Given the task of finding a place to stay in Snowdonia looked like it was going to be a bit of an ordeal. The remit was: cottage, quiet, remote yet close to sufficient activities to keep the kids happy, close to some interesting mountain walks, within a couple of hours' drive of a beach, and fairly close to Bangor and Menai Bridge where Chris was a Maths undergrad.
In the end the task was a doddle. Choose a mountain (Moel Siabod), use Google to find a nearby cottage (Siabod Holiday Cottages near Pont Cyfyng), all sorted in ten minutes. I passed the details to Chris and let her do the rest.
Why Moel Siabod? Well, it's the best mountain in Wales, bar none. And I know it fairly well - I spent over eight weeks mapping it in the minutest detail for my B.Sc. Geology thesis.
Why Siabod Holiday Cottages? Apart from the fact that the price was right, it looked like the place had everything we'd ever need. Oh, and at about 850ft we'd have a significant altitude-advantage over the valley-starters when we got go up the mountain. We chose Ty Llewelyn, the middle one of three in a row that was derelict the last time I walked past. The recent restoration and renovation of these cottages has been done to a very high standard and the facilities and welcome were second to none. I'd recommend the cottages to anyone, the place is exceptional.
Rather than sit in a roasting car jammed in with all of the other holiday traffic on the A5 on Saturday, we chose to book an extra night and execute our getaway plan straight after school-time on Friday. It turned out to be a good idea, the traffic was light and driving in the evening was much better than braving the midday weekend sun. We were greeted by the owners on arrival, and soon we were installed after making inroads into the welcome-pack (tea, coffee, chocolate, Bara Brith, Welsh Cakes, cookies, shortcakes, sweets...) We had a chill-out night with much moderately-loud music, taking advantage of the fact that the other two cottages were unoccupied that night.
Saturday was hot and clear from the start. The others had a lie-in, I went outside for a mooch around the grounds and a play with the camera:
360+ pano: cottage-to-cottage via Carneddau and Llugwy
The same view in a temperamental scrolly-thing
The track to Moel Siabod
Hawthorn and Foxgloves
A lonely cloud over Carnedd Llewelyn
Between a rock and a hard place?
The cottages use renewable energy technology (but NOT wind-power!) Heat for underfloor heating, radiators and all of the hot water is generated by Air to Water Heat Pumps. I soon learned that standing in front of the units' exhaust fans was a good thing - the strong flow of heat-depleted air was better than any air-con unit.
When the others surfaced we decided to have a drive out to get some supplies. We headed off up the A5, stopping briefly to take in the views:
Tryfan. I told the kids that we would be going up the clearly-visible Heather Terrace. They weren't amused.
We pushed on through Bethesda and Bangor and over the Straits to Menai Bridge. After parking up we went for a snack followed by a stroll to Church Island's St. Tysilio's Church where Luke was christened:
St. Tysilio's Church
Up on the hill is the war-memorial from where there are fine views of the bridges and The Swellies:
Menai Suspension Bridge
Strong current in The Swellies
After doing a supermarket-sweep in Bangor we got back to the cottage just before sundown. After the evening meal it was camera-time again:
Moon and Moel Siabod
After that we retired in good cheer, mainly due to the lashings of cider that we'd brought back from Bangor 😎