Give something back with Snowdonia Giving

If you’re staying with us, you may notice a small, voluntary donation of £2 added onto your bill. We’re really hoping that you share in our enthusiasm and passion for supporting Snowdonia Giving – an initiative set up to help to raise money to maintain the jewel of North Wales: Snowdonia. As a hotel nestled at the foot of Snowdon, we think it’s important to give back to the community that we benefit from and we hope our guests feel the same way. We’re really proud to have raised over £1,800 in visitor donations, but we need your help to raise even more!

Your generous donations help keep the Snowdonia National Park open for all to enjoy.

Snowdonia is such a magical place; it brings tourists, walkers and climbers to our region year after year and all year round. Did you know, almost half a million walkers tackle Snowdon each year, and that number is rapidly increasing. Whilst it’s amazing so many people want to experience our beautiful mountain, the downside is the detrimental impact on the environment and wildlife they have. For example, paths are eroded and drainage systems need repair. Add to that the upkeep of carparks and other amenities in the park plus staffing and training people to do the work and you have a mammoth task on your hands.

Naturally, all this costs money – a lot of money. There are many public and private bodies helping to maintain the park, such as the National Trust and Natural Resources Wales, but there’s still a huge shortfall of £150,000 every year. That’s why people like us – the people who enjoy the park and its surroundings – need to help out where we can.

At the moment, Snowdonia Giving is concentrating on raising funds for three key areas: Snowdon Mountain Paths, the Snowdonia Circular Route and Young People and Traditional Skills.

Snowdon Mountain Paths – large stretches of the path need replacing and repairing after storm damage and walkers. Because the stones of the mountain are protected, materials need to be brought in from elsewhere, and, as it’s pretty difficult to get a big vehicle up the side of a mountain, the stones need to be brought in by helicopter. This doesn’t come cheap.

The Snowdon Circular Route focuses on the paths and areas in the valleys around Snowdon. Not everyone can or wants to summit the mountain itself, and sometimes, the weather is against it. By keeping a good network of pathways, bridleways, car parks, camp sites and other amenities, everyone can enjoy the stunning scenery.

Young People and Traditional skills aims at helping to provide practical opportunities and experiences to get young people interested, involved and educated about the countryside and the mountains, and to train them in the skills needed to keep the area in perfect condition.

Here’s a short video from the Snowdonia Giving website which shows what your donations go towards: 

We’re really happy to answer any questions you have on your donation, or the Snowdonia Giving initiative, and you can also find plenty more information on the official website, by clicking here. 

Snowdonia hits the silver screen in the Year of Legends

Is it mere coincidence that a new Hollywood blockbuster, a take on the medieval legend of King Arthur, is due for release this month – smack bang in the middle of the Year of Legends in Wales? Ask director Guy Ritchie and he’ll blame other Hollywood movies for muscling in on King Arthur: Legend of the Sword’s original 2016 release date but we think there’s a sweet poetry to it hitting the silver screen this month.

With an all-star lineup including Jude Law as Arthur’s evil uncle Vortigern, Sons of Anarchy’s Charlie Hunnam as Arthur and Eric Bana as his father, Uther Pendragon, the movie has all the hallmarks of a box office hit. Add into the mix a cameo from David Beckham and, on paper, it’s pretty much perfect viewing!

For us, the cherry on top is the fact that Ritchie chose Snowdonia as his backdrop for the movie. It’s especially fitting as our mountains are the spiritual home of the legendary King Arthur and because their majesty beauty makes the perfect location for an epic historical movie like this one.

In 2015, film crews came to North Wales, setting up at several familiar locations close to the Royal Victoria Hotel, including the Vivian Quarry (just minutes from the hotel), Nant Gwynant near Beddgelert and Capel Curig. Local drama students were lucky enough to get the opportunity to work as extras on the movie too!

You can view the trailer here – don’t miss it!

But Snowdonia is no stranger to the bright lights of Hollywood. The dramatic peaks and valleys of the Snowdonia National Park have provided backdrops for many big name films over the years. The untouched, timeless landscape of the national park has proved an ideal setting for movies, especially historical and fantasy genres. The towering mountains are accustomed to playing a role too – they have been used in countless movies to represent other impressive destinations including China and Kazakhstan.

And it’s not just Snowdonia that caught the eye of the camera – the Llyn Peninsula, Anglesey and the North Wales coast have all enjoyed their fifteen minutes of fame too. Let’s take a closer look at a few of the movies that were filmed in North Wales.

Inn of the Sixth Happiness

Back in 1958, movie Inn of the Sixth Happiness brought China to Snowdonia, when the hills of Moel Dyniewyd near Beddgelert were transformed into a Chinese city. This true life adaptation featured screen siren Ingrid Bergman as Gladys Aylward, a lowly English maid who becomes a missionary to the Far East in the years leading up to World War Two. A giant golden Buddha statue used as a prop in the movie now resides at Portmeirion, close to where Ingrid Bergman herself was spotted relaxing during filming.

Tomb Raider 2 – Lara Croft and the Cradle of Life

Snowdonia was again used as a stand-in for China when Angelina Jolie starred in the hit action movie, Tomb Raider 2. The producers chose Snowdonia as a backup after they were denied rights to film in China itself. The movie, which features Jolie as a feisty female treasure hunter, shot scenes at Nant Gwynant, Llyn Gwynant, Moel Siabod and Pen-y-Pass (just up the road from the hotel). The Alexandra Slate Quarry in Rhosgadfan was the location for one of the most exciting scenes in the $100m film, when it stood in as the dwelling place of the world-famous Terracotta Warriors.

From Russia with Love & The World is Not Enough

There’s something about Snowdonia which keeps James Bond coming back, with two 007 flicks being filmed partly in the area.The 1963 Bond movie,From Russia With Love, saw James enjoying the North Wales countryside on a romantic trip with his squeeze for the movie, Tatiana Romanova. Years later the bond crew returned to film scenes for 1999 movie, The World is Not Enough, where Bond and sidekick Christmas Jones, foil a terrorist plot to take over the world’s oil supply. The disputed pipeline is not actually in Azerbaijan as portrayed in the movie but on the slopes of Snowdon!

Visit North Wales and it’s not hard to see why film makers return again and again to use our beautiful landscape as a backdrop for all kinds of movies. Don’t miss Snowdonia’s next outing on the big screen – King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is released in the UK on 19 May.

Image courtesy of: hashi photo via Wikimedia Commons