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Published: January 14th 2022
Where in the world is Gabby the motorhome ? She was destined for a day out. The plans had been laid . Criccieth Castle . The last of the stronghold of castles built in North Wales to subdue the Welsh. A castle we had passed on many occasions but never actually managed to set foot in. Today was planned . We would head for Wrexham , top up with fuel and LPG , travel to Criccieth and spend the night somewhere near the sea . Well that was the plan . As is always with good plans they sometimes turn out to be not so good .
The morning was frosty and it felt cold . We toyed with the idea of moving the car and then getting Gabby off the drive . We were slowly going off the idea of taking her into Wrexham to fill her up. It all seemed so awkward in the dark . In the end we decided not to stay overnight and just take the car out for a day trip . It would be easier to park wouldnt it ? And probably warmer with her heated seats . So Gabby stayed where she
was and we loaded ourselves in to the car .
With silly sat nag loaded with the co-ordinates were were off . Really looking forward to seeing the sea . To spending a day in a castle . We got as far as Chirk and I remembered that there had been a landslide at Newbridge closing the road . This meant a longer detour via Llangollen to the historic A5. The roads were quiet and the mist had fallen . We could hardly see the trees around us or the road . The sun was really struggling to break through . Llangollen was busy as always and it looked as cheerful as it could do . We found ourselves stuck at the traffic lights . They were stuck on red both ways causing some pandemonium on the road . Eventually we did get through and on our way .
Passing Corwen with its statue of Owain Glyndwr . Past the Rhug Estate and we found ourselves heading for Bala . We decided it was coffee time . We pulled up on the main street . We found parking of one hour alongside the road . Good enough for
us as all we needed was a cafe . We found Hoffi Coffi - it seemed busy and a favourite amongst the townswomen who had called in for a chat and the workers having breakfast . I ordered in welsh . It made a nice change . With around three quarters of the town being welsh speakers it was easier to fall into ordering breakfast a bacon sandwich and cheese on toast in Welsh. The food arrived . The bacon sandwich was marked as reasonable and I had two slices of cheese of toast . Too much to get through . i enquired in welsh - cerddyn neu pres ? Card or cash ? I paid , we said goodbye and walked back to the car .
The road out of Bala was still bathed in fog . Here and there the sun was making a valiant attempt at chasing the mist away . We reached Treweryn . Cofiwch Treweryn . The words should have rung through my head . Ingrained it is in Welsh history of recent times . The reservoir is large and very beautiful . Peaceful shrouded in mist . It holds though a bleak history
Llyn Celyn reservoir was constructed between 1960 and 1965 in the valley of the River Tryweryn . It is 2 and a half miles long and one mile wide with a maximum depth of 140 feet . It holds 71,200,000 cubic metres of water . We were travelling along the road constructed around the reservoir. Could you imagine the controversy if you wanted to drown a valley and flood it to supply a city over the border in England now? But for this area it was becoming normal for this to happen . The UK government passed an Act of Parliament to give the go ahead for the project and there was nothing that the Welsh nation or the inhabitants of Capel Celyn the village being flooded could do to stop it . The lost village with its post office and school, its chapel and its graveyard is still there but only seen when the water level is low in the summer months . The mainly welsh speaking community was broken up forever .
As we drove we heard a funny noise . Was that a pothole we had gone down ? No definately not .
Had we seen anything untoward ? No not a sign of anything . But the on board computer was telling us something different . A blue message came up. Stop immediately . Tyre pressure low . Luckily we had a choice of a few laybyes . All with views of the reservoir . I got out of Gabby and the tyre was low . So something was wrong . We pondered on what to do next . We had no spare . Cars no longer come with spares . The tyre had a small cut into the side wall . Air was seeping out . I could hear it and realised that the gunk in the boot that should be injected into the tyre was not going to work in a month of Sundays . The only choice was to call up the breakdown company and seek their help.
We got through quickly , gave our co-ordinates to the company who called up the local garage . Within ten minutes we got the call . Gethin from the local garage would try to source us a tyre locally and send out his recovery vehicle to take us to the garage . He called back to tell us that the driver was an hour away but would have to take us to Wrexham where we would pick up the tyre . As we sat there waiting we talked about Treweryn.
It is over 50 years that activists bombed a power transformer at the site. It sparked off the welsh language campaigns and has been focal point for growing devolution movement . We should have looked at the small chapel built out of the stones of the old chapel . Perhaps we should have spent the time looking for the sign Cofiwch Dreweryn - Remember Treweryn . It is not the first time that villagers had been displaced to provide water for English cities . Vrnwy and Elan Valleys had been flooded in the late 19th Century to create reservoirs serving Liverpool and Birmingham respectively.
Brian arrived and loaded Gabby on his truck . We were taken home . The day had started with a plan to see the castle and ended up in the Fat Boar at Wrexham . An expensive day out which left memories of tyre failures in Trento and the plan rehashed . Criccieth would have to wait for another day .
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