Dolwyddelan Castle

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Dolwyddelan Castle

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.

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Mary Jones’s Bible

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Mary Jones's Bible

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.

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Cymer Abbey

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Cymer Abbey

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.

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Snowdonia for pre-teens

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Magic Lantern

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.

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Snowdonia with Teenagers

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Magic Lantern

If men are from Mars and women are from Venus, then teenagers are from one of those exoplanets orbiting some distant star. We’ve all been there but most of us have long forgotten those angst filled years which is a bit of a problem if you’re planning a family holiday with one or more in tow. A remote cottage may tick all your boxes for that relaxing break but is likely to be beyond the pale for your average teenager.

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The Yarn Bombers of Llwyngwril

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Magic Lantern

If you have young children in tow, and have a couple of hours to spare, why not take a trip to Llwyngwril (LL37 2) to check-out what the yarn bombers have crocheted-up this year. What you will find is a trail littered with all manner of knitted creations including Gwril the Giant (the River Gwril runs through Llwyngwril), dragons & mermaids. Pick-up a map from Riverside Stores (£1) and see how many you can track down.

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Barmouth’s Heritage Trail – Part 1

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Barmouth

When you think of Barmouth, what images spring to mind? Whatever your age there’s a good chance that they’ll include donkey rides, deckchairs, candy floss, wind brakes, sandcastles, crabbing, ice-cream and the dodgems. When we visited in August Barmouth had all that together with yapping dogs, running kids, stressed mums and dive-bombing seagulls.
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