The owner of my B&B suggested a good car tour when we were talking about my plans for the day at breakfast time. Plan A had been to climb Snowdon, but the snow (it was the end of April) made that impossible.
From Betwys y Coed the first stop was Capel Curig, to the west along the A5. From the gentle wooded Conwy valley around Betwys y Coed, this leg takes you into more rugged mountain terrain. Capel Curig is even more of a “great outdoors” centre than Betwys y Coed – if that’s possible!
From there, the route takes the A4086 through Pen-y-pas towards Llanberis along the east slopes of Snowdon. I didn’t see much of this bit. It was snowing hard. I had to watch the road. Ironically, Llanberis would have been my starting point to climb the mountain. At 359m (1,178 ft) the road goes quite high by UK standards.
By the time I was down in Llanberis, the weather was normal. A good lesson in how different it can be when you get into the hills.
Next stop, Caernarfon. A town of 9,700. A tour of the castle (built in the 1200s). A walk around the old town. A lovely lunch. All the locals were speaking Welsh (not to me, obviously).
Then back to the south on the A4085 to Beddgelert. A good place to stop and stretch my legs again. A very picturesque wee village. I suspect it is a real tourist trap in season.
The last leg was along the A498 to the east, back to Capel Curig. By then (late afternoon) the weather had cleared a bit and I could enjoy the spectacular views of Snowdon.
Usually I’m not one for driving around aimlessly (or for fun, I should say). I use the car to get from A to B. This was an enjoyable exception. The roads can be steep, narrow and snowy. That was fine midweek in April, but it might be less fun when they’re busy as well!
ⓒ iain taylor 2016