Saturday, 27 June 2015

Snowdonia, Breathtaking and Unique

Snowdonia in June - Maria A Smith
I've decided I love wide open spaces. Snowdonia National Park fits the bill nicely at 838 square miles, with nine mountain ranges to explore as well as river gorges, valleys and waterfalls there is enough to keep everyone happy who appreciates the outdoors.

Yesterday, it rained mercilessly, and at midday we decided that we'd head  out regardless, and take a drive through the mountains, the aim to visit a National Trust castle some distance away. I was sure we were going to be in for a dark dull day. Turned out I was very wrong.

Admittedly, charcoal grey skies dominated, you couldn't see the mountains clearly for the mist and then there was the heavy driving rain, but forty five minutes into our journey it subsided a little and we began to see the beginnings of a  transformation. Clouds that hung low began to move, shifting with great speed, and light flooded into the valleys. It was still raining in earnest but there was plenty to see now.

We were both hungry having had no lunch before setting out across the mountains, so when we happened across the village of Beddgelert along the way we stopped. Parking along the roadside, donning our waterproofs, we walked back along the narrow footpath and into a charming traditional cafe called Hebog Cafe and Bistro, and immediately  upon entering I knew we were going to enjoy the food!

Hebog Cafe & Bistro  - Beddgelert - Maria A Smith

The menu is a joy! And has to be studied. I'd glanced around at other diners, and liked what I saw. Should I order the Lobster and Crab Burger, with Calamari Rings and Sweet Potato Fries? Or perhaps the Welsh Braised Steak with a Rich Gravy over Mashed Potato, and a side of Seasonal Vegetables. Decisions, decisions, and then I spotted  Minted Welsh Lamb, with Caramelised Baby Onions and Homemade Riata Ciabatta. I thought, I'm in Wales, for goodness sake, it has to be lamb!

It was delicious, came with hand cut chips and a lovely fresh salad, all served on a plate sized wooden tray, with deep sides and a very amusing 'newspaper' serviette beneath the food. The chips were served in a mini deep fat fryer basket. It made me smile.

The cafe is set in a picturesque spot in the heart of Snowdonia, and from what I could see they were doing very well. They also have a lovely river terrace across the road, which would be a delight on a balmy summer evening. If you're ever nearby, I'd recommend you stop and rest awhile, and definitely sample some of their delicious food.

Remarkably, by the time we were ready to leave, the skies had cleared, and we were able to take a short stroll and explore.

Shopping in Beddgelert - Maria A Smith

You are spoilt for choice when it comes to afternoon tea, as there are several tea rooms boasting mouth watering homemade cake. I'm almost sorry I can't stay now.

Beddgelart - Maria A Smith

The clouds were moving quickly, and at last the mountains came into view.

House in Beddgelart - Maria A Smith
People are very proud of their properties here, and so they should be.

View From The Bridge - Beddgelart - Maria A Smith
This is a beautiful village, and one we would not have necessarily discovered, had it not been raining, and we were hungry. It is a charming place to visit.

Time was getting on, and we still had a way to go to reach the castle hubby had seen in the National Trust directory. We got back on the road with every intention of getting there. However, once into the mountains, travelling through stunning scenery, we found it impossible not to stop and take some pictures.

Snowdonia National Park - Maria A Smith

Surprisingly, there were many designated places where we could pull over and admire the view.

Snowdonia  - Maria A Smith

I couldn't get over the contrast in light, and how when the clouds cleared, the changes on the landscape were spectacular.

Walking in Snowdonia - Maria A Smith
At times the clouds were so low it felt like you could reach up and touch them.

Did we reach the castle? I'll reveal all tomorrow.


  1. Glad you're having a good time despite the weather, Maria.

    1. Yes, good so far, but fear I will have to go on a diet when I come back!

  2. Beautiful! I've been through that part of Snowdonia, but somehow missed the town of Beddgelart. Next time! :)

    1. You missed a treat, do go if you are back that way ever.

  3. Beautiful shots of beautiful places. Kudos

  4. Lovely photos, Maria. I love north Wales and we've been through all the little villages a few times as my sis-in-law lives in Bangor. Enjoy the rest of your visit!

    1. Thank you Rosemary, I think we'll be back... :-)

  5. Beautiful, Maria - I think sometimes a bit of weather can add to the experience and it certainly did in your case :-) xx

    1. Yes, Teresa, I remember being told by a photography teacher that you don't want bright sunshine to take good shots...and that weddings in full sun can be a nightmare. I expect a nice Spring day is probably best for taking landscapes, or Autumn maybe...

  6. We've visited Snowdonia many times. It never fails to please. Enjoy.

  7. Didn't you walk out to see the resting place of Gelert, the faithful hound?

    1. No...Julia, I only found out about him when I did a little research before writing this post. A sad story...


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