Posts tagged 'Bethesda'

North Wales 2013 – Monday – Zip it, Shrimpy!

So, what do you arrange for a thrill-seeking girl's 18th-birthday treat? That's an easy one... you dress her up in red overalls, stick her in a harness and chuck her off the side of a mountain :mrgreen:

The venue for the day was Zip World near Bethesda. Here's the web-page blurb:

"Zip World has the longest zip line in Europe and is NOW OPEN at Penrhyn Quarry, Bethesda – “The Nearest Thing to Flying”!!

The Zip World site contains two specially constructed and spectacular zip lines, the first will take you down to the bottom of the quarry where you will pick up your specialised vehicle for a magnificent quarry tour, before zip lining back for a mile to the start.

You will be reaching speeds of up to 100 mph and you will be travelling 500ft above the mountain lake so be ready for a ride of a lifetime!"

Me and Chris took the quarry tour and stayed away from anything dangerous, Anna did the tour and the Little Zipper, Ella got the full works. I'll let the pics and captions tell the story. Don't forget to max the volume when playing the movie.


Folk on the Little Zipper


Little Zipper end-zone




Suited and booted


Waiting for the safety lecture


Concentrating hard on not looking nervous


Up at the Little Zipper end-zone we could see the Big Zipper launch area


Zooming in on the Big Zipper launch area


The RAF provided a fly-by


Ella and Anna wired-up at the Little Zipper launch-pad


On the move


Approaching the fastest bit


Ella approaching the bungee-brake


Anna hitting the bungee-brake


Just hanging around


Happy Ella


Happy Anna


So alike and yet so different

Ella looking apprehensive up at the Big Zipper launch area


Still trying to keep it together


The launch pad. The end-zone is the light patch on the spoil-mound the other side of the quarry.


Penrhyn Quarry from the Big Zipper launch area


Busy at the top - a Beeb crew were there filming Davina Wave of CBBC's DNN fame


Anna playing it cool.
Every time I see this pic it reminds me of this.


Click here to see the video in fullscreen HD on Vimeo


After the truck-ride back down to meet Ella the omnivores in our party filled up with excellent cholesterol-burgers from the van down at the site office. Sadly, the party's veggie had to go without.

Verdict: Top day out. Highly recommended. Great burger-van.

North Wales 2013 – Friday/Saturday – The day we went to Bangor

Posted by on July 22nd 2013 in Great Escapes, Summer Holidays

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

 Dôl-gam campsite

 Between a rock and a hard place?

Standing stone

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


Pont Britannia

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:

Carneddau evening

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  😎

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