Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Nellie's favourite doggy places around Llwyngwril

Well its nearly the end of October and I've been on my holidays to Yorkshire, darn sarth and up to the Lake District.

It was great - new smells to sniff everywhere! But now I'm back home and I'm happy. I know where to go on my walks and I've got my own big field to race round and round and round. There's always squirrels to chase and one of these days I'll get one! When Big Mike and Big Wilma have enough time we go off on longer walks to places like Borth y Gest - my favourite cos I love haring in and out of the dunes, up and down cliff top trails, along the big long sandy beaches and in and out of the sea chasing seagulls. When we've had enough we can go back to the Sea View Café where they like dogs. They even give out doggy treats to well behaved dogs like me!

This summer we made it up to the top of Cader Idris but our walk took a lot longer than usual cos BW thought she'd lost her phone that she's always on. We went half way back up the mountain again but  she eventually found it right back at the bottom again! Silly woman.
BM was going to put me on a lead but we didn't see any of those daft woolly creatures so I didn't need to have my lead on that day, only when we got back to the road.

Another day we went up Bird Rock in the Dysynni Valley but there were lots of woolly sheepy things around so I had to stay on my lead that day -booooo! Great view from the top though!

But  my bestest places to go for a good run are on all the great beaches around here- Llwyngwril of course is my favourite place for stone chasing but Fairbourne , Tywyn , Aberdyfi and Barmouth are great too. There are loads and loads of seagulls to chase and I can keep going all day long chasing them! Big Mike and Big Wilma tell me that dogs like me are only supposed to be on certain parts of the beaches so of course we do as we're told.

The Mawddach Trail is another brilliant place for 'walkies' and there are some lovely muddy ditches that run alongside the trail in places that I just love to fall accidentally into. Lovely jubbly!

Coed y Brenin Forest Park is an amazing place for walks/runs. There are gazillions of trails and no sheepy woolly things! Just watch out for the crazy bikers zooming past! Dogs can go in the café too. They even have dog water bowls outside the visitor centre for when we get back all thirsty.

Some people come to the cottages with dogs and are always asking where they can take their dogs to eat - I mean where they can go to eat, and take their dogs with them :)
So here goes - The Garthangharad Pub in the village are happy to have dogs in the back bar.
The George III at Penmaenpool don't mind dogs in the bar and there's a great log fire to lie by in the winter.
The Last Inn in Barmouth welcome dogs inside.
The Penhelig Arms and Dovey Arms in Aberdyfi are happy to have dogs in the bars and there's always a lazy black dog snoring in a corner of the bar in The Railway at Abergynolwyn.
Caffi Caban up in Brynefail at the end of Llyn Padarn are happy to let dogs in the outside eating bit and the walk round the lake is a good one with flat bits on one side and up and down wiggly bits at the other side!
I can go on the trains here that go along the coast but I don't like the getting on and getting off very much.
Somebody told BM and BW that dogs can go around Harlech Castle and Criccieth Castle but we haven't tried them yet. we'll let you know.
If anybody else can tell me about any other places where I'm allowed  to go then let me know and I'll try them out - as long as there's seagulls to chase :)
Haven't I grown!!!

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Art and Crafts of Llwyngwril

If you're at a loss what to do this weekend, then come to Llwyngwril. You can buy a map/guide at the Riverside Stores in the village then spend a pleasant hour or two wandering around the village viewing all the amazing yarn bombing installations and decorations that can be found, not only along the main street but in and around the village, down footpaths and side streets. This year's yarn bombing exercise is following the theme of sheep dog trials to coincide with the International Sheep Dog Trials taking place in Tywyn in September. Any donations are welcome and will help towards the upkeep of y Ganolfan. Be prepared to be amazed!

Then don't miss Llwyngwril Art Group's Annual Art Exhibition at y Ganolfan on Saturday , Sunday and Monday , from 10am until 5am. This exhibition showcases the work that a few amateur , yet promising and very keen residents of Llwyngwril and environs have produced over the last year. You can just browse and choose your favourite piece, or you can buy one or more of the works of Art. You can enter a raffle and win a fantastic original painting buy a local artist or photographer and you can finish off your visit with a cuppa and piece of cake. What better way to spend the day!

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

What's going on around here this summer?

Well the 'summer' is in full swing here in southern Snowdonia and the weather isn't really going according to plan. Not to worry - if you're lucky enough to be in Llwyngwril this summer, there's lots going on around the area to keep you entertained.

You can't have failed to miss all the fantastic yarn-bombing around the village but it's not just adorning the main street- there's lots more in the little streets and pathways around the village. Just buy a map at Riverside Stores and that guide you around the village so you don't miss a treat. You don't want to miss our Scottish shepherd/piper! This year's yarn-bombing theme is helping to promote the International Sheep Dog Trials that will be held in Tywyn over the weekend beginning the 9th of September. Llwyngwril's yarn-bombers are now busy knitting gifts that can be bought at their stall at the Sheep Dog Trials. See our last blog for more information.

Throughout the summer you can go for a coffee and yummy cake at the weekly Wednesday coffee morning in Y Ganolfan, Llwyngwril , from 10.30am to 12.30pm

Also weekly in Y Ganolfan are yoga sessions with Possy Scwartz every Thursday evening at 7.30pm.

There's a fiercely fought quiz night in the Garthangharad pub in the village every Tuesday evening.

On Saturday (6th of August) the annual Llwyngwril Summer Fair will be held in the field near the train station, beginning at 1pm. Lots of stalls, games, cream teas, and entertainment by a local brass band.

It's Llwyngwril Garden Club Annual Show in Y Ganolfan, Llwyngwril on the 13th of August. Look out for posters around the village.

Y Ganolfan Llwyngwril Summer Music Evening on Saturday 20th, 7.30pm - performances from local musicians. Food available from the Tasty Truck. Ring Sue on 01341 250062 for tickets.

Not to be missed!!! Llwyngwril Art Group will be holding their Annual Art Exhibition in Y Ganolfan over the Bank Holiday Weekend from Saturday 27th of August until Monday the 29th of August, 10am -5pm. You can just browse, vote for your favourite art work, buy an original piece of art at reasonable prices, win an excellent raffle prize or just come in and have a coffee and piece of cake. There are some budding 'young' artists in Llwyngwril!

Further afield Dolgellau have a Craft market every 2nd Saturday in the Free Library  from 10am -3pm. The next ones are on the 13th and 27th of August.

There's also the Dolgellau Farmers' Market every 3rd Sunday from 10am - 2pm. The next one is on Sunday the 21st of August.

Another big event locally is the hugely popular Race the Train on Saturday the 20th of August, where hundreds of runners attempt to race the Tallyllyn train from Tywyn out to near Abergynolwyn and back again. The first race starts at 11am.

If you enjoy music then you're in for a treat if you go to watch and listen to Cor Meibion Bro Dysynni (Welsh Male Voice Choir) when they hold their Summer Concert at the Catholic Church in Tywyn on Friday the 26th of August at 7.30pm.  (You can also see them at St Peter's in Pennal on Wednesday 17th August, 7.30pm)

There's also traditional Welsh music at the George III Stable bar, Penmaenpool every 3rd Wednesday (next one 17th Aug). Everyone welcome to go and play or listen. 7.30-11.30pm

Across the estuary in Barmouth (best to park at Morfa Mawddach and walk across the bridge, we always say) the RNLI are holding a Fun Day on Sunday the 14th of August with refreshments, stalls, games and the opportunity to meet and chat to the crew.10.30am -3.30pm

Barmouth have a new club this season. You can try out Stand Up Paddleboarding in the harbour and Mawddach Estuary. Visit www.supbarmouth.co.uk for more details.

At the stunning Italianate village of Portmeirion near Porthmadog, the annual music/arts/culture festival will be held over the weekend of the 1st/2nd/3rd/4th of September. Acts include Noel Gallagher, Bastille, Super Furry Animals. Visit www.festivalnumber6.com for more details

If it does happen to rain (or even if it doesn't!) then you can always go to watch a film at the lovely Magic Lantern cinema in Tywyn. You can view their full listings here http://www.tywyncinema.co.uk/#!films/cwzt

Of course there's always the little railway at Fairbourne, the Craft Centre at Corris and Bendigedig Soft Play Centre in Barmouth, not to mention all the stunning scenery around where you can walk for miles and miles away from the crowds that you would normally encounter in northern Snowdonia.

If you're up for more adventure there's always mountain biking in Coed y Brenin, zip wiring at Zip World or trampoline underground at Bounce Below at
www.zipworld.co.uk/adventure/detail/bounce-below , or try out surfing at www.surfsnowdonia.co.uk/

So there should be something there for everyone! Have a great summer everyone!

Saturday, 2 July 2016

What's all this knitted stuff about? (and when Julie Walters came to Llwyngwril!)

Last Spring a few very imaginative and creative ladies in the village of Llwyngwril came up with the idea of yarn bombing the village, in an effort to bring the community together, brighten up the village and create a bit of interest to bring tourists in, while at the same time trying to collect some donations to raise money towards the Ganolfan (our village hall). Some people said, " What a daft idea!" or " What will happen when it rains? and other such unhelpful remarks.
Before long brightly coloured knitted bunting started to appear, shortly followed by knitted birds, fish, lobsters, moles, starfish and all manner of woolly creatures. The idea really took off and by the time the summer holidays arrived we had Gwril the local giant perched on the bridge closely followed by his wife the mermaid Moriania and then their baby drinking out of a huge baby's bottle, while lounging in a pushchair.

Word soon got round and visitors were coming to the village in their droves. Tourists could buy maps in the village shop that told the story of Gwril and his family while guiding people round the yarnbombing trails. Arriva trains even made a point of pointing out our woolly creations on Llwyngwril station platform. Amazingly by March this year donations amounted to over £2000!! What an achievement for the yarnbombers (men as well as ladies!) of Llwyngwril.

Buoyed up by their success of last year, the yarnbombers got together again earlier this year and made plans for this year's display. Some key characters from last year were washed, spruced up and put back out on display. However disaster struck and two days after Gwril was put back out on his perch on the bridge, he mysteriously disappeared overnight!! Police were involved, newspapers informed and ITV Cymru even reported on Gwril's disappearance , but up till now he has not been found. But never fear, he will be resurrected one way or another!

Anyway, this year, the Yarn Bombing has an extra focus. In September the International Sheep Dog Trials will take place in nearby Tywyn so knitters and crotcheters? have been busy creating very woolly sheep, sheepdogs, shepherds, banners, flags, etc., all based on the Sheepdog trial theme. There's even a super sheep warming up on his bike near the public toilets! Many more creations will be going on display throughout the summer.

Storymaps will soon be available to buy in the village shop and if you would like to make a donation there is a pouch in the village shop. Sponsors would also be very welcome as all the materials including trackers (to keep trace on all our characters) need to be funded.Just get in touch with us at Pentre Bach on cottages@pentrebach.com and we'll put you in touch with the organisers.

Come and visit Llwyngwril this summer and you'll be in for a real treat!

P.S. the sheep next to the shepherd is Pentre Bach's contribution to the yarnbombing project.

Gwril has returned! Although he looks a little different .....
PPS Julie Walters visited the village in October and joined in with some yarn bombing as part of filming for a new Channel 4 series about coastal communities.

Monday, 16 May 2016

Coed y Brenin - Go Apeless!

Last Thursday I accompanied my exercise-addicted daughter along to Coed y Brenin, a forest a few miles north of Dolgellau, so that she could spend the afternoon mountain biking. As we drove into the car park, I thought that something was missing. It wasn't until we'd parked up and got out of the car that it dawned on me that Go Ape was missing! We'd come as a family or accompanied groups of our daughters' friends to enjoy climbing up into the trees, zipping down zip wires and clambering across precarious looking rope bridges on a number of occasions over the past few years. (Well to be honest I use the term 'we' very loosely - I was always the official photographer, as I have no head for heights).  So what has happened to Go Ape at Coed y Brenin? It always seemed popular enough. Did it not attract enough business? Did their lease with Coed y Brenin run out? There's not a sign that it was ever there now. Whatever happened , it's a real shame.
Anyway Coed y Brenin forest is still a great place to visit, whether you're a couple wanting to exercise your dog (which is what I did for a couple of hours last Thursday), or you're a group of adrenalin junkies wanting to enjoy the buzz of hurtling downhill on two wheels while getting plastered in mud or you're a family who want to enjoy the children's playground followed by a wander round the visitor's centre and a cup of tea and cake in the cafe.
There are a number of biking trails ranging from easy to extreme, as well as a network of running/ walking trails that criss-cross the forest, a running gear shop, bike hire shop (quite pricey but well equipped), toilets and showers, and the visitor's centre and cafe as previously mentioned. You could easily spend all day here but be warned that you have to pay for the car park (I paid £3 for 3 hours) - but at least the trails are free!
It does get very busy at weekends so if you can, go during the week when you can spend a couple of hours wandering or biking the trails (which are very well maintained) away from the crowds , if that's what you want to do. I only passed 4 people and 2 dogs altogether but did hear a cuckoo on my walk last week.
I still want to know what happened to Go Ape!

May 19th - Go Ape have informed me that the high ropes course at Coed y Brenin was destroyed in the storms of 2013. What a shame.

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Stags and Hens

After great deliberation we took the decision when we first opened Pentre Bach to say 'yes' to requests to have Stag or Hen parties at Pentre Bach.
Our first group was a Stag Party back in 2008. A group of young men (plus a couple of not so young men) came and set up the dining room as a temporary casino. They played roulette and poker all weekend, all wearing masks that made them look like the groom-to-be. A few liquid refreshments might also have been taken over the weekend, a great time was had by all and the house was left in a very tidy state. We then had the pleasure of welcoming back some of the stags with their respective families at a later date.

Since then we've probably hosted two or three Stag and Hen parties a year. If you want a Stag or Hen Party consisting of pub crawling or night clubbing in pink tutus until the early hours, then Pentre Bach is not the venue for you.
Perhaps the tide is now turning regarding locations for these parties. Being invited to a wedding is expensive enough these days without the added cost of going abroad for up to a week, and spending so much money on alcohol that the participants have no idea of where they are anyway! Now many groups are preferring just to spend time in each others' company, in comfort, surrounded by beautiful countryside. The weekend doesn't have to be boring though!

We've just had a Hen Party, where the ladies enjoyed a day at Zip World and exploring caves near Blaenau Ffestiniog, followed up by a Murder Mystery evening, while dressed up as their characters. They had a brilliant weekend.

Other parties have involved pony trekking, gorge walking and white water rafting, while another group preferred the more sedate pastimes of candle making and chocolate making at Corris Craft Centre.

We also believe that one Hen party managed to engage the services of a male stripper but we've no idea where he came from!!

Saturday, 13 February 2016

8 years of Pentre Bach

Last week we passed our eight year anniversary of when we bought Pentre Bach. What have we achieved in those eight years?
We've had 16 pv solar panels installed on the main house roof which help to create electricity for us on sunny days, as well as had the 2 existing solar panels, that helped to heat the water, replaced.
We've decorated and furnished the main house, as well as added fire doors, a complete new heating and hot water system, put in two new bathrooms, replaced four showers and replaced several carpets to change it from a family home into a holiday let to sleep up to 17 people. Mike has painted the whole of the outside of the house a lovely off white colour to cover up the drab grey that it used to be - a massive job. All the old sash windows have been refurbished.
We've put three new kitchens into the cottages as well as  adding new curtains, carpets, floor coverings and beds. Y Llaethdy has had all the windows replaced.
Walls have been taken down and other walls erected, car parking spaces added and outdoor patios installed with patio furniture so that guests can enjoy the gardens.
Wi-Fi has been provided for all guests to access.
An area for playing ball games has been made in the field, well away from our fragile windows!
Vegetables continue to be grown in the walled garden (although not on such a grand scale as the previous owners) but the outside vegetable garden down the side of the field has been turned into a wild flower area for our bees who reside in two hives in the walled garden.
We have 66 wonderful reviews (well 65 are!) on Trip Advisor and have been awarded a certificate of excellence by Trip Advisor so we must be doing something right! Plus we have lots of guests who keep coming back year after year. We even got bookings for 2018!
There's still so much to do to maintain the properties and gardens. We'll never just sit back and twiddle our thumbs!

Plans for April 2016 include new carpets for 4 bedrooms, New curtains for the two windows in bedroom 2, and a complete new window for bedroom 2. Watch this space for photographs of bedroom 2!
And here they are!

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

A rather damp December and what to look forward to in 2016

A very Happy New Year from Pentre Bach!

Well December turned out to be the wettest on records but fortunately for us here at Pentre Bach, we escaped the worst of the weather, almost unscathed.

We had one brave, determined and some would say - foolish guest, who stayed in Y Llaethdy in mid December ,who took part in the Run to the Castle ultra race, 42 miles from Aberdyfi to Harlech!! He was one of the few to finish the race in atrocious conditions but he did it - in 11 hours!! Hats off to him.

Our guests who stayed with us over Christmas and New Year were much more content to snuggle up inside, next to roaring log fires, drinking mulled wine and playing games. They all commented on how cosy , yet spacious the house and cottages were. They did all manage to venture out to sample local pubs and brave bracing walks along nearby beaches, at some point in their stays.

So its now 2016 and as I write I can spot some welcome patches of blue sky out there. Is the weather taking a turn for the better at last?

What to look forward to in 2016?
Those of you who visited Llwyngwril between May and October last year will remember the amazing yarn bombing project that graced the village.

Well its going to happen again this year but you'll have to wait and see what the theme is going to be! Watch this space!

The usual events will be occurring again.
The Three Peaks Yacht Race will be setting off from Bamouth on June the 11th this year. It's quite a spectacle to watch the yachts set off on their epic journey.

The Race the Train event will be happening on the 20th of August this year. Anyone up for it?
And something different this year. Tywyn have been chosen to host the International Sheep Dog Trials 2016- a very prestigious event in the world of sheep dog trials! They'll be held at Sandilands Farm near Tywyn over the weekend of the 8-11th of September. We still have accommodation available if you fancy coming to watch - or even take part!
Nellie's looking forward to that!