This is Part 2 of my Wales blog series, but Part 3 in the road trip that started in England! If you want to read the previous parts from before our travels here, check out PART 1 of the trip here and PART 2 here.
We woke up from Brecon Beacons enjoying a wonderful little home cooked breakfasts from our hosts at our B&B, spent the morning chatting about our life travel plans and hearing stories of all the places they had traveled. After waking up slowly to good company, we packed up the car and hit the road for Snowdonia National Park.
There wasn’t any main highway or road that ran through the heart of Wales between the two parks. So we snaked and weaved across the beautiful countryside and got to see beautiful views, drive on some pretty tight (and scary) roads seeing parts of Wales that made me fall in love with it in a way I never really had anywhere else before.
The majority of Wales had beautiful, gentle rolling hills and we were lucky to enjoy beautiful blue skies and nice weather the whole drive. When we finally made it into Snowdonia National Park, it’s landscape seemed to change completely right at it’s border. And the gloomy clouds and atmosphere added an incredible mood that made this place hauntingly beautiful. It was very picturesque with all it’s mountains that seemed to have the illusion they were much bigger than they actually were. And incredible rock formations that made me feel like we tripped and fell into middle earth.
After doing some afternoon exploring and driving around the park, we drove to the village we were going to be staying in called Betws-Y-Coed. On our way there, the clouds seem to break, the sun started to shine, and we got to see another side to Snowdonia. And to take advantage of the nice weather, we decided to try and locate the Fairy Glen – a place I had researched online before coming on our trip – and it was a place I was most excited to see.
The Fairy Glen wasn’t a huge touristy thing and actually was located on someone’s private property. The guy opened up a little trail across his farm land that led you to the the river gorge nick named the Fairy Glen for a small fee of £1. I found out about it from google searching places to photograph in Snowdonia and just had to add it to the list. So glad we did.
After playing around in the gorge, evening came and we headed back to the beautiful village of Betws-y-Coed where we checked in, got some dinner, and took walks throughout the small village until the sun went down. I have to admit, this village is one of the prettiest and most charming places I have ever seen. I didn’t get any photos of the village with my camera, so my phone photos will have to do ❤
The next day, we set our sights for Wale’s highest mountain, Snowdon. Our bodies were still completely worn out and sore from climbing through the Brecon Beacons so we decided to go up to the top and enjoy a unique experience that only this little place offers.
The Snowdon Mountain Railway is a turn of the century steam train that was built back in 1896. It spans across nearly 5 miles to the top of Mt Snowdon and has been in operation ever since. How many chances do you really get to ride an old fashioned steam train to the top of a mountain? Not many I can think of! And so, our tired bodies boarded the train and we enjoyed the ascent up to the top in one of Wale’s most unique experiences.
I couldn’t believe how lucky we were getting with the weather again. First Brecon Beacons…. now this? I couldn’t have hoped for such clear views for miles. When we finally made it to the top, we were able to see as far as the Isle of Man and even the other side of the coast where the Lake District was. I simply was awe-struck.
Just like the Brecon Beacons, Snowdonia was FULL of old tales, celtic legends, and even stories of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. Supposedly, Mt Snowdon used to be guarded by a fearsome giant named Rhitta who created a cape for himself out of the beards of his enemies. Arthur and his men reputedly killed the giant and buried his corpse at the summit of the mountain covered by huge stones.
There’s also supposedly a stone bearing the hoof print of Arthur’s horse ‘Llamrai’ that can be found on the banks of Lake Barfog near Betws y Coed – the little village we were staying in. It is said that the mark was made when Arthur and his horse dragged a monster from the lake’s deep waters. We ran out of time to try and find this one, but when we were at the top of Snowdon, my imagination was running wild picturing the battle that graced the pages of fairytale books.
On the way back from our summit experience, we got a glimpse of the mountain we had just went to the top of in one of the most picturesque ways. We pulled over for a bit, took a short walk, and enjoyed a stunning view of Snowdon. I remember standing there after taking these photos and just really taking it all in for myself. One of these days, I’d like to sit down and paint this incredibly classy landscape.
We spent 2 days in this beautiful park and it most certainly didn’t feel like enough. Our last evening there, Paul and I put our cameras down, phones away, and went on a sunset walk through the forest. We really wanted to have some solid “us” time and especially me with no distractions. When the trail ended, we kinda went off trail and made our own and literally turned into little kids running through the beautiful sheep fields, creeks, rivers, and what felt like haunting forests brimming with stories to tell. It was my most favorite thing we did in Snowdonia and although I didn’t get any pictures from it, they’ll be memories that stay with me forever.
When we got back to Betws y Coed, we grabbed some dinner, drinks, and just enjoyed each other’s company until the day was officially over. Our time couldn’t have ended more perfectly in Snowdonia.
Below is a video I put together from snippets along our travels through not only this amazing place but also my previous blog posts through the New Forest, Cheddar, and the Brecon Beacons. Check it out 🙂
Also, to anyone interested I do have prints available from this post and others in my shop! Check it out here if you’d like to purchase any and help support this traveling photographer! If there’s any you don’t see in the shop that you’d like, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org