Friday, 23 September 2016

Autumn Thrills in Snowdonia - Day 5


Llangollen



Snowdonia                                                                     Wales

Wednesday 21st October 2015

The sound of wind and rain echoed through my room from outside realising today would be a bad day for weather. As soon as I opened my curtains, all the beautiful mountains which overtook the landscape had disappeared behind a thick dense fog and rain. Autumn leaves were flying everywhere though which I thought finished a typical autumn scene; I happily enjoyed watching it from inside my room. I headed out of my room realising my mother was already awake stating that the rain had woke her up. I then let smudge out the back of the cottage and we were welcomed by three sheep who were constantly staring at her probably thinking as though she was a little lamb. We soon headed back in and down for breakfast already debating on where to go for the day especially with the way the weather was; what a debate it was too as my mother didn’t want to go to the places I was suggesting.

Eventually we came to a decision to visit two places which were not far from us. For the moment though we would sit and relax waiting for the weather to settle down. Reluctantly though we were packing the car with essentials including the dog and we took our leave from Ffridd Uchaf. For once there were no sheep blocking our path so we quickly made it past the gate and onto the narrow roads. We were heading to a places called Betws-y-Coed and Llangollen which to be honest did look like a long drive away on the Welsh country roads but I was looking forward to it even with the bad weather. We had already passed Beddgelert and onto the mountainous roads we witnessed the day beforehand.

Beddgelert

My optimism was not high though for the sight of marvelous views as the clouds would cover the whole area. However, I couldn’t have been more wrong as I pulled over at the same spot as yesterday completely won over by the change in environment of the land. The misty clouds were brushing against the mountains and foothills that we could see giving the area a sense of mystified far eastern vibe making me wonder what was beyond the threshold; it was truly a magical experience then we headed back into the car and drove on to Betws-y-Coed.

Mystical Mountains

The views along the way were phenomenal and I said to my mother that this was the best road I had ever driven along. A long time had passed driving along the mountainous roads gaining height until we came to a level road straight to Betws-y-Coed. There was still a lot of miles to drive but as there was completely nothing on the roads, we ate up the miles until we had finally passed a sign; ‘Welcome to Betws-y-Coed’. We wanted to stop hoping the place was worth the trip and to stay a while longer. As soon as we approached the central area of the village, we received our answer. It was the most beautiful little village I had ever seen on this trip; even better than Beddgelert.

Quiet Roads

We headed for the nearby car park crossing the stone bridge which was surrounded by picturesque beauty of a rapid river flowing through the rocky terrain; again autumn trees would finish off this pretty place with colours of orange, brown and yellow. We eventually parked up and once we grabbed our essentials from the car, we headed straight for the riverside. As we approached the rapid river, we came across the smooth and slippery rocks. My mother didn’t risk balancing on them but I did as I carefully made my way closer to the river. I stopped admiring a heron staring into the water looking for fish without moving a muscle; then I looked upon the river myself. I admired the water rushing down the small ravine flowing under the bridge and beyond the village. 

Betws-Y-Coed

Betws-Y-Coed

I eventually headed back onto the mainland to join my fellow explorers as we continued along the stone bridge still mesmerised by the beauty. We then headed up along to the shopping area where all the shops were mainly outdoor/hiking shops; my kind of place I thought. Only trouble was the very high prices for things inside as I only came out with a pair of gloves which were well over £10. We continued along towards more shops admiring the beautiful displays of baked goods and clothing. I immediately walked into the shop and came out with 2 caramel slices and 2 local pies which were called ‘Lamb Oggies’; Welsh version of a ‘Cornish pasty’. We had seen basically everything the village had to offer so we headed back to the car with our food a dug right in; the Oggie was spectacular with overwhelming taste and flavours. 

Betws-Y-Coed

We still had a very long drive ahead of us to get to our next destination Llangollen so we strapped ourselves in and drove east leave Betws-y-Coed behind. The country roads which were weaving down mountains were behind us now as we were now driving along farmlands as far as the eye could see. There were also long straights too which was quite nice in order to pick up speed. The views were still phenomenal though but not as good as the view of a delorian car driving passed us. It was very ironic for the specific date it was; Back to the Future fans will understand.

Delorean
Back to the Future Time Display

Anyway, we were driving along miles of road for a very long time until finally a sign approached saying’ Welcome to Llangollen’. We were so relieved when we approached the town centre trying to find a parking area. We finally found one and made our way straight towards the high street area. Our first port of call was a café though which was set high with the main bridge spanning across the majestic River Dee. We had entered the café and at a table overlooking the huge river ordering two lattes and a cake each; with ice cream of course. It didn’t take long for them to arrive and we wolfed them down as though we hadn’t been fed for months. It was very quiet inside the café and along with the views outside I felt at peace for a small moment; then we had to take our leave and explore this small town.

Llangollen Train Station

We first crossed the bridge overlooking the river flowing towards us quite calmly reflecting an autumn forest in the distance. It was a lovely view but we moved on back towards the shopping area coming across a handful of hiking, novelty and charity shops. No doubt we had a look in the majority of them to pass the time well sometimes with no luck despite the expensive prices placed on a lot of things. We ran out of shops to see so we headed back along the main bridge to the other side.

As we approached the other side, we came a across a small hill which lead us to the famous Llangollen Canal. There was a huge banner saying ‘Horse Drawn Canal Boat Trips’ so we headed towards it hoping to get a ride. However, there was a billboard showing trip times and we immediately realised we were too late to get the last ride up. It was a bit disappointing but we wanted to walk along the canal anyway. This was when we noticed the peaceful sight of a 3 metre wide canal hidden well under a huge row of yellow autumn trees. The leaves were flowing like a feather down onto the pathway and canal carpeting the area; it was truly breathtaking.

Llangollen Canal

With nobody in sight we took a slow walk along thee canal making our way to an area known as ‘Horseshoe falls’. We were breaking the peace and tranquillity along the way by laughing and joking on at everything and anything passing the time realising that it would be a very long way to get to the falls. Then slowly approaching us from a distance was the horse drawn boat trip. It looked amazing watching the boat pass by so elegantly not making a sound. I did feel sorry for the horse though as it looked quite miserable as though it was sick of its life walking up and down the same route.

Llangollen Canal

We kept on walking and it felt like we were on an endless trail. We decided to turn around and head for the town again and to pass the time we were laughing and joking once more pretending Smudge was pulling the canal boat along; Smudge drawn boat trip sounded awesome. It felt as though it took longer to return to busy town but we eventually made it. As we had seen everything in the town and the fact it was getting late, we decided to return to the car and leave this beautiful place. It took us a while to get out of town but once we did, we ate up more miles. I was absolutely enjoying the drive as yet again there were long periods of time I had the road to myself.

Llangollen Canal

A very long time passed as we drove through Betws-y-Coed once more admiring the pretty little village for a brief moment already making our way towards Beddgelert. From this point the weather had changed as we were gaining height and once again we were welcomed by misty mountains. It was a lot thicker this time and because it was raining all day, the clouds were a lot lower and suddenly we were driving through the clouds; it was a surreal moment but amazing nonetheless. I had to put my fog lights on as I couldn’t see a thing in front of me as well as slowing right down; eventually we were below the clouds with the views clearing up but still quite misty which was brilliant I thought as we were finally nearing Beddgelert.

The last few miles had flown by as we were now approaching our cottage at Ffryd Uchaf as the daylight began to disappear. My mother couldn’t believe how much I had driven today but I enjoyed every moment of it and I could see enjoyed it very much too; Smudge on the other hand was fast asleep on my mothers lap. The farm was in our sights and what a relief it was finally turning the engine off. We soon realised the cottage was quite cold inside so I immediately planned on getting a fire burning. I set up the kindling and newspaper and set it alight. Yet again it lit up straight away and held its burn very well for once; again I felt like a caveman at the first sight of fire.

I calmed down though relaxing with Smudge in front of the fire for a very long time feeling at peace with the sound of battering wind and rain outside; we were all nice and warm inside going over what wondrous places we had all seen throughout the long day; the weather never brought our spirits down one bit. However we did hope the weather would improve a lot for tomorrow; our biggest venture yet on this journey; the three explorers conquering Mt. Snowdon itself.
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