Thursday, April 2
We hadn’t been to Wales since new year’s, so we were all excited about going for Easter long weekend, even though the weather forecast was nothing special. Booked the tickets online as usual, and on Thursday after work we met up at Euston. Euston was jam-packed as obviously everyone was going away for the weekend but we didn’t worry as we had reservations and it was a direct train. But the train was so full with even the aisles crowded that there was no air and we were also sitting backwards, so overall the trip was quite harrowing. Sometimes I do miss Germany, and these times often coincide with any UK train trips. Nevertheless, we finally got to Bangor, about half hour later than scheduled (yes, half an hour delay on a three-hour direct train), got picked up by Iestyn’s dad, and crashed in bed soon after.
Friday, April 3
We woke up to a morning of incessant rain, but we didn’t mind and decided to go explore a new (for me) Welsh tower Dolwyddelan (or what Iest calls ‘Welsh castle’ but it’s one of those castles that are only like a tower, not like the one in Caernarfon, so it really is just a tower. OK, you might argue that wiki calls it a castle too, but then it shows a picture of a tower, so your call really. It’s a tower. Well built though, proper.). Wiki also adds that “It is thought to have been built in the early 13th century by Llywelyn the Great, Prince of Gwynedd and North Wales. Though the castle was then only one tower with two floors, a second tower was built in the late 13th century and a third floor was added to the first during the late 15th century repairs.” (*tower*, see?)
Up on the tower
Anyway, the place was really nice, and thanks to bad weather we were there alone. We decided to do some sketching inside, which went great, and we had an awesome soundtrack of the rain and howling wind – very Welsh! It was also by a farm, which had a batch of beautiful new oen bachs, which is the great thing about Easter in Wales too.
Afterwards the weather actually started improving, and we had some great time exploring pretty Welsh places, including the little bit they cut out of the national park, which I wanted to see and it’s actually not as bad as it sounds. We had late lunch in a super old cottage cafe in Aberdaron, and even went to the beach for a bit. By then the sun was already almost blasting. Iest did’t tell me it was on the peninsula though.
Saturday, April 4
On Saturday morning the weather was already great, so we decided to get back on track with our hiking. We decided to do the Moel Hebog ridge, not from Beddgelert but from Cwm Pennant. It was a good choice because Cwm Pennant is very pretty and we also got to pet a cute little day-old one bach, courtesy of a local farm boy. Afterwards we were all ready and ran up via an old quarry to the first peak of the ridge, Moel Lefn (638m). By then the sun was blasting on full force and we had awesome views toward our fav Yr Aran and Snowdon.
Up Moel Lefn
Views from Moel Lefn
From Moel Lefn we followed the ridge over to Moel yr Ogof (655m) and Moel Hebog (782m). Later on Iest remembered that he should have some sunscreen on, so he slapped a bit of my usual sparkly one but too late anyway, and he acquired his first burn of the season. Up on Moel Hebog peak it was a bit windy, so we sat just under the top with our delicious lunch enjoying the views towards Porthmadog and the sea. Since we had plenty time we also did a bit of sketching from that spot before heading back to Cwm Pennant through path down below the ridge. Altogether a beautiful day.
Moel Ogof ridge
Moel Hebog peak
Moel Hebog sketching
Sunday, April 5
Another great day, Iest is burned but that did not stop us from selecting the Nantlle ridge for our day hike as we had not been on that one for years, literally, and it’s a pity because it’s one of the best. Early in the morning (early for us anyway), Iestyn’s dad gave us a lift to Nebo from which we started our trip. The clouds were laying low, sort of lazily snaking and rolling through the valley but we knew the sun was awaiting us just a little hike up the hill. We started our ascent from the lake Llyn Cwm Dulyn and by the time we made it up Mynydd Graig Goch (610m) we were down to the t-shirts. Happily merrily above the clouds we hopped over (yeah there was this almost vertical bit which we thoroughly enjoyed in the blasting sun) to Craig Cwm Silyn (734m).
Llyn Cwm Dulyn
Mynydd Graig Goch – Iest bottom left
Craig Cwm Silyn
From there it was already the usual deal – Mynydd Tal-y-Mignedd (653m) with the obelisk on top, and Trum y Ddysgl (709m), Mynydd Drws-y-Coed (695m) and Y Garn (633m). Then just down to Rhyd Ddu, where we were being picked up again, to make it to the Easter dinner. We were really quite tired from the day, may be not so much from the hike but more so from the day of sun, to which we are not used after the long and dark winter. It was all really nice though.
Looking toward the obelisk
Monday, April 6
On Monday we still had a good half day for some family visits and a short stop at Dinas Dinlle, before heading down to the train station. For this trip we did not have any reservations (we had open tickets), we expected the trains to be packed again, and we also knew that due to Euston being under construction, we had to take the long connection via Birmingham. The trip was truly awful, from B’ham onwards we were lucky to be sitting on a half-cheek in the corridor with no oxygen again. Many people in the later stations just plainly did not get on the train. It is really quite strange how the British people insist on the rail services being private in the face of absolutely massive market failures every single time one needs to make a train journey. It is quite obvious that even an incompetent, corrupted, lazy and drunk bureaucrat would central-plan the whole system better than it is run now. Nevertheless, we managed to get safely to Marleybone and then home, super tired but really happy with our Easter weekend.