Jane B (knally) wrote,
Jane B

Welsh Views

I've just come back from a few days holiday in Snowdonia. I won't describe anything about where I was staying since my last post gave the link to last year's holiday in the same place, and it hasn't changed.

I had another very peaceful break, and this time managed to climb Snowdon.
On the Tuesday the weather was very squally with heavy showers, so I decided not to try then. Of course in the afternoon, while I was driving around admiring the scenery, I stopped and took this photo of the peak of Snowdon:

Closer Snowdon
View from Pyg Track

On Wednesday, the weather was better so I decided to make the attempt. Lots of other people had the same idea so the car park at Pen-y-Pass was already full when I arrived. I drove down to Nant Peris where the Park and Ride parking charge of £4 gives you a free day ticket for the Snowdon Sherpa Bus network, and there are regular half hour buses back up to Pen-y-Pass. My brother has gone up Snowdon and we'd talked about the routes. Since the weather was fine I decided to go up the Pyg Track (about 3 1/2 miles and 3 hours), and come down the simpler Miners Track. The Pyg has quite a steep climb to start with, then levels out so you have some wonderful views along the way. Then it starts climbing again and the Miners track joins it for the last bit of steep ascent.
The path is mostly made up of large stones and infill, which I think is ideal since it's easy to follow and saves wear and tear on the mountain. But some of the steps going up are a foot high so it's hard work and there are stretches (no more than 20ft long) where you have to scramble up over rocks. As the walk progressed, people going up always politely waited for those coming down to negotiate the scrambles, since it gave them a chance to rest :-)
It was very busy which was ideal for me since I was walking by myself and didn't have to worry about straying off the path or falling and not being found. Also there was a lot of joshing camaraderie as you overtook people or were overtaken, and those coming down were giving time estimates of how much longer it would take. "Only 20 more minutes! Mind you I've been telling people that for the past half hour."

Path with walkers
Cloudy Snowdon As you can see the day I went up it wasn't so clear!

And one of the most surreal experiences was near the top of this cloudy isolated mountain hearing the unmistakable sound of a steam engine

Snowdon train
Snowdon arrival So I carried on to the top and here I am at the summit. Best overheard comment on lack of view: "I couldn't even see my own boots." :-)

And then I visited the new cafe Hafod Eryri which I really liked, although since I never saw the old one I had nothing to compare it too. I found the stonework and style of the structure blended into the mountain very well, and inside, the natural wood panelling and canvas ceiling made it very bright and welcoming. Also it struck me as reasonably priced for a monopoly £1.70 for a (very welcome!) cup of hot chocolate, and 35p for good quality postcards.

Hafod Eryri

The walk down was uneventful, although a little trickier since the ground was wet from the cloud and it's easier to slip going downhill. I did feel a sense of accomplishment having done it, although as my brother warned me, you do feel it in your legs for a couple of days afterwards - every small incline started to seem like Snowdon! But I will have to try again some year, and see if I can reach the top when it's clear. Definitely in the summer though, and even then it can be dangerous (Snowdon Race 2009) although I'm unlikely to be running up there!

John Elwyn

While in the tranquillity of the cottage I took the opportunity to read a couple of books that a Quaker Friend had leant me. They were about John Elwyn a 20C Welsh artist who was formerly a member of Winchester meeting. I'd seen a couple of his prints around, and the Friend lent me the books so I could find out more about him. He was the son of a dyer and if you look at a selection of his works (Results for John Elwyn on Google Image search) you can see he used a palette influenced by natural dyes. He did landscapes, and also scenes of Welsh people that skilfully captured just a moment of interaction. Reading the books in Wales, although I was in the North and he painted the South, did give wonderful context to his paintings.

So a very good, very Welsh holiday, and I'm inclined to go there again next year!

Visiting sheep

Tags: landmark trust, quakers, travel

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