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A TRAMP ACROSS "WALES, [BY THE REV. J. H. STOWELL, M.A.] YII I. STOIDfY ASCEXT OF SXOWDON SCEX E PROAt FAUST—THE SUMMIT—G-LASLYN—PENY- PASS—PENYGWRYD — A CELEBRATED POEM- (JAPEIj CURIO—HOTEL DOGS—BETTWS-Y-COED SWALLOW FALLS—MIXERS' BRIDGE-COXW A Y FALL—PENTRE VOELAS. On Monday morning, May 30th, exactly a. week after leaving Barry, I looked eagerly out of the window of the Quellyn Arms Hotel at Rhyd Ddu to see what prospect there was of a fair-weather ascent of Snowdon. To my dismay the clouds were still low and the wind was high, and. con- sidering my failure of the previous day. chances seemed sadly against me. Did the landlady think it possible ? No. She thought it out of the ques- tion for a stranger, and especially one attempting it alone. Would it be safe with a guide ? Perhaps. She would send and ask. And so the guide came, a lanky man with sandy whiskers and very little English. I told him that I must get to the top of Snowdon. Yes." he said, five shillings. -'And I want to go down on the other side." "Yes," he continued, that is ten shillings." These were high prices, I thought, for a free and open moun- tain but I agreed that he should take me to the top and see me safely on to the descending road towards Penygwryd for 5s. So we started. Before getting quite clear of the village he asked me to wait, and making for one out of a row of small stone cottages, and shout- ing a significant message to a neighbour, about Y Wyddfa, and the prospective five shillings he returned, not with alpenstocks and ropes as I half expected he would, but with a large baggy umbrella, his only weapon. ALer about twenty minutes climb we paused for breath, and enjoyed the only real piece of scenery visible on the whole ascent. The green sides of the hills were now clear, and far below us were two small lakes and to the west along a kind of telescope, formed three parts by the valley, and the fourth by the heavy white mist just above us, we could see the distinct outline of Carnarvon Castle, and the gleam of water beyond. A few minutes later we came to ,some old sheep pens and a heap of stones, land- marks for which I had vainly sought on the previous day. The heap of stones my book in- formed me Marks the spot where Mr. Cox, a tourist, who had ascended Snowden in winter, died of ex- haustion so I was curious to see it. My living guide said nothing until I called his attention to it, and then he informed me solemnly "A man is dead here." Higher up, if I may be permitted the paradox, the scenery became very grand though there was nothing to see mist, dry white mist driving in a perfect tempest, formed the only landscape. I had to holla for my guide more than once, he strode on at such a rate and disappeared as though carried off in a whirlwind. The most ex- citing moment was when we reached the long narrow ridu'fTof Bvvlch-y-Maeu with a precipice apparently on each side. Certainly the path was five or six feet across, but the wind was like someone trying to push you over, and the roar and bellowing of these two bottomless abysses made me think of Faust on the Brocken. As my strange looking guide turned to give me a warning I could easily picture him as Mephistopheles speaking :— Firmly seize The old projections of the ribbed rock- Else it will blow you down into the chasm Yawning below us like a sepulchre. the wild winds through tke rain Are howling, hissing, and hallooing Down the valleys how they sweep, Round and round, above and under, Rend the giant cliffs asunder, And with shout and scream appalling, Catch the mighty fragments falling I was glad to get safely to the broader ground bevond, and finally to the top. We had started about ten o'clock, and about mid-day we were seated on the cairn at the summit thinking of what we would like to drink. There were several amall wooden refreshment rooms on this elevated building site. but they were strongly barred and bolted (waiting, I suppose, for better weather and larger custom). So we had to content ourselves with 'mv condensed milk. I made a fresh hole in the tin a larger one. specially for the benefit of the guide, and he took a long drink. But I don't think he liked it; he would'nt have any more. However I pacified him. and helped him to get the taste out of his mouth with some honest lunch biscuits; and as the mist shewed no signs of lifting nor the wind of abating we determined to move on at once. He was to put me safely on the road to Penygwryd. But his movements at first by no means inspired me with confidence. After going a short distance down a gentle slope he went to one side, and grasping his hat in one hand and his umbrella in the other he peered long and anxiously into the mist. And then he shook his head and proceeded a little further along, and repeated this peering process. What was he doing Looking for the road to Penygwryd. I shuddered at the thought of the blind leading the blind about the summit of Snowdon; but there was nothing for it but to trust him. At length he seemed satisfied, and point- ing down the mountain side said to me, That is the road." Dear me," I said, it doesn't look like it. Are your sure ?" Yes," he replied. Is it. a straight road ?" "Yes." Straight all the way to Penygwryd Yes," he replied unblushingly, though common sense told me he was uttering an ■A impossible untruth. But I took him to mean the road was easy to find. After making him pledge limself with every solemnity short of an oath that ^-couldn't fail to descend in safety, I paid him and L him go. And then I almost instantly wished iadn't. for I could see no road. I went a few ps in the direction he had pointed to me, and ind myself going diagonally across a very steep fountain side, on a. wilderness of loose stones, and tf a furious tempest of wind and mist. I could 18 only three or four yards ahead. But in a little time the mist decreased, and I could trace a path- way. and presently a small lake came in sight and I found myself in Glaslyn, a deserted mining settlement at the side of the lake. From here the way was an unmistakable cart road, and I was now in the clear bright atmosphere far below the inist. The tops of the hills were all hidden. But by 1.30 p.m. the weather had so improved that the distant hills in front of me gradually showed themselves completely sunlit, and only the top of Snowdon remained behind the veil. Along the shore of Llyn Llydaw and out into the main road from Llanberis, through the wild scenery of Peny- pass. I went, arriving about 2.15 p.m. at the inn .at Penygwryd, famous for the verses which Charles Kingsley and Thomas Hughes, the author of Tom Brown's School Days," have left in the hotel book. I did not go in to inspect the original, but quote the following specimen from the version in my guide- book Oh. my dear namesake's breeches, yon never see the like, He bust them all so shameful a crossing of a dyke But Mrs. Owen patched them as careful as a mother 'With flannel of three colours-she hadn't got no other." I reached Capel Curig at 3.45 in very good trim, contenting myself with wayside drinks and the lunch biscuits from my knapsack, thinking to have a late tea on arrival at Bettws-y-Coed. The ,weather began to be as charming as could be desired, and again and again I turned to enjoy the mag- nificent views that were to be had of the huge Moel Siabod and the now distant Snowdon Range, of which only the highest peak was still hid in a ileecy cloud, and it was with considerable satis- faction that I reflected on the labours of the morn- ing. and realised that I had come verily from ont of=that same fleecy cloud to the broad bosom of earth since mid-day that I had been as far into the sky as it is possible to get in Eng- land or Wales, and had come safely back again. There is a very large hotel at Capel Curig, and for miles along a splendid carriage road between this place and Bettws there are small hotels and boarding-houses apparently prepared for a great influx of visitors. My note-book here contains the following reflection :—"Hotel dogs seem to know likely customers by the wag' of their tails." By this I meant not to reflect on any peculiarity, caudal or otherwise, in the customers, but to remark the obsequious affability of the sleepy -dogs that abound in these lodging-houses. They seem to me to have been trained to tout for customers. Instead of looking business-like and barking a little, as any conscientious watch-dog will do at a stranger, these animals the moment they spied me would come in a subdued caper, positively smiling, and wagging their tails with mingled welcome and deference, and then trot off to their front door (ever open to new-comers so early in the season), and return again as though to say, I am so glad you have come the rooms are quite ready, and we shall do our utmost, you may be sure, to make you quite comfortable." This, and the plaintive disappointment eloquently ,expressed in their whole attitude and expression as I ruthlessly passed on. would have afforded a study for Landseer. At five p.m. I drew near Bettws-y-Coed and lingered at one or two very picturesque points in the approach to this most beautiful of all Welsh inland towns. A,river runs for several miles in a ravine on the left, and sud- denly,descends something like 120 feet in three fine cascades known as the Swallow Falls. Beyond this the stream goes on cascading on a smaller scale for a considerable distance, adding an inde- finable charm to the otherwise rich natural attrac- tiveness 'of the scenery. Near the town another of the local show-places is the Miners' Bridge, a narrow gangway across this same tumbling stream rising nt an angle cf 45 degrees from the low gravel on one side to the rocks 30 feet above on the other side. Bettws itself is the centre of a natural para- dise. the spot where three valleys converge, each teeming with luxuriant foliage, and each with its clear and dashing stream. In every direction there is rest and entertainment for the eye. But if Bettws has a fault it is that it is too well appre- ciated. The town is little else than a colony of hotels and boarding-houses the unsophisticated rustic is conspicuous by his absence, and at every corner the insidious tout will pounce upon the unwary visitor. I fled from Bettws. It was 'still early in the evening, and I hoped to cover some of the road to- wards Bala before nightfall. Grand views of Snowdon opened out as I passed along the great Holyhead turnpike. This is regarded, I believe. as one of the best roads in the country, broad and level, an ideal road for cyclists. A mile or two out from Bettws, close by the roadside. I was delighted with another huge leap of water in the Conway Fall. The river Conway, both at this spot and for several miles further, struck me as being the prettiest of all the streams I had yet seen in Wales. At 9.15 p.m. I arrived thoroughly tired, but feeling that I had enjoyed the great and central day of my tour after having covered about 28 miles on foot at the ancient and highly respectable village of Pentre Voelas. Here I found a first-rate hotel, and satisfaction for a gigantic appetite. (To be contin ued.)



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