Why are the tourist brochures for Snowdonia bilingual, with all the
text in both Welsh and English? The people who speak Welsh live
here. Having spent part of yesterday in the tourist trap village of
Betws-y-coed‎, my suggestion is that, if they have to be bilingual,
they produce the next issues in English and Japanese.

Quiz and Delphi on the small, rocky bit of Llandanwg beach that dogs are
allowed on. They are not allowed on the miles of flat sand that make up the
rest of the beach. As dog walkers make up 99% of visitors to beaches in the
UK nowadays, the result is loads of people and their dogs crammed onto this
small area and nobody on the miles of sand that the dogs would really love to
run around on. The problem is that anti-dog people are like atheists or
cyclists or middle class mothers of small children. The are so loud and pushy
in their paranoia that they always seem to manage to persuade local councils
to be unnecessarily draconian in their anti-dog measures. This is why the
North East of England is so dog friendly. We are a poor region so we don't
have many middle class mums, atheists or cyclists. 

The parish church of Saint Tanwg at Llandanwg, situated just behind the beach
in the sand dunes. The church is medieval, probably dating from the Thirteenth
Century. However there are two 6th century inscribed stones which indicates
much earlier activity, and it has probably been a place of worship from the first
half of the Fifth Century. Unfortunately, the door was locked so I didn't get to
look inside. There is still the occasional service held in the church.

Tanwg was 'a saint who lived in the early part of the sixth century. He was a
a son of Ithel the Generous of Armorica . H
e accompanied St Cadvan from
(the part of Gaul between the Seine and Loire river) to Wales. He
was a member of the college of Bardsey and he founded the church of
Llandanwg.  Tanwyg also crossed the Atlantic Ocean in a coracle and
discovered the land that he was to name the United States of New Armorica.
His feast day is the tenth of October.

The gate of Llandanwg parish church

Not only situated in the dunes but also slowly being covered by them

The Afon (river) Llugwy at Betws-y-coed

The name "Betws" is generally thought to be derived from the Anglo-Saxon
"bed-hus"- a bead-house meaning a house of prayer, or oratory.

The Ffestiniog Railway at Tanygrisiau.

The Ffestiniog Railway is a narrow gauge heritage railway roughly thirteen and
a half miles (21.7 km) long. It runs from the harbour at Porthmadog to the slate
mining town of Blaenau Ffestiniog, travelling through forested and
mountainous scenery. Dogs are not allowed to travel on it.

The village of Tanygrisiau, or more properly "Tan y grisiau" ("below the steps,"
referring to the stepped cliffs above the village). It was famous for its slate
mining, producing a high quality black slate that was used across the world.

Wales is an underdeveloped country, apparently stuck for all time in the
Nineteenth Century. Their most common form of transportation remains the
steam engine and even the workwear of the railway employees is decidedly

Being very poor, the Welsh have been unable to replace the carriage stock on
their railway system for well over a hundred years.

 Llyn Ystradau (Tanygrisiau Reservoir)

A footbridge on the path around  Tanygrisiau Reservoir

Yummy, yummy. Sheep shit.

The Ffestiniog Power Station is a 360 MW pumped-storage hydroelectricity
scheme. The power station at the lower reservoir has four water turbines, which
can generate 360 megawatts of electricity within 60 seconds of the need arising.
The station, commissioned in 1963, was the first major pumped storage system
in the UK. The upper reservoir is Llyn Stwlan which discharges 953 cubic feet
per second of water to the turbine generators at the power station on the bank
of Tan-y-Grisiau reservoir. 

The view from outside our caravan looking towards the Irish Sea



  1. Sorry the critters have to be so contained, MP. Otherwise I hope you are having a wonderful time. Thank you for the gorgeous photos. Happy Anniversary!

  2. The French don’t allow dogs on beaches where people like to sit. I wish the same were true at the best beaches where we go in Scotland – dogs are a perfect pest when you’re lying back minding your own business and suddenly you’re showered with sand and a wet nose comes snuffling. My best pal – who has dogs – still doesn’t know how to get to our fave beach and I won’t tell her. For what it’s worth.

    • I bet you only sit on your favourite beach when the sun is shining. If it wasn’t for hardy dog walkers the businesses at our local beaches would have to shut down for most of the year. As it is we are on the beaches, paying car park charges and buying cups of tea and bacon sandwiches, twelve months of the year. But I’m fine with the French rule. What I think is silly is banning dogs from beaches that are then devoid of all human life for the summer.

    • “you’re lying back minding your own business and suddenly you’re showered with sand and a wet nose comes snuffling”

      Lucky you!

      Seriously, I’m completely pluralist when it comes to religion, but if you’re a Homo sapiens and you don’t enjoy having Canis familiaris around, you’re just doing it wrong.

  3. “United States of Armorica” Good one, of mentally differently enabled one. But the number of Welsh speaking Natives has diminished greatly since all those Methodist missionaries names Jones came over.

    • Actually, I am impressed with how the Welsh language has been taken up by such a large proportion of the population since I was here last (thirty odd years ago). I understand that in the North West nearly seventy per cent of people speak it fluently. It is definitely the first language of the locals round here. But it’s a strange mongrel language that consists in part of a vocabulary that dates back to the Sixth Century or earlier and a lot of English words spelled slightly differently. They suffer from the same problem as the French. Their language does not contain enough words to express everything that needs to be said.

      Something I found out this week, that I didn’t know before, is that there is a region in Patagonia where Welsh is also spoken as the first language. I had thought there was also a region in India where they spoke Welsh. But it turns out that is just English people trying to speak in an Indian accent and it coming out sounding Welsh.

  4. I can’t tell from your comments if you’re having a good or bad time, but since it’s likely the closest that I’ll get to a holiday away from home this summer, I’ll thank you for posting the pictures, and you can pretend that you wish I were there.

  5. The first trip I took in the UK with my friend and classmate Father J. was on the Ffestiniog Railway, First Class. It was lovely. I really hate that I didn’t take any pictures.

    When we were in Portmadog, we decided to go into a pub for a pint. As we opened the door, everyone was speaking in English. However, as soon as they spied people they didn’t know, they all switched to Welsh. “Wales, a land of contrasts” as no travelogue has ever begun.

  6. Am I looking at the church pictures correctly? There appear to be 2 old churches: one w/ roof, one w/o. Innit?

    I hope, for doggies, the delicious sheep shit made up for the beachside limitations.

    “Snowdonia”: is that where American (Armorican) CIA moles come from? ;-/

  7. Yes, love the pictures! I love that powerhouse. All that slate shale gleams when the sun shines. We rode by it several times up and down that road to see bits of North Wales. I take it then that you did not ride the train? It was one of our high-lights. Rode the train up and was met by the coach for the downs.