Monday 4 May 2015

Visitors enjoying Sunday in Snowdonia

Having survived their mountain walk in the wind, sleet and rain, visitors Sam and Lou were keen to explore more of North Wales. So we started with a walk south, along the beach at Llandanwg. The further we walked, the more it sounded like Brands Hatch or Silverstone and I recalled reading something about Llanbedr Airfield getting permission to test out F1 cars – but I think the intrusive noise was the local car rally club whose event was starting and finishing at the airfield. It’s incredible to think that this airfield is one of the five candidates for Britain’s first spaceport – with three of the candidate sites in Scotland, the choice of Llanbedr must be quite a possibility, even though it’s in a national park.

Driving into Harlech I explained that this was one of the best views in Wales, with miles of pristine wave-washed sand, and the peaks of northern Snowdonia in the background. They took my word for it and after choosing bags of sweets at the corner shop we went into Harlech Castle. The new bridge and visitor reception are due to complete at the end of June; delayed by the discovery of old bones which are now in Cardiff to be dated. One of the staff suggested they would probably date back to the 1400s. Once the new bridge is opened it will make quite a spectacular entry, very accessible to everyone. However, I could not help but think the dark spiral staircases in the towers were an accident waiting to happen.

From here we drove to Plas Tan y Bwlch for excellent tea / coffee and cakes at the (relatively new) cafĂ© on the terrace, overlooking the vale. I can highly recommend it. Jars of honey collected from the hives at The Plas, managed by the Meirionnydd Beekeepers, were on sale. I also learnt that you can book a 2 course Sunday lunch (£12) which is served in the Oakley’s dining room – what a fantastic setting. We will give it a go next time I’m on cooking duty, maybe combine lunch with a walk and a train via Plas Halt.

The whistle stop tour included a brief stop in the muddy layby to see the Wooden Boulder by David Nash. The tide was in so only a small chunk was visible above the water.

Then it was off to Pont Croesor to catch up with the Osprey Saga. The story so far is that Mrs Glaslyn returned mid-March, but her lifelong mate failed to arrive and is presumed dead. She was wooed by Jimmy, a 3 year old toy-boy from Dumfries, but Jimmy was ousted by Blue 80, Mrs Glaslyn’s son from 2012. Blue 80 mated with his mum, and those in the know said that in-breeding was not a problem for ospreys. The next I knew was that Jimmy was back in favour.

When we arrived we learnt that both Jimmy and Blue 80 were no longer on the scene and that to date Mrs Glaslyn had laid four eggs, only one of which was still in the nest, and she was having nothing to do with it. Maybe none of the eggs had been fertilised?

The young males had been replaced by an un-ringed male who so far seems to be ticking all the boxes as a prospective suitor. It might be too late for a successful mating this year but the seeds may be sown for a successful bonding ready for next summer. If you want to keep up to date with the story there are daily reports with video footage on Facebook.

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