9. April 2012 19:30
Just got back from Snowdonia. Very good farmhouse for 10 adults plus Betsy and Tim's grandchildren. Its very well equipped, including a cat. Unfortunately the cat is not allowed indoors, which may explain the evidence of mice in the kitchen!
The wonderful March weather was cooling down fast during the early part of the week, but we had a good day on the Glyders on the first Sunday. The enthusiasts got in some scrambling ont the Monday while Betsy, Katy and I took the children to Pili Palas to see butterflies, bugs and Meerkats. It was a great place for the kids, and kept them amused for hours. We were very impressed at how polite they were after we managed to tip 1/2 pint of orange squash on the floor.
The disaster struck on Wednesday when we woke up to 4 inches of snow and a power cut. The house relies almost completely on electricity; the Aga was out and even the water soon stopped as it's pumped up from a borehole (took us a while before the penny dropped on that one!). Freddy did his stuff to get the fire in the lounge going, with coal but no kindling - no mean feat. It would have been nice if the owner had thought to drop by (he is a local farmer so had suitable transport), to reassure us, but when we finally made contact with him, late the next day, he told us that local power cuts don't usually last more than 6 hours, so he didn't feel is was necessary to do anything for us. (Note to self - we shan't be booking that place again!).
It snowed most of the day, but that didn't stop Tim and Eliza building a grand Igloo and a snowman.
The electricity was off for 36 hours in the end, though once the worst of the snow was over we got a car out and managed to get supplies including drinking water (some stalwarts maintained that we had enough cider so what was the problem?). Melting snow is the obvious but with only the one small fireplace it just takes forever. We had to drive down to Betws Y Coed for breakfast the next day as we couldn't cook and the lady in the cafe impressed us by cooking 10 splendid breakfasts single handedly. We felt we'd earned a good fry up. It was very strange to realise that the snow had fallen as rain further down the valley and all was clear there.
Friday was really quite tame after the excitement of the two previous days, and we all got together on a coastal walk at Criccieth to finish the week.
Tony and I had one last brush with the white stuff - we decided to take the scenic route back to the A5 at Pentrefoelas - and discovered that above 300m there was more than a foot of snow, and it wasn't melting.We decided to avoid the drift ahead of us on the road, and narrowly missed getting stuck in a muddy gateway, trying to turn round. In some ways it was a relief to get home!