Winter was never going to be the most ideal time to explore Snowdonia and we have learnt that it is best to just wear appropriate gear and brave the elements anyway. I guess we just had blind faith that God would look kindly on us as we set off on holiday during the half-term school holidays in February this year. I don’t think God recieved the memo.
February seems to be our family get away time since arriving in the UK although during Covid it wasn’t quite the same for anyone I think. In 2019 we stayed local because I was still training for my OSCE exam, so we explored Folkestone, London, and I took my eldest daughter Lauren to see Wicked in London. In 2020 we were assured it would be safe to still travel as many people didn’t know much about this new virus, so we went to Malta for a week. In 2021 we had no choice but to stay local due to the restrictions in place and to be perfectly honest we were not confident about travelling too far for the risk of either cancellation or contracting covid.
This year we decided to spend our February holidays in Wales, by far one of our most treasured places with so many areas of natural beauty its hard to decide where to go. We have been to Wales so many times and I will share that another time, but this time we really wanted to explore Snowdonia a little and decided to stay in a little village called Barmouth. Barmouth is located in the north west of Wales in county of Gwynedd not far from Cardigan Bay, and is a seaside town of golden sand, waves and beautiful views – you can see why we picked this place to stay. We stayed in accommodation we booked on www.booking.com called Apartment Chic which gave us beautiful views of the ocean, but even better was the proximity to all the most beautiful places in Snowdonia.
Cleverly we managed on the week hailed with “Beast From The East” to spend one of the days exploring the couple of walks that were closest to us and seemed the most appropriate for the weather. Rain and cold didn’t stop us and we started with one I cannot remember the name of (and I had my location switched off my phone), which was opposite a beautiful lake and towering mountains. We climbed as far as was safe for the rain considering the steps were wet and perhaps not as safe as they would have been on a dry day, then enjoyed the views of the opposing mountains complete with scattered waterfalls. This definitely was something worthy of a postcard and certainly somewhere we would like to return.
Cwm Idwal was the main walk we were keen to do and was located a little further along, and boasted a shop and bathrooms with ample parking and picnic areas. The walk was set to be spectacular and the rain wasn’t concerning us. We headed off and came across the most beautiful waterfall running under a small bridge, I could have chilled out there all day. As we continued our walk we could see the train ahead and it seemed to be quite the easy walk, however 10 minutes in we were suddenly pelted with freeqing winds and razor sharp sleet in the buckloads and had to turn back. We stopped at that beautiful waterfall and walked along side it to see over the ridge when I realised that perhaps I had not grown out of my accident-prone nature, and I slid and bent my leg back behind me. Not only did I realise how flexible I was, I also realised it was going to be an interesting drive to our next location in wet muddy clothes. Thankfully I had a bag of Laurens clothes we were sending back to Australia that I could use in the meantime.
We also managed to explore some beautfiul areas driving through the mountains including some river rapids that were being used by kayakers, stunning places for sunsets, roadside waterfalls, and an area that had recieved snow – the views were breathtaking.
Although we didn’t get to do any longer hikes this time, it certainly is somewhere we would like to visit again before we return home to Australia in 2023. We hope before then the impact of Long Covid will also abate allowing me to do longer and higher hikes to enjoy what the UK has to offer.
Cheers From Snowdonia, Tams