The snow didn't linger for long though, it was very wet and slushy and by mid morning it had all melted away and the rain was back, though there was an occasional slight break in the clouds where the sun tried to come through. By lunch time the rain had changed to intermittent showers so I decided to chance going out, though not to where I'd originally planned, and opted to drive along the A5 to Betws-y-Coed.
Now I should have known better really - I went there for a reason four years ago and the place was a nightmare so I swore blind I would never go back again, and I was soon to wish I'd stuck to my previous decision. The village was absolutely heaving with tourists and trying to find a space in the main car park was like looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack; round and round I went, with not a cat in hell's chance of getting in anywhere - and then disaster struck. A motorhome pulled out from an offshoot on my left, leaving a decent-sized parking space for me to get into, but being a much larger vehicle than mine it didn't leave me much room to get round the corner and crunch! - I caught the side door of the van on a solid wooden stump sticking up about two-and-a-half feet from the ground. And to add insult to injury, by the time I'd inspected the damage - a huge 2ft long dent in the bottom of the door - a smaller car had nipped into the parking space I was aiming for.
To say I wasn't a happy bunny was the understatement of the year but there was nothing I could do about it and as I still couldn't find a parking space I gave up with that car park and went in search of somewhere else. A smaller car park along the road was also full, as was another one across the river, so I decided to try down the lane at the far side of the station. There was a small car park there which was free and only supposed to be for customers of the railway shop and museum but there was a vacant space so I pulled into it - and to justify being there I went into the railway shop for a quick look round.
Leaving the dogs in the van, as it was far too busy with people and other dogs to take them with me, I went for a look round the shops - and confirmed my own previous opinion that this was a dreadful place. Drab grey stone buildings lined the road and every other shop was an 'outdoor' shop selling nothing but cycling, walking and hiking gear and outdoor clothing, with three or four pricey gift shops, a couple of galleries, several overpriced cafes and restaurants and a couple of not-exactly-cheap mini-markets thrown in. Even the Swallow Falls, which many people rave about, is a once-you've-seen-it-you-don't-need-to-go-again place, and I certainly wasn't going to pay just for the privilege of standing on a metal platform to photograph a waterfall. At least the sun eventually came out and I was able to take a few photos by the riverside, and the highlight of the day was finding another Mrs Brown's Boys dvd in a gift shop near the station.
Back at the van I didn't even bother letting the dogs out as there was nowhere decent nearby to take them so I decided to go check out Llyn Brenig and take them for a walk there. Betws-y-Coed may be an okay place for those who like walking and hiking and need to buy the relevant gear but I really don't understand why it's such a big attraction for everyone else - and as I drove back along the A5 I vowed that I would now stick to my decision of four years ago and never ever go back there again.
By the time I got to Llyn Brenig I was more than ready for a brew so it was nice to see that the visitor centre had a cafe. A large slice of coffee and walnut cake and a mug of latte coffee were soon demolished then Sophie and Poppie were finally let out of the van and we set off to explore. At the side of the lake I came across a large and very strange-looking wooden sculpture which presumably was supposed to be an otter; seen from the back it looked rather odd and viewed from the front it appeared to have quite a grumpy look on its face but I took a photo of it anyway then set off towards the dam at the end of the lake.
The bottom end of the lake turned out to be wider than it looked from near the visitor centre and it took a while to walk across the dam so when I reached the far end I turned and retraced my steps. I could have gone further round the lake but the clouds were gathering again and I didn't want to risk getting rained on; the dogs had had a reasonable walk so it was time to return to the van and head back to the camp site.
Later that evening I watched the dvd I'd bought and found it to be almost as funny as the one I'd watched the night before - and with my immediate camping neighbours having left the site while I'd been out I didn't have to worry about my constant gales of laughter disturbing anyone. When the dvd finished I took the dogs for a final brief walk to the end of the site and back, tidied the tent and made myself a mug of hot chocolate, then settled down in bed for my last night on site.