The Slate Museum in Llanberis is excellent, but very few people seem to know about exploring the quarry from the top. Which is, in a way, a good thing as it means you can really get a feel for what Dinorwig slate quarry was once like without hordes of others.
Get to Deiniolen (by car, or bus from Bangor/Caernarfon: some buses will run right up to Dinorwig).
Just follow the main road through the village, up the hill (Gallt-y-Foel) and along to the hamlet of Dinorwig. At the very end of the road (superb views all the way, and tyhe road does actually end here) you'll find Dinorwig slate quarry. Follow the path to explore the views and the abandoned workings (now fenced for safety).
When I lived here the quarry had only just closed. Like the Mary Celeste, it was left as it was for us to explore at will; mugs and books, coats and papers, even bandages and beds in the quarrymen's hospital by the lake. Now it is a little more organised, with a proper working museum and safety fences (a token only) but still there is chance for you to wander freely, should you make that choice.
It is a past time which still echoes. There'll be a travelogue with more photos and information on my Snowdonia page soon.
While hiking the Watkins Path to the summit of Mt Snowdon, take a few moments to read the plaque set into this rock along the way. Back in 1892 Prime Minister Gladstone opened one of the main ascents, walked as far as this rock and then made a speech to the people about the freedom of small states.
Sandysmith has a pic of me on the "summit" of Gladstone rock ;-)
Harlech castle was the last Welsh fortress to be captured during the Civil War. It was built in 1238 and although it is now a ruin, it looks quite majestic sat on the top of the hill overlooking Tremadog Bay.
It has been given the status of World Heritage site.
I didn't have time to look round the castle but if you check the website below it gives opening times and admission charges etc. I have looked at photographs on the Net and it looks well worth a visit.
During the Wars of the Roses the Lancastrians held out here for 8 years before fleeing after one particular seige. A 12 year old boy survived this battle and went on to become Henry VII. The battle is also said to have inspired the march Men of Harlech.
While you're in Harlech, if you're looking for somewhere to eat I can recommend the Grapes Hotel (See my tip in the Restaurants section).
The village of Harlech is situated on the A496.
Possibly. Or possibly just a herd of someone's rare breed. But it was rather a surprise to come across proper long-horned goats ferretting away in the undergrowth, and rather lovely to see.
What wasn't so lovely was their intensely goaty smell, which seemed to linger in my nostrils (caught in my clothes? My hair?) for several hours. Especially as I hadn't been nearer than a couple of metres!
Even so, an unexpected pleasure. Worth looking out for as you start walking along the path to the slate quarry from Dinorwig (see my other tip for directions).
This beautiful valley slices through the mountains to the north-east of Beddgelert, its narrow floor largely filled by two idyllic lakes, Llyn Dinas and Llyn Gwynant. As the A498 climbs the shoulder of the Nant Gwynant pass there are panoramic views of Snowdon and its neighbouring peaks and there's a handy little cark park where you can pull in off the road to take in this stunning view.
Porth Dinllaen is a tiny, pretty little village which sits directly on the beach. The only way to reach it is along the beach or across the golf course from Morfa Nefyn.
We were taking a drive along the B4417 up the North coast of the Lleyn Peninsula. I wanted to take some photographs of the coastline and we stopped near Nefyn in a little carpark. There were quite a few people there looking over towards Porth Dinllaen and shortly afterwards we saw the lifeboat launched. After it was out of sight everyone left again so I presume people come down specifically to watch the boat go out at specific times. See the lifeboat website for more information.
Beautiful little valley, nice to drive through or walk. There are tumbling streams and really pretty views. It is a dead end so eventually you will need to turn round.
Halfway along the road near a bridge there is a footpath leading across a field and through the woods to a little area called Cwm Prysor. There is a Cornish Beam Engine here, still stood in the same place it always was and now fully restored. Its purpose was to pump the water from the flooded mines nearby.
Directions: Take A487 NW from Porthmadog and Tremadog , through Penmorfa and then towards Golan, left in Golan and then right onto the valley road. Basically if you see any sort of sign with Pennant on it then follow it. There is a Mountain Centre; this is their website gives good directions.
Map of Area
On the map you are looking for the road which runs alongside the river Dwyfor.
We really enjoyed driving along here, although there are lots of little roadways off to the side and it's not always clear where you should be going.... :o(
For a wonderfully nostalgic afternoon I highly recommend a leisurely train ride along the recently reinstated Welsh Highland Railway which runs from the old Slate Quay in Caernarfon and will ultimately go all the way through the wondrous Snowdonia landscape to Porthmadoc. This has not been a mean feat for the dedicated people involved but one that I'm certain will be appreciated by both locals and tourists alike for years to come. The feedback from my fellow travellers, a family of four generations from Cheltenham, was of high praise indeed, and if you're ever in the vicinity, and have a couple of hours to spare, do yourself a big favour and hop aboard!
Lake Crafnant is on the eastern edge of Snowdonia National Park. It is said to be the prettiest of a number of lakes in the area above the small village of Trefriw., near Llanwrst in the Vale of Conwy. Lake Crafnant is a 63 acre natural mountain lake, some ¾ of a mile long and is situated in a glorious mountain setting. Its a popular place for walking - fairly easy trails. Crafnant takes its name from “craf”, an old Welsh word for garlic, and “nant”, a stream. Even today the valley of Afon Crafnant smells of wild garlic when it flowers.
We made the 6 mile hike around the head of Lyn Crafnant, with its craggy peaked scenery,to the neighbouring lake of Llyn Geirionydd, which runs parallel to it, but a mile distant/ A short ascent through the forest trail of Mynydd Deulyn – “mountain of the two lakes" is made (approx 200m ascent). The western shore of Llyn Geirionydd is followed and then a track back to Lyn Crafnant via some derelict Pandora slate quarries. This second lake is the only one designated in Snowdonia to permit power boats and water skiing. A varied walk - allow about 3 hours. Well waymarked with colour codes for the trails.
A lesser known Cwim in Snowdonia is Cwm Pennant. here you can follow a 3 mile route path to the end of the valley passing ruins of old slate quarries. Peaceful scenery and a gentle stream along the valley floor. Its even worthwhile to have a drive here if not up to walking.
Directions: In Tremadog take the A487 to Caernarfon. Pass through Penmorfa and then near the crest of the hill turn right (signposted "Woollen Mill"). Continue for 1.5 miles, passing Bryncir Woollen Mill, to a narrow right turn- signposted with Cwm Pennant.
Betws-y-Coed is a village in the county borough of Conwy in North Wales. It lies in the Snowdonia region and the name means "chapel in the wood".
Attractions include two museums, the Miners' Bridge and the 14th century church of St. Michael. Itis also a convenient spot for outdoor activities in the beautiful Gwydyr Forest.
A desolate valley behind Beddgelert affords rugged Snowdonia scenery and you will also come across remanants of forming mining industry here...long since abandoned but relics remain as reminders - watch your footing here for the metal in the ground!
The walk here begins just above the Aberglasslyn Bridge where there is a convenient car park.
Try a little inpromptu sheepherding when the daft sheep don't get out of the road. To be fair, once we were behind them they really had nowhere to go but forward as the road was only as wide as the car. But at the junction in the road the stupid beasts took the fork that we were heading up and found themselves still running away from us. We eventually reached a part of the road where they could dive off into the undergrowth.
You can hike just about anywhere around Snowdonia. There are countless "public rights of way" that you can use to get from valley to stream; from town to mountain; and from cairn to castle. Many mountains are excellent for walking up, and have semi-beaten paths.
Moel Eilio, near Waenfaur, is an excellent mountain to walk up. At its base is a huge abandoned slate mining complex. Giant piles of slate refuse lie everywhere, and abandoned buildings dot the fields. From the top, you can see all of Anglesey one way, and Llanberis and Snowdon to the other.
ysbyty ifan is just a small village and I think fair to call it
a National Trust village as more than half the houses
and town is owned by the National Trust.
Ysbyty Ifan is a small but historic village in the county
borough of Conwy, north Wales. Nearly all the population speak Welsh,
except for the English people which own holiday homes.
The village has about 100 people.
There is a bakery shop, a post office, a milk shop and a rugby union pitch
with a children's playground. There is a small parish church and a bridge
over the infant Afon Conwy.
The river used to divide the village into 2 seperate counties..
There is NO PUB.
The name Ysbyty means Hospice. There is a memorial plaque to commemerate this
in the village church.
The hospice was founded in 1190 by Ivan ab Rhys,
a Knight of St John of Jerusalem to provide food and shelter
for travellers. It was abolished in the 14th century after the
Knights left and it became a haven for outlaws.
The village has a primary school with two class rooms and a cafeteria.