A Trek across Wales

A Travel Journal from a dear friend.

A number of years ago, Hilary and I trekked through Northern Wales sustained by rashers of bacon, legs of lamb, farm fresh eggs, and scones with clotted cream and preserves.

Our guides, Ken Ward (author of Six Feet to Land’s End) and his remarkable wife Margaret, squired 19 of us, Canadians and Americans, over hills dotted with sheep and lush dales full of flowers, through ancient towns, and through the history of Wales with joyful skill and generosity and a spirit of fun that we will never forget.

The weather, you ask?

Well, it was fall weather much like ours in Canada, changeable, with cool temperatures, rain, wind and sun.

The trick was, of course, to dress for it; sturdy boots, layers of clothing, rain gear, and a tethered Tilley Hat!

Meals, whether in the pubs for tea or lunch, or in the hotels for dinner, were stellar, each one an occasion to enjoy our equally delightful travelling companions. We had lunch at the little hotel that Sir Edmund Hillary, Tensing Norgay and the team used as a base as they trained for Everest.

Ah yes, and WE climbed Mount Snowdon, all 3,561 feet (by train!).

Trains and buses were a key part of this journey, from the narrow-gauge railway to the slate mines of Llechwedd.

We were treated to a ‘narrow boat’ ride in a canal moving at a steady pace with a horse hauling the craft on the walkway beside us. 

The history of Wales is a story of Roman occupation and struggles with the Anglo Saxons, and many castles and fortifications remain. The guides on these tours bring a flavour of humour and humanity to what could be a dry subject, and it made us want to read and learn more about those times. 

We came home energized and enriched by the beauty of Wales on all counts, and the character and intricate language of the people.

And, with a few pounds to lose…and I’m not talking about money!

Alex Tilley

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