"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Friday, 28 October 2011

North Wales - Day 4 Thursday, 20th October - Mountains and Mines

The weather was warmer today and thank goodness the wind had dropped - it was mainly cloudy with a few sunny intervals.

We were late going out as Brian and David walked down The Hundred Steps into Barmouth to get some essential food supplies whilst I spent the time watching birds visiting the garden. Over the course of the holiday we saw the usual garden bird species - blue and great tits, wren, blackbirds chaffinch, robin, magpies, wood pigeons, sparrowhawk and daily visits from a pair of jays burying acorns found on the surrounding hillside. The one species visiting which we never get at home was a pheasant. Highlight of the trip was a red kite seen on the journey. I had hoped to go a walk along the Mawddach estuary and add some year ticks but in the end we never really had time and being a family holiday you have to try and find things to do that will please everyone!

David and Emily were keen to catch the mountain railway which goes to the top of Snowdon. We stopped off at Glaslyn Ices again in Beddgelert - Turkish Delight this time (just as delicious as the chocolate and ginger).

Driving over mountain passes and witnessing stunning scenery we eventually arrived at Llanberis early afternoon only to discover that all the trains running to the top of Snowdon had been fully booked several hours ago!! So if you are thinking of this train journey its worth pre-booking or getting there early!

Not so many photos today or tomorrow as there weren't many opportunities to take pictures and when I did get chance the light was poor or I was trying to take into the sun!! I really will have to start being more selective concerning photos as I noticed today that I have already used up 74% of my photographic capacity. Eek!!

Snowdon is the mountain on the left with the peak covered in cloud

We stopped off at the Sygun Copper Mines, not far from Beddgelert, and decided to go on the self-guided audio visual tour of the mine. The mines were abandoned in 1903 and remained dormant until 1983 when the deep adit was was unblocked and drained and, following renovation, the mine re-opened to the public in 1986.

Entrance to the mine

The tour reveals how ore was extracted and processed in the nineteenth century and we saw copper ore veins containing traces of gold and silver. The rock of the mine is Ordovician and dates back 500 million years.

There were several chambers and caverns containing ferrous oxide stalactites and stalagmites and ochre beds.

The visitor centre also contained a very interesting Museum of Antiquities

The surrounding mountain side was turned into a Chinese village in 1958 for the filming of "The Inn of the Sixth Happiness".

In the evening we went for a meal at a great country pub called The Half Way House located mid-way between Barmouth and Dolgellau. Great food at good prices - I am still drooling over the meringue stack dessert!

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