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Gŵyl Rhif 6 / Festival No.6

Legendary Places

There are so many Legendary Places in in Snowdonia Mountains and Coast. Four local stars give us their choices.

Sir Bryn Terfel

Recently honoured Sir Bryn was brought up in Pant Glas, a village near Penygroes. The opera superstar has never forgotten his roots and still calls the area his home. ‘Wherever he travels, the spirit of his native North Wales goes with him,’ said The Daily Telegraph in an interview. Here are his favourite places in Snowdonia Mountains and Coast.

Nefyn Golf Club

Sir Bryn likes his golf – especially when it’s played at the legendary Nefyn & District Golf Club. This one-of-a-kind links course juts out ferociously into the sea. ‘It’s like playing off the deck of a battleship,’ reckon hardened but shellshocked golfers. To calm the nerves, Sir Bryn likes to retreat to another legendary place – Porthdinllaen’s Tŷ Coch Inn, voted third-best beach bar in the world.

Snowdon and the Snowdon Mountain Railway

A predictable – but entirely justifiable – choice. Is there a more spectacular train ride in the UK? The Himalayan-style rack-and-pinion narrowgauge line takes you to a 3,560ft/1,085m summit where the views are, again, predictably sensational, all the way to Ireland’s Wicklow Hills. Call into the Hafod Eryri Visitor Centre for more panoramic views, information and refreshments.

The Nantlle Ridge

This ridge walk is one of the area’s lesser known – but no less spectacular – high-altitude paths (a head for heights is helpful). It starts from the village of Rhyd Ddu then heads west, ending (or beginning, depending on how you tackle it) at Mynydd Garn Goch, which – surprise, surprise – just happens to loom above Sir Bryn’s home village.

Llanbedrog

It’s one of the many lovely beaches on Llŷn. Llanbedrog’s sheltered sands are particularly attractive to families – and its much-photographed row of candy-coloured beach huts sets the scene for a genuine seaside experience, pure and simple. Sir Bryn recommends that you camp at nearby Bolmynydd.

Portmeirion

It’s impossible not to fall in love with Portmeirion. This fantasy village, created by architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, is a wondrous mish-mash of influences that stretch from the Orient to Italy. Wherever you look, you’ll see something surprising – and something that makes you smile. What’s more, its lush grounds and gardens are almost as enchanting as the village itself.

Bwlch y Fellten, Nantlle Ridge

Robin McBryde

Born in Bangor, international rugby star Robin won 37 caps for Wales between 1994 and 2005. He was recently the Wales coach for the 2017 summer tour of the Pacific Islands. In his own words, here’s why he loves Snowdonia Mountains and Coast.

Snowdon

‘My mother lives a stone’s throw from Llyn Padarn, Llanberis, with fantastic views of the mountains. On a clear day the temptation to get up to the top of the mountain has proved too much and I have climbed Snowdon at least once a year for the past 15 years or so. I’ve taken the PYG track a few times, along with the main path from Llanberis. There’s no better way to clear the mind and build up an appetite.’

Barmouth Bridge

‘Whilst completing a charity walk from South to North Wales, I had the pleasure of walking across the bridge that spans the mouth of the Mawddach Estuary and on through Barmouth. It literally took my breath away.’

Caernarfon Castle

‘We finished the 200-mile walk in the square at Caernarfon, and attended a concert held within the grounds of this stunning castle to celebrate the finish – a fantastic spectacle.’

Pwllheli beach

‘Another great training destination for me was the beach at Pwllheli, which stretches for miles.’

The Llŷn Peninsula

‘Pwllheli is the “capital” of Llŷn. A proper tour of the peninsula with a visit to the National Trust village of Porthdinllaen is definitely something I have down as a must-do.’

Llyn Peninsula

Lisa Gwilym

Lisa is a broadcaster, well-known in Wales, who presents programmes on BBC Radio Cymru, BBC Radio Wales and S4C, the Welsh language TV channel. She lives in Y Felinheli with her husband and young son. Here, she tells us all about five of her best. One of them might raise a few eyebrows... P

Portmeirion

‘It’s a true one-off. The village is quirky and totally unique, the vision of architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis. I love my music (Lisa presents a music programme for the BBC) so you’ll find me at Portmeirion’s magical Festival No. 6 in September. It’s one of the coolest festivals in Britain and I’m so lucky to have it on my doorstep.’

Bangor Pier

‘It’s a Victorian gem. The pier, the second longest in Wales, takes you halfway across the Menai Strait, with wonderful views. My son loves walking across it – and I love the tasty cakes served in the tearoom.’

Y Felinheli

‘I’m so happy that this is where our home is. The little port of Y Felinheli, beautifully located on the Menai Strait, has a strong community spirit. I enjoy going to the Fic and Gardd Fôn pubs – and to GreenWood Forest Park for some family fun.’

Trawsfynydd Nuclear Power Station

‘Yes, you read that correctly. It’s possibly an odd choice, but the view of this disused power station is spectacular none the less. Its two huge concrete edifices contrast with the natural green splendour all around. Brutalism at its best. Apparently, they were designed to look like castles in the landscape. It stands next to a lake where you can walk, cycle or fish.’

Porthdinllaen

‘This National Trust village on the north coast of the Llŷn Peninsula has been the perfect location for some of my special occasions. It’s totally unspoilt with a lovely beach. A drink at the waterfront Tŷ Coch Inn is a North Wales must-do.’

Pier Bangor Pier

Owain Fôn Williams

Owain hails from Penygroes. The international footballer, who plays for the Scottish Premier league side Inverness Caledonian Thistle, was part of the heroic Welsh team that won the hearts of the world by reaching the Euro 2016’s semi-finals. He’s also a passionate painter, enjoying the sense of ‘isolation and relaxation’ it brings, away from the demands of everyday life. His paintings reflect his bond with his local environment. Places like…

Trefor

This former quarrying village on Llŷn’s north coast commands stunning views of Yr Eifl mountains as they plunge down sheer cliffs into the sea. Owain likes to take a fishing boat from Trefor for these views – and those looking across to Snowdon.

Caernarfon

Defined by its World Heritage castle, Caernarfon is a must-visit place. But the towering medieval fortress isn’t the only place on the tick list. There are charming narrow streets too, the modern, arty Doc Fictoria, and the chance to ride the scenic narrow-gauge Welsh Highland Railway all the way to Porthmadog.

Pant Ddu

Now here’s a surprise. A vineyard. In the mountains. Pant Du Vineyard and Orchard, on the slopes of Dyffryn Nantlle, produces award-winning wines (white, red and rosé) as well as high-quality cider and apple juice.

Beddgelert

When riding the Welsh Highland, stop off here. Beddgelert is one of Snowdonia’s most picturesque villages, with a cluster of stone houses set beside the River Glaslyn. You have to visit the grave of the faithful hound Gelert (it’s almost compulsory), but don’t let the legend of the dog’s heroic death upset you too much – it was probably the invention of an 18th-century innkeeper with beds to fill.

Aberdaron

Travel along the Llŷn Peninsula to the ‘land’s end’ of North Wales and you arrive at Aberdaron. It’s an atmospheric – and quite legendary – place. Discover the peninsula’s unique history and culture at the Porth y Swnt visitor centre. And if the weather is kind, take a boat trip to Bardsey, the fabled ‘Isle of 20,000 Saints'.

Llwybr Arfordir Aberdaron Coastal Path
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