At Nant Gwrtheyrn, Wales, We Sleep in the Former Village of the Quarry

Nant Gwrtheyrn, North Wales, a former quarry village.
Nant Gwrtheyrn, North Wales, a former quarry village now a dormitory.

After a flight made much more pleasant by a serendipitous upgrade to business class, which gave me a night’s sleep on a flat bed,
I’ve spent the day here in Wales. I have given up trying to actually pronounce the names of the places I’ve seen. We are staying in a remote, renovated Victorian quarry village, set in a secluded wooded valley with views overlooking the Porthdinllaen Bay and the Lyn Peninsula.

Wales looks a great deal like the north of England, there are three million inhabitants here and 300,000 of them live in the capital city of Cardiff, on the southern end. But the place where I am now is dramatically remote. We drove out of some woods and then this big former quarry emerged on the mountainside–big rings where once ground had been taken out, and on the other side, light brown earth and greenery on the distant Lyn Peninsula.

Way, way down, after the curving asphalt winds down the steep slope, we can see a line of buildings, and then the white sands of the Irish sea. This place is now a teaching center where Welsh is learned; it was once the hardscrabble residence of hundreds of quarry men and their wives.

This owl was on the waterfront next to men who had hawks on their arms.
This owl was on the Conwy waterfront next to men who had hawks on their arms.


The Conwy waterfront included this owl, who sat serenely with his masters who held hawks on their arms.  The tide had gone out, leaving a few boats stranded dry on the beach. I’m told the tides go up and down about 20 feet here.  Last night we had a fun time learning some rudimentary Welsh… so today I am ready to say Bore da (good morning!) and Sut Dach chi, (how are you?) and if things continue to be as fun as yesterday, well, I’ll describe them as Bendigedig, (marvellous!)