Up Snowdon and Yr Eifl and along the Llyn Peninsula

We went to Wales again! North Wales, this time. And we started our visit by going up Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales.

This was our view when we got out of the woodland in the valley and up the slope of the mountain. Snowdon’s top is out of sight on the right. This waterfall was absolutely gorgeous. I don’t know what it is; perhaps my Dutch heritage, but I always get so excited by water *grin*

This was the view from up the waterfall. Snowdonia is such an impressive national park.

We were so lucky, the weather was fantastic. Most of the way we could walk in a t-shirt. We even had a view from the top – most of the time it’s just clouds and mist! Our dog really needed the little brooks we came across for regular drinks.

That’s the actual top of Snowdon! The little path you can see twisting up to the top is just as scary as it looks. It’s basically just scrambling through loose debris for way too long. I was so scared the dog might slip and fall down the slope, but she was steadier on her feet than I was.

Closer to the top we began to meet more hikers. It’s funny to see how many people hike in England, even when they’re not specifically outdoorsy people. There was an easier way up, though. We started on the south side and walked up about a thousand meters. On the north side, you can drive up to a parking spot so you don’t have to climb all the way. There’s even a train and a café, though it wasn’t open. A shame, though, it sort of ruins the whole idea of having walked and climbed all the way to the top when you could’ve just taken the train.

Pretty dog enjoying the view… or wait, me enjoying the view of my pretty dog.

On our way down, we stopped for a break in the waterfall, and put our feet in the icy cold spring water. The dog agreed that the waterfall made for a very peaceful resting place and decided to go for a nap.

As you can see, I need to practice my panoramic pictures a bit more… a view of Snowdon with a bit of Irish Sea in the background.

When one is in North Wales, what better to do than hike? So a couple of days later (we also wanted to visit some lovely old towns) we went up Yr Eifl. This group of mountains is not nearly as high as Snowdon, but it’s right on the edge of the sea, and the weather was a lot more severe this day.

At first we walked (and scrambled the last bit) up to Garn Ganol, the highest top of the three. The loose boulders you can see on the right of this picture are part of the cairn on top of the mountain. The top on the left is Garn For, the lowest of the three tops. Behind it the Irish sea.

And if you look the other way, you see Tre’r Ceiri. This top is crowned with an amazing iron age hillfort. Garn Ganol allows you a perfect view of the dry stone walls and if you look closer the stone circles that made up the housing for these people.

We went down from Garn Ganol and up Tre’r Ceiri. This is the view from below. You can see the dry stone walls quite clearly among the debris it was made up off. On the right you can see the ‘hole in the wall’ that was the entrance of the actual fort. The outer wall, which is below the actual fort, was likely an enclosure for animals.

I was so impressed with the hut circles, or in this case rectangulars. These walls are also dry stone, although they might have at some point been closed off with mud. The dry stone walls that encircle the fort are impressively wide: you can see part of it on the right of the picture. They keep out the wind perfectly well. I was amazed by how well preserved these were. Though archeologists have been cleaning up the area a bit to make sure the hillfort will last another thousand years or more…

This is the view from Tre’r Ceiri up Garn Ganol. The path we walked is quite clearly visible, as is a smaller dry stone wall crossing the little moor. I’m pretty sure there has also been a manmade structure on the left part of the picture, but I couldn’t gather what it might have been. It’s both exhilerating and frustrating that the British leave all their wonderful archeological history just lying around where you can stumble across it without really knowing what it is.

Another hut circle with a view at the fortress wall. From inside the fort the wall isn’t very tall, but when you’re on top of the wall and look down, you can imagine that enemy people would have had a lot of trouble trying to get into the fort. I always love how people managed to build anything they needed from very local materials. Here the granite has been used in everything from stone circles to churches to modern houses. Us Dutchies didn’t have proper stone to build things from, so we decided to bake our clay into stones and used water reeds for thatching.

There is a cairn in the hillfort and this is the view down from that point. You can see how the hut circles are all attached to eachother, either directly or via a wall that must have closed off yards for working in or perhaps keeping smaller animals, growing certain plants, et cetera.

Afterwards we walked all the way down the mountains to the coast, to the old quarry of Nant Gwrtheyrn. This place is now a language learning centre but it used to be the village Porth y Nant, which was abandoned when the quarry shut down.

Here we enjoyed our first bit of proper Welsh pebble beach and sea. Then we had to scramble back up the hill to the parking place to find our car.

The next day (or the day after) we decided to discover a bit more of the Llyn Peninsula. We drove all the way up to the end, where we parked our car in Aberdaron to do do a decent part of the Welsh Coastal Path.

Ah, spring time in Wales. The landscape was so beautiful!

As is Kim! Ah, sorry, proud dog mum. Behind her you can view Bardsey Island, where pilgrims used to travel to. Apparently, twenty thousand saints were buried here. I didn’t know there had even been so many saints, but oh well, they apparently all went here.

We didn’t go there, for lack of a boat (or a ticket for one). But we did enjoy some spectacular coastlines. Oh man, I love the Welsh coasts. The rugged rocks, the beautiful sloping hills, the blue blue sea…

Still didn’t see any seals, though 😦

Some of these coastal hills can be quite steep!

Doesn’t that make you want to discover every cranny and nook of those rocks? There might be caves..!

See? Actual caves! The dog refused to go in, but we quite enjoyed scrambling around here. My camera can’t deal with the darkness, unfortunately, but there was a little spring in the cave that showed us quite neatly how this cave had been carved out in the rocks over tens of thousands of years.

And besides those wonderful rocky coasts there are also beaches… Okay, to be fair, most British beaches aren’t very impressive compared to our broad, Dutch, sandy beaches. But this one gave it a decent try!

The sunlight captured the castle in the back perfectly… That’s Criccieth Castle, by the way. And the picture is askew, bad Friggja…

We went to more wonderful places, but I have to stop at some point. Safe to say we have hardly seen anything yet: North Wales is filled to the brim with wonderful places to hike, climb and do various outdoorsy things, *and* there’s the amazing historical and prehistorical features you find literally everywhere. I want to go back!

Growing greener…

So I took another walk… late spring afternoon in Hemmen. Beautiful sunlight.

I liked the two trees together.

Fruit trees! I’m guessing this is an apple tree, but could be a cherry.

More pretty flowering trees.

And flowering shrubs, in this case hawthorn again!

Many many daffodils…

More cherry trees…!

Beautiful doggie enjoying the evening sun.

Loving this picture, the flowers are so beautifully contrasted against the dark water of the river.

The next picture just amuses me: it’s so spring-like that even the ditch started flowering *grin* Not sure if you can see it well enough though.

Spring projects

Spring: the perfect time to start new projects. It seems like Mother Nature thinks so too. I love how all the spring flowers are popping up all over the place.

Daisies are some of my personal favorites. They’re just so dainty and sweet!

Unlike the prunus, which blesses us with flower overkill every year *grin* Love it, though. These beautiful white ones can be found close to my work.

And cycling to work I noticed spring has also touched the forest… look at all the little white stars peeking out from under last year’s leaves…

So perfect!

Spring has come to our garden too. This little pink-flowering shrub is a non-edible species of ribes, while next to it you can see the redcurrent (also a ribes) flowering in a much more discrete manner.

Red chicken is getting ready to eat the redcurrants the minute they’re ready! In revenge, we’re eating all her eggs.

And I’m working on a new project! An afghan big enough to fit our double bed (which, admittedly, is a very small double bed compared to modern standards). I’m using yarn left over from two baby blankets, which means it’s very soft and colourful. The colours are reminiscent of the Dutch sea and dunes, thus fitting the rest of our bedroom.

At the moment, it’s more or less the size of a big shawl *grin* But I’m pretty sure it’ll grow. Think I will have to order more yarn to get to the end, though.

These photos were all taken at different times, and inside the house and outside in the sun. So difficult to capture the colours correctly! It’s probably somewhere in the middle of all these pictures. How do you like them?

Hints of spring

We’re on the edge now… the days are growing longer.

We did have some residual snow, though! I love how they accentuate the molehills.

The beavers are so busy near the river!

The willows are on the edge of flowering…

And despite how busy we are, sometimes we do spend cold afternoons snuggling up on the couch…

Working on a new blanket and finished off the baby blanket. Hope to show you them soon!

More wintry pictures 

Winter is still there! We had a couple of weeks of snow, warmer weather for a week or so, and now it’s back. Beautiful! This was around Ootmarsum. Snow on the sloping hills in Twente.

The ice is making wonderful abstract art again on the riversides.

Bird highway on the ice in Hemmen!

Look how deep the snow was! By this time, the top layer was frozen so a lot of the time the dog didn’t even sink into the snow anymore. A regular little Legolas, our doggie *grin*

I love how the snow sets off the sky and trees in the landscape…

More snow, this time in Renkum.

And again at the dike because it’s just so pretty!

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Wintery goodness

Winter is doing its best to show us how beautiful it can be.

The other day we had snow melting and freezing up again, creating these beautiful glassy flowers…

So gorgeous!

Very impressed, Mother Nature!

Everything had gotten a layer of clear frost. It made me feel a little guilty to walk on all these pretty blades of grass (blades of glass?) Somehow it was also very satisfying to hear them crunch, though.

Pretty sunrises…

Frosty trees…

Beautiful landscapes…

Oh and we found this very weird frost in the woods! It’s really ice, though it looks more like some kind of mold… anyone know this?

Edit: my mother knew what this was: hair ice! So it was caused by a fungus 🙂

Cows and grannies

Working on the newest baby blanket…

Giant granny square blanket.

We also went for more walks by the river.

All the cows. They look so pretty against the autumn sky. Just look at them lying there, perfectly mirrored!

I think this is my favorite picture. I love their faces.

Autumn river

Autumn has come at our favorite place, the river, as well. The cows don’t seem to mind yet…

“Wat you doin?”

Impressive skies again.

Sometimes we find interesting dead animals… a spoonbill this time. Beautiful birds, even in death.

The other day we also found a gigantic eel. Somewhere in my head I ofcourse knew they could grow to be more than a meter long in our big rivers, but I’d never actually seen it. It was so impressive! Unfortunately I didn’t bring my camera that day…

I love the pastels. Still happy with the iPhone cam for managing to capture the sky’s colours somewhat.

Indian summer morning

Summer is ending. And it’s clearest in the mornings, when the air is cold and hazy, frizzing up your hair and leaving your cheeks cool and red.

I think the time for the dandelion seeds to fly is past… they do look pretty covered in dew drops, though.

The cows don’t seem to mind the indian summer. The grass is still growing; the sun is still warm on their flanks.

Black cat is enjoying the dried up reeds as its hunting ground. Must be a lot of mice in there.

The spiders are busy catching diamonds…

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