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May at Bala Cottage Holidays

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017 030#Rhinogs

May at Bala Cottage Holidays, well what a great start to May, a fantastic new walk on the Northern #Rhinogs (behind Harlech) to the summit of “Clip”, a windy single track road took us to a remote car park (if you can call it that!) in a field by a farm and the lake, a small wooden box asking for parking money!  We made our way from here up a steep bank, no marked path, but luckily our friends were good map readers!  Through fantastic scenery with mountain lakes and no one else within sight!  It was a good six hour walk, but well worth it for being a “hidden gem”.

011 #Aberdovey

May at Bala Cottage Holidays.  Then we had a wonderful day in #Aberdovey, which boasts some of the finest beaches in Britain with four miles of golden sand-dune backed shoreline running north to Tywyn.  The championship links golf course lies to the landward side of the dunes.  The beaches are popular with sunbathers, swimmers, surfers and fishermen while the estuary attracts a wide range of water sports enthusiasts, and is all only an hour away from us here at Bala Cottage Holidays.

021 #Bluebells

May at Bala Cottage Holidays.  Nearer to home the #Bluebells have been truly the best I have ever known, carpets of them everywhere, a truly lovely sight.  Both our cottages at Llanerch and Dolgadfa have had a busy start to the summer and though we are now nearly full in Llanerch for the high summer weeks, we do still have some availability a the beginning of July and June, as for Dolgadfa one week left in August and still a couple of weeks left in July, so have a look and hope we can welcome you here for your holidays.

April Showers

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April Showers are here, but the lambs are coming and the daffodils are out in force, lots of warm wet weather has led to a fantastic display of spring flowers and of course the grass is growing!

We are busy getting bookings in for both Dolgadfa and Llanerch, and both are full for Easter.  A lot of enquiries are coming through for the summer but still have one week left in August and two weeks in July at Dolgadfa and two weeks left in August at Llanerch, so have a look at our website and see what we have to offer.  Also check out some of our wonderful guest comments we have had recently.

We are busy starting tyding up the gardens, mowing the lawns for the first time and getting ready for our Spring guests here in April.

The age old saying “April Showers bring forth May flowers” I think may well be true this year, as this time last year we were in the grip of the coldest snowiest spring we have seen for many years.   We had to cancel our Easter booking up to Llanerch as we couldn’t even get a tractor up the track as the snow was so deep!  Its nice to see so many new lambs well and happy in the warm spring weather.

The girls are home for the holidays so we are planning a family walk up a mountain we haven’t yet been….so lets see what we decide on and will report in my next blog!

 

 

 

Spring is in the Air!

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023 #Spring is in the Air!

Spring is in the Air!  Hooray after the longest, wettest, windiest (if there is such a word, spelling not my strongest point!) winter, March has at last arrived and so far so good….no rain , at least not for the next week, it must be the first time since September that we have had a week with no rain!  Also the birds are definitely singing and the days are getting longer, not dark here now until 6.30pm.

Saying that we still have been extremely busy at Dolgadfa and Llanerch, and after one of the worst storms seen here for a long time on February 12th, a huge operation of clearing up fallen trees is still in full force, not to mention lack of WIFI at both properties, but getting back to normal now.  Thank goodness we have a generator at Dolgadfa as we would have had to cancel our half term booking  as there was no electricity there for a week!

Our lovely guests up at Llanerch during the storm were extremely understanding as I had to send them home a day early, due to no electricity and fallen trees,  but I have to say that was extreme and hopefully we are over the worst now and roll on the Spring and summer.

We still have some weeks and weekends left to fill in the Spring, I personally think this is the nicest time of year to go away, the beginning….

We are busy spring cleaning both properties, tidying up the gardens and getting ready for Easter holidays.

So Spring is in the Air!   Come and stay and enjoy the fantastic views from both Dolgadfa and Llanerch, a warm welcome awaits you.

New Railway Line to Corwen

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New railway line to Corwen.  In the summer you can see plumes of steam and hear the whistle and clack of wheels on track.  Right now, the trains are stationery, the locomotives are silent and there is no sign of the station master!  But although it is still the off-season at Llangollen Railway there is plenty going on behind the scenes.  Volunteers and engineers are working to extend the existing track – which runs to Carrog – a further two and half miles to Corwen.  They have completed two miles already but it is a mammoth undertaking.  Meanwhile, Berwyn, Glyndyfrdwy and Carrog stations are also getting ready to welcome the fist carriage load of visitors.

Find out more about Llangollen railway by visiting www.llangollen-railway.co.uk or calling 01978 860979

The station opens this weekend February 8th, with the first steam-hauled journey on Sunday.

Whilst things are definitely happening with the new railway line to Corwen we have had a quiet January here at Bala Cottage Holidays, but now the guests are coming with a busy February ahead at both Dolgadfa and Llanerch.

The “January rush” always gives a boost to the New Year as many enquiries and bookings are taken for the year ahead, now with January behind us and into February, the days are lengthening and March and spring is around the corner.

Saying that John, myself, his brother and sister in law all climbed Aran on Sunday and it was knee deep in snow on the summit!  I think we are likely to see a bit more snow before we get to the spring months!  Lets hope its not like last year with the late snowfall we had here, at the worst possible time for the hill farmers with lambing.

 

New Year! Two Perfect Cottages

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New Year!  Two Perfect Cottages.  Well the children are back at school, the house has been de-Christmastised (if there is such a word), cleaned from top to bottom, beds freshly made, dog beds washed (even the dogs too!) and it is oh so quiet……..so to our cottages….

Our holiday cottages Dolgadfa and Llanerch have been cleaned up after the New Years parties!  Well people have to celebrate don’t they.  Nows the time to take a good look at both to see what needs doing, any maintenance can be done now, as January tends to be a quiet time for us, saying that we are always open for business!  Our aim is to make both our cottages more homely with a few simple touches.

So more lamps, more pictures, more mirrors, yes it is good to see what you look like!  And of course lots more books, sadly the demise of books seems to be happening with all the new kindles and e readers available, but nothing beats the feel of a good book in your hand.

The weather has been shall we say a little wet, in fact cant remember the last time I saw the Sun….but I think we might be due some snow and there is nowhere more beautiful than here when it snows, a true picture postcard, and what could be better than coming in to a roaring log fire after a good tramp up one of our hills.  Saying that the walks from both our cottages are fantastic and the views breathtaking.

Interestingly enough quite a lot of holiday cottages don’t like furry friends (by that I mean dogs) but I have to say that nearly half our bookings are from guests who would like to bring their dogs with them.  We are in such a good location for walks, that it would be a shame to leave them at home.

 

 

New App for Wales – Archwilio

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Very exciting news for Llanerch and Dolgadfa – a new App has just been released where all of Wales Archaeological treasures are to be accessible via an App for the first time. Archwilio, which claims to be a world first for a whole country, will allow users of  tablet and smartphones to access records about what lies underfoot in both rural and urban areas. Designed by the University of South Wales. I know for a fact that here at Dolgadfa and Llanerch  we have at least two sites of Archaeological interest, if not more that we may well not know about, so before you come and stay download this new app, make your walks in this stunning part of the country even more exciting!  A short distance from Llanerch and Dolgadfa there are plenty of possibilities to put this new app to the test. North Wales, Bala and Snowdonia is rich in history over many ages. Come and stay with us and use us a base for some very exciting exploring.

http://balacottageholidays.co.uk/new-app-wales-archwilio

Bala Cottage Holidays – October

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Well the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness is well underway.  The surrounding countryside looks fantastic with the changing season, the trees displaying every shade of brown to gold.  To be fair it has been rather a wet autumn so far, but we certainly needed it, only now can we swap to our winter water supply at Llanerch after the dry summer, we  had to find a new spring for the summer.

The field mushrooms have been in abundance this year, don’t dare try anything else!  But I am told that there are plenty of ceps nearby in these woods!

Business is still going strong through the autumn for us, with now mainly weekenders, amazingly enough even with our larger property Dolgadfa we still have guests coming last minute!

The self catering market is strong despite the economic downturn over the past few years, but I feel we offer value for money for what we can provide guests here in the Dee Valley.

John and I are finding time at the weekends to walk our neighbouring mountains, Arenig,  by Bala is next on the list, haven’t done that one for a few years, also you can take dogs on the lead so double bonus!  We are also looking at walking the ridge at Llangynog, a mountain we pass on a regular basis when we are heading south.  Also the Watkin Williams Wynne path up Snowden is another one which has been on the list, this is a fairly quiet route as it is a long one!  So might  have to start that one earlier in the morning with the shorter days.

So thoughts turn to log fires and making sure Dolgadfa and Llanerch are set up for the coming winter months, as I write this the road up to Llanerch is having its yearly maintenance work.

Grayling fishing has been very popular this autumn but have had to cancel a couple of days due to the high proximity of the river at the moment!

Still plenty of grass for the livestock so not having to resort to hay yet, the months after Christmas are always the hardest for grazing animals.

Talking of Christmas, we still have availability at both our properties.  So have a look and see if we can tempt you to come and stay with us in this fantastic location.  We will provided Christmas trees for you to decorate at Dolgadfa and Llanerch and goes without saying a very warm welcome Creoso!

That leaves me to say log onto www.balacottageholidays.co.uk and come and stay!

 

 

 

 

 

September – end of a fantastic summer

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Cant quite believe it is nearly the middle of September all ready….whats been happening at Bala Cottage Holidays, well here we go;

Girls back to school, so very quiet in the house, cushions staying on the sofa, no piles of clothes everywhere, no arguing over the computer, which DVD, which ride to go on, which dog walk to go on, which girl the dog loves best etc etc!  Suprisingly  they do actually get on quite well.

So looking in the diary September is the time for all hands on deck as there is much to do with the running and maintenance of the cottages.  Health and Safety comes first so the usual, boilers serviced, PAT testing, chimneys swept, water tested, carpets cleaned, deep clean of both cottages, the list goes on, but always good to be busy, I  get far more done, what do they say?  If you want something done give it to a busy person, this is very true.

So in between all the jobs that have to be done, am enjoying the cooler days, autumn mists here in the Upper Dee Valley, many dog walks and rides on the horse.  The nights are drawing in slowly, thoughts are turning to log fires and gathering fruit from the trees and hedgerows, its going to be a bumper crop year after such a good summer.

Planning some new mountain walks over the autumn in Snowdonia so we can keep our guests updated.

We have had some wonderful guests over the summer, all appreciative of the beautiful valley we live in, enthusiastic to walk, ride bikes, visit castles, beaches, gardens and yes even swim down the river from Dolgadfa!

The wonderful views from Llanerch have left people wanting more,  this new cottage has surprised us by doing so well over the summer and even now into the autumn.  We hopefully listen to our guests and hope to put in a new shower in the downstairs bathroom and buy two new sofas for the sitting room.

A little decoration at Dolgadfa will be done over the winter, and both gardens put to bed….

What a great summer we have all had, a truly memorable one

Summer Holidays

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Summer Holidays

Aren’t they long?! What a good thing that we have SO much to do here at our holiday cottages… there really is something for everyone. I probably recommend that you are more of an active person than inert – only because it’s almost criminal not to take advantage of the massive variety of outdoor activities.

I can’t say for sure that all our guests have had a go at everything our family has done in this amazing summer weather that North Wales has put on for us this year… we have swum in the River Dee practically every day (morning and evening, wet-suit or not, depending on the midge levels). We’ve swum along various bits of the staggeringly beautiful Welsh coastline, including Abersoch, Aberdovey, and Redwolf Bay on Anglesey. I always think it’s going to take forever to get everyone organised and packed into the car – but once the intricate art of “packing the car for a family day out” has been completed, it’s only 45 minutes to the sea. Bliss.

We’ve climbed Snowden this year – honestly, it was like climbing Kilimanjaro: hot, hot sun; the bluest sky you’ve every seen and those huge white fluffy clouds that you associate with African skies. Four of us had an incredible morning playing “monkeys” in the High Ropes course down the road at Get Wet the Adventure Company. They couldn’t have been more fun – if only I’d had teachers like that in my youth! We also organised a session rafting on the River Dee and building a bridge – like one of those team-building days that companies do, but without the politics or trying to impress the boss. The only thing that mattered was getting to the wine and BBQ on the other side!!

It’s lucky that we’ve got such comfy sofas for collapsing on at the end of it all. My question this summer has been “are there enough hours in the day”. You know, I’m not sure I’ve come up with the answer – but every single hour has been full, and has been fun.

The Birth of Bala Cottage Holidays!

Welcome

Bala Cottage Holidays: Our New Website

Welcome to our shiny new website: we mean this literally as North Wales basks in glorious sunshine. We haven’t enjoyed a summer like this for a few years – our holiday cottages look utterly blissful as the mist burns off on the morning.

We’ve heard our guests waking themselves up in the morning with a dip in the bracing but beautiful River Dee – and have cooled off in the evening doing the same… I’m not sure that the fish are quite so happy!

Both parents and children seem to be in complete harmony: how could a family not be? The hills provide spectacular views, the woods perfect shade, Bala is alive and kicking, barbeque smoke wafts up the valley, southern Snowdonia seems clear as crystal and all the nearer for that. We have just spent the day on a boat on the coast – 45 minutes for that perfect cooling sea-breeze with some mackerel fishing thrown in.

We are SO lucky to live here – we can’t wait to share it with you…