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davidx Pentir - A travel report by David
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Pentir,  United Kingdom - flag United Kingdom
14738 readers

davidx's travel reports

Fine centre for Snowdonia, Lleyn and Anglessey

  9 votes
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There's little to say about Pentir and little of Pentir but it's where we stayed for a week and what an excellent centre it is. From a nearby roundabout roads go to Bangor, Caernarvon, Holyhead, Beddgelert, Llanberis and Pothmadog.

Caernarfon Castle
Caernarfon Castle
Pentir is a tiny village and the accommodation section will be the only one actually dealing with anything about it but the whole report is based on a stay there. What triggered our visit was a suggestion from our middle son's gf who has known the owners of the cottage for a long time and it is near where they live.
What a splendid centre it is for seeing Snowdonia (see my Lanberis and Beddgelert reports for the mountains), Lleyn (see Aberdaron) and the island of Anglessey. From a nearby roundabout there are roads to Llanberis, Beddgelert, Bangor, Caernarvon and Holyhead, the last giving access to Anglessey by either of two bridges across the Menai Straits, where Roman Legions once waded through the sea to subdue the final power base of the Druids.
North Wales is very much a Welsh speaking area and, although everybody can speak English, Welsh was the language more frequently being talked in markets and bars. This was the area where the English, under Edward I, fought the Welsh princes and eventually defeated them in the late 13th century. Edward then tricked the Welsh by promising them a prince of their own who could not speak a word of any non-Welsh language. He redeemed the promise by holding up his new-born son, Edward, for them to see. – later the Edward II who suffered a fearsome death connected with the insertion of a red hot poker into part of his body. The presentation of the baby was at Caernarfon castle and ever since the Monarch's eldest son has been created Prince of Wales at Caernarfon – though at a greater age!

Favourite spots:
Lligwy Chapel
Lligwy Chapel
Before going to Wales I looked at the web to see attractions and I found a spot where there are three remains of widely differing periods within a few hundred yards of each other. I use the word 'spot' advisedly since there is no modern village there. This is Din Lligwy on Anglessey.
The earliest of the three is a neolithic burial chamber with an enormous capstone – enormous enough to make anyone wonder at the ability of neolithic humans to move such stones. There are grooves on one side, thought to have been made by ropes when the stone was hauled on rollers.
The second is a walled village enclosure dating from the 3rd century CE with round and rectangular house bottoms. It was the period when the Romans were in Britain but may actually have housed the native Celts

Last is the ruins of a chapel started in the 12th century CE but 'modernised' in the 16th. The modernisation included the insertion of a burial vault under the chapel reached by steps.

What's really great:
From South Stacks
From South Stacks
The house at Parc Glynllifon, at Llandwrog south of Caernarfon, was built in the 19th century by Lord Newbrough. I can't say that I find the house a place of enormous appeal but the grounds with miles, literally, of footpaths, an arboretum and an amphitheatre sstill used for occasional performances is something else. Redwoods are far from common in Britain and I love fine trees. At one time the estate owned Bardsea Island off Aberdaron. Oddly enough this place was hardly known for many years.
Still in the area of natural history, I very much enjoyed two bird watching sites. Anglessey is almost flat with the exception of what is rather grandilquently called Holyhead Mountain – it's only 220 metres!. A little south of this is Ellin's Tower at South Stack Cliffs, an RSPB reserve. (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds). There are telescopes provided, enabling visitors to see breeding guillemots, puffins and razorbills as well as Choughs.
Continued in Sights

parc Glynllifon
parc Glynllifon
Continued special places:
These birds, originally called Cornish choughs beacme extinct in England, including Cornwall but remained in North Wales. They are now reappearing in Cornwall.
The other bird hide(s) was provided by a more local body – some tidal pools and the sand of a beach. I remember when my son first saw an egret there some ten years ago. Now there are nearly thirty and it can be regarded as a British bird. There were also numerous mute swans, shell ducks and different species of gull.

Y Bwthyn
Y Bwthyn
Felin Uchaf actually is in Pentir – or just outside it. There are three self catering cottages and we took Y Bwthyn, a bungalow parallel to a very busy fast road. This constituted the only weakness of the place as far as we were concerned, because we live in a place where there is little traffic and we had to keep a close eye on the dog.
In all other respects the accommodation was perfect – spacious, well-equipped- children and one dog welcome, places for both to play, friendly but 'unpushy' owners. They always go and buy your choice of Sunday papers as a first day gift so that you can lie in! In addition there was a bowl of fruit and a pint of milk waiting for us.

From Plas Newydd
From Plas Newydd
Being members of the National Trust it would have been silly for us to miss Penryn Castle near Bangor and Plas Newydd on Anglessey near the bridges. I know that stately homes were built to impress and usually they do. I suppose penryn Castle impressed but in what way? It's a 19th century mock-Norman edifice. Every arch – and that's a mighty lot – is a very good immitation and could have graced a Norman church. BUT the totality of the edifice looks about as Norman as my dog's tail. Talk about 'over the top'!! We hated it. However the kitchen area, where photography is permitted, is most interesting and pleasing as are the walled and bog gardens.

Plas Newydd is nowhere near my favourite stately home but its location is simply wonderful. The near view is of the Menai Straits with the mainland quite close and on the other side Snowdon takes pride of place among the mountains.

Old font in Penmon Church
Old font in Penmon Church
Penmon Point is on the north-east tip of Anglessey It is reached by a delightful unclassified road, the last part of which from Penmon Village to the Point is subject to a £2 toll that includes parking. There were quite a few people eating ices, buying tea or coffee or just hanging out near the point. It overlooks the tiny Puffin Island and has a small lighthouse.

Immediately before the toll there is a church and priory and within the church (outside according to my book – only taken in 30 years ago!) are some ancient crosses. One dates from about 1000 CE and reminded me of St Martin's Cross on Iona. Near to the church is a well where in the 5th century CE Saint Ceiriol used to baptise his converts. Never heard of him, you say. Nor had I.

Llyn Padarn, Llanberis
Llyn Padarn, Llanberis
The Gallt y Glyn Hotel is on the Caernarfon road at Lanberis and they do a 'pizza and pint night' Wed – Fri in the summer - mightily and deservedly popular. They provide an order sheet for each customer individually and there is a pizza marderita for £5-80.
With this there is an extensive list of additions, all costing from 30p to about 70p. I would guess that on average each pizza ran out at about £7.20. The pint was Breconshire Bitter – very nice too.
Since we were self-catering we had only drinks or a light lunch anywhere else but the homemade pea and mint soup at the National Trust restaurant at Penryn Castle deserves a mention. Delicious.

Other recommendations:
In Bryncir Woollen Mill
In Bryncir Woollen Mill
We very much enjoyed walks along disused raiklway lines through woods, one of which largely followed the shares of Lake Padarn in Llanberis. We were tempted by the newly restored Highland railway that ts driven by steam from Caernarfon over the Aberglasyn Pass but it will eventually go to Porthmadog and £27 return seemed too much before it is completed – when it will probably be even more. Similarly we did not take the Snowdon Mountain Railway. It's far from the most impressive way up Snowdon but it's the only way I could reach the top now and there may yet be a family gathering at the top one day.
We did go to Bryncir woollen mill, between Caernarfon and Porthmadog. It's a fine mill and it's sad to see how hard it is being hit by the recession.
Lastly a piece of advice. If you are going to the area for the first time, forget about Penryn, Plas Newydd and the like and get up the mountains if you are fit enough. If not – or later – it's good to know that other delights await.

Published on Wednesday June 10th, 2009

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Sun, Jun 21 2009 - 08:20 AM rating by marianne

Hi david, Loved it! and also your photos.

Mon, Jun 15 2009 - 04:49 PM rating by eirekay

Brilliant! You give so many honest opinion but manage not to come off as opinionated!

Mon, Jun 15 2009 - 09:19 AM rating by jorgesanchez

A magnificent report written by a master!

Thu, Jun 11 2009 - 01:10 AM rating by krisek

David, this one definitely reads like a winner of the next award. So many great stories, incl. the Prince of Wales, facts and reflections. It brings back memories from my trip to Wales a few years back. Excellent job indeed. Yeah!

Wed, Jun 10 2009 - 12:52 PM rating by porto

Yes David,another super report on a beautiful part of the U.K. Those walks through woods and alongside disused railway lines sound great
and not forgetting the gorgeous pics too.

Wed, Jun 10 2009 - 12:23 PM rating by pesu

Thanks for this great report, David, and the lessons in history and ornithology. I love trying to understand your wonderful English and regarding your stunning pics.

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