Monday, 13 February 2012

Where's The Snow in Snowdonia? (Only in it's name)

We have been back to Wales for a week’s holiday staying in a remote converted chapel belonging to a friend.  It is good to be back for the isolation is complete – no cars, no houses, no roads, no broadband and no television.  Well, there is television but being rather impatient with non-living things (and also quite a number of people that just might fall into that category) I cannot be bothered to work out just which of the several remote controls switch it on.  But best of all – and rather surprisingly considering all the dire warnings we have been given by the weathermen – no snow.


Last winter when we were here, a blizzard struck the day we arrived.  Gradually, as the supply of logs and oil for heating dwindled and the water supply froze resulting in our collecting it from the stream outside, our resolve and sense of fun also started to diminish.  Put it down to advancing years: in my twenties or thirties I would have considered it to be ‘quite a laugh’.  Not so these days – I could cope with the water and lack of central heating but I am not so good when the wood burner isn’t blazing away.  However, we saw Snowdonia last year as few visitors do; a snow covered landscape with more falling so thickly that it was difficult to see, when out walking, where either my partner – or more importantly She-dog – was even though they were just yards ahead of me.


This year it was different, we left home with the (as it turned out, innacurate) knowledge that we were driving into blizzards and we hoped that we would reach our destination before being marooned, despite having to travel over two high passes and up a track steep enough to make a mountain goat think twice before tackling it. This time we came prepared with a vast amount of food and with three times the amount of warm clothing that any two people could wear over an entire winter.  As we reached the town of Shrewsbury the forecast rain began to fall; it would only be a matter of time as we entered Wales and gradually climbed in height that it would change to snow.  The rain grew steadily heavier and the road ever steeper until we reached the first summit and, surprise, there was not a hint of whiteness anywhere.  The second pass, higher still, was similar although the surrounding peaks did have a dusting of snow. We reached our destination with the rain still falling and the temperature ever rising – it was now fifteen degrees warmer than when we had left home in the Cotswolds, further south and many hundreds of feet lower.


The next morning we woke to sunshine, having no guilt about not getting out of bed in darkness at some ridiculously early hour as every other day of our lives.  Looking out of the bedroom window, the surrounding mountains still wore their apology of snow – it was a scene from the end of March or even April.  The calls from concerned Cotswold friends telephoning (we still have one piece of technology that works here) to confirm our safe arrival quickly turned to irritation when they discovered we were fine and they were blanketed in five inches of overnight snowfall.  It was hardly our fault that they had to work twice as hard at looking after our chickens and horses in our absence and, it seems, my suggestion that carrying buckets of unfrozen drinking water out into the fields was a good daily exercise did not help.

Last year She-dog had a thoroughly enjoyable holiday here as well.  Like most dogs, she revels in human company and snow and her days were spent in a mix of snowy walks and long uninterrupted periods of sleep in front of the fire.  This time we are here on our own.  It has been commented on that She-dog has not featured much in recent posts – all that is about to change for she has  gone away on an adventure of her own: if all goes well, in about ten weeks time she will be having puppies once again and, this time, we might just keep one for ourselves.




Add to Technorati Favorites

13 comments:

  1. Hi Johnson...What a wonderful tale ..I loved it..especially the part where you found that back home was irritated ones ..haha!!
    Beautiful place for a get away ..I would like that place!!
    Your photos show how lovely it is!
    Your dog is so cute .. wonder what the puppies will look like!! ; ]
    Thanks for sharing you trip!
    Grace
    PS wanted to tell you that in the photo of the snow right next to the right edge there is a white heart shape...fitting seeing tomorrow is Valentines day!! : }

    ReplyDelete
  2. Snowdonia is a lovely area, I was there in the autumn but have never seen it in snow. Hope all goes well for She-dog, the puppies (her previous litter I presume) are beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  3. What a fabulous place and I just adore the notion of a spot with no cars, no television! Great photos! Looking forward to more puppy photos.

    ReplyDelete
  4. days were spent in a mix of snowy walks and long uninterrupted periods of sleep in front of the fire.

    Sounds idyllic!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Grace - I had never noticed the heart shaped snowflake until you pointed it out. What a coincidence with Valentine's Day!

    Rowan, Bernie & Kath - the place is very beautiful and so silent apart from the sound of the waterfalls - a great place to unwind.

    I can't wait to see if She-dog's puppies will look the same as the last ones - assuming she does have some. No point in counting pups until they are hatched!

    Thanks, as always, for taking time to comment.

    Johnson

    ReplyDelete
  6. Have the surrounding farms been abandoned? Seems a strange history to build a chapel so far away from roads and houses?

    ReplyDelete
  7. The surrounding countryside is littered with derelict & abandoned buildings, Diana, so the population must have been much larger in the past. Apart from farming there was also mining - mostly slate, I think and the mineshafts are also abandoned. (The subject of my next post).

    The mountains, although quite barren, have miles of drystone walling going right up and over their tops which means that there must have been a good labour force to do that as well. They are, I believe, several hundred years old.

    Johnson

    ReplyDelete
  8. Varshaa - I wonder if you will see this message? Thanks for getting in touch - I have at last responded to your email. Glad you are enjoying the blog and sorry you are unable to leave comments. You will have to live in a less remote part of the world!!

    Johnson

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes yes yes - reading this from Brisbane :)

      Delete
  9. Sounds like visiting without the snow is more enjoyable. I've never heard of Snowdonia, looks like a beautiful place.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Well, Catherine, it certainly makes it a lot easier to get around!

    Snowdonia is one of the UK's National Parks. It is in Wales and very mountainous although, we're talking UK here so nowhere as high as the Rockies, say.

    Johnson

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hello Johnson
    I am finally able to leave a comment on your blog that i have been reading regularly. I am in Brisbane and the comments page is working here. Do please upload pictures of She-dog's babies as they arrive.
    best wishes
    Varshaa

    ReplyDelete
  12. Varshaa - I thought it was Dubai you were going to! Glad you picked up the message and, yes, She-dog's pups will feature on the blog in due course - assuming, she is having some: she certainly seems to be eating for two....or seven!

    Johnson

    ReplyDelete