Saturday, 28 May 2011

On The Lake – Café Trawsfynydd

A new café has opened on the shores of Llyn Trawsfynydd, the largest lake in Wales by land area. There are fantastic views of the lake, mountains beyond and nearby the massive buildings that house the nuclear reactors which stopped generating in 1991.

There’s nothing small and cosy about the café which is built on a similar scale to the reactor buildings. Tall windows run the entire length of the south and west faces making it light and perfect for gazing at the landscape. A sunny day was impressive but I think I may prefer the drama of an inbound storm, sweeping in over the Rhinogydd.

It’s good to see the old ‘Trawsfynydd Sports & Social Club’ get a new lease of life providing a welcome oasis for walkers, bird watchers, anglers and anyone who just wants a cuppa. The Bangers and Mash were great! Keep going and good luck.

Opening hours? Definitely from some time in the morning until some time in the afternoon. Phone number 01766 540400.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Y Pengwern Opens!

51 days after getting the keys this once run down pub is up and running; fuelled by the community and a core of committed volunteers.

This occasion was a test run to which shareholders and helpers were invited to check out the facilities and enjoy free beer. So much has been achieved in such a short time with the minimum of outside help, it’s a great community success.

Volunteer staff wore black shirts with the Pengwern logo. Service was efficient and with a smile.

In the cellar were many barrels including casks of real ale from the Purple Moose Brewery. The half drunk cask of Glaslyn was slowly tipped forward, by a spring lifting the rear end as the weight decreased; in this way, without disturbing sediments, you get 71 saleable pints out of a 72 pint cask.

All being well the public opening will be early June.

A visit to The Coach House in The Vale of Ffestiniog

We came, we saw, we conquered,
At least, that was the plan,
To come and climb a mountain,
All talk of work was banned.

We nearly didn't get here,
Our family of three,
Jo`s navigating skills were questioned,
Well, questionable actually!

Our haven was The Coach House,
Of heaven a little piece,
Amongst the trees, the streams, the hills,
We found soul quenching peace.

We visited the willow wolf,
Howling to the skies,
Watched the looping train,
Listened to birds cries.

Bess, the dog, was in heaven,
The day we chose to climb,
The highest peak in Wales,
And had a whale of a time!

Our adventures continued,
Aboard a 6 man raft,
Crashing through white water,
An adrenalin-full laugh!

We explored pretty Portmeirion,
Harlech beach & Harlech town,
Not one thing about our holiday,
Made us want to frown.

Big thanks to Ray & Marie,
Your beautiful cottage made our stay,
Perfect in every single way,
We hope that we`ll be back some day."

Chris, Jo & Bess - Chichester - Apr 2011

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Forget Galapagos, come to Ffestiniog!

As well as steam trains the Vale of Ffestiniog offers spectacular wildlife and nature. Sea trout and salmon on the Afon Dwyryd and if you’re lucky you might see an otter. 

On either side of the valley Atlantic oakwoods or Celtic rainforest, more scarce than tropical rainforests and every bit as special with magnificent lichens, liverworts and slime molds. Redstarts and pied flycatchers arrived a few weeks ago. Right now the woods are blooming with bluebells and wild goats stepping carefully so as not to squash them.

Abandoned slate mines make perfect roosts for many species of bat such as the ‘lesser horseshoes’. ICI's explosives factory, Gwaith Powdwr, in which 17 million grenades were made is now a nature reserve where later this month you can hear the nightjars. Llechwedd Slate Caverns has nesting choughs.

We might have pine martens but are struggling to prove it. Ospreys returned to the area in 2004 and this year’s chicks recently hatched. Up in the mountains ravens and buzzards patrol the skies with the occasional red kite. Moths galore, last summer a holiday maker recorded 180 different species during his weeklong stay. Along the coast you might see bottlenose dolphins, porpoise, grey seals or maybe even a leatherback turtle – some years ago a turtle the size of a mini was washed up on Harlech beach and now sits in the National Museum of Wales.

Woodpeckers in early June with their nests precision drilled into the oaks.

Forget Galapagos, come to Ffestiniog! This is home to Ivor the Engine and Idris the dragon. What's more we've got a live wolf!

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Y Pengwern in Hotel magazine

Y Pengwern in the news again in this month's edition of the trade magazine Hotel. Must be opening time soon!