwyllt”, are also a delight, with woodland trails set out for visitors, both young and old, to enjoy. Many of the trees and shrubs originate from all around the world. (See pics 23-27).

The village is recognised worldwide as the setting for the cult 70’s TV series The Prisoner. The Round House, where No. 6 lived, is now a shop selling memorabilia.

As you will see, it wasn’t the brightest of days for photography but, given the huge number of visitors that day, I’m amazed that the images are almost people free.

Jodie and Alex’s Wedding

Almost exactly 5 years ago now, I posted pictures of Hannah and Mike’s wedding. Well, after a 2 year delay, due to you-know-what, it was the turn of her sister, Hannah, to marry Alex.

The wedding was held at the Loch Melfort Hotel, which is around 20 miles south of Oban, on the west coast of Scotland. The happy couple were blessed with glorious sunshine all day and the actual ceremony took place in what can only be described as a magnificent setting, right by the side of the loch. Inevitably many kilts were in evidence and a piper played… I hope this video and the gallery below gives you a feel for the atmosphere on their very special day.

(Suggestion: For the optimum “Scottish” experience, after viewing the video, allow the music to loop around while you view the gallery of photos). 😊

South West Coast Path Walk, Day 4 of 4, Porthtowan to Gwithian, Cornwall, England

Although Day 4 was perhaps the shortest, at around 11.5 miles or 19km, it certainly had more ascent and descent, as you will see from the pics below.

The logistics of this event were a little more complex than usual, but I’ll not bore you with the details. Suffice it to say that it would be very remiss of me not to mention a few people who supported us during our walk. So a very big THANKYOU to:

  • My wife, Jude, for ferrying me to the start and back from the finish, not to mention helping with our car in the middle.
  • Tim’s wife, Hayley, for similarly providing a taxi service for the boys to the start on Day 1 and for us all on days 3 and 4. And to both Tim and Hayley for accommodating us in their wonderful home, which included a fabulous celebratory meal at the end.
  • Three and a half year old London and her mom, Tiffany, for the welcome banner as we arrived back at Tim’s, (see pic 36). London was an endless source of fun and games. I shall forever be known to her as Grandpa Pig (of Peppa Pig fame), while Dave is “The Naughty Boy”, for not coming down from his bedroom when told.
  • And, lastly, to Pete, Liam, Tim and Dave for their excellent company over the 4 days. It never ceases to amaze me how we fill the days talking about anything and everything, most of which is absolute rubbish! πŸ˜‰

I hope you enjoyed our little walk.

Cheers! 🍻

Moel Ysgyfarnogod Walk, Gwynedd, North Wales (Part 2 of 2)

We left our walk yesterday overlooking Llyn Eiddew Mawr. Just a few steps further on, to the left, is it’s smaller sibling Llyn Eiddew Bach, which had THE most perfect reflection. (Llyn means Lake, Mawr means Big or Large and Bach means Small btw). From this you can guess that the landscape is littered (or maybe that should be flooded) with lakes or ponds of various sizes and from there I ascended slightly off the route to have a look at Llyn Dywarchen, (pic 31), simply because it looked a nice shape. As it turned out, I could also see it from the secondary hump next to the Ysgyfarnogod summit, (pics 40 & 41) but it was worth the short detour.

I thought I’d have the summit to myself (after only seeing the one cyclist in yesterday’s post), but I was surprised to see a couple leant against the trig point. They were having their lunch after walking up from their home in LLandecwyn. (It was a regular walk of theirs apparently).

I had hoped or thought about walking back down via Cwm Bychan, but the route back home from there was along a long narrow road and, in the event, the path on the ground to Cwm Bychan wasn’t very clear. So, to save retracing my steps completely, I took the direct route down via the very Tolkien sounding village of Eisingrug. (I didn’t know it existed either until I walked through it – and there were no Hobbits to be found! πŸ€”)

Saillon to Fully Walk, Valais, Switzerland

With temperatures set to soar into the 20’s C (70’s F) down in the Rhone valley, it was an easy decision to go for a walk in that area yesterday. After a quick scan of the map, I settled on doing another section of the Swiss Regional Route no. 36, “The Chemin du Vignoble”, between Saillon and Fully.

As you will see from the gallery below, the route also takes in a lot of the other farming activity which goes on along the valley floor – most notably the orchards and various poly-tunnels encouraging what looked to me like strawberry plants.

Of course I was also hoping to find a few ‘new’ (for this season anyway) flowers and butterflies and I was not disappointed. There were two distinct ‘hot-spots’ where I must have spent 20 to 30 minutes trying to chase down a Clouded Yellow – but the best shot I got was from a distance and hence why pic 21 is so poor. However, as any Twitcher or enthusiast will understand, I was extremely excited to discover a completely new ‘find’ (for me) when I checked the identity of pic 23. According to this Papillons de Suisse website (see last entry on the page) the Chequered Blue is only found in some parts of the Rhone valley, Ticino and a few other ad hoc areas in the south of Switzerland. Now that’s what I call a good day out!! 😊