Mountain Talk

Mountain Talk
Forthcoming Events at the Siabod Cafe

We were delighted to host Eryri Harriers Presentation Night on Saturday so congratulations to all those who won awards (Paul’s still trying to figure out how he got a medal too?) & especially to Bronwin Jenkinson who had such a spectacular year with surely many more to come.

Hot on it’s heals are two more Events at the Cafe to make a note for your diaries:-

First up on Saturday 17th March we host the Snowdonia Society’s Quiz Night, no booking needed but might be prudent to reserve a table in advance.

Friday 6th April sees friends of ours (Rachel Bolton & Rob Johnson) give a presentation & music night entitled ‘Playing on the Pinn’ this promises to be something very different & we are looking forward to it immensely. Tickets are available now & can be purchased either at our counter or over the phone.

For full details of both Events just click onto our Events page, we hope you can attend.

Early Closing on Saturday 3rd March 2018

This Saturday evening sees us hosting the Eryri Harriers Presentation Evening which we are delighted to do.

As such the Cafe will be closing earlier than normal at 6:00 pm with last Hot Food orders at 5:30pm, hopefully that will still give you plenty of time to re-fuel after a day enjoying the snowy mountains & trails. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

‘Mountain’ Bob

It was on the cards but as ever when you learn of the loss of a friend that doesn’t make it any easier to accept. I am not in the habit of putting pen to paper in my blogs when someone close to us passes away, yes I briefly posted about the loss of Ian already the best part of 4 years ago but have restricted it to that, however in Bob Postings case I am going to make an exception. This is partly due to the way that Bob thrust himself upon our cafe in our early days & partly to help his daughter Colette spread the news that there will be a service in Bob’s memory & she would like anyone who knew Bob through his Outdoor Activities to come along to it.

So first things first, the service is to be held at Porthmadog KH at 12:00 on Saturday 17th March, postcode LL49 9EG, Colette has asked for dress code to be in your Mountain Gear &/or Colour, no Black. I hope you can make it to give this ‘One-Off’ a great send off. Bob died peacefully on Friday in a bed that had magnificent views of his beloved Snowdon, a more fitting end to a man who once scaled Crib Goch more than 250 times in a year is impossible to imagine.

My memories of Bob in the six short years that I knew him are many, we knew how to insult each other but more importantly both knew how to take it with a smile & a laugh & to come back for more but I’d like to share a few of the funnier anecdotes making no apologies for any that repeat parts of previous blogs. Please read on there is some ‘new’ stuff here too.

Bob found us soon after we opened our doors for the first time in March 2012, within weeks he was a regular visitor on Saturday & Sunday mornings, ever an early riser needing a tea or hot chocolate, veggie breakfast or beans on toast whilst waiting for his latest victims (some might say clients) to arrive. Soon his hidden caring side came to the fore, ‘Paul, you need to do this’, ‘Paul you need to do that’, was this his caring nature or just self-preservation as he willed us to succeed so that he could keep coming into a Cafe at 7:30 am? I believe a bit of both. As these suggestions flowed I almost set up a ‘Bob’s bin’ at our counter where I could simply write them down & bin them in Bob’s name but in truth he was a wily old sod, I listened & even in a few weaker moments acted, we quickly became friends.

By August 2012 we’d got to the stage where we challenged each other to a race, Bob would drive to Dolgarrog Gorge & I would run there across the mountainsides, he was even graceful enough to give me a few minutes head start, I’d subsequently saw his driving & would never have taken him on it had I’d known. I’ll blame once again a group of Boulderers causing me to trip along the shores of Llyn Cowlydd, knock myself out before running on bleeding profusely from a head wound & scaring the living daylights out of a couple of walkers. I of course lost the race but Bob had more tricks up his sleeve. After applying first aid ‘Come on Paul don’t wait there come up the Gorge with us’. The next hour or so saw Bob repeatedly fail to get his victims nay clients to take up his challenges ‘Paul you do it & show them how it’s done’, the bandaged me was soon clinging to a rock, energy sapped away due to lack of ‘bouldering’ (there I go again) skills, dunk, I was in a freezing pool paddling my beleaguered body to safety, Bob’s idea of admistering First Aid clearly bucking modern trends. From here another hour passed as we completed the gorge & trudged back to his car, the temperature was not rising in my running gear. He showed me off to surprised staff in my beloved Cotswold Outdoor before distracting Dorina back at the cafe whilst I sneaked upstairs to clean myself up. My headache lasted 3 weeks although you could argue for much longer as our friendship continued to grow.

Spring the following year saw me needing a lift from Bob to retrieve my car from the start of the Moelwyn race, this was, from memory, due to Dorina watching me at the race start & taking my car keys for safe keeping, my fault not hers, before driving herself back to a busy cafe. At race end Emily Wood gave me a lift back to the Cafe & Bob offered to run me back to Blaenau, yes I know best planning since Gallipoli! Bob pulled out of the cafe in front of a speeding Merc, who promptly overtook us. Not having that Bob floored it re-took the Merc leading us to be chased by road rage all the way over the Crimea Pass, just what a tired fellrunner had been looking for, at least I now knew the reason for my Dolgarrog defeat. I can only imagine that probable brain damage from the fall subsequently led me to get in a car with him on at least two more occasions.

Not long after in that same Spring, ‘Bob, I want to run the Welsh 3,000’s, I’m never keen to be on Crib Goch alone, fancy seeing me to the summit & then I’ll run onto the other 14 summits & see you the next day’, or words to that affect. The ‘boy’ in Bob took over, he began to bound up the Pyg track to show the boy what the Mountain Man could do. I was soon thinking now come on Bob get real, giving me more than 20 years on my type of climb you are going to come un-stuck! He was soon floundering needing to strip to his sweating waist as he puffed & spluttered his way to CG proper. Reaching the ‘wall’ he was a spent force, my choice of ‘guide’ a clear folly at this rate I’d not be starting the challenge let alone completing it that day. Moments later ‘Bob, I normally cut left & then traverse right here’, ‘sod that Paul, straight up & over is the way to do it’, he led, I learnt, the real Bob was back. He skipped up to the ridge ahead of me & then seeing me crawl tentatively along the ridge to the summit stood in front of me on one leg almost doing a cartwheel, cocky bastard & then bid me to try it receiving a definitive no in return. Once away from the ridge we bid each other a fond farewell the hare was off with Bob enthusing me on. This was later followed my my overshooting the contour descent line to Nant Peris & my infamous descent into my nicknamed ‘death gully’ a wet & shaly trap that I was lucky to escape alive. The next day I took Bob to Nant Peris to show him where I’d gone wrong ‘You descended that!’ as he creased up in ‘sympathy’ for my tale.

In a brief running career, with coach Paul, Bob took to the forest tracks & again the innocence of youth would lead him to spurt & then pant ‘will you ever learn’. I even persuaded him to buy a pair of Salomon Speedcross 3’s, months later with the heels hanging off (not due to running miles) I would comment ‘Bob, you need to loosen the laces before you kick them off’ . Un-perturbed he was soon seen in his similarly beloved Cotswold with a new pair FOC due to ‘quality issues’.

An anecdote which I received third hand due to being away at the time Skiing with Dorina was Bob taking Susan (a seriously disabled friend) on a snow viewing tour of the Ogwen valley. Only Bob would think about using the back road above Buck’s farm as the preferred route to Ogwen Cottage from Bethesda on snow covered roads, he was soon a Mountain Rescue Statistic something I’d narrowly avoided on that ‘race’ in 2012. Of course there was no gloating upon my return to the U.K. or at least none until I saw Bob!

I could go on but as you can see I had a lot of fun in the too few years that I knew the irascible old git aka ‘Mountain’ Bob, your memories may be similar, they may be better or they may be worse but there is no doubt he made his mark on those who knew him & not everyone can lay claim to that.

Bob fought his illness bravely & stubbornly, for him there simply could not be any other way, Colette, we feel for your loss, feel warmth & security that in this you are not entirely alone, I am sure there are many others who feel they have lost a unique Man.

Bob you are remembered warmly, kiddo & many others are thinking of you Dad.

Defibrillator Campaign reaches it’s Goal

We are pleased to announce that this Sunday saw the completion of the installation of the Defibrillator outside our Cafe so a big thank you once again to everyone who donated to the cause & to Tomos Hughes who completed the installation & has guided us throughout the campaign.

The Defib. is located immediately outside our main entrance doors & will be accessible to all but please note the important date of Friday 9th March when (between approximately 15:00 & 19:00) Tomos will be helping to provide free training to members of our staff as well as anyone else who wants to come along & learn how to use it, the more the merrier.

As for me, as I battled against ferocious headwinds around the Great Orme on Sunday together with over 600 other runners in the Nick Beer 10K there were times when I felt I might need a Defib. myself as the gusts did their best to take my breath away, so although I won’t be around on the 9th I will be making sure I get trained as soon as I return from my next sojourn.

Hope you can make the 9th & help us to maximise the benefit of this new Defib. to Capel & the Outdoor Community alike.

There’s Something Fishy Going On

Have you noticed the changes to our Weekend Specials? Gaby has teamed up with the excellent & renowned Mermaid Fishmongers of Llandudno to allow us to offer a wide variety of Fish options every weekend. With their expert guidance we hope to provide you with a wide variety of Fishy options throughout the year some of these will be based on their recommendations of what’s in season, so if like me & you love fish there is everything to look forward to as 2018 progresses.

These changes have already begun with Dover Sole, Cod, Haddock, Salmon & Scampi already making an appearance & being snapped up by customers. This weekend offerings will include mains of Battered Cod, Chips & Peas as well as Salmon & Dill Fishcakes with Potato Wedges & Salad. A couple of starters will also be available, Whitebait & Breaded King Prawns, both served with salad.

For those wanting a starter & mains why not pick this Saturday, although last food orders will be a little earlier than normal (7:00pm) you will then be able to dance the calories away to the sounds of Bandabacana!

Our Fishy Specials will be available  throughout the year every Friday, Saturday & Sunday whilst stocks last, we hope you enjoy them.

Bandabacana at the Cafe this Saturday

Just a reminder that Bandabacana are playing at the Cafe this Saturday so come along & keep warm by dancing the night away to their Sweet Grooves & Hypnotic Harmonies, free entry, for full details see our Events page, hope to see you!

Defibrillator Campaign

Monday morning found me in a very gloomy mood, the day before I had been subjected to a vicious verbal attack from a woman who chose to react badly to my request to keep her dog under control. I won’t go into details but it left me traumatised, her later attempts to falsify the events on facebook & no doubt in the days ahead on tripadvisor are of no surprise but even my logic cannot fully help me to realise the futility of being hurt by such abominable behaviour. As Monday afternoon wore on & my morale still side-swiped by the incident a shining light shone into my life via Johnathan who helps us with our Facebook & Twitter pages, a customer had made contact asking about our Defib. campaign.

Within an hour this very same customer donated £500 towards our campaign, the second such donation we’ve received in little over a week, this was incredibly good news for our campaign but in equal measure was incredibly good news for me as I was jolted back to the reality that so many people enjoy & show affection for what we try our best to provide through our Cafe, ‘Paul, don’t let one incident affect you in such a way’. Of course easier said than done but I have come back to the light, so thank you Chris, I look forward to meeting you.

Regarding the campaign I am delighted to announce that together with many other kind donations, proceeds from Alex Kendal’s presentation we have now exceeded our target of £1,500, indeed we have reached £1,690.00. This morning I have asked Tomos Hughes of Achub Calon Y Dyffryn to commence the purchase & installation of the Defib. so that it can hopefully be in place before the end of February, with any excess in funds going to help Tomos secure another Defib. for the local area. I will of course keep you posted on it’s progress but in the meantime on behalf of all of us involved in the campaign thank you to all of you who have donated, clearly we are a like minded bunch of basically good people, thank you!

Cash is King

Well at least it is if you are visiting the cafe today. At midday yesterday our phone lines went down & this disabled our card machine. We have been onto BT repeatedly to get it fixed but it doesn’t look like a solution will be in place until sometime on Friday 19th January presumably they are a little busy after last night’s storm. Just to be on the safe side you might like to pack some cash if you are planning to visit us this weekend, sorry for any inconvenience caused but Mother Nature reminds us that she can be in charge of our ‘modern’ world.

Talking about inconveniences in order to open the cafe this morning I had to change into Chainsaw operator mode & cut our way out of our house’s driveway at 6:00 am this morning only for the Cafe to suffer a mid-morning power cut which has also affected Betws too. At least we now have power back, Capel back on before Betws could be a bit of a first? 

So that covers things that comes in 3’s or………

Hope you have fared a bit better in the storm, can’t remember it being given a name so maybe it was just a bit of old fashioned weather!

Snowdonia Way – Signed copies available

Our thanks to Alex Kendal, creator & author of this new route & Cicerone guide, who gave an excellent & informative presentation about the route & it’s creation at the cafe on Saturday night.

Ticket sales raised £272.00 & will be split equally towards the BMC’s campaign to improve a notorious footpath on Cader Idris & our own campaign for a Defibrillator to be housed outside the Cafe, so thanks too to all those who attended.

Alex went down well selling 19 copies of the guide book on the night but then called in again on Sunday & signed a further 9 copies which are available from our counter so be quick if you want to plan & discover this great route yourselves.


The night raised £272.00 

Defibrillator Campaign

I am delighted to announce that our campaign in association with Achub Y Dyffren & Cardiac Charity SADS UK to purchase & install a Defibrillator outside our Cafe has got of to a flying start with the total donated so far, after just 5 weeks, already reaching £377.00. A big thank you to all who have donated so far.

This will receive a further boost later today when half of the ticket sales to Alex Kendall’s talk about his Walking the Snowdonia Way Cicerone Guide book gets underway at the cafe at 8:00 pm. There are still tickets available, seE our Events page for details. The other half of ticket sales goes to mending a footpath on Cader Idris, more than fitting as the Snowdonia Way has a higher route alternative which climbs Cader Idris as well as some other of Snowdonia’s iconic mountains.

Remember our target is to raise £1,500 so please support the cause, the collection tin sits on the right side of our counter.