Mountain Talk

Mountain Talk
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.

Paul’s Blog – The Snowdonia Way

Saturday 6th January 2018 sees us hosting Alex Kendall’s presentation of The Snowdonia Way. Alex both devised this new route & is the Author of the Cicerone guide detailing it which came into publication in February this year, details of his presentation including how to purchase tickets for it can be found on our Events page.

Alex & I put this date in our diaries 9 months ago with me saying ‘I’ll aim to do it before then so that I can add insight if needed’, well time flies as did my year so inevitably by mid-December I had not set a foot on it! So urgent action was needed, a plan hatched, ‘Dorina I’m going to run it over 3 days, Monday to Wednesday the week leading into Christmas providing the weather isn’t awful’.

The forecast looked relatively O.K., the snow had gone, the run was on so at just before 8:00 am on Monday 18th Dorina took my picture at Machynlleth’s Clock tower & wished me well, ‘take it easy darling the pavement is icy!’

Indeed it was a surprisingly cold start, a late frost had descended from the clearing skies, it was a beautiful start to the run but a tad treacherous under foot on the early tarmac section of the route. I was kitted out with plenty of spare food, drinks & warm clothing & also a new waterproof camera together with the guidebook itself, this was to be an experience to be enjoyed safely & not a race. 

The plan for Day 1 was to reach Trawsfynydd some 29.5 miles later where my neighbour Bill would pick me up & drive me back home. The dawn was glorious, the Kilometres were clicking by, I was soon heading into the remote upper reaches of the Llefenni valley with fabulous light thinking ‘I’ve never been here before, it’s beautiful’. Dolgellau would come & go as I made my one significant Nav. error just after it’s Golf Course, this added a little but being local I could figure out where I was & soon re-joined the route as it headed North towards my home village of Ganllwyd. This section would take me through an area where I knew navigation would be difficult but true to his words at the Quiz night two days before Alex’s directions were clear & accurate & I was soon descending back to more familiar ground. At Bill’s house (literally metres below mine) I stopped to re-supply from a cach I’d left earlier in the day & gave myself a talking to ‘yes Paul you’ve done a marathon, 400 metres could see you back home, but Traws. was the plan so Traws. it will be, it can’t be anymore than 7/8 miles’. Several talking to’s later Traws. came into sight but I thwarted this by getting lost in a muddy field ‘need to talk to Alex about this’, back or forward? Forward over two walls, knock on Farmer’s door to apologise, no answer but at least I’d tried.

Just after 14:30 having phoned Bill a little earlier I ran into Traws. to find Bill waiting at the statue of Welsh Poet, Hedd Wyn, Day 1 over but longer than expected at 35.5 miles.

Overnight my sore throat of the last few days which had seen me finish Eryri’s Sunday fun run with unusually achy legs blossomed into a feverish cold giving me a fitful night’s sleep, I awoke for the umpteenth time thinking I really don’t want to do this.

Dorina again prepared breakfast & Lemsip & was soon dropping me off at Traws. for the start of leg 2 at 8:00 am, as I left her I utterred ‘Dorina today I may need to bail’. The route today would start by taking me over the long footbridge which crosses Llyn Trawsfynydd & after a road section onto an improved footpath which took me around the Western side of the lake to reach the dam. This delightful section despite the mist & drizzle which had invaded during the night seemed to lift my spirits, the fever had left & I even began to enjoy myself. From here to Penrhyndeudraeth took a bit of navigating but again Alex’s directions were clear & could be followed as I stopped frequently to make sure I kept taking the right tracks, a particular highlight was coming across Llyn Tecwyn for the first time. From Penryn. the route took me over to Rhyd, where a crass bit of forestry cutting almost obliterated the route & then onto Croesor. By now my left knee was beginning to hurt on any tarmac sections but then eased once I’d passed Nantmor & took on the ever beautiful Aberglaslyn Gorge. Reaching Beddgelert I diverted to the store to take on a sugar loaded Coke & Twix, then as I left the shop my knee ceased up out of the blue, two failed attempts to run on failed after two paces each, ‘face the facts Paul, you have to bail’. Bail I did as I called Dorina from a hotel & disconsolately waited for her over a coffee. I’d covered a little over 20 miles but with more than 18 still ahead including the most remote section of the entire route I for once had made the correct decision but that didn’t make me feel any better.

Apart from Dorina I was also being followed by a few friends & their kind words via e-mails were much appreciated but I was still seriously p….. off at this setback.

Wednesday dawned, the knee felt better but caution was my first reaction to the new day as we travelled to the Cafe. By 10:00 my mind was made up, with Fiona being unable to travel over (we’d planned to do the first part of leg 3 together) I was free to try & put yesterday’s disappointment to bed. At 11:00 Dorina once again dropped me off, this time it was back at my nemesis, Beddgelert, with a plan to complete Day 2 on Day 3.

We hatched an early contingency plan, rather than Dorina drive back to the cafe only to get another distressed phone call from Beddgelert we agreed she’d drive to Llyn Dinas & wait for me to see if I (or more importantly my knee) was in a mood to continue. As I reached the lake she’d even left the car to walk to the footbridge in the continued drizzle to avoid me taking a diversion, ‘it’s fine Dorina I’m carrying on’.

From here the route took the improved footpath down the Eastern side of Llyn Dinas before crossing the road & passing Llyn Gwynant to the West which included an airy view despite the gloom from the Elephant rock. Next came a boggy crossing which led to the climb to Bwlch y Rhediad & arguably the remotest section of the entire walk. This isolated section which crosses the Paddy Buckley route had been on my mind for some time, it passes to the left of the Cwm Edno Bog where in the 1950’s all crew & passengers of an Air Lingus flight lost their lives, some of the bodies remain un-recovered despite a major attempt to do so both at the time & many years later. The thought of passing the site alone, in deep mist in the middle of winter had been playing mind games with me, a tumble here, who would find me & more importantly when? Thankfully logic & care soon saw me emerging from the clouds to breathtaking light as I descended towards Dolwydellan at times paddling through the stream like path. The leg was now in the bag as I took a familiar track to Capel so I did what I’m good at relaxed & took my first tumble into the mud, pride before a fall & all that. Reaching Capel I put in a burst which saw me reach the cafe in a few seconds below 4 hours, I had put yesterday’s disappointment well & truly behind me. Reality also saw me making a mental note that yesterday’s decision to bail had been a very good one indeed!

It was then a couple of days of ‘back to normal’ or more accurately ‘not back to normal’ as I knuckled down to Cafe paperwork followed by Christmas food shopping but soon Saturday dawned with better weather, ‘shall I, shan’t I, I shall!’

At 8:30 I left the Cafe to attempt the long final leg to Conwy. The initial sections were like running in my own back yard but a lot of care was needed along the slippery & wet section pass Llyn Ogwen where the in-sight road did little to quell my isolated nerves but a slow pace saw me emerge un-scathed & running in towards Bethesda on safe ground. Up ahead two dogs off lead, ‘hope they are not the aggressive ones belonging to the farm I’ve just passed’. The owner stalled, put them on leads, they yapped, she smiled, she was Sue, Sue is the lovely mother of ‘our’ very own Rebecca Roberts, just what are the chances of that?


Via Bethesda is not exactly the fastest way from the Cafe to Conwy but this is the Snowdonia Way & it weaves it’s way through & around the mountains so Bethesda needed to be ticked & after 12 miles it was, now back to the guidebook, 21 miles & 1,480 metres of climb ‘shit Paul that’s going to be f…… hard’, & it was. Despite the fact that it led me around the flank of the Carneddau with fabulous views of fog banks lurking over both Anglesea & the sea to the North ‘please stay where you are’ & past herds of Carneddau ponies my spirits were hard to lift. Those miles, those climbs but one by one they fell behind me & by Moelfre thoughts of bailing were finally vanquished, I was going to do this.

From just above the Sychnant pass I decided to stop & take stock, I’ve got signal, ‘Dorina, I reckon 40 minutes from here’ ‘shall I set off now then’ ‘yes please’.

The run into Conwy was on familiar ground before a short road section led me to a delightful run along the Afon Conwy. I walked the final climb up the High Street crossed the road to the finish post at Rosemary Lane looked round 2 seconds later to see my car approaching, what timing, what a relief, what a sense of achievement. This leg had covered 35 miles & had taken 7.5 hours of mental battling, despite past form those battles don’t seem to get any easier but the final rewards keep me needing them all the more.

In all I’d covered 109 miles during 4 days out of 6, actual time on the route had been 22 Hours which has now got me thinking a 100 mile day might need to become a new goal but more importantly for now I had come back from adversity, adapted a failed plan & felt the positivism of ‘success’ albeit in a transformed form.

Alex must of course be thanked for both devising the route & his accurate directions (Alex, we do need a chat about the mileages or do I need a new Garmin?) as Bill must too for driving me home on the Monday. But as ever Dorina must take most credit continuing to drop the important things to help me to self-indulge my needs & for keeping me feeling me as positive as possible when I was in truth seriously down.

The Snowdonia Way, is it for you? Why not come & listen to Alex next weekend, personally if you are an experienced walker or indeed fell runner I’d thoroughly recommend it & don’t forget there is a longer high level route option, Dorina, what am I doing next summer?


Paul’s Blog

If you are wondering how to get back into trim after the coming festive season visit our Events page where I have just up-loaded somer local fell races for North Wales in January. Due to other commitments I am sadly going to have to miss Michael Corrales ‘new’ Conwy Mountain race which is a great pity because last year I took part in a pre-race recce led by Michael, loved the route but couldn’t make the race itself, maybe next year unless it again clashes with the Buff Winter Trail Half Marathon. Sorry Michael but the Buff is just a trot away from my House in the CyB & I have run it every year to date. Alas I’ll also be giving the Tarren Hendre a miss, the thought of cancelling Dorina’s & My ski trip to Bormio, Italy just can’t be contemplated.

So that just leaves me with the by now standard outing of Llyn Llydaw on New Year’s Day, an excellent way of clearing the also standard hangover, bad weather probably standard too & just adds to the post race talking points.

Did you enjoy the snow? Didn’t last long at lower levels but hopefully the first of a good winter season. We took what turned out to be a wise decision & stayed at the Cafe on Saturday & Sunday which meant we could actually open up on Sunday morning. The first 3 hours were deadly quiet, snow continued to fall, the feet itched so at 11:00 a.m. I was running out the door to break trail through the virgin snow suitably donned with bag filled with emergency food & clothing.

My early strides brought disappointment, the trail had already been trodden by walkers & there were plenty of shouts of ‘coming behind you’. Soon after crossing the road after Plas y Brenin wilderness was almost found as the tracks reduced to a lone walker & their dog, this was becoming more enjoyable. As I turned right towards Joe Brown I passed the woman & her dog only to look ahead & see a hoard on the slopes I was running to, sledges & shouts filling my senses, where was my splendid isolation?

Thankfully as I surmounted that hill I ran away from the fun & laughter, the trail had still been broken but I was now alone. The next hour saw me only pass one couple walking as I kicked my way through 3 to 4 inches of pure soft snow through a forested landscape that would do any Christmas Card proud. After almost 2 hours & 11 Miles I returned to the Cafe invigorated, I’d even found a few short sections where I actually broke the trail too.

Then the guilt appeared, the Cafe was now full, we were half-staffed due to the weather, 4 in all excluding me, it was time to roll up my sleeves & work. This we all did for the next 4 hours until things finally began to subside. It was a great effort by Titi, Dorina, Nick & Katy so a reward of a pub meal at the Tynny seemed a good way of thanking them, they rewarded me by keeping the walk home (well back to the Cafe) snowball fight amongst themselves.

Monday dawned, busy again with Snowseeyers but this time I got it right leaving my repeat 11 miler until late afternoon. This time quieter as I ran into the Snow white night with headtorch hardly needed. Sadly the Snow’s gone for now but I’d made the most of it from a running point of view at least.

But the weekend had another highlight as Dorina & I had attended Maggie’s 70th celebrations at Mynydd Llandegai, I wisely chose not to lower the dancing tone until the last dance at least & will avoid naming & shaming some who should have known better. In truth everyone had a thoroughly good knees up so thank you Maggie & Alwyn it was great to join you.

Snow is forecasted higher up again today, will we get home or will it be another night at the Cafe, one thing I can say, apart from Christmas Day we will be doing our best to stay open & serve as fast as we can whatever the circumstances.

Next week I have a plan to run the new Snowdonia Way over 3 days which if done will be rewarded the next day by knuckling down to finalise our End of Year Accounts with our Accountant, very tempting to get deliberately lost & take the run into a 4th day, is Her Majesty’s Government really that important? Watch this space to see if common sense & I prevail.

OVMRO Quiz Night Saturday 16th December

Final reminder that this coming Saturday sees us welcome back Mike Lees to host his charity Quiz Night to raise funds for our local Ogwen Valley Mountain Rescue Organisation. Further details are on our Events page, it’s a great way to get into the festive spirit so we hope you can come along & enjoy the fun.

The fun doesn’t end there this weekend as Sunday morning sees Eryri Harriers Fun run around Padarn Lake with fancy dress encouraged but not obligatory, better still you don’t have to be a club member to run. For more details visit Eryri Harriers web-site.

Both events also have a raffle with proceeds going to OVMRO & Eryri respectively.