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Traveller's Journal: Snowdonia National Park - Day 4

For the first time this week Llanberis awoke bathed in sunshine. The gorgeous weather had stirred more than most from their beds at the Royal Victoria Hotel. The breakfast room was buzzing with activity. Despite my early start I still could not catch a seat in the conservatory and the magnificent views of the village. Once more I took my table with the four walls for company and tucked into some hearty cereals. I skipped the traditional English breakfast.

Though nice, it can get a little tedious day after day. After breakfast I decided to explore the hotel grounds. The hotel sits amongst 30 acres of woodland before backing into Padarn Country Park. Kitted and booted I made my way to the back of the car park and picked up the trail into the woods. The earlier rain had made ground slippy underfoot; puddles of mud were everywhere making progress a little tricky.

A narrow path led from the car park and climbed gently until sounds of the cars along the main road were all but inaudible. The only noise was the songs of birds dancing in the trees and scurrying in the undergrowth searching for grubs. A rushing river could be heard faintly in the distance whilst the suns rays penetrated the branches overhead illuminating the foliage around me. I soon came to a small fence which I scaled with ease. Once past the fence the land began to open up more. Dolbadarn Castle was now visible at the top of the hill. The castle ruins date back to the thirteenth century. Most of the building has crumbled away over time. All that remains now is the castle keep and what's left of the old castle walls. But she remains a grand sight and I made my way up the winding path to the entrance of the keep.

The narrow spiral staircase was remarkably well preserved and I began the careful ascent to the top. The tight twisting steps felt uncomfortable to climb. You find yourself leaning forward and palming the steps at head height to help maintain your balance. I would imagine in wet weather it becoming treacherous underfoot. You reach the top just grateful to still be in one piece, but what a magnificent view. Peering through the narrow slit opening the beauty of lake Lynn Padarn fills your view, bordered by the magnificent Snowdonia mountains. It makes it all worthwhile.


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