Our fifth day away was bright and full of Sunshine and our first stop was Inigo Jones, a Slate Works. They were founded in 1861 primarily to make school writing Slates but now they make all manner of things with what I believe is one of the very best natural materials in the world. They do a self guided tour and you get to see all the elements and processes of working with Slate. But the very best bit was the Carving Studio where we spent a while having a go at hand carving the pieces of Slate we'd been given. I will confess my piece had a dubious outcome, but it was incredibly fun.
We then followed the Welsh Highland Railway route, stopping off at the phenomenal views of Rhyd Ddu - such a peaceful place complete with quietly waiting train passengers and a man asleep under a Tree.
We continued along to Beddgelert - it's another place that has stolen my heart. It's in a Valley and the views are amazing - completely surrounded by Snow capped Mountains. Breathtaking. The village is beautiful and had a rather popular Ice Cream Parlour - I've never seen so many flavours. We had a wander around the Village, pottered in and out of the shops and went to Tourist Information Office and bought a Learn Welsh CD to listen to in the Car. We then made for the River and took the walk towards Gelerts Grave. According to legend, the stone monument in the field marks the resting place of 'Gelert', the faithful hound of the medieval Welsh Prince Llewelyn the Great. The story, as written on the tombstone reads:
"In the 13th century Llewelyn, prince of North Wales, had a palace at Beddgelert. One day he went hunting without Gelert, "The Faithful Hound", who was unaccountably absent. On Llewelyn's return the truant, stained and smeared with blood, joyfully sprang to meet his master. The prince alarmed hastened to find his son, and saw the infant's cot empty, the bedclothes and floor covered with blood. The frantic father plunged his sword into the hound's side, thinking it had killed his heir. The dog's dying yell was answered by a child's cry. Llewelyn searched and discovered his boy unharmed, but near by lay the body of a mighty wolf which Gelert had slain. The prince filled with remorse is said never to have smiled again. He buried Gelert here".
After a quick lunch we went to the Llechwedd Slate Caverns and got on a little yellow Train complete with hard hats and taken half a mile into the Mine. Our guide told us all about how Slate was mined 150 years ago - I just can't imagine how tough it must have been to work by just candlelight; the noise and sheer danger. We also had a walk around the Village with the Old Quarry Office, The Pub and the Victorian Sweetshop. There were lots of lovely Slate items for sale and we bought three Canape Trays which are absolutely lovely.
It was getting late in the day but still a little early for dinner but it was still light. I love the first few weeks after the clocks go forward as it just seems you have so much more time to do stuff in the evening. We made a stop at Dolwyddelan Castle. It's an absolutely massive Keep and really thick walls - it completely dominates the landscape, so very imposing.
After our walk around the Castle our tummies were starting to rumble so we started to make our way to Betws-y-Coed but spied these and just had to stop to take a photo. I've never seen anything like it.
We had a wander through Betws-y-Coed and eventually chose to eat at The Grill Room. The Boy had a Trio of locally made Sausages; Pork and Apple, Dragon and Lamb and Leek. I am completely fascinated as to what Dragon actually was! I went for the Lamb and it was divine.
We ended up back at the campsite around 9pm and whilst the Boy was boiling water, oh so slowly because it was so cold, I thought it was funny to turn down his sleeping bag and put a Chocolate on his pillow. It was almost like being a fancy hotel just very cold and half way up a Mountain!