Monday, April 17, 2017

The Great British Road Trip- Northern Wales

Some of my ancestors come from Wales- Maxeys, Joneses, and Evans. We made just a brief pass through southern Wales to see Tintern Abbey, but now was time to do some hiking in Snowdonia in northern Wales and connect with the ancestral home.

Our first stop this day was Conwy Castle.

This was a military fortress built by Edward I in the late 1200s as he tried to subdue the Welsh.  It was a great ruin to climb around and see the village and countryside beyond.

Castles are just fun.

Even for big kids.

In the village of Conwy, we found Amelie's Cafe and Restaurant.  She loved it!  But we opted for a traditional fish and chips joint instead. (My potato, onion, and cheese pie was so good.)

We then drove into Snowdonia and stopped in Betws-y-Coed to look for a nice walk or two.  We set out in search of one on our map, and didn't find it.  But we did find this pedestrian bridge and decided to explore.

It let us into a lane along a sheep pasture where we visited with the new Spring lambs.

On our way back into town, we passed through the train station and they had this little train track ride.  Amelie and Jake took a spin on it with Jakey driving.  (There was just a forward/reverse lever.)

After our little walk we drove toward Swallow Falls, but stopped at the Ugly House.  Apparently,
Tŷ unnos (One night house), is an old Welsh tradition that if a person could build a house in one night, then it belonged to them as a freehold.  No one knows for sure if that is how this house came to be, but it is a fun story and impressive if it was actually built overnight.  Personally, I thought it was really lovely with all of the natural rock shapes bulging out.)

Just down the road was a short hike to Swallow Falls.  There was a turnstile and a charge of GBP 1.50 to go in, but no person there or way to get change. We scrounged together enough change for Rob and I and had the kids crawl under the turnstile.  Kids are usually free at tourist sites anyway, right? This is Rob and I at the upper part of the falls.

And here is a shot of the lower part of the falls.

Finally we drove deep into Snowdonia National Park to our airbnb apartment, let the kids watch a movie, and went to bed. The house itself was pretty interesting- an old row house with a raw slate wall on one side and a slate roof.

In the morning we headed around the corner to the trailhead for Rhaeadr Cynfal Falls.  Notice the slate fence?  We quickly realized anything that could possibly be made of slate in northern Wales, was made of slate.

The trail led us through a farmer's sheep pasture.  (Watch your step.)
I love the public footpaths and rights of way in Great Britain and Ireland! 

Eventually we came to the Afon Dwyryd.

And the beautifully secluded falls.

Some of our kids are better hikers than others.  Well, actually, all of them are pretty good about it, but Amelie. 

Snowdonia was beautifully rugged, and Rob would have liked to hike to the summit of Mount Snowdon, but we had to get back on the road and head for the Lake District.

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