it was wet, it was cold, there was snow and ice lining the path, we were full to bursting with christmas lunch, wanting to explode, no strugling not to explode and we paid to enter Rheidol falls atop the valley below. Known as one of the tallest falls in Wales on the mynach river, crowned by the devils bridge, a three storey historical bridge partypiece. the lower third from 1188, the middle section from some other time and the top section, as part of todays A4120 looked victorian in all its steel granduer. adjacent this was the Hafed Hotel where lunch was studiously overconsumed by our small breakfast prepared frames.
But i digress we entered via one way turnstyle after placing 2 1 pound coins, notice no derogation of the language there, but maybee here, ok we placed money into the slot and pushed our now hefty bellies through the gate forcing us to enter the ice laden ravine and trek out the other side, In good weather a 45 minute trek, in our overloaded state, and with snow lined paths and ice clad steps we didnt know. All we did know is we had 45 minutes till dusk, and to be trapped at the bottom upon nightfall would surely result in death, so it was by the last remaining light of the day that we entered…and the first echo of darkness that we left. Jacobs ladder, an almost vertical 100 step decent with ballusters placed strategically every 15 steps to arrest a potentially fatal fall. However the rust had taken its toll and many of these arrestors were held together with tape and fencing wire, in fact I think while photographing I did prevent some of them from falling down the cliff myself.
large slate outcrops dusted with snow formed steps and landings along the path and occurring at vantage points timber decks frozen solid with sheets of Australian impassible blankets of ice. Like our experience on the cracking ice of frozen ponds we aprehensively shuffled along holding tight with twitching fingers to handrails frozen. The view was worth the danger, the photos perhaps not, with failing light the flash not in favour our dark sillouhette against a indistinguishable background abounds. (No, I have no idea what I am talking about either)
at the base we realised our journey half complete had used most of our time, the constant poking at white snow, the threat of making yellow snow and the slow shuffle along the ice lined steepness had struck worry into our ascent. and we still had the robbers cave to visit and 4.5 million stairs to negotiate, most of which were as you guessed it slippery. The cave, a haven for brother highwaymen who would do deeds most dastardly and retreat with loot to the dak confines of said cave, on occasion, their sister, ultimately to her demise would provide provisions and companionship on other daring raids. One fatefull night they went too far, murder was commit and those that would miss the victim went in search of the culprits. In time they discovered the brothers, their cave and sent them to the gallows to be hanged by the neck until dead, their sister was burnt at the stake, a recompense most unfair for her part and compared to the fate of the brothers.
The demise of the family siblings could only be matched to the fate of the cave which had its mouth blasted away to prevent its use again for harbouring of criminals, this was our destination and a great view of the waterfall
Anyhow we climbed and climbed, slid and slipped, and feared the looming dark. but the inevitable happened, night fell and we were not back at rhe car, the gloom of the moonless night set and we aclimatised to the glow of the white blanketing of snow.
Needless to say we made it, neither the ravine or the Pen Dinas hilltop fort took their toll upon us which we visited post breakfast thismorning.
After 2 hours driving along winding single lane, no these were the main carriageway north to south roads, lined with rock walls to both sides cars parked such that there is only one lane, beligerant sheep drowning in the torrential rain in the gutters, more snow and to top it off, just to test my driving ability fog, on hairpin turns, farm machinery and in some places mud shoe deep. Too top it all off we have a fear of the sat nav. On the odd occasion we ignored her instructions, and it did appear that nothing has the wrath of a digitised female voice scorned. “Turnaround where possible”, “Turnaround where possible”, “Turnaround where possible”, we didnt obey and moments later we were rim deep in cow manure skating on frozen roads barely wide enough to exit the vehicle had the wost happened the we became part of the scenery
But the most fear inducing aspect of christmas today is where we sit now The Legacy Royal Victoria Hotel in Llanberis, Snowdonia. It is a throwback to victorian era hotels. 159 rooms, all full of land-based cruise ship rejects playing christmas games, dining in smart casual in what appears to be set of the Shining…”heres Juzzy”, and us, terrified, in the 160th room…
As I write this, in the only seat adjacent a power point, is in the ground floor lounge as Wifi does not work in the rooms…something to do with getting the guests to mingle and do whatever happens when people mingle…Oh the film tonight is Mama Mia and they have the bouncing ball and threats of compulsory singing.
Oh s..t they just started singing! Im out a here