Monday, 29 September 2014

An Autumn Sunday in Snowdonia, North Wales.

First things first - lunch at the Waterloo.

Last week my lovely husband planned a day out for us on an unexpected free Sunday. In truth, he was thinking of the inner man and where we could find a good Sunday lunch to match our usual eaterie The Golden Lion, Rossett, Wrexham.

'What about Betws-y-Coed? We could go to The Waterloo Hotel and Lodge.' 
I was all for it as it was some time since we had headed down the A5 into the mountains and the gateway to Snowdonia. 
Turning off the A483 onto the A5 at Chirk, we were once again awed by the sheer beauty of the vista which opened up before us. Having traversed bridges over the Dee and Ceiriog rivers we had forgotten how high up we were and, as we turned, the whole Dee Valley to Llangollen was spread out below with the mountains in front. 
'Isn't that a wonderful view!  Aren't we lucky to live here? Do I always say that?' I ended.
'Usually' came the dry reply.
With precision planning we arrived just after 11:15am hoping for time to look around the village before lunch. Parking up at the Waterloo we went inside to check if we needed to book a table and immediately saw a familiar face.
'Hello,' Megan greeted us. 'Long time no see.' 
After catching up for a minute, we wandered off into the village. It was lovely and warm and the shops around the old railway station were busy. Actually, the trains still run through here and in one cafe, if you wander through to the back, you find yourself on the station platform. The water was still tumbling over the rocks as it flowed down from the Swallow falls.

Back at the Bridge Restaurant at the hotel, we opted for a table in the new conservatory. Although we had eaten in the 1815 bar on our last two weekday visits, we hadn't had Sunday lunch here for a while. Not since our GWOCGB regional motorbike meetings re-located to the coast. We were so impressed with the whole experience from the staff  to the beautiful newly re-furbished restaurant to the excellent food cooked to perfection. Compliments to the chef. A review is on Trip Advisor.

The Hidden Lakes - not of Italy this time - but Snowdonia.

Afterwards we continued along the A5, passing a lake on our right, into the Snowdonia National Park. The mountains reared up all around us. Clothed as they were in varying shades of vegetation, they were a colourful contrast to the blue sky and sunshine casting dappled shadows on the lakes. At Capel Curig, we turned down to Bedgellert for our favourite ice cream shop. Sitting on the wall in the warm sunshine, we chatted to biker friends who had the same idea. afterwards we continued towards Caernarfon, passing one or two more lakes on our left. At this point Mount Snowdon was on our right. Before  Caernarfon we headed down the road which would take us around the other side of Mount Snowdon, through Llanberis and the slate quarries, passing another lake on our left as we headed back to the A5 at Capel Curig. 

At Llanberis, the huge scarred mountains lay still; quiet now from the noise of quarrymen mining the slate for which Wales is famous. I often wonder how deep is the lake here and how far down into the bowels of the earth miners would have had to go as they met their master's demands for more slate. Above the lake, the many platforms blasted out of the mountain cascaded down to the water. Llanberis was busy with walkers and tourists.
Back on the A% main Holyhead-London Road, we once again passed an old coach, on display, which passengers would have journeyed on  in olden times.

Reaching Betws-y-Coed, we pulled in for a comfort stop to find the area around the craft shops and cafes overflowing with tourists, parked cars and many bikes and bikers. My husband was in his own little heaven as he drank in the sight of all the different bikes.

A wonderful day at the end of summer. One to put in the memory box of treasures.


PS. You can read more about the slate quarries around Llanberis and Caernarfon and the life and struggles of two families in The Widow Makers Trilogy by North Wales Author Jean Mead. They really do bring the area to life.

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