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Snowed On

It was with a mixture of excitement and trepidation that we set off to spend the coldest, snowiest Easter week for years in the Alps North Wales.

You can see my confusion…

Llanberis pass

Llanberis pass

In fact, the weather was glorious for the whole week. The picture above was taken during a rare cloudy moment and this was much more like it…


Snowy peaks

The snow, as you can see, was largely on the high ground, but then there is a fair bit of high ground in Snowdonia and even on the mostly clear mid-height slopes you might round a corner to be suddenly confronted with a glittering snow drift. The sunny skies were not altogether reflected in the temperatures outdoors with nights well below freezing. None of this seemed to deter the foolhardy walkers and the rescue helicopters circled with alarming regularity over the Easter weekend. The Snowdon Mountain Railway, which I’d hoped to go on was under 30ft of snow in places and although it managed to partially reopen, we decided that going up the mountain would be a bit mad. This is their picture…


Hey, where da view?

The view from our accommodation began and ended like this…

Last morning


…what happened in between I can’t comment on as we weren’t there. We were visiting castles: Penrhyn, Caernarvon and Conwy…


Penrhyn (see, I wasn’t kidding about the weather)













DD with the guard at Conwy

DD with the guard at Conwy

….and Plas Mawr (Big Hall), a nice Tudor merchant’s house in Conwy with all mod cons in the kitchen…

Plas Mawr 2 Plas Mawr 3 Plas MawrI was particularly taken with the salt roller  mill (in fact, I think I must have one) 🙂

We may have missed out riding on the Snowdon Mountain Railway, but managed a trundle on the Welsh Highland …

Welsh highland

Welsh highland

and also the Ffestiniog*…

*(added bonus as we had a day spare due to not going up Snowdon and not fancying freezing our arses off on horseback, the two planned activities we didn’t manage to do)

The pic on the left was taken the day after we’d been for a ride and spotted a nice riverside walk, so dropped by on the way back from the Ffestiniog for a stroll, when disaster struck…

DD's knee incident

DD’s knee incident

Fortunately, it was the last day and after a quick dab of lavender oil and some theatrical limping, all was forgotten in favour of messing about by the river…









A couple of days previously, we’d had a nice hike from where we were staying down into Llanberis and then back the long way around the lake, after a look at the slate museum and a well-earned pint.


Above the lake


At one point, we found ourselves down by the lake edge but unable to continue in the right direction due to a lack of public access along the railway line and had to backtrack.

Some bright spark, who shall remain nameless, thought it would be a good idea to take a short cut back onto the footpath. This involved an almost vertical climb and established DS’ credentials as our official mountain goat (not only in smell), making short work of the climb and literally pathfinding.



The slope we climbed up. Doesn’t look like much unless you know that the blue bit is the lake below, not the sky.


Resting after the scramble











As a slight aside, I’m pleased to report that there was no major language barrier. Everything is subtitled anyway and we quickly realised that Welsh is largely just a mixture of eclectic spelling and the addition of “io” or “au” on the end of words. I’m exaggerating slightly, of course, there are many different words as well, but here are some examples (mostly from signs) for you to try to guess the meaning. (It helps to say them aloud, especially the last one, which I love ;)…
1.Gwesty, 2.Perygl, 3.Parcio, 4.Tafarn, 5.Mopedau, 6.Plis, 7.Na, 8.Ysbyty, 9.Bedd, 10.Pont, 11.Capel, 12.Fford, 13.Twmpathau
You can see how well you did at the bottom of this post 🙂


Whooshy water

Whooshy water

Meanwhile, here are some more pics from our week…

I do enjoy a bit of photography and taking slow exposure pics of moving water to get a whooshy, misty effect is always fun, and especially challenging with a hand-held snappy digital camera, rather than an SLR on a tripod like the old days. It’s a bit more limited, but you get the instant gratification of being able to check your results.

Hope you aren’t bored of the scenery yet…

view 2

Mountains in the morning


Heading home around the lake

Heading home around the lake











As if all this activity and gorgeousness wasn’t enough (and I haven’t even mentioned the food in this post), two of the highlights of my week were stopping in Hay-on-Wye, once on the way there and once on the way back. More bookshops than you can shake a stick at, a rarity these days. I will share the results of this visit in another post 🙂

On the subject of the way back, we dropped by Llanberis Pass again. As you can see, it was thawing nicely 🙂


Llanberis Pass thawed

If you’ve made it this far, here are the Welsh word meanings for you to check:

1. Hotel,  2.Danger (Peril), 3.Parking (ee-eye-0h), 4. Pub (Tavern), 5.Mopeds (ow!), 6. Please, 7. No (Nah), 8.Hospital (say it aloud once again), 9. Grave (a permanent bed), 10. Bridge (how French), 11.Chapel, 12. Road (not necessarily across a river, but Wales is rather wet), 13. Humps (as in road humps. Come on, surely you guessed this wonderfully onomatopoeic word? :D)



8 April 2013

4 Comments to “Snowed On”

  1. Nice pics 🙂 Far too active a holiday for me 😉

    • I forgot to mention that the heating only came on for a couple of hours in the morning and evening. Going out was a necessity 😀

  2. Look at that! I can speak Welsh! Although I did get the last one wrong. I thought it might have been about thumping people. In my defence, I am Glaswegian.

    The photos are fablas – I like a bit of a castle visit. Did you not dress up in your finery to visit them?!

    Ali x

    • We were dressed up in our finery, but our modern finery with fine walking boots 🙂
      I’ve discovered a couple of new ones “popty microdon” (also referred to colloquially as “popty ping”) and I completely forgot to mention “Dim Palmant” which, although it sounds like a term of abuse for the terminally stupid, actually means “No Pavement”.

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