The last time I ventured to Happy Valley in Gwynedd, the goal was Llyn Barfog (otherwise known as the Bearded Lake), but the walk was cut short. My return to Happy Valley was (I am pleased to report) more successful, second time around. The weather was cold but sunny, the walking boots were lined with cosy walking socks, and the pockets were filled with Emergency Chocolate.
The elusive lake is tucked away between several hills, and was very clear. You could see hundreds of yellow-green lily pads poking out through the surface, and the surrounding mountains were beautifully reflected in the deep blue water. I’m not sure where the “beard” comes in; maybe they mean the lily pads?
Like many places in this part of Wales, there is some legend about King Arthur, a lake monster and his horse, which I won’t bore you with. Honestly, those people in the Middle Ages! Did they have nothing better to do than make this stuff up? Maybe the local brew was strong stuff. Maybe the story’s author fell in the lake on his head and drank some of it.
The walk was longer than anticipated, and it was almost dark when I got back to base. I later measured the route at twelve miles, not including the bits where I got lost. It occurred to me that I should have used the self-service kiosk of a farm I passed along the way, as well as snapping away at it.