About Me

My photo
Hi! I'm Eunice and I live in Bolton, Lancashire, with my two dogs Sophie and Sugar and an assortment of cats - well it used to be Sophie and Sugar, now it's Sophie and Poppie. I first began camping back in 1997 when my then partner took me to Anglesey for my birthday weekend. We slept in the back of the car - a hatchback - using the cushions off the settee at home as a mattress, and cooked and brewed up on a single burner camping stove. The site was good, the views were great, the weather fantastic and I was completely hooked. Following that weekend we got a two-man tent and some proper accessories and returned to Anglesey two weeks later, then over time we progressed to a three-man tent followed by an old trailer tent, then a new trailer tent, a campervan and finally a caravan. When my partner decided that the grass was greener on the other side of the street - literally - in April 2009 and I suddenly found myself alone after fifteen years, I decided there was no way I was going to give up camping and caravanning if I could cope on my own. This blog is the story of my travels, trials and tribulations since becoming a solo camper - I hope you like it

Monday March 28th 2016 - Betws-y-Coed & Llyn Brenig

After waking briefly a couple of times during the night and hearing rain on the tent yet again I was quite surprised when I looked out just before 7am that morning and saw snow on the ground. It made a change from rain though, and when I took the dogs for their first walk of the day I was able to go right down the lane to the village and back without getting wet. Although it wasn't particularly cold just then the temperature must have dropped considerably overnight as when I took the milk out of the coolbox to make a brew I found it was frozen almost solid - and that was with the fan heater on low all night to take the chill off the tent.

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.


  1. Ooh, that looks COLD! Sorry about your van, hope it's not too badly bashed.
    The Glasgow Gallivanter

    1. Even though it looks cold it wasn't that bad, in fact I didn't even have my gloves on when I took the dogs for a walk.

      The van isn't horrendously bad but it's bad enough - the door will have to come off to be straightened out then it may need a bit of a respray. That's going to be done tomorrow and I should have it back in time for work the following day.

  2. You certainly had a mixture of weather, that snow must have been cold.
    Still it's spring now so perhaps next time you go camping the sun will make an appearance.

  3. It wasn't cold Yvonne, just wet and slushy.

    I'm planning on going back there in a month's time so hopefully the weather will be much better and I'll get some decent sunshine.

  4. Sorry to hear you damaged your van. I'm one of those people who like Betws-y-coed and actually went on Thursday and blogged about it yesterday! If you go over the bridge and past the toilet block there is a good dog walk alongside the river. We don't venture too far on it as husband is disabled. I expect you won't be tempted to go though after your recent visit.!
    I was surprised you encountered snow, of course we don't get much if any here on the coast. I'm really enjoying reading about your adventures and
    I like going to Llyn Brenig too. I've never walked all the way around it but it is nice and relaxing there.

  5. When I went to Betws-y-Coed four years ago I was actually looking for some spare guy lines for the tent, and of all the outdoor shops there not a single one had any. Even a large Yeomans tent exhibition on the playing field didn't have any camping accessories so I was less than impressed - and after my most recent experience of the place I won't ever be going again for any reason.

    Llyn Brenig is a totally different matter though. I found out about it last year when it was featured briefly in part of an old fishing programme from about ten years ago - I thought it looked nice for photography and dog walking so decided to check it out when I got chance, and I'm glad I did as I liked what I saw. It's only ten miles from the camp site so in much sunnier weather and with more time to spare I'll definitely go back there and explore much further.

  6. I do hope the Betws-y-Coed tourist board have not put a contract out on you ! Refreshing to find someone who calls it the way they see it. It does look a bit bleak though. I like the otter.

  7. It's the sort of place AT where you could go back in twenty, thirty or even fifty years time and nothing will have changed, it'll still be the same shops and cafes selling the same overpriced stuff. I think the nicest part of the village is the bit by the river, that will change with the seasons and provide some good photos, but other than that I don't see what the attraction is. Actually I've a good mind to write a warts-and-all review of the place on Tripadvisor!

    Llyn Brenig was totally different - no crowds, plenty of good dog walking, excellent views and a nice cafe with reasonable prices. Now that's a place I will definitely go back to.


I really appreciate good comments - who doesn't? - but due to a recent tide of spam from anonymous readers all comments will now be moderated, and only those with a direct bearing on this blog will be published. I'm sure my regular blog readers/commenters will understand the need for this - and to anyone whose comment isn't published, you know why.