A Holiday in Snowdonia Stern and Wild. "OER YW'R EIRA AR ERYRI." By Uwchaled. N READER, this is probably the last Whitsun- tide tour we are going to tell you about, although we are thinking about Ystrad Fflur and Little Wales beyond Wales for next year. Twelve months ago you had Uwchaled to digest and the year before that, Glyn Ceiriog. And now we are in Snowdonia in the year of good hope and goodwill 1927. And if you will have the patience to read our tale, we will undertake (in so far as anybody writing on Snowdon, with its peaks and passes, its mists and sunsets, its history and legends, can in reason undertake) to avoid all soaring fancy, and to keep to plain, sober statement upon all we relate upon all that we saw and did and thought. The question to settle at the outset was where- abouts to pitch our quarters whether at Bangor, Caernarvon, or Llanrwst-all three of them ex- cellent, each in its own way. But Cared Doeth yr Encilion," as our Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion blazons it. Let us then to those byeways. But again-where? For the life of us we couldn't find the formula for a long time. And then the inspiration came in a flash whilst we were running the razor over our chin and we reasoned in this wise A wise man doesn't live to eat, but eats to live. At the same time it is good to use a prudent discrimination in those things that do the office for him. And as a bad inn costs just as much as a good inn and sometimes more, why pay to be poisoned in the first when a person needs to find no more where- with to thank a benign providence that he's alive and well in the other? What about Pen y Gwryd? Quite! Not even Solomon at his wisest could have said anything wiser. So the cosy little ingle-nook of Pen y Gwryd had it, where Snowdon rock-climbers and fishermen of four generations have foregathered together and told over their adventures, and where Charles Kingsley (that glorious son of Devon) spent an angler's holiday in August, 1856, along with Tom Taylor of Punch and Tom Hughes (the author of Tom Brown's School Days "). and all three of them amused themselves by writing verses in the visitors' book.1 Here, then, like a lost hound, tired and hungry, we cast up from Cardiff and The South on Thursday evening before the great exodus from elsewhere had set in Snowdonwards for this the best holiday time of the year. And let us dine as soon as ere we may For b" my Kalendar it is prime of day." i "Life of Charles Kingsley," Vol T., pp 4967 (Edited by his wife). Before proceeding with our tale, let us explain what is meant by Snowdonia," or Eryri, the eagles' haunt,"2 as it is so aptly and beautifully called in Welsh where those rare birds of the wild, the raven, the buzzard, and the peregrine falcon still breed amid the precipices though harried and despoiled continually by the egg- collector on his destructive hobby bent where the wolf survived probably until as late as early in the 17th century,3 and the wild red deer until early in the 18th,3 where the badger, the pine- martin, and the polecat still haunt the woods, and the mountain fox is common and where the wild cat may not yet be extinct. Roughly, then, Snowdonia consists of what used to be in times past the cantrefs of Arfon and Arllechwedd and the commotes of Nant Conwy and Eifionydd. In other words, it com- prises within its borders that region of stately mountain ranges with deep-cut vales and lonely tarns that lies between the river Conwy and the bays of Beaumaris (with the Menai Straits) and Caernarvon, as far down in respect of the second as the old-world village of Clynnog Fawr. From that village overlooking the bay, it turns south- east to the Traeth Mawr (on which stands the modern town of Portmadoc), thence doubling back up to Beddgelert, and from the last it runs easterly to a few miles beyond Penmachno (Pennant Machno) which borders on the extreme western end of the shire of Denbigh.4 And its glory is the peak of Yr Wyddfa, 3560 feet high, the highest mountain top in Britain south of the Highland line. How greatly Llywelyn Fawr valued his rule over this historic district-" the Strength of Gwynedd as it is called in the Mabinogion-his proud title of Lord of Snowdon bears witness to. And having said this much on the history of Snowdonia, we do not propose to add anything more further than these our adventures happen us upon. Friday set in cold and threatening with an over-cast sky and a heavy mist on Snowdon five miles away, though the sister peaks of LIiwedd and Crib Goch stood out clear against the hard outline, and the great round hill of Moel Siabod 2 The eagle appears to have been common in tre Snowdonian range until about the end of the first half of the 17th century. By the time of Edward Lhuyd. the Celtic scholar, it had become only an occasional visitant from Ireland. A century later (in 1802) William Williams, of Llandegai, states that 'some wandering eagles are now and then in these <parts seen skulking in the precipices' ("The Mountains of Snow- donia," by J. E. Lloyd, Ohap 1., p 4.). So far as the writer is aware, it is seldom that an eagle is seen in the mountains now-a-days, and then it is probably a stray young bird from the Highlands of Scotland. 3 "The Fauna of North Wales" (H. E. Forrest). Nant Conwy was reputed the richest deer-forest in Wales (Op oit. p. 59.) 4 It will be seen that the famed Vale of Ffestiniog in Merionethshire and the mountains around are outside and beyond those limits,