Sue @ Cadair View Lodge's Blog

Tales from a self catering holiday provider


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Adventure #1 – Year of Adventure

As many of you will know 2016 is The Year of Adventure in Wales.  We’re encouraged to #FindYourEpic and do something adventurous.  What does “adventure” mean to you?   According to the dictionary…

Def:  adventure meaning an unusual and exciting or daring experience

So what would you do that you’d class as an “adventure”?

My first adventure of the Year was on 4th March at Dylan’s Restaurant at Criccieth.  A restaurant doesn’t sound like much of an adventure does it?  I was invited to a briefing for local tourism businesses.  As part of the day we were treated to a sampler lunch of local produce… always worth attending these things – especially when they’re hosted by great restaurants.  As part of the lunch there was local seafood on offer.  Now I’ve tried lobster, shrimp and mussels before but there was also clams, crab and oysters available.  I’ve always fancied trying oysters – not because I particularly fancied the flavour but more for the challenge.  If I was faced with a plate of oysters could I cope?  I like to eat out and to try different things but I’m not a huge seafood fan.  I wouldn’t order oysters in a restaurant just in case I didn’t like them but this was a great opportunity to just try one and I knew, being as it was Dylans, that they’d be great quality AND be prepared properly.  So….

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Oyster There!

here it is… one oyster!  I squeezed a little lemon on to it… slid my knife under it to make sure that it was going to come out of the shell without a big fuss.  Had my napkin ready… just in case.  Closed my eyes… held the shell to my lips… tipped and swallowed.  No chewing was going to happen.

Oyster Empty

Oyster Gone!

A taste of lemon and of the sea!  Smashed it!  Thanks to Dylan’s for facilitating this experience.

First “adventure” down! Bring on the next!


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Ever Seen A Shooting Star?

Well have you?  Did you make a wish?

Shooting Stars

Many people haven’t had the opportunity to do that… either they’ve not been looking in the sky at the right time or they’ve not been looking in the right place at the right time.  I’ve been fortunate to see two or three properly (i.e. not just a flash of light out of the corner of my eye) and I can remember the occasions vividly.

Do you know that the Snowdonia National Park was named as one of only 10 Dark Sky Reserves in the World in December 2015?  So our location is now officially one of the best places to see a shooting star (and many other astronomical events and sights) in the UK.

So, equipped with the list of meteor showers anticipated (on the “What’s On” page of our website), NASA’s guidelines for watching meteor showers and some decent, clear weather hopefully you’ll see a shooting star during your stay at Cadair View Lodge log cabins in Snowdonia.

But what will you wish for?  No!!  You can’t tell us.

Ogwen Valley 8th Sept 15


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Journey To + From Work 8th September 2015

You may or may not know that I live on the beautiful island of Anglesey in North Wales, but our holiday accommodation at Cadair View Lodge is in Southern Snowdonia.  There are several routes that I can take – the quickest (and shortest) is via Caernarfon and Porthmadog.  A good functional route but it can be a bit slow and although picturesque by most people’s standards not THE most picturesque route.

When I set out yesterday to do the journey it was a beautiful, cloud free morning and so I decided to take a stunning route across the mountains.  See my route HERE

I always love the drive up the Nant Francon valley.  The mountains tower above you as you climb towards Cwm Idwal and Tryfan.  As always, it seems, there was no chance of stopping on the way up to take a photo but once passed Ogwen Cottage I stopped at the lay-by on the left, by the lake and took a few snaps on my phone.

Ogwen Valley 8th Sept 15

Ogwen Valley 8th Sept 15

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Even at 10am on a Tuesday morning the car parks were getting full and there were lots of people on the hills already.

I continued on my journey along the A5 to Betws y Coed where I picked up the A470 towards the cabins.

Again a stunning drive with the heights of Cnicht looming ahead.  Nowhere to stop or too much traffic behind to get photos – sorry.

Climbing up over the Crimea Pass (did you know that there used to be a brewery where the layby is now?) and into the barren landscape of the slate quarries.  After a long slow climb up the hill I was glad that the coaches ahead turned off into Llechwedd Slate Caverns.  Whether they were going on the underground tour or going to Bounce Below or on the Zip World attractions I don’t know but I was glad that they’d gone.  Down and through Blaenau Ffestiniog which is quite pretty (honest) on a bright sunny day.

Once out the other side of Blaenau Ffestiniog, Llan Ffestiniog and Ffestiniog (it carries on for longer than you’d think) I was back out onto the rolling hillsides.  Glimpses of the Rhinogau ahead and occasionally the sea, I found a place to stop to look across towards Tanygrisiau and the mountains beyond.  Then onwards again.

Looking back towards Tanygrisiau 8th Sept 15

Looking back towards Tanygrisiau 8th Sept 15

Turning left though still on the A470 I’m almost there.  Trawsfynydd Lake looks spectacular but no time to drop into the cafe today (that was yesterday’s treat).  Now driving south with the Rhinogs to my right.  The three peaks of Cadair Idris come into view – left turn at Bronaber and I’m there!

Panorama taken from Sunset View deck

Panorama taken from Sunset View deck

A day at work looking over cabins and making notes of things that need to be done… that time of year.

Time for home but far too nice for the inland route… and I needed a cup of tea so decided to head over to Criccieth where I was sure to get a parking space next to the beach – I love to paddle whenever I get the chance, shoes and socks are off… big kid in me!

Criccieth Beach 8th Sept 15

Criccieth Beach 8th Sept 15

Then off to Cadwaladers for tea and cake… and managed to get a window seat overlooking the sea again.

All good things must come to an end… well sort of.  As I said I live on the wonderful island of Anglesey and when I got home as it was such a beautiful evening we decided to have fish and chips on the beach… so… this is where I had my tea.  Overlooking the Menai Straits with the sun just beginning to set on Caernarfon Castle opposite us.

Caernarfon Castle across the Menai Straits 8th Sept 15

Caernarfon Castle across the Menai Straits 8th Sept 15

If you would like more information about Cadair View Lodge log cabin accommodation in Snowdonia see our website http://www.CadairViewLodge.co.uk


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It’s The Real Thing!

A few years ago I attended a workshop aimed at informing local accommodation providers what food they ought to feed mountain bikers that came to stay.  Not being a B&B most of it didn’t apply to us but it was interesting all the same.

One of the things that they talked about was that a drink of half CocaCola and half water would provide a boost for the last half of a ride – giving the rider sugar, caffeine, sodium and water plus replacing electrolytes lost in the first half of the ride.  Today I spotted THIS article about the effects of CocaCola on the body and wondered whether the advice given was right or not.

Have you ever tried the half Coke half water drink?

The other thing that I took away from the workshop was that REAL homemade lemon barley water is a great rehydrator.  Here’s a recipe for those who want to try it for themselves.  Let me know what you think.

Sophie Grigson’s lemon barley water

Lemon barley water

Preparation and cooking time

25 minutes plus cooling/chilling

Makes

approx. 3/4 litre (1 1/4 pints)

  • 300g (10oz) pearl barley
  • 1 large firm lemon
  • 75g (2 1/2 oz) butter, chilled
  • Icing sugar (optional)
  1. Bring the barley and 2 1/2 litres (4 1/4 pints) water to the boil, skin off any scum that rises and then simmer for 20 minutes. Draw off the heat.
  2. Pare the zest from the lemon into long strips using a potato peeler. Stir into the hot barley water with the caster sugar, then leave to cool. Strain and discard the barley and lemon zest.
  3. Stir the lemon juice into the liquid, taste and if necessary, sweeten with a little icing sugar, or extra lemon juice if it could do with a shot of acidity. You may even want to add a little more water to soften the flavour.
  4. Keep refrigerated, always serving your lemon barley water thoroughly chilled.


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Epic Brenin MTB Challenge HQ

Cadair View Lodge log cabins were chosen as the ideal base for the Epic Brenin MTB Challenge as they are close to Coed y Brenin and en-route to the other trail centres.

A blog written by Matt Jones, organiser of and participant in #EpicBrenin #MTB Challenge.

“For me, mountain biking is as much about everything that goes around the actual riding as the sweat and grind itself. The build up, banter on the ride and post ride analysis really add to the sport as a whole. That’s why overnight stays in the hills tackling previously unexplored trails and challenges provide the best chance to the off bike action.  Some of my best days on a bike in the UK have been weekends away with mates at trail centres.

There’s something brilliant about the road trip, the inevitable faff and late departure, the surely illegal overloading of vehicles, squeezing 7 bikes in the back of a Renault kangoo (true story!). Then getting lost before arriving at your destination after hours of road trip tunes blasting out. At this point your buddy deems it timely to announce his bottom bracket is seized, fear not , a minor delay as a trip to the friendly local trail centre bike shop comes up with the goods.

Once you get going the banter continues as you discover new trails, always that much better ridden for the first time. Trail centres give a thrill a minute compared to your usual local boggy woods midweek outings in the winter months. Ending the day in near darkness the salvation of your accommodation and local pub await. A full ride debrief follows rather than everyone going their own way home for family duties follows and of course the discussion around how with just a degree slacker head angle you would have owned that drop off instead of face planting. Mates on hand to virmontly advocate products they know little or nothing about other than what the latest mag or forum said.

Then to the pub, oh the glory of the local pub. The pubs you find in corners of the UK where trail centres reside are almost without exception absolute gems. Even if you were unlucky enough to find a bad example with beer watered down and the food uncooked the fact that you have escaped with mates biking for the weekend makes everything that much better and minor details ignored.

And the best thing about a weekend away following the vigorous refuelling via a fry up, on an ale fuelled hangover, you get to do it all again, two days biking in a row, ace!

Over the years some of my best bike rides have been on weekends away. There are so many places in the UK set up to meet all the needs of a group of biking mates. Although a little bit more riding than usual for a weekend away, our stay at Cadair View Lodges summed up everything that is great about a winter road trip to a trail centre, in this case to where such trail centres began, Coed y Brenin.

Cadair View Lodges are perfectly positioned a couple of miles up the main road from Coed y Brenin. Their log cabins are homely with plenty of space for all your gear and bikes, even an outside tap. What’s more on arrival you’re treated to a basket of essential supplies like bread and milk so you can focus all your efforts on that last minute full bike strip down before the following days outing.  Other features tailored to bikers are allowing single nights stays, very late arrivals if you’re travelling far and late departures if you need that all important shower before the drive home.

Cadair View was the HQ for our ‘Epic Brenin’ adventure, read all about it here. We can’t thank Sue enough for hosting us. Email queries were rapidly answered and everything about the stay couldn’t have been easier which was really important given the need to get everything else sorted for our adventure. The excellent local pub was literally a two minute walk from our cabin which was very welcome as despite all the cooking facilities you need, some waited on service was needed after 11hours in the saddle!

So I can thoroughly recommend a trip to take on as many trails as you dare at one go in the Coed y Brenin area. Staying a Cadair View is a great place to base yourselves to ensure another awesome weekend away in the hills on your bike that makes biking in the UK what it is.”.

Read the write-up of Epic Brenin Challenge from Singletrack Magazine

See Cadair View Lodge accommodation HERE

To book accommodation at Cadair View Lodge email , use the contact form below or call us on 01978 759603

 

 

Cadair View Lodge at Christmas


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Busy Weekend in Snowdonia

Panosnow

Don’t get too excited… the Rhinogs don’t look like THIS just yet but with the weatherman saying it’s getting colder this week you never know WHEN it might happen!

We’re heading into a REALLY busy weekend.  There is lots happening on the weekend of 6th – 7th December and we’ve got some great accommodation deals on so that you can come and enjoy the pre-Christmas excitement.

So what’s happening?

2014 December 6th Coed y Brenin – Christmas Market with Father Christmas and local crafts for sale
2014 December 6th – 7th Portmeirion Food + Craft Fair Lots of local food to buy for Christmas plus unusual gifts
2014 December 6th – 7th Betws-y-Coed – “Nadolig Llawen yn Betws-y-Coed”  Lots happening in the Village all weekend.  Click the link for news.
2014 December 6th – 7th Bala Lake Railway – Santa Specials Details HERE
2014 December 6th – 7th Llechwedd Slate Caverns – Visit Santa at Bounce Below (and have a bounce too!) Details HERE
2014 December 6th – 7th Welsh Highland Railway – Santa Trains run from Caernarfon to Waun Fawr Details HERE

What do YOU fancy?  Personally, I would like to see “The Big Man” (and I don’t mean Sean Taylor!) on Bounce Below.  If you would like to join in this fun we have one night stays on 6th or 7th December for £130 per cabin or 2 night stays for £200 per cabin.  See all of the details on our Special Offers Page.

To see what’s happening locally for the rest of December (and into 2015) see our What’s On Page.

Cadair View Lodge... Log Cabin Accommodation in the Heart of the Snowdonia National Park

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Black Rock Sands - within 30 minutes drive of Cadair View Lodge


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Beach? In Wales? In Winter?

10644959_10152618407192515_2215375162071131024_nWe often suggest that our guests go to the coast (and onto the beach) during Winter stays.  Some people think that we’re out of our minds.  Well the last few days have served to prove what a wonderful experience it can be.

This is a photo of me having a paddle on Saturday 29th November 2014.  The waves were very inviting and the sun was warm.  OK I didn’t stay in very long but long enough to quell the urge and I kept my jeans dry!

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And this photos was taken during a walk on Friday 28th November 2014.  A bit blowy but we were wrapped up enough and again the sun was warm.

I was fascinated by the rainbows that formed as the wind blew the spray off the tops of the breaking waves.

Children love the beach at any time of year.  A pair of wellies and a waterproof with a back-up set of clothes in the car just in case, make for a great day out (and tired children!).  Did you know that dogs are allowed on all areas of our beaches from September until May (usually but check exact dates)?  Most of our local beaches are huge and so there’s lots of space for everybody… but you are likely to have the place to yourself.

Who else will go in for a paddle during their stay this Winter?  Remember to post your photos.

See our accommodation in the mountains of Snowdonia with several beaches within 30 minutes drive HERE.  For details of some of our local beaches CLICK HERE