This is a second post about a 4 day last minute break to Snowdonia, North Wales in September. In any normal year we would have taken a two week holiday at this time but this has not been a normal year has it?
The 4 days were probably the best we’ve experienced in this part of the world. Maybe that was because we were just so grateful to have time away, in the mountains and in good weather. It’s fair to say we were in our happy place.
If you’d like to check out Part 1 please click on the link below. Part 1 describes a mountain adventure.
Snowdonia mini-break Part 1 – Crib Goch (Red Ridge)
The following describes watery lower level places :-
14th to 18th September 2020
‘But this sign seems to say that we shouldn’t go down there’ I said quietly reading the words. No response from Tim. He was crouched down and getting through a gap in the wall behind me. Then, seconds later, he’d stretched his legs down to the river boulders below.
It’s a sign
Sometimes I wonder whether Tim, who is becoming a little bit deaf, really can’t hear me or whether he’s ignoring me. No he hasn’t ignored me (well not this time!) its the thunderous ‘dangerous current’ that he is now much closer to which is drowning my quiet voice!
Oh well, nothing for it, I followed him down.
Close to our picnic spot amongst the boulders
Snowdonia has some impressive spots. For a few years we were peak bagging the mountains over 3,000 feet in this area of North Wales. Getting up to these 14 summits was challenging as was pronouncing their names. Names such as the tongue twisting Garnedd Uchaf and Elidir Fawr. But once bagged we moved onto other challenges, elsewhere.
This post is a part 2 of our short stay back in September 2020 – when we managed a 4 day escape from our Covid world. Its about a couple of wonderful places and some impressive waterways missed on previous visits.
On our 4 day break this was our first real stop since leaving home at 5am some six hours earlier. Park at the Conwy Falls Cafe on the road into Betws-y-Coed and follow the route suggested on the board around the back of the building. Just watch your step on the stone stairway. You can hear the falls before seeing it.
Here are just a couple of photos from where the warning sign (mentioned above) is positioned. The lower riverside level is probably best avoided or attempted unless you are irresponsible have decent walking boots and are without small children.
The safest viewing spot of the falls
Always a thrill when you see a waterfall like this
A lovely village to visit, have a wander and eat an ice cream.
When I first started writing this post (in October) it was impossible to travel in and to Wales from England. The Welsh Government set this up as an effort to slow the spread and protect the elderly and vulnerable from Covid-19 – we got to have our visit just before that time. Various parts of the country now have different rules and its best to find out what you can do, where, before travelling. This will be the story of our lives until the vaccination programmes kick in.
When we were there we witnessed good hygiene almost everywhere, including at our wonderful b&b. However we avoided cafes, pubs and restaurants simply because, as middle aged folk with elderly parents, we have to be sensible, protect ourselves, them and our population in general. We enjoyed picnic lunches and dinners everyday.
Back to the lovely place called Beddgelert. Folklore associates Beddgelert village with a faithful dog called Gelert but is more likely to be linked to an 8th century missionary called Celert. Either way it’s an old settlement in a very beautiful spot, in a junction of two large rivers surrounded by high mountains.
Unfortunately rivers do occasionally flood and when we were there we saw signs on a few buildings telling visitors that they were closed and still recovering from recent summer floods.
Shop with a carved bench closed due to flooding
I love old stone bridges and can’t take enough photographs of them. This bridge handles all the road traffic going through the village. It’s tricky to stand on it and admire it without causing an accident unless you can make it to the bay’s as Tim is doing in the second photo below.
Tim on the bridge at Beddgelert
Then we decided to take a chance and buy an ice cream. We had watched to see how this shop dealt with the whole process of ordering, paying for and delivering ice creams and thought it was worth the risk. This may sound ridiculous but, as mentioned above, we are being careful.
By the way, this shop sells the best ice creams – anywhere. And I have tasted a few.
Ice creams at Beddgelert
Glaslyn River and Aberglaslyn Gorge
The river Glaslyn flows away from Beddgelert and within a short walk alongside it you reach the small path that leads through the gorge. We visited twice – once as part of a 7 mile walk and again on another day because we loved it so much. Here are just a couple of photos.
The river and gorge taken from the bridge – Pont Aberglaslyn
The path is relatively flat near Beddgelert
Then it has a few tricky bits where wooden boardwalks have been placed or metal hand holds put into the rock. This might be a bit hairy when the river is full.
We saw people turn around at this point
Hang onto the metal hand holds if need be
It was so nice we had our picnic on the rocks.
Picnic lunch on the river
Pont-y-Pair Bridge, Betws-y-Coed
Walk along through Betws-y-Coed passing the church and small shops you reach an impressive ancient stone bridge crossing the River Llugwy. Originally built in 1500s for pack horses it was later enlarged for more traffic. That’s such a shame because it’s so busy now you are likely to be run over just taking a photo from it.
Even though it is such a magnet for visitors and impossible to find a quiet spot anywhere near it we perched ourselves on the rocks below and, in the warm afternoon sun, dozed off. Never before have I dropped off in such a spot and on rocks too, I must be getting old. By the time we came to it was tea time and we almost had the place to ourselves. With only the sound of water moving over rock we took to scrambling about like a couple of kids.
Tim near the bridge
Pont-y-Pair with no one in sight
My recommendation is to visit early or late in the day and walk up stream to Swallow Falls. It’s a real treat.
Finally here is an image taken from a bridge at the start of a walk. It’s a view of the river Glaslyn close to the Sygun Copper Mine, near Beddgelert. A great view at the start/end of any walk.
Hope this encourages anyone reading this to visit Snowdonia and North Wales. It doesn’t always rain and when the sun shines is quite beautiful.
Linked to Weekly Prompts challlenge ‘Happy’ – thanks to Sue and GC
Weekly Prompts Weekend Challenge – Happy