Reporter feels village warmth at foot of Snowdon

By George Herd
BBC Wales news

  • Published
Horses in the snow at Penisa'rwaun
Image caption,
The snowfall has been apt for towns and villages at the foot of Snowdon

It has been snowing since Thursday afternoon, catching the binmen as they edged their way down a rapidly disappearing single-track lane here in the village of Penisa'rwaun, nestling between Llanberis and Caernarfon in Gwynedd.

We were lucky. The rubbish was collected, but those just doors away did not share our fortune. The white-out had begun.

By Friday morning, a good half-foot of powdery snow covered everything in the village.

The local primary school is just a few hundred yards from my front door. But my children would not be going there on Friday.

Like thousands of other pupils across Gwynedd and Anglesey, they were staying home - school doors firmly closed against the blizzard conditions.

Image caption,
The weather has been winning on roads around Penisa'rwaun, Gwynedd

But I was determined to see if I could make my way into work, the seven or so miles into BBC Wales' main office in north Wales at Bangor.

First things first. My first route option, the same single-track road that defeated the council workers the day before, was no go. Wind has whipped snow across parts of it so it stands well over a foot deep in the white stuff.

I knew the gritters had reached the village via another road, in a bid to keep the local bus route up and running.

Wrapped up in severe weather clothing, gloves, hat and boots, I decided to walk to the road, and see if it was possible to take a car to the main Llanberis-Bangor road a mile away.

On the way, I passed the local residential nursing home, and stopped to speak to one of the care nurses.

"The local girls have made it in, but it's been a struggle," she tells me.

"I managed to drive the night-nurse home, but then I've had to walk back in this morning, and I'll be walking back again tonight."

Walking back the three miles or so in freezing conditions that is, to the opposite village of Deiniolen, which rises up the hillside towards the Dinorwig slate quarries.

"If it stays like this, I'll be doing it all again tomorrow," added the nurse.

"Some of the other girls from Caernarfon and Rhiwlas, they won't be able to get in. I'm getting too old for this running about."

I carry on along the lane, optimistic. The road has been gritted, I can see the surface. I'm pretty sure I can get a car down here to the main road.

But within minutes, my hopes of escaping Penisa'rwaun are dashed.

I reach the junction with the main route, the road that would take me to Bangor. I can't see it. Despite the best efforts of snow ploughs and gritters, the weather is winning here.

Time to trudge back to my own snow-bound home.

On the way, I bump into more members of the community trying to cope the best they can with what is being thrown at them.

Get warm

One man has walked two miles to the nearest shop to get supplies, and was now returning from walking two miles in the other direction to deliver them to older relatives who could not get out.

"That's all the bread and newspaper's delivered, time to head home and get warm," he told me.

It certainly warmed my heart, to see little gestures like that, as the community pulls together, stuck as most of are, together in a rural village in the shadow of the very aptly named Snowdon.