Saturday, 9 August 2014


It’s a beautiful day, and we have marvellous views from the Gate House across the estuary. We’ve checked the weather forecast and this is probably the best day we’ll have to we’ve booked tickets on the train up to the summit of Snowdon. I’m up first, and spend some time reading the autobiography of the architect of Portmeirion on our terrace. I still have my pyjamas on which confuses one of the early visitors who spots me. After a leisurely breakfast Simon drives to Snowdon – the roads are narrow and winding and have glorious views. We pick up our tickets and retire to the Royal Victoria hotel for lunch. The car park is full but there is only one other table occupied in the bar where we have an adequate lunch. Many of the other guests are there for a wedding.
The trip up to Snowdon is quite spectacular. The single carriage is pushed up the mountain by the engine along a narrow gauge railway. The landscape is stunning and travelling at 5mph you have time to take it in. We’re amused by the sheep doing “extreme grazing” on precipitous slopes with apparent indifference. There are streams and waterfalls, dramatic rock formations and, as we get higher, distant views of the coastline.

At the top we emerge onto the cold and windy summit and make our way to the peak. The wind makes it hard to stand upright but the views are incredible. There are a few clouds but visibility is pretty good. We only have half an hour to enjoy the views before the board the train for the return trip. It’s an hour by train and two by foot – there are many walkers and I think I would have enjoyed walking down.

We make a supermarket stop on the way back to Portmeirion where the clouds look quite threatening. The weather forecast says that we’ll have rain and high winds due to the tail end of hurricane Bertha. Alex is keen to swim and Simon says he’ll cook dinner while we go to the pool. On the way we pass guests arriving for a wedding that’s being held in Portmeirion’s “town hall”. The pool is outdoor but heated – Alex says it’s pretty warm but I’m not sure he’s a reliable witness. We have to register at the hotel before using it and they tell us it’s closing in 10 minutes at 8pm. That’s fine by me! As we swim it begins to rain. We arrive back at the Gate House quite bedraggled. Alex and I have baths while Simon cooks dinner and while we eat the wedding party has its firework display – unfortunately right at the peak of a heavy rain shower. The beginning of the tail end of Bertha? Simon has decided to prepare tomorrow’s dinner tonight so we’re up pretty late as he puts the finishing touches to the chilli. We don’t really have a plan for tomorrow, the weather will probably decide.

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