The highest mountain range in Wales,it is 1085m above sea level. Even so, on a good day it is too crowded to enjoy it. Go on a quite day out of the main holidays. And remember, Its not one mountain but a whole country! So get good driving directions and decide where to park!
It takes at least 6 hours to climb there and back. So take plenty of essentials, like good walking boots, water and wet weather protection. It rains a lot!
There are 6 main 'paths'. But path sounds like a well layed out track. When I visited, all I could see was rocks and grassy lumps and lots of shingle.
The Lanberis path is the 'easiest'. Its tough walking because its mostly uphill. But you can still get lost. If you dont get lost in daylight, you might get lost in the dark. Don't say I havent warned you if you fall down a crevice.
I broke my ankle just ambling along a 'path' because the ground was so uneven, I tripped and fell and couldn't get up. Fortunately a passer by noticed me screaming and shouting and helped me back to safety.
Moral of story: go with a crowd who know what they are doing. Its no picnic site.
Mount Everest is not in Wales, but was named after Welshman Sir George Everest from Gwernvale, Breconshire.
At 8848 m (29029 ft), Mt Everest is the highest mountain in the world. Mt Everest is a long way from Wales, located in the Himalayas on the border of Nepal and Tibet (China).
Now listen carefully;
In Wales the sport of rugby comes from the word cnapan or "criapan," and it has medieval beginnings when they used to kick a blown up pigs bladder about a field. Nowadays "It is a thug's game played by gentlemen".
A rugby team is made up of 15 players: eight forwards, numbered from 1 to 8; and seven backs, numbered from 9 to 15. Depending on the competition, there are up to seven replacements.
Rugby union players use a distinctive oval shaped ball. It weighs between 383 and 440 grams.
The four Welsh teams that have shaped Welsh rugby are Cardiff, Newport, Swansea and Llanelli. The Welsh Rugby Union is the governing body for rugby union in Wales. They y produce the national team and the four regional franchises Cardiff Blues, Llanelli Scarlets, Newport Gwent Dragons and the Ospreys from the Neath-Swansea region.
Do you like swimming through thick gravy ?
Since 1985, Bog Snorkelling competitions have been held in Mid Wales. This consists of competitors completing two consecutive lengths of a 60-yard (55 m) water filled trench cut through a peat bog, in the shortest time possible. Its true, Im not winding you up.
It is what I like about the Welsh, their capacity for fun in the most extreme circumstances.
Competitors wear snorkels and flippers, and complete the course without using conventional swimming strokes, relying on flipper power. Wet suits are not compulsory.
Dates: August Bank Holiday every year.
If you want even more fun, see my tip for mountain bike, bog snorkelling!
The National Eisteddfod of Wales attracts 160,000 visitors from all over the world, every year. You dont have to be Welsh, but you do have to go at least once. Put it in your diary for the first week of August. And if you want to get in for free become a volunteer!
The Eisteddfod is a travelling festival held in Wales. People travel from all over the globe to attend. The festival is located in north and south Wales alternately.
Now is the opportunity to learn the Welsh language and to take part in some of those Celtic cultural activities. Or just go along for the fun, especially if you enjoy music, dance, visual arts, and poetry.
Go on you know you want to! In 2014 it will be held in Llanelli, Carmarthenshire. Tickets go on sale in April for the August show.
Crickhowell is a little town in the east of the Brecon Beacons national park. It lies at the river Usk and bit further is a canal – lying much higher than the river. There's not too much to see in Crickhowell besides a few nice houses, the Norman St Edmund's Church and the remains of Crickhowell. But from the hill near those ruins you've a nice view on the countryside with the interesting "table mountain". There are paths up to that a flat topped hill, and if you like hiking you have the Black Mountains closeby. You can do plenty of excursion from there and visit for example the Big Pit and the Blaenavon Ironworks, or Abergavenny which is not far away. We stayed three nights in Crickhowell and found it a nice place in a great landscape, and I had loved to stay longer!
For more, see my Crickhowell page.
Caerphilly Castle is again a mighty castle with huge walls. It's found in the middle of the town, with some artifical lakes around as additional defence. It was built in the 13th century as concentric castle and is the second largest castle in Britain. However I didn't have the impression that it's that large, but I don't know how they calculated the size. Maybe I felt like this because in contrast to many other Welsh castles you couldn't walk on the walls. I was really impressed by those many massive walls, though. You have to pass three gates and two bridges until you are inside, at the Inner Ward. Here's the Great Hall, which really is large and nicely decored. You can climb up on the Inner Eastern Gatehouse and have a look on the castle and the town from above. In the North-West Tower, you can watch a film about the history of the castle which was interesting, a kind of animated film in medieval style. But I wouldn't watch it with children, it partly was a bit bloody, with a beheading and the walls turning red... Also interesting is the leaning tower, which looks like it's falling down every moment!
Raglan Castle is a ruined castle not far from Abergavenny. It's not so large like the castles we visited in north Wales but still very impressive. Most of the castle was built in the 15th century, pretty late compared to most other castles, but which makes it kind of special. One of the first buildings was the Great Tower which unfortunately got largely destroyed by the parliament during the Civil War. Nevertheless it's possible to climb it, and you have a fantastic view from above, not only on the castle but also on the nice landscape. This tower got fortified some years later, and there's a moat around. A bridge leads into the main castle building with its two courts, separated by the Great Hall. All those little details in the castle were very interesting, like the coat of arms in the hall, the oriel window, all those decorations and above all the Grand Staircase which was restored a few years ago. How great must that castle have looked before it got destroyed!
Admission (2013): adults 4,50, children/students/seniors 3,40. Free with Cadw Explorer Pass.
The Big Pit is a former coal mine which was closed in 1980. Now this site is open for visits and you can take an absolutely impressive underground tour there. They have quite some safety restrictions, for example you are not allowed to take anything that has a battery with you, which even includes modern car keys. Children must be one meter tall at least, and you wear the same equipment that used to be worn by former mines - helmet and helmet lamp, and a 5kg belt with battery and gas mask. A pit cage takes you 90m down, it's the same that used to transport miners and coal. It's a special feeling to walk through those dark tunnels, only lighted by those helmet lamps. It can be slippery and you have to duck your head many times but it's interesting to see the coal faces, the engine house and the pony stables. Yes, they really kept ponys down in the dark! The tours are done by former miners, so they know what they talk about. I only had some problems with the dialect...
In case you can't make it to the underground tour, you still can get an impression by visiting the "mining galleries". It's an artifical which is wheelchair accessible. First, there's a short introduction film, and then you are led through the galleries by a virtual miner (i.e. on a TV screen) which gives further explanations. That was nicely done, although it cannot keep up with the underground tour!
Besides, you can visit the old washing rooms and lockers of the minders, and there's an interesting exhibition about the life of the miners.
Nearby are the Blaenavon Ironworks, but as they already close at 5pm we couldn’t visit that site.
Open daily from 9:30am until 5pm. Last underground tour at 3:30pm.
Free admissions. Car parking 2,-.
In the Brecon Beacons National Park, there's an area that is called Waterfall Country. Near Pontneddfechan, there are plenty of waterfalls, with well-marked hiking paths. Our plan was to walk parts of the Elidir Trail, but as the road to the car-park Pont Melin-fach was blocked we decided to instead walk a bit the Four Falls Trail. That also was nice! We did park our car on a little car park at the small road between Pontneddfechan and Ystradfellte (4km from the main street in Pontnedfechan) and from there it was only a 15 min. walk down to Sgwd Clun-Gwyn. A bit further on is a bridge which we crossed and turned right to reach that Four Falls Trail. There you have another view on Sgwd Clun-Gwyn, just from the other side. We continued the path a bit, but it was too muddy and it would have taken a while to reach the next waterfall, so we returned. Instead we had a look at Sgwd Isaf Clun-Gwyn from above, there was a difficult to find path near the car park to a little viewpoint. I absolutely have to come back to see more of those waterfalls!
Tretower Court is a medieval manor house in the Brecon Beacons, near Crickhowell. It dates from the 14th century and used to be a home of the Vaughan family for over 300 years. Next to it are the remains of the Tretower Castle which was built in the 11th century and was a small mound and bailey with timber defences which got replaced in stone in the 12 century. The castle was abandoned sometime after Tretower Court was built and the tower and defences are in ruins now. It's still interesting, and there's much more to see in that manor house. Here you can visit several rooms like kitchen and great hall which have been rebuilt like they may have been around 1470. It was very interesting to stroll through rooms and the decoration of the medial table was so great that you would have liked to sit down eat! There's also a small medieval garden with herbs & flowers and it smelled nice there, but unfortunately it was raining too much to enjoy it for a longer time.
Admission (2013): adults 4,75, children/students/seniors 3,60.
Hay-on-Wye is a little town near the border to England. It's the "town of books", you here find lots of bookshops that sell second-hand and antiquarian books. A great place for book lovers! It's really interesting to stroll through those bookshops, with books piled up on the ground, and in old houses.
There also is a castle which was built in 1200 and below is a "honesty bookshop" - there are bookshelves in the open air with a box for money.
Chirk is a small town south of Wrexham with several interesting sights:
First of all, there Chirk Castle. It was built in 1310 and is one of the intact castles, no ruins. You can visit the rooms which are interesting, with lots of old furniture. And of course the gardens are also worth a visit, with lots of flowers and nicely designed.
Then, there's the Chirk Aqueduct, which was opened in 1801. It's an aqueduct of the Llangollen canal, like the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, only smaller. It's just 70 foot high, and again there's a footpath over the aqueduct.
And directly next to the aqueduct, the canal passes through a tunnel which is 421m long. When you take one of the narrowboats through the tunnel, you will spend about 12 minutes in the dark...
For more, please see my Chirk page.
The Llangollen Canal is crossing two aqueducts and the Pontcysyllte aqueduct is one of them. It was constructed by Thomas Telford in 1805. It's pretty impressive, being 1000 foot long and 120 feet high. If you'd like to cross the aqueduct, you can take one of the leisure boat trips. But you also can walk over it, there's also a footpath. On that side at least there's a handrail, on the other side is nothing! This doesn't appear safe to me!
The Swallow Falls are some nice waterfalls about 4km from Betws-y-coed. Although there's an admission of 1,50 for adults/ 50p for children (2013), this waterfall is highly visited. The waterfalls are rather wide than high and it's a nice view but not really spectacular. I found the admission not appropriate for the short time that you usually will spend there. There are two places from where you have a good view on the waterfalls, one a few steps after the entrance and another one down several stairs.
This is a Victorian town home that has been nicely restored to a very comfortable and modern hotel....more
From A @ M Evans Wrexham This is an extremely well run hotel which is done by David an Louise...more
Not a bad place but considering the jenivore hotel next door, which has rooms from £12.50 pppn, and...more
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