Traveller's Journal: Snowdonia National Park - Day 1
The road branched right into a trail named on the map as Llanberis Pass. In my experience anything labelled as a Pass meant spectacular scenery and a tinge of excitement stirred within me. What began as a gentle shower was now a torrential downpour. As I progressed through the valley the walls rose steeply and threatened to engulf me. At one point they rise almost vertically to nearly two thousand feet. It's easy to find a sense of claustrophobia surrounded by these imposing mountainous peaks.
The lashing rain makes for a spectacular series of cascades running down the mountain sides. From the hidden peaks submerged amongst the clouds, a flood of rainwater is the catalyst for yet another waterfall to tumble to the valley floor. Like veins, the streams divide as they plummet, sometimes splitting into as many as half a dozen separate falls before they hit the road. They are the lifeblood of the valley, nourishing the foliage before a burst of bloom brings a wonderful array of vibrant colour. The road continued to snake its way through the gorge.
Pretty little cottages were spread intermittently; their slight build looked insignificant against the mountainous backdrop. But they were homes and I began to realise that people actually lived in this dramatic environment. It must be such a wonderful contrast to the trials and tribulations of modern city life. Far from the din of today's world, to hear just the sounds of songbirds must be music to the ears. But for now the only music I heard was the drumming rain on the car's roof and I was eager to reach my hotel in the village of Llanberis before the conditions got any worse. The ramblers were conspicuous by their absence; despite the weather you normally see one or two brave souls taking their chances on the wild terrain. It appeared that today they had come to their senses. The beautiful fragrance of freshly cut grass was in the air. Someone had been busy. The aroma took me back to my youth and lazy afternoons in the school playing fields.
During the English summer heat wave of 1977 our teacher would conduct afternoon lessons out amongst the cool breeze on the playing fields to escape the stifling heat of the classroom. It always seemed a lot less stressful sat on the grass in the shade of a large tree and sparrows swooping above our heads. Through the misty windscreen and torrential rain the imposing valley walls retreated and the village of Llanberis came into view. As the road swept round to the right my hotel revealed itself. Immediately my thoughts turned to sleep.
Travel the Atlas Articles
Travel the Atlas Books
Travel the Atlas