Monday, 27 October 2008

A Postcard from Wales


A street in Portmeirion
Photo: Karen Rivron


We've just spent the last ten days in North Wales. I managed to pop into Porthmadog Library mid-week, hence the previous post. We've been staying in Borth y Gest, a village close to Porthmadog. It's only up the road from the highest mountains in Snowdonia and there are all sorts of less energetic places to go to nearby. Portmeirion, with its eccentric architecture: walking round the place is like stepping into a surrealist painting. Then there's the Ffestiniog Railway - we both have a weakness for (though not an obsession with) steam railways.

On Saturday we went to Beddgelert, a village at the foot of the Snowdon massif. It was the day of the Snowdon Marathon, so we stood and watched it. It was pouring with rain so, after a while, we retreated into a roadside coffee shop where we could sit in the warm, drink coffee and eat bara brith while watching the race at the same time. Some of the passing runners looked rather envious, I thought. I certainly envied them. The race takes an awesome route: starting in Llanberis, it ascends to the top of the Llanberis Pass. It then descends to Beddgelert before returning to Llanberis via Rhyd Ddu and a rough track over the hills.

7 comments:

Poet in Residence said...

Dai! my roots are deep in Rhyd Dddu! When I went up there last they were constructing a railway line. A weatherbeaten local sporting a flat cap stained with sheep droppings was rolling a cigarette and observing the work in progress. The machine was fetching lengths of track. "What a bloody waste of money. Who's going to come here to stand in the rain?" to the workmen and to no-one in particular...

The Weaver of Grass said...

Love the postcard. Think the retreat to a coffee shop was a sensible one.

Dominic Rivron said...

Thanks for the comments. They are still building the railway - they hope to have it running next year. Rhyd Ddu to Caernarvon (the bit that exists)costs an arm and a leg, so who knows what it'll cost when it runs from Portmadog to Caernarvon. Funnily enough, they were running a train from Portmadog to Beddgelert for the first time in recent history the day of the marathon.

The retreat was sensible and pleasurable.

Poet in Residence said...

I once ran in the Snowdonia International Mountain Race which starts in Llanberis and basically follows the railway up and the down Yr Wyddfa. About halfway, coming down, I was limping slowly due to a blister. The Irish(!) team doctor spotted me; and with his first aid kit he got me going again! It was a lovely sunny day and the sheep were sleeping on the benches in the main street. The running circus had taken over their field.

Frances said...

I walked up the miner's track one. The concept of running up is an entirely alien one to me. Are these people all in the SAS?

Singing Bear said...

As a former resident of North Wales, this brings back good memories. I'm particularly fond of Beddgelert. Beautiful area.

Dominic Rivron said...

Frances: Generally not. It's fun! It combines the "high" you get from running with fantastic scenery. Suprisingly, many runners reckon fell running is generally easier than marathon running.

Singing Bear: It is, isn't it? I go there a lot and have seriously considered emigrating.