Wednesday, May 14, 2008

North Wales


Twenty-two years ago I was lucky enough to spend 9 months backpacking around Britain and Europe with my (then) future husband. Early on our travels, we met a lovely woman who kindly offered to let us stay in her cottage in Wales. We made our way there in mid-March and found a charming old place with a wood stove for heating, nestling into the hills of Ty-cyn-haef near Dollgellau. Our fire building skills were rudimentary, and the weather was c-o-l-d and rainy with occasional sleet. The clouds sunk low over the hills, obscuring the highest mountain in Wales, Cader Idris. It was in this chilly setting my (then future) husband proposed to me.

To celebrate, we donned our best gear including high heels for me, and tottered down the main road for what seemed like a mile (but wasn’t really) in the dark. We were hoping to have a celebratory dinner in a rather grand-looking restaurant we’d spotted. When we finally reached the door we were turned away – the place was fully booked for a private function.

We struggled back up the hill to our cottage to celebrate with Fray Bentos steak and kidney pie (it comes in a tin, for those of you not familiar with the brand) and a Sara Lee dessert.


So before heading north we did some research and from the description and the location, we booked into a B&B that we thought just might be that restaurant….and we weren’t disappointed. We were able to spend 2 nights there in Borthwnog Hall, a grand old house built in 1680, situated on the estuary of the Mawddach River. And this time the skies were clear and the sun shone, so we saw the mountains and were amazed to realize what a truly beautiful area it is. I wish I could show you. I had planned to, but the folder of photos of Wales seems to be corrupted and I can't open it at the moment...hopefully I'll be able to sort it out but till then you can see a few pics on the Borthwnog Hall website.

Added 20th June, 2008

Finally added some of my own photos of Borthwnog Hall and the Mawddach estuary here, and some more on my flickr page.


  1. Lovely story Amanda, and how wonderful to find the b&b after all those years. Do hope you can rescue your photos. Keep having a wonderful holiday, keep blogging.

  2. So glad you're having a good time.

    My memories of Cader Idris are of a geography school field trip in 1973,swirling mists, cold winds and Spam sandwiches for packed lunch every day for 6 days.
    Thank you for replacing those memories with more positive images of you two having a grand holiday


  3. Amanda - what a great story. I work with the owner of Borthwnog Hall, and I'm in the process of putting together a new website for him. I spend a lot of time at Borthwnog and while I have some lovely pictures (difficult not to, in that part of the world!) I thought the ones you put on flickr really capture the spirit of the place. Would you consider letting us use them on the new website? We would, of course, credit them to you.

    Let me know what you think -


  4. Hi Jane,
    I would be more than happy for you to use the flickr photos for the Borthwnog Hall website. Would you be agreeable to link back to my blog when you credit the photos? Hopefully I will launch a professional website in about 12 months time, so I might ask you to change the link then.
    Let me know if you need higher resolution photos.
    Kind Regards,