Sue @ Cadair View Lodge's Blog

Tales from a self catering holiday provider


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Join Us At Cadair View Lodge Feb ’16

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Time is flying by… here we are at the end of January and looking towards February half term, Valentine’s Day and… my birthday ūüôā

February in Snowdonia has lots to offer. ¬†As in this photo from 2013, it can be crisp and clear or we could have more snow again (there’s currently just a bit more snow than this on Snowdon but if this warmth continues it could thaw).

Think about walking in the forests if the weather is a bit blowy but it’s also a great time to wrap up and walk on the beach. ¬†Afterwards there’s always time for tea and cake. ¬†See our Facebook page The Great Snowdonia Cake Trail for places to tempt¬†you with their goodies!

Valentines Day is always busy as it tends to fall during February Half Term week.  Even at the busiest time we are always popular for romantic breaks with more than 150 proposals (that we know of) having taken place during stays with us.

The fishing season on Trawsfynydd Lake begins on 1st February.  Trawsfynydd is the 3rd largest lake in Wales at just under 3 miles long.  It has a cycle path around it and a cafe with lake views (and free WiFi) just off the A470.  Fishing permits can be obtained from the lakeside and boats can be hired too.  Kayaking is permitted on the lake and the cafe also have bikes for hire.  The lake is often the venue for international fishing competitions.

At the end of the month Coed y Brenin (2 miles from our log cabins) hosts¬†The Fox Anti Freeze Enduro mountain biking event. ¬†A a multi lap, staggered start, chip-timed challenge! ¬†There is also a Junior Anti Freeze event for youngsters the day before – start ’em young. ¬†The weekend before there is a yoga for mountain bikers session too to stretch the muscles.

Updates on what’s happening can be found on our What’s On page of the Cadair View Lodge website.

If you would like to visit southern Snowdonia during February 2016 (or at any other time) visit our website www.CadairViewLodge.co.uk¬†to see what we offer and also to check out the latest deals on our log cabin accommodation.¬† ¬†Or call me, Sue, on 01978 759603. ¬†There are still some “5 Nights for ¬£200” deals available and “5 Nights for the Price of 2” (¬£270 per 2 bed roomed cabin) for Half Term Week (arrival on 14th February).

Guests staying with Cadair View Lodge during 2016 will (at the activity providers discretion) receive discounts of:

10% at Canolfan Tryweryn National White Water Centre

10% at Go Below Underground Adventures

10% at South Snowdonia Soft Tissue Massage Therapy

Thanks for reading and I hope to hear from you soon about a stay at Cadair View Lodge.

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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 Рsorry.

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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St David’s Day in Criccieth?

Criccieth Beach Sunset Panorama (2)

As has happened the last few years Cadw (the Welsh Government’s historic environment service) has announced FREE entry to several of its properties to celebrate St David’s Day. ¬†The locations within 30 minutes of us are Harlech Castle, Criccieth Castle and Dolwyddelan Castle (there are several more in North Wales too). ¬†Details HERE. ¬†As we both love to go out exploring on at least one day each weekend we’ve decided to visit Criccieth if the weather is good enough.

Haven’t spent any time in Criccieth for nearly a year. ¬†The last time we were there the weather was good¬†enough to sit on the sea front and to “promenade” along the promenade. ¬†We didn’t visit the Castle last time¬†so it’ll be nice to see over it and refresh my memories of it. ¬†There are fantastic views across Cardigan Bay to Harlech and way beyond from the Castle and surrounding grounds. ¬†Did you know that Criccieth was one of the pioneering Cadw sites¬†that ran a trial of allowing dogs to visit (on a lead and with their owners of course)? ¬†And this has now been extended to more locations.

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As well a visiting the Castle we’ll most likely pop into Cadwaladers for an ice cream… a MUST when you’re in the town. ¬†Their cafe “overhangs” the beach with fantastic views across Cardigan Bay. ¬†They do great cake and coffee too. ¬†Have just heard about a Welsh Cake Sundae that they’re launching on Sunday. ¬†Sneaky peak HERE

There’s also a visit to Criccieth Lifeboat Station on the books too.

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We drop into lots of RNLI stations to say “Hi” as my partner (and his son) is a crew member of Holyhead Lifeboat Station. ¬†There’s always a warm welcome.

For future reference, Dylan’s, the restaurant currently based in Menai Bridge is opening a new venture on the beach (well almost) at Criccieth early Summer 2015. ¬†They’ve got all sorts planned for the town so they’ll be a place to visit maybe next time we visit. ¬†You’ll find some more information HERE.

I’ve also heard rumours that there maybe fish and chips for tea…. but where? ¬†No Dylan’s yet?

So now you know my plans for the weekend… how about you?

Will post some photos of the day if there are any decent ones – fingers crossed for good visibility from the Castle and no rain.

Criccieth is 19 miles from our log cabin accommodation at Cadair View Lodge and it takes about 29 minutes to drive there.


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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


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Everything Stops For Tea!

Cadair View Lodge Tea Time

You’ve driven for hours but now you’ve arrived. ¬†You’ve opened the cabin door – it’s warm and welcoming inside. ¬†The promised welcome basket is there waiting for you. ¬†The kettle is ready filled. ¬†Flick the switch, get the cups out, grab some tea bags (or coffee sticks) and the packet of biscuits from the welcome basket. ¬†Boiling water, milk from the fridge, RELAX!

Your holiday has begun!

Open the information pack and the biscuits – the car can be unpacked later.

Welcome baskets containing bread, milk, biscuits, tea, coffee, milk, butter, washing-up liquid, loo rolls, bin bags, kitchen towel and more provided FREE OF CHARGE with all stays at Cadair View Lodge in Snowdonia (even one night stays). ¬†We’ve provided it so that you don’t have to remember it.

Check out what else makes us special at www.CadairViewLodge.co.uk .

You can also call us on 01978 759603 or email info@cadairviewlodge.co.uk

Come to stay for a relaxing break soon


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Meal Out At Cross Foxes Bar Grill + Rooms

I’ve only been to the¬†Cross Foxes¬†(at junction of A470 + A494 south of Dolgellau) in the day time and on a grey and miserable day, so arriving in the dark gave a totally different impression. ¬†The outside is¬†subtly¬†lit with the slate steps leading to the front door in-laid with blue LED lights. ¬†Once through the front doors we were met by the homely smell of wax from candle lanterns and the smell of an open fire.

It was a mid-week night so the bar / dining room wasn’t very full but due to the layout it felt quite cosy and not as though we were in an empty space. ¬†Whilst I’m talking about it feeling quite cosy, it was also nice and warm due to the underfloor heating. ¬†I only know about this as the last time I was at The Cross Foxes I was attending an energy efficiency workshop and we were given a guided tour of the building to see all of the renovations and to hear about the energy efficiency measures that had been put in place. ¬†Anyway back to the meal…

The menu¬†isn’t huge but with the addition of the specials list there is plenty to choose from. ¬†For starters two of us chose breaded brie with sweet chilli sauce, one chose a goats cheese and beetroot tartlet and the other chose carrot and¬†coriander¬†soup. ¬†Dewi, the owner, who was looking after the bar and serving meals too, did warn that the soup had a kick to it and I’m told that he wasn’t wrong!

For main course we eventually chose battered sea bass and chips, faggots with mashed¬†potato¬†and two chose local pork sausages with mash. ¬†Rachel had a good laugh at me choosing faggots… not for the reason that you might suspect. ¬†She’s a bassoonist and the word “fagot” appears at the top of many of her musical scores (being the German word for bassoon) and the thought of a bassoon with mashed potato “tickled her”. ¬†My faggots were lovely. ¬†Lots of flavour and not at all dry (some that I’ve had elsewhere have been). ¬†Everybody who had the mashed potato said that they could’ve eaten more (although we did receive a¬†sizable¬†portion) as it was so nice… especially mixed with the really tasty gravy.

For dessert Olli decided that he could fit in a portion of sticky toffee pudding with ice cream… but then he could eat for Britain I’m sure. ¬†The rest of us decided that we could¬†only¬†fit in ice cream. ¬†We had poor Dewi scurrying backwards and forward to the kitchen asking about flavours. ¬†Being one to try the more unusual I had to try the Welsh Rarebit Ice-cream, and yes, it does have little chunks of Snowdonia Cheese in it and I can recommend that you try a scoop or two if you get the chance.

All in all we had a lovely evening. ¬†The service was very relaxed, at no point did we feel rushed. ¬†The atmosphere was cosy and warm – we certainly didn’t feel like jumping up and dashing away. ¬†There was some¬†Spanish¬†music playing in the background and then The Best of the Eagles CD. ¬†Loud enough to hear but not loud enough to be obtrusive.

If this is the usual standard of The Cross Foxes then I am not at all surprised that they have a mention in the 2012 Good Food Guide and a string of other awards.  I have no hesitation in recommending that you pay Dewi and Nichol a visit.

If you are driving to Cadair View Lodge from South Wales or from Shrewsbury direction then you will pass The Cross Foxes.  They serve dinner until 9.30pm and serve lunch from 12pm Р2.30pm (12pm Р9.30pm on a Sunday).  They also serve tea, coffee, sandwiches and cake in their cafe throughout the day.

 


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Cadair View Lodge 30 Minute Ring

Sunset view of Criccieth showing east beach and castle

View of Criccieth

So what is The Cadair View Lodge 30 Minute Ring?  

It’s all of the attractions, activities and tourist focused businesses that can be driven to, from Cadair View Lodge’s accommodation, in roughly 30 minutes. ¬†You can see how much of Snowdonia this takes in by looking on¬†The Map¬† We’re in the middle and the blue flags are placed in places that Google Maps says are 30 minutes away. ¬†To make it easier we’ve tried to place them in towns and villages so some are a few minutes over the 30 minutes.

Snowy view of Rhinog mountain range

Why 30 minutes?

When we started staying at Trawsfynydd, a long time ago before we started the business we thought that if we drove for more than 30 minutes (certainly back through Bala) we were well on our way home (living in Wrexham). ¬†When you look at how far you can drive in 30 minutes and what is inside of The Ring you’ll see that there is plenty to see and do without driving any further. ¬†We have mountains, forests, waterfalls, coast as well as castles, steam railways, mines plus picturesque towns and villages. ¬†There is also a huge diversity of activities – extreme and not so extreme to be found in the area.

Now that we have Cadair View Lodge we see the importance of supporting our local economy and tourism business community. ¬†Many visitors are attracted to Caernarfon, Snowdon, Llanberis, Conwy, etc. and don’t venture any further south in the Snowdonia National Park. ¬†We are aiming to highlight how much there is to do in our area and encouraging our guests to spend their money HERE.

View showing boats at anchor

Dawn at Borth y Gest

Advantages of staying within The Ring

  • Guests have often come on holiday to relax – why have the stress of hours of driving?
  • Children can get fed up on long car journeys – they’ve probably had a long journey to reach us – keep the journeys short when you’re here
  • Driving less reduces the price of your holiday
  • Using less fuel is better for the environment
  • Generally the places within The Ring are less¬†commercialised¬†and quieter than those further North
  • Staying within The Ring will support businesses and areas that are often overshadowed by the more popular areas within The Snowdonia National Park

We’re not saying that our guests mustn’t drive any further – for many the highlight of their trip is walking up Snowdon. ¬†We’re just saying that there is no need to.

Subscribe to¬†Cadair View Lodge Local¬†a daily e-paper which highlights stories from people on Twitter that are within The Ring. ¬†Or LIKE the 30 Minute Ring Facebook page (link below). ¬†Both will help to inform you about what’s happening within The Ring.

If you are a business, attraction or activity within The Ring and have a Twitter or Facebook presence and would like to included then get in touch with me sue.hall@cadairviewlodge.co.uk ¬†– it’s FREE. ¬†We would be very grateful if you’d promote us in return.

We will be creating a further map showing what’s inside of The Ring. ¬†At the moment businesses within The Ring are included on our website http://www.cadairviewlodge

Cadair View Lodge 30 Minute Drive Tourism Ring

Promote your Page too

A few of the major attractions within The Ring:

Llechwedd Slate Caverns

Fairbourne Railway

Ffestiniog & West Highland Railway

Portmeirion

Criccieth Castle

Harlech Castle