April 7

North Wales


North Wales, home to Snowdonia but so much more besides.  There is an abundance of things to see and do, crammed into this other country just twenty minutes west of Chester; you will feel like you have gone abroad but without the hassle at the airport.

North Wales Bed & Breakfasts and Holiday Cottages

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Some describe North Wales as Welsh Wales and North Wales is fiercely proud of its heritage and traditions.  The stunning coastline of the Llyn Peninsula is hard to beat and you could spend a few weeks just exploring this area on its own.

But then Snowdonia is a real lure and the National Park really does cater for everyone from the enthusiastic mountain biker to those who just want a gentle stroll.  Portmeirion will increase your sense of being abroad as this is an Italianate fantasy village of sixties television fame, so unusual and unique, a real juxtaposition with its surroundings and well worth a visit with two lovely hotels for refreshments.

Remote and atmospheric, yet with plenty to do if you want it, North Wales caters for every mood and every visitor with a range of accommodation in some of the most spectacular scenery to be found anywhere in the UK.

People have been quarrying slate from the mountains of Snowdonia for at least two millennia. For much passing through the old slate yards and alongside of that time it was the work of a small number of the giant heaps of spoil from the quarry (for every independent quarrymen. They cut, dressed, packed and sold the slate on, paying a small royalty to the owners of the land where they worked. Landowners were slow to take an interest in the potential value quarrying and transportation were developed.

The of what lay beneath their estates but that all changed Welsh slate industry grew and grew, reaching peak when Richard Pennant, a Liverpool merchant whose production of almost half a million tons in 1898 and own wealth derived from sugar and slavery in the employing 17,000 men. Wales roofed the world.

Caribbean, married into Snowdonia gentry and decided to run the slate quarry on his land as a commercial business.
This ride begins at Port Penrhyn, the harbour but employs only around 200 people. There are now built by the Pennant family to export slate from
the Penrhyn quarry fic-free Lôn Las Ogwen is a cycling and walking huge embankments of spoil to take a look through path along a pair of old railway lines built to carry the wire fence at the giant hole, now an eerie lake the slate to port.

It’s a well-surfaced, smooth of turquoise water path that begins in a wooded nature reserve and Soon passes under an imposing red brick viaduct
that bears the mainline railway between London and Bangor.  A little further on, just after passing underneath the A55, the route crosses the Glas-
infryn viaduct, offering fine views over the surrounding countryside.

There is a short on-road section on the B4409 between the village of Tregarth and Bethesda until the Lôn Las Ogwen goes off-road once again,
ton of usable slate there were between nine and 30 tons of spoil). By the mid-19th century, demand was booming and new, more efficient methods of
At that time the Penrhyn quarry was the largest slate quarry on earth and remained so into the 1950s. The quarry is still the biggest in Britain direct views into the quarry from the cycle path the valley. The traf- but it’s easy enough to scramble up one of the further up.

Just as deep as the pit left on the mountainside are the scars left on the local community by the great strike of 1900-03, the longest labour dispute
in British history. Tensions had been building over many years and finally spilled over when trade unions were banned from the quarry. Nearly 3,000
workers walked out in protest and Lord Penrhyn responded by locking them out indefinitely.

English-speaking Penrhyn against the poorly Holyhead (and onwards to Dublin), in the 1950s and paid, Nonconformist, Welsh-speaking quarrymen.
Anyone who broke the strike – and their family was labelled a traitor and the social divisions the one-day road race in Europe strike caused are still felt to this day. In the end, Penrhyn’s enormous wealth meant he could hold out longer than the impoverished quarrymen.

Many men had already left the area to find work elsewhere and the quarry never fully recovered.
The saga ranks among the key formative events in the emergence of working class politics in Wales.
Leaving the huge piles of slate behind, the ride now begins a sensationally scenic section on a five-star lost lane up the Nant Ffrancon valley interesting. Just before Tregarth, the route turns towards the mighty rock faces of the Glyderau range. right across the river and over the A5 towards
For much of the 1940s the artist John Piper lived in the valley and the powerful landscapes inspired some of his best paintings.

On the far side of the valley, Penrhyn Castle and the sea, eventually rejoining hewn into the rock, is the A5 and this carries almost all of the traffic through the valley. Built by Thomas Telford as part of the strategic route from London to 1960s it was used for the London-Holyhead professional bike race, at 275 miles the longest unpaced This part of Snowdonia is the cradle of British mountaineering and, up at the Nant Ffrancon pass, Ogwen Cottage has been a base for generations of climbers, while Tryfan is one of the few British peaks that demands a bit of scrambling to get to the top.

This is a there-and-back route but it’s so spectacular that it’s worth riding twice, and there is a little detour on the return leg to keep things
Rachub. From the cemetery an enchanted lost lane guarded by stout oak trees rolls down towards the Lôn Las Ogwen on the outskirts of Bangor.



North, Wales

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