If you head off towards Aberdyfi on the coastal path you will come across a collection of painted pebbles just after you’ve passed the last caravan on the Glan-y-Don Holiday Home Park. Some of these pebbles act as memorials to friends and family; others, mark a visit to Tywyn and the surrounding area.
In its Victorian heyday, Barmouth’s Panorama Walk was a must do to the extent that there was a tea room and an admission charge. Those days are long gone and your average visitor is unlikely to be aware that there is a walk never mind be able to summon up the reserves of energy required to attempt the climb. However, with the advent of modern technology, i.e. the car, you can whittle the walk down to manageable proportions by cutting out the trudge of the road walk.
Craig yr Aderyn (Bird Rock) is a rocky outcrop given its name by the nesting cormorants and choughs that make it their home. Typically, cormorants nest near the sea and not 6-miles’ from it! This answer to this riddle is that the Irish Sea, 400-500 years ago, inundated the valley and lapped at the foot of Craig yr Aderyn before it started its inexorable retreat back to Cardigan Bay. The cormorants, being creatures of habit, mortgaged to the hilt, and hit by the late medieval property slump, saw no reason to relocate.
The Torrent Walk is probably one of the most popular low-level circular walks in Snowdonia and takes you through the striking gorge formed by the river Clywedog. The path was commissioned by Baron Richards of the mansion Plas Caerynwch and built by Thomas Payne and his son. The path is now maintained by the Snowdonia National Park. Being 2-3 Km you can rush the walk in an hour or take your time, as we did, and spend most of the morning.
Dolwyddelan Castle, like Castell y Bere, is unusual in a land dominated by fortresses in that rather than built by the English, it was built by a Welsh prince, Llywelyn ap Iorweth (latterly known as Llywelyn the Great) between 1210 and 1240. Llywelyn dominated North Wales, and large parts of the rest of Wales, for a period of 40 years and declared himself the first Prince of Wales, a title formally recognised by Henry III in 1267 in the Treaty of Montgomery.
This is a story about a young girl that walked 26 miles to buy a book. She wasn’t being sponsored. She didn’t have a TV crew in tow. She wasn’t travelling in a group. She was on her own. She travelled 26 miles along paths she had never walked; through villages and settlements that she had never visited. She didn’t have a map: just a rough set of directions. There is precious little that would persuade me to make a similar effort. And she walked all that way for a book.
Cymer Abbey is now a ruined Cistercian abbey near the village of Llanelltyd, just north of Dolgellau. Founded in 1158-9 by Cistercian monks and dedicated to the Virgin Mary under the patronage of Maredudd ap Cynan ab Owain Gwynedd, Lord of Merioneth.
On the monk spectrum the Cistercians were definitely towards the pious end hardly ever eating or sleeping eschewing the material world believing in simplicity in all things. Their lives revolved around the Liturgy of the Hours with a mass at midnight and then prayers every three hours around the clock. This did not leave a lot of time for farming, fishing or hard labour – the traditional pastimes of the medieval monk. To accommodate this schedule they would employ lay people to manage their farm holdings.
Planning a series of activities for your average pre-teen is a walk in the park compared to planning the same for your average teenager. Whatever you’ve got lined-up for the eldest is sure to suit the youngest (within reason) but you also get to throw-in to the pot a whole smorgasbord of activities that a teenager would turn their nose up at. Give a pre-teen a fishing net, point out the nearest rock pools (north beach is your best bet if Tywyn’s sunken forest hasn’t made an appearance yet) and they’ll be gone for hours. The world famous Talyllyn Railway & Museum is on your doorstep and a trip to Aberdovey gets you to the donkeys for one of those quintessential beach holiday experiences. And don’t forget crabbing from the pier.