Thursday, 29 September 2011

The Modern Youth Hostel

The family are just returned from a wonderful weekend in Wales. We had intended to ascend Mount Snowdon, but we were thwarted by the weather. We eventually only got to just below the summit ridge. Every cloud has a silver lining though and we received a full refund of our train fare.

Our accommodation was the converted coaching inn at Bryn Gwynant. It is set in 40 or so  acres of woodland and informal gardens with stunning views out over Llyn Gwynant.

The last time I stayed in a youth hostel was probably in 1998 or 1999. Things have changed
for the better in the intervening years. It was much more like a hotel than the austere, rather boarding school - like, hostels that I remember.

We had a family room that would have slept 5 people comfortably and en-suite bathroom. Gone is the cook-it-yourself breakfast complete with individually labelled milk and cheese in a communal fridge. For a very reasonable charge you can have a buffet breakfast and a chef cooked plate of full English, or in this case Welsh, breakfast.

The view from the dining room was wonderful, I don't know of any Travelodges or Premier Inns with a dining room panoramic view to come close.

We have decided to return to Bryn Gwynant and explore North Wales in more detail.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

The UK's prettiest power station?

The UK's prettiest power station? 
I would never equate pretty with power stations. To be reminded of their ugliness I need drive only a few miles south to see Drax coal-fired power station in South Yorkshire; a truly monstrous blot on the landscape. Necessary!, I hear you shout. Yes, of course, but let's have more of the type I saw in Wales this weekend.

Nestling on the valley floor under the shadow of Gallt y Wenallt, at 619m a foothill of its loftier neighbour Snowdon (1058m), is this delightful looking, slate built power station.

Hydro electricity has always struck me as eminently clean and suited to this country. Here, in Wales, we can see that it does not have to be intrusive at all. Surely not many people would object to something like this in their own back yard? I don't know how many of these would be needed to replace the power currently generated by Drax, but the price is worthwhile in my opinion.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Wales this weekend

Off to Wales this weekend. I intend to ascend Snowdon on Saturday; 5 am start from York. On Sunday we'll spend a pleasant time walking in the valley near our accommodation. That accommodation is an old coaching inn converted to a youth hostel; first time I've stayed in a youth hostel since the mid-nineties. Pics and a review of the youth hostel coming soon.