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The Winter Health Resorts…


The Winter Health Resorts of North Wales. (Th MR. D. McFALL IN THE North Western Some three hundred years ago Kichard Drayton published in his Polyalbion a map which pictured in a striking manner his conception of Wales. "judging by its inaccuracy, the materials upon which the map was based must have been drawn from a particularly vivid dream. But it was flattering enough, for all that. Its principal feature was a river bordered on either side by a flat country and fed by winding streams, with their tributaries so drawn as to look like leafless trees. But the flattery was suggested principally by the pictorial accompaniment. On either side of the main stream was a great throng of singers and harpers, apparently carrying on a keen but friendly rivalry in the art of music and scattered everywhere along the banks of the smaller rivers, and looking as though they were seated in ecstatic but un- comfortable attitudes on the slender boughs, were isolated singers, each adding his quota to the general harmony. Drayton seemed to think that Wales was simply the theatre of a perpetual Eisteddfod. Now this map, though crude and meagre enough in our eyes, really set lorth about all that was generally known or imagined about Wales at the time of its publication. At that time intercourse between the Prin- cipality and the rest of the kingdom was very limited and most irregular. The mass of the easv-going Englishmen thought there were too many Glemlowers, each able to call up spirits from the vasty deep, to make Welsh hills comfortable. And the roads were atrocious, the coaches were slow and cumbersome, the inns were bad. One could go from London to Rome as easily as he could go from London to Bangor and find more of his compatriots when he arrived there A LATTER-DAY DISCOVERY. As a matter of fact, the railway surveyor was the real discoverer of hidden Wales— at any rate, he made it possible for the rest of us tc penetrate that sea and mountain- rimmed land as easily as we could cross Salisbury Plain. As late as the days of the last of the Georges a Welsh tour was under- taken by not one pleasure-seeker in a thou- sand to-day thousands each year scatter themselves along the glorious sands that stretch almost without a break from Rhyl to Bangor, or thread the deep valleys that are all but crowded out of existence by Snowdon and his giant satellities. In viewr of the ease with which North Wales may be reached it is surprising that as a winter resort the attractions of that fascinating land are even yet but little known. It is too often supposed that only in the height of summer can the tourist find con- ditions agreeable in North Wales. Nothing could be further from the truth, and during the past few years all of the coast towns from Rhyl to Carnarvon have attracted a rapidly increasing number of winter visitors and a steadily growing permanent popula- tion. A CLIMATIC MELANGE. But it is the wonderful difference in climate found within the narrow compass of North Wales that gives the district half its attrac- tions as an all-the-vear-around rendezvous. The configuration of the land is such as to not only provide a succession of scenic sur- prises, but also to afford innumerable shel- tered sun-traps where autumn and spring conspire to dispossess winter. Even the coast, far north as it is, has a surprisingly mild climate. Llandudno, for instance, with a single exception, has the highest average annual temperature of any seaside town either in Wales or England. Although three fourths surrounded bv the sea, the Great Orme (that magnificent beacon from whose top a sweeping view brings into ken Lancashire, Cheshire, Flintshire, Den- bighshire, Carnarvonshire, and Anglesea, reduced by the distance into dim and level plains) shelters it from the keen north winds, and the porous nature of the soil prevents the accumulation of moisture after even the heaviest rainlalls, which are usually caught by the encompassing inland mountains. No one can fully appreciate either the beauty or the majesty of a mountain land unless he has seen it in the late autumn or winter, as well as in the spring or summer. Winter accentuates all the grander features in the landscape. The mists make the mountains look dim and spectral, and enor- mously increase their apparent size. The rocks seem higher, the clilts more precipi- tous. Even the sky is more inspiring when the clouds, no longer shepherded by the slow, unwilling winds," are driven bv the Furies. And the winter air, when not so cold and rough as to absolutely forbid ex- cursions, is doubly exhilarating. To spend a whole day in it is to become saturated with an astonishing vigour which it takes weeks to dissipate. Winter excursions into the heart of North Wales have lost whatever disadvantages may have attended them before these days cf perfected travel. The mountain roads, hewn out of the solid rock most of them, could not be surpassed. In every hamlet is at least one good hotel open throughout the year. And even the mgst retired snots— Bettws-v-Coed, KBeddgelert. Llanberis--are brought by the L. and N.-W. Railway into close touch with Llandudno, Colwyn Bay, Rhvl, and the other coast towns. When the northern Ceres showers her silvery grain so thicklv as to make the mountain roads impassable a brief train journey will take one to the bracing, but mild and agreeable, air of the sea. A CHAIN OF CENTURIES. Even were North Wales shorn of half its scenic charm, this easy intercourse between the interior and its magnificent sea front- age would still make it the Empire's finest recreation ground. Nor does the coast offer as its onlv attraction its superb sands and its splendid air. Most of the towns which are thickly scattered along it have a charm and interest that nothing less than a stormy history of a thousand years could have given. Some of them have arisen with- in the present generation and still wear the gloss of new ness together they form a chain of centuries, placing side by side the noble castles and the wretched hovels of our rough forefathers and the imposing mansions and spacious hostelries by which posterity will judge us. When next you sit by your fireside and hear a rumbling in the chimney, remember that the ghostly voice bears a double inter- pretation. It conveys both a warning and an invitation. It presages a long, dull win- ter, but it also urges a brief respite before you are winter-bound. Act upon its suggestion and spend a brief season tilling your lungs with the sea air in North Wales/ If you have had a summer holiday let this be its aftermath. Its effects will be felt until spring is again at hand.











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