Monday, 27 October 2014

Birthday trip to Llanberis

Last week S & I celebrated our birthdays, so as usual we booked the week off work and then I looked to find the least rainy place in the country that I could, which seemed to be North Wales. So we booked in at the YHA in Llanberis.

On my birthday we did a lovely little bike ride. Just 17 miles but with about 2700ft of climbing. Part of the cycle path around Llyn Padarn was closed, so we ventured off the main road and onto the tops to do a circuit of the valley. The only traffic we came across up on the narrow lanes was a postie doing his rounds. Alas there was no cat on his dashboard.

We stopped off in Llanrug to get extras to add to our packed lunch. The butcher/deli there is really good. Coffee is excellent, loads of choice and had we known we'd have just bought butties there. Well worth a visit. Then we cycled through Penisa'r Waun, which had been our first port of call back in April on our wedding tour. I'd thought at the time that I'd love to explore this area some more and here I was. At Brynrefrail we had a comfort stop at a 'caban' again this would have also made an excellent lunchstop if I'd known about the cafe there. From here we took a long steep climb beyond Fachwen; a guy walking was almost as fast as us (we were stopping to take photos though) and we joked about his Terminator like speed walk. Turned out he went into a house up the hill, so he must walk up here daily perhaps.
On the side of 'Electric Mountain', Eledir is an old slate mine which now has some heritage trail paths around it. They are footpaths, but it was quiet so we enjoyed cycling the area and amazingly didn't pick up any punctures. Phew. It was a fun descent with interesting terrain under our tyres and one of those headwinds that full on stops you despite going down hill!
The afternoon was a bit wetter so we visited the free visitor centre at Electric Mountain which is worth a look at to read about the history of the hydro electric station. Next time I fancy doing the full tour.

The next day was Stephen's 50th and since the winds were a bit lighter, we decided to climb Snowdon. We took the sherpa bus to Pen y Pas and then walked and scrambled on the Miner's Track. I was glad that the thick clouds meant you couldn't see down, my last view of the lakes beneath us made me feel very mortal on the narrow rocky path. I was also glad to be ascending this way- I think I'd have cried all the way down if I had to descend this track. There was an immense number of people up here to say it was a poor weather mid-week day out of school holidays.
It was incredibly blustery at the top. I loved that the cafe had a great mix of walkers and train riders to the summit. You could tell those who had climbed from those who had walked off the rack & pin train in their finest pristine walking gear.

There was an abandoned dog in the cafe who was trying to beg food off just about anyone. Stephen wouldn't let me take it with us.
The long descent down the Llanberis path made me pine for my bike as it slowly worked its way to the village. It just kept on going and going. I was glad we hadn't climbed this way up. By the bottom, both our legs were feeling it and we had a brew in a cafe who thankfully let us in before they closed for the day.

Our last day in Wales was a bit easier. We visited Portmeirion, the private village where they filmed The Prisoner. It was certainly an interesting little place. We cycled from the car the last mile down the lane and had a nice time pottering about, slowly because our legs were both super stiff from the day before. I enjoyed the gelato that they sell and Stephen enjoyed nosing around the shops there.

We wandered onto the beech and weren't chased by any giant balloons, so we managed to get home and our only issue escaping was the horrendous motorway traffic that meant a 6 hour drive home!!

So 5 months pregnant and still cycling and walking the hills with no problems. The only issue at the moment is agreeing on any names.