Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Walking and trampolines

19-20 August 2017
Team: Toby Dryden, Duncan Hornby, Barbara Lane and Claire Vivian

A super fast journey up to North Wales by Toby, Barbara and Claire directly contrasted with the 6 hour epic drive had by Duncan. Nevertheless, we were all together to enjoy food and a pint on Friday evening. We stayed at the Vagabond Bunkhouse in Betws y Coed, which was convenientley situated for what we wanted to do, though not the best bunkhouse we have found in Betws. 

The forecast had promised a dry and partially cloudy day. So when the curtains were opened revealing a black sky and steady rain, it was a disappointment. It was rumoured to be clearing up later in the day, so we all continued with our plans for the day. Barbara went to explore Swallow Falls, Claire and Duncan went up Glyder Fawr and Fach and Toby visited local friends.  

I had wanted to go up the North Ridge of Tryfan and then on to Glyder Fach and Fawr and down Devil's Kitchen. However, when we reached the carpark on the shore of Llyn Ogwen an incredibly heavy downpour started. We decided to sit it out and were sitting in the car unhappily watching the mountains we wanted to climb disappear under clouds when the wind rose and began to rock the car. Not the best weather to start a walk. Around 20 minutes later it had at least stopped raining, so we decided to go for it. But not fancying climbing Tryfan North Ridge in the wind and wet, we headed for Llyn Idwal and Glyder Fawr. What a great choice! And what luck - it turned out that it was the last really heavy rain of the day. 
Stunning scenery at the start of the walk
The peaks just coming out from beneath the clouds

The walk around Llyn Idwal was made brisker by some drizzle, but it was still a pretty place and there were plenty of other walkers heading at least as far as the lake. It was the other side that the ascent began. Devil's Kitchen looked steep as we approached it and this was confirmed when we started walking up it! But we didn't take too long on this section and were soon up the steepest section, looking at the scree slope leading to the summit of Glyder Fawr (1001m; the carpark had been around 300m). It was very windy here and sitting on the summit for lunch, it didn't take long to get pretty cold.
Just before Devil's Kitchen
Claire at Devil's Kitchen
Looking down on Llyn Idwal and Llyn Ogwen from Devil's Kitchen
Duncan on the summit of Glyder Fawr
The walk across the ridge was excellent, but very windy. We walked around the spectacularly sculpted Castell Y Gwynt and then came upon the Cantilever. This just cried out to be stood on (even though it was really windy and it felt like you were about to get blown off!).
Duncan and Claire on the Cantilever
Duncan with Tryfan in the distance
Heading down via the steep scree slope around Bwlch Tryfan down towards Llyn Bochlwyd was fun and we were still amazed that after all this time it still hadn't rained. We had a well deserved coffee at the cafe near the start of the route and then headed back to the others and dinner out at a crazily busy Y Stablau in Betws. Total walk time: 5.5 hours

Betws y Coed and Swallow Falls

Whilst Claire and Duncan went off to climb the Glyders and Toby met up with friends, I wanted to do the walks around Betws Y Coed. I’ve know this place all my life and have lots of happy holiday memories here growing up. This small village is bursting with tourists every day, rain or shine. They come by the bus load to take in the beauty of the place.

The walk starts at St Michaels church. The church was built in the 14th century and is the oldest building in the village. Bede (prayer) house in the woods – in Welsh, Betws Y Coed, which the village was named after.
This beautiful little church has been restored and is looked after by the Friends of St Michaels group.

The Sappers Suspension Bridge across the River Conwy near St. Michael’s Church dates from 1930. It replaced an earlier bridge from 1917.

The walk continues around the golf course and passes the point where the Afon Llugwy flows into the Conwy. The path eventually leads to the main road in the village near the railway station. I turned right and followed the main road to Pont Y Pair Bridge.
The Artist’s wood walk starts next to the falls under Pont y Pair bridge. The river side path heads upstream of the Afon Llugwy, towards Miners Bridge. This is a mix of woodland and open grassy areas with grazing sheep.
Pont Y Pair falls

Miners' Bridge
At Miners Bridge, I crossed the bridge and follow the river upstream to the Swallow Falls.
The path to Swallow Falls is a bit rough in places. A couple of fallen trees and some really muddy areas. After rain the night before and early morning, Swallow Falls was very lively when I arrived with a large amount of spray

Swallow Falls

I walked back to our bunkhouse in Betws Y Coed via the main road.
The walk was approximately 8.5 miles in total.


Underground trampolines at Bounce Below!! Jumping on giant trampolines and slithering down slides in a slate mine for an hour. What's not to like there? It was good fun, although we were absolutely shattered after the first 15 minutes and were dead beat by the end of the hour. All the 10 year olds were still going strong.

Bounce Below in Llechwedd Slate Caverns, Blaenau Festiniog


  1. Loooooooooove north Wales. Excellent pic's and blog as always 😀.brings back memories of a truly amazing place

  2. The Llechwedd Slate Caverns are officially a "gold mine" now, what with the many tourists bouncing an zipping! ;)

  3. When we booked Bounce Below, I thought we would be in the minority as adults. It was the other way around. It was great fun but I won't be eating breakfast before going in next time! It really was a good weekend with great company 😀