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Author Topic: Photography locations in Wales  (Read 3010 times)
GeraldB
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« on: May 14, 2012, 09:52:14 AM »
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I'm going to be attending a family wedding in Aberystwyth, Wales in June and I'm looking to spend a few days there after doing some landscape photography. I'm from Canada and don't know the area at all. Any suggestions. It seems like north Wales is the most interesting.
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Ian99
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« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2012, 04:17:02 PM »
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The North West corner of Wales will give you a tremendous variety of historic and landscape opportunities.
My suggested route from Aberystwyth would be:

North on the coast road to Harlech (spectacular castle);
Portmeirion near Penryndeudraeth for some amazing architecture (keep the wife happy);
Beddgelert – get out the car and walk across the small bridge to the row of cottages with beautiful gardens by the river – go to the Goat Hotel;
Then East on the A498 to the Pen-y-Gwryd Hotel, then North up the Llanberis Pass.
Ample scenery and lookout for climbers on the cliffs, sheep on the road and large tour buses on impossibly narrow bends.
North West to Caernarfon – spectacular castle), then East along the A487 and A55 to Conwy (yet another spectacular castle).
South to Betws-y-Coed – supposedly a local beauty spot but I find it boring.
Then on to Blaenau Ffestiniog, a town built around a huge slate quarry, now disused. The classic scene is with a long lens across the sports field towards the Chapel, with a backdrop of a colossal pile of slate.

With only a few days you will not have the time to climb any of the mountains, but you could take the narrow gauge railway to the top of Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa).

The area is also dotted with prehistoric hill forts and burial chambers, with odd standing stones marking ancient routes across the high moorlands.

There is no shortage of scenery, or dramatic clouds/rain so be prepared.
The roads are very good but very narrow and winding. Direction signs are all bilingual – Welsh/English, which makes a change from French/English in Canada. In this area the local language is Welsh, but don’t even try to pronounce anything.
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GeraldB
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« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2012, 04:46:50 PM »
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Ian, thanks for your suggestions, it sounds great. I'll start planning with google maps. If I want close access to this area is there a a town even better a B&B you'd recommend?
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Chairman Bill
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« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2012, 05:27:55 PM »
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The other alternative is to turn south along the coast road, and into Ceredigion & Pembrokeshire - some truly wonderful coastal scenery. Aberaeron, a few miles south of Aberystwyth, is definitely worth a visit, even if you do then head north again. That coastal road is a spectacular route, and Ian's suggested itinery is a good one. I'd suggest a detour along the Ogwen valley, and a wander up into the hanging valley of Cwm Idwal - some great photo opportunities across the valley towards the Carneddau, as well as the whale-back ridge of Tryfan. Llyn Idwal should offer some interesting photographic opportunities of its own. If time allowed, the walk along the Glyderau is a fine one, specially if you ascend via Tryfan's Bristly Ridge.

As for Betws-y-Coed, there's not much to see, but the road from Capel Curig to Betws passes the Ugly House, and the gorge on your left (hidden by wall & trees) offers plenty of watery photo opportunities, in particular at Swallow Falls & the Fairy Glen.
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Ian99
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« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2012, 08:01:05 AM »
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Gerald,
Regarding accommodation, I am of little help since I can stay with relatives on the North coast. In my youth it would have been a tent or the luxury of a climber’s barn. But presumably you are in some hotel in Aberystwyth and the distances are really short (Ab to Caernarfon is only 40 miles as the crow flies) so you could stay there.
I don’t like B&Bs as I want the freedom to go whenever I want and I find them restrictive, so I would suggest two quite different hotels – The Black Boy in Caernarfon built in 1522!, or for a place with real climbers’ credentials it would be the Pen-Y-Gwryd, but the Black Boy gives you many more alternatives for evening entertainment ie local taverns. Just give the Morgan Lloyd a miss, as locally it is known as the “Beirut” for the level of fighting!
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GeraldB
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« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2012, 11:23:48 AM »
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Thanks Bill and Ian for your suggestions. I find the names of places (even in English) in Wales so poetic. Really looking forward to the trip.
cheers
Gerald
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john beardsworth
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« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2012, 12:57:01 AM »
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Just wait till you hear it spoken!

Another recommendation for Portmeirion - a weird 19th century recreation of an Italian village and where the TV series The Prisoner was filmed.
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Chairman Bill
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« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2012, 03:17:03 AM »
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And you should visit Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch
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GuzziRob
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« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2012, 04:59:55 AM »
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Oh, truly wonderful part of the country.  I got to spend a lot of time near Aber a few years back when I studied at Macynlleth.  There is so much to suggest... I love Artist's Valley and many of the places around the Dyfi Valley.  You are also right at the fringes of the Snowdonia National Park which offers so much potential.

Get a hire car and just explore is my suggestion - pick up some of the Ordinance Survey maps of the area to get some ideas of what is around... you can't really go far wrong!
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Rhossydd
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« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2012, 05:41:43 AM »
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The magic circle of Snowdonia is the roads linking  Porthmadog > Beddgelert > Capel Curig > Betws-Y-Coed > Bleanau Ffestiniog > Porthmadog
The A4085 from Penrhydeudraeth to Beddgelert avoids Porthmadog and has some nice vistas too.
Add also the Llanberis pass.

Depending on how you're getting to Aberystwyth, taking in Lake Vyrnwy goes through some wonderful scenery, also the run south via Rhayader > Abergavenny has some less dramatic, but appealing scenery too.

Unless you're a big fan of 'The Prisoner' I'd also skip PortMerion it's over crowded, over priced and disappointingly shabby.
The Snowdon Mountain Railways is spectacular, but queues can be horribly long and taking photos from the train can be difficult.

If you can, get away from the roads and walk into the hills. Cwm Orthin near Bleanau Ffestiniog is wonderful and worth the short steep walk from where you can park a car. Almost a Snowdonian photographic cliché for good reason. http://www.flickr.com/photos/paulholman/3263031322/in/set-72157613501126730 PM for GPS co-ords if interested.

Sorry never stayed in Hotels or B&Bs up there, I've always camped or self catered. From what I have seen things can be a bit basic, food is also a bit unsophisticated by the standards of other parts of the UK too Sad The one place I'd recommend eating, and possibly staying, is The Grapes at Maentwrog. Great home cooked food last time I was there.

A note on driving;
Ian might claim it's only 40 miles as the crow flies to Caernarfon from Aberystwyth, (actually it's closer to 50), but by road it's almost 80 and roads in North Wales can be tiresomely slow if you get stuck behind a truck/bus/cyclists/cars towing caravans etc.
The inland road from Machynlleth > Dolgellau > Ffestiniog is a much quicker option to Snowdonia than the coast road which I always avoid.

Paul

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slb_000
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« Reply #10 on: May 27, 2012, 03:36:50 AM »
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I've not recently visited the area (and hence was not looking for photographic subjects as much when there), however one thing I would add is that the Glyders in particular have interesting rock formations on top, should you want a days walk in the trip.  (including a large balancing rock, big enough to get on) A suggested route would be to start at Ogwen cottage, go up past Llyn Idwal, climb the Devil's Kitchen then follow the ridge over the two Glyders.  Decent is down a difficult scree-filled path, but takes you to the col between them and Tryfan, from which you can decend back to the start or add Tryfan to the route.

Note this is full mountain walking, and fairly rough terrain - be prepared for the weather and conditions.

Simon

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