Friday, 8 November 2013

New Oakeley Blog

Sign up for our blog!

Don't forget that the Oakeley Arms has a new blog page so from now on you'll need to check the new blog address for updates and blog stories.

Check us out at  

If you've signed up for e-mail updates with us at this blog site, then you'll just need to do this again at the new blog site - click the small FOLLOW button in the bottom right hand corner.

Thanks so much for supporting our blog! And don't forget, if you have any story ideas or things you'd like to see on the Oakeley Arms blog, then let us know! 

image by JayLopez on

Thursday, 18 April 2013

New Oakeley Blog

Sign up for our blog!

We're thrilled to announce that the Oakeley Arms has a new-look website! And we've got a brand new blog to go along with it! We're in the process of moving all of the historic posts on the old blog over to the new one so that the content won't be lost, but from now on you'll need to check the new blog address for updates and blog stories.

Check us out at  

If you've signed up for e-mail updates, then you'll just need to do this again at the new blog site - click the small FOLLOW button in the bottom right hand corner.

Thanks so much for supporting our blog! And don't forget, if you have any story ideas or things you'd like to see on the Oakeley Arms blog, then let us know! 

image by JayLopez on

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Special Offer, Special Offer

Oakeley Holiday Cottages

This is not one too miss! Don't forget about our very SPECIAL OFFER on our stunning Welsh holiday cottages, situated right here in the Oakeley Arms Hotel grounds. Each cottage has been lovingly renovated and restored and are packed with period features but kitted out with modern appliances. They are the perfect option for your self-catering holiday in Snowdonia.

Our special offer is for the three bedroom cottage (which sleeps six people). Usually £800 a week, this beautiful cottage can be yours for the week for just £500! 

To take advantage of this fabulous offer and save £300 on the usual price of £800, call or e-mail today to check available dates and to book. Quote BLOGOFFER when you enquire. 

The offer is subject to availability. For more details about the holiday cottages, see our website click here or 01766 590 277

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Zip World at Penrhyn Quarry

Zip it!

We are pretty excited here at the Oakeley Arms this week, because we're bracing ourselves for the opening of a brand new North Wales family attraction.

Zip World at Penrhyn Quarry is an exciting new adventure experience that has just opened, a short drive from the Oakeley Arms, at the village of Bethesda. Penrhyn Quarry was once the largest slate quarry in the world, and the main pit is almost a mile long! At the peak of it's output, 3,000 local men worked the mine there. Nowadays, although the quarry is still operational, it is with a significantly smaller workforce. 

The majestic Penrhyn Quarry sits in some of the finest scenery in North Wales.
Image by Ian Greig via Wikimedia Commons

And the quarry is all set to become known for something other than it's slate. The Zip World experience promises adventurers the "ride of a lifetime" as you fly along two specially designed zip wires 700 feet above the quarry - travelling at speeds of up to 75mph! It's as near as you'll ever get to flying!

The zip wires at Penrhyn Quarry are a mile long, making them the longest, and fastest zip wieres in Europe. And while it's not one for the faint hearted, the safety considerations and regulations are second to none. Over two years of planning, research and development have gone into the Zip World experience, making full use of some of the latest and safest technology and zip wire innovation.

So why not give it a go? Not only will you have the ride of your life, but you'll also be able to delve deep into the rich history of the mines, men and quarries that etched North Wales firmly onto the slate map of the world. See you up there!

Zip World is open daily from 10:00 to 3:00pm, with sessions running every hour. From £50 per adult and £40 per child. For more information, booking details and directions, see the Zip World website

Enjoy a bird's eye view of the historic Penrhyn Quarry
Image by Eric Jones via Wikimedia Commons

Monday, 8 April 2013

X-Factor hasn't hit the x-spot!


Here at the Oakeley Arms we do agree that the X-Factor is arguably one of Britain's best loved talent shows. Like it or loath it, since the very first show hit our screens in September 2004 it has inspired tears, tantrums, gossip, controversy, and of course BIG hits. Can you name all 9 of the X-Factor winners so far (go on, don't be shy - we bet you can!!)

A big part of the X-Factor's charm are the city auditions that take place up and down the country every year, with hoards of hopefuls attending and singing their hearts out for the judges in a bid to become Britain's next BIG thing. And this year, the X-Factor team have made it easier than ever for people to audition by sending a mobile "audition" van to regional and local venues across the country.

Ian Paterson via Wikimedia Commons

Last week, the mobile audition was lucky enough to come to the Welsh town of Bangor, not too far from the Oakeley Arms. However, far from being a stampede to the door, just 30 hopefuls turned up and so wasn't quite the chaotic spectacle that we so often see on television when the auditions are aired.  Although Bangor didn't have the lowest number of contestants - Colchester in Essex had just 22 people through the doors!

However, spokespeople for the show claim they were not disappointed with the turn out, and that the regional auditions are to give a chance to those not able to travel to the larger cities. Speculation that interest in the X-Factor is waning was waved aside by bosses, who claim that the show is as popular as ever. Phew, we can still have our guilty pleasure this winter then!

JEdward perform on X-Factor 2010
By JonathanLGardner via Wikimedia Commons

Friday, 5 April 2013

Special Offer on Snowdonia Self Catering

Oakeley Holiday Cottages

Summer's just around the corner folks, we promise! Have you sorted your summer break yet? Well, just for you, lovely blog readers, here is a very SPECIAL OFFER that is just toooooooooo good to ignore. 

Here at the Oakeley Arms, we've got a stunning range of self-catering holiday cottages in the hotel grounds, that are just waiting to be the perfect companions to your holiday in Wales.

A stable block was lovingly converted last year into stunning holiday cottages - each one packed with period features but kitted out with modern appliances to make sure your stay is a comfy one.

Our special offer is for the three bedroom cottage (which sleeps six people). Usually £800 a week, this beautiful cottage can be yours for the week for just £500! That's less than £85 a week each for a stay in our fabulous holiday cottages in Snowdonia. 

But, just what is there to see and do in our beautiful area? As it happens, there's LOADS!  We've put together a little itinerary for your week, full of our best suggestions to make the most of your holiday in Snowdonia.
  • Saturday - arrive and unpack. Have a wander into Maentwrog village and explore our pretty church, the stunning Llyn Mair and the beautiful views of the Vale of Ffestiniog. Come back for a delicious bar meal at the Oakeley Arms.
  • Sunday - Head into the nearby town of Porthmadog, just five miles away. There's a supermarket and selection of greengrocers, delis and off-licences so you can stock up on essentials. And while you're there, explore the historic harbour and the famous Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways.
Stunning views of the Moelwyn and Cnicht mountains from Porthmadog
  • Monday - Enjoy a day out at the magical Portmeirion village. This famous Italinate village was built by local eccentric architect Clough Williams-Ellis between 1925 and 1975, and the peaceful grounds and idyllic village are a must see! Don't miss the remote beach and the wild landscapes, as well as the pretty village centre with it's shops, cafes and ice cream!
  • Tuesday - Feeling energetic today? Good! Because it's time for a trip up Wales' highest mountain, Snowdon! Reaching the top of this beautiful peak will inspire and enthrall you. And if you really don't feel like the trek, then you can take a short-cut to the top - via the Snowdon Railway!
Take a trip up Wales' highest peak
  • Wednesday - phew! Ok, today you can have a rest after yesterday's exertion, but there's still plenty to see. How about jumping on the historic Ffestiniog Railway at the nearby station of Tan-y-Bwlch? Enjoy the scenic journey to the mining town of Blaenau Ffestiniog, where you can visit the subterranean slate mines before jumping on the train back.
  • Thursday - Today is one for the family, with a trip to Gypsy Wood Park, a fabulous animal activity park for little, and big, kids alike!
  • Friday - Ready to make like a medieval knight and enjoy a spot of history? Today it's time for a trip to nearby Harlech castle. This spectacular thirteenth century fort is one of Edward I's Iron Ring which were built to subdue his greatest enemy - the Welsh army! Delve into the history and zoom back in time at one of Wales' most historic buildings.
Historic Harlech
  • Saturday - put on your sad faces, because it's time to go home...... We hope you enjoy your stay as much as Snowdonia enjoyed entertaining you! And come back again and visit us soon.
And don't forget to take a look at our blog posts, website or ask any of our staff for more ideas for great days out, local walks and things to do and see. We promise you won't be bored!

To take advantage of this fabulous offer (remember, it's just £500 for the 3 bed self-catering cottage that sleeps 6 people - that's a whopping £300 saving on the usual price of £800!). For more details about the holiday cottages, see our website click here

Call or e-mail today to check available dates and to book. Quote BLOGOFFER when you enquire. The offer is subject to availability. or 01766 590 277

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Naughty Shakespeare!

Pardon the Bard

We all know that William Shakespeare is perhaps the most famous poet and playwright of all time (we may even be able to recite a line or two if the mood doth take us....... ) but a recent study at a University not far from the Oakeley Arms has revealed lots of things we might not have known about Britain's favourite bard.

Historians and academics at Aberystwyth University have discovered that not only was Shakespeare once almost jailed for tax eviction, but that he was also one of the time's greatest hoarders of food and supplies!

From "History of the World" Dodd, Mead and Company, 1902. Work in the public domain via Wikimedia Commons

The illegal hoards of grain, malt and barley gathered by the bard were then sold to neighbours and friends at inflated prices during times when food was scarce. Shakespeare was prosecuted for illegal hoarding in 1598. In Britain at that time food shortages, hunger and famine were common as crops often failed, taxes and regulations were levied against farmers and the poor and the weather was largely unpredictable. There was no modern scientific explanations for diseased crops or poisoned food stocks.

The team at Aberystwyth University, led by Dr Jayne Archer, explored the themes of hunger, food and famine in Shakespeare's works and found it to be a recurring topic. Although Shakespeare's hoarding was technically illegal during times of food shortage, the team believe it sheds some light on the personality of a man we know surprisingly little about. It could show him in a humanitarian light because the hoarding was his way of protecting his family from the ravages of famine.

Although he's one of the world's best known writers now, perhaps this latest study shows that during his time, maybe Shakespeare was just an ordinary, working class man trying to make a living for his family.

For more details on this fascinating story, see the BBC news site click here. The full details of the study will be revealed by the team during the 2013 Hay Festival.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Easter Bunnies!

Happy Easter!

Gosh! Here at the Oakeley Arms, we can't believe how quickly this year is flying by! It's Easter weekend already. And while we've been pretty busy here gearing up for the beginning of the hectic summer season, we'll definitely have time to fit in some chocolate chomping!

Image by ChIandra4U on 

Because, let's face it, Easter is great for lots of reasons, but the crazy amounts of yummy sweet treats has got to be one of the best things about it!

Of course, the celebration of Easter is linked to the Christian remembrance of Jesus' Resurrection over 2000 years ago. But these days for most of us, the celebration is more closely associated with a long weekend with family, friends and of course those chocolate eggs.

Eggs have been linked to Easter for over a thousand years because they have long been associated with fertility and re-birth and so were a fitting symbol for Easter. Early Easter eggs were empty bird shells, stained red to echo the blood of Jesus, but the history of chocolate Easter eggs are a relatively new phenomenon. The first were made in Germany in the early 1800s, but it took a while for technology to catch up - the eggs were often solid (mmmm, sounds ok to us!) because the machinery to make hollow eggs wasn't yet invented.

Chocolate company Cadbury's were behind some of the techniques that inspired the modern chocolate bar and Easter eggs. In 1866 the Cadbury brothers found a way to process large quantities of pure cocoa butter, which is an essential ingredient in chocolate. In 1875 Cadbury's launched their first chocolate Easter egg, and they have been hits ever since. 

image by  Crispin Semmens on wikicommons

So, what better way to celebrate Easter than with a delicious chocolatey egg? We certainly don't need telling twice! Pass us the CHOCOLATE!

And why not come and join us here at the Oakeley Arms over the Easter weekend? Treat the family to a delicious bar meal or if you fancy a day off from cooking on Sunday then pop down for our fabulous Sunday Carvery.

See you soon, and Happy Chocolate, oops, we mean Easter!

Image by aschaeffer on

Monday, 25 March 2013

Snow Joke

Come on Spring!

Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! It's a good job we've stocked up on logs for the real fires here at the Oakeley Arms because baby, it sure is cold outside!

We are now officially into British springtime, so where's the sunshine? The weather so far this year has been more unpredictable than ever. We've had snow, sleet, ice, rain, floods, thunderstorms, frost and drizzle; you name it - we've had pretty much every weather phenomenon going, apart from sunshine and warm days......

The heavy snow that struck parts of North Wales and Northern England over the weekend is yet to be cleared, with many areas still heavily disrupted by the worse snow-fall seen for years; many homes all over the UK are without electricity and Mountain Rescue and Search & Rescue Teams across the country have been on standby to help people stuck or stranded in the snow. But shouldn't it be warming up by now? It is springtime, after all?

Image by CWMGary on

Well, weather forecasters say that snowy conditions in March are not that unusual - until the 18th March, it is officially still Winter. The current icy weather is being caused by a high pressure system over northern Europe, which is allowing chilly Arctic air to rush over the UK. This cold air meets the Atlantic rains that are pouring in, and turning the rains into snow. 

Forecasters are also warning that the snow could return just in time for Easter, which will mean the first white Easter since 2008. That means there's only one thing for it - come and join us here at the Oakeley Arms for a cosy fire, a good drink and some hearty dinner!

Image by DogBono on

Last summer, forecasters in the USA predicted that the summer of 2013 may well bring an El Nino system towards the UK. If that happens, be prepared for a tropical, hot and sunny summer! All fingers crossed then, because surely we're due a little good weather after all these Arctic conditions??

And don't forget to take care out there folks. Even if the snow has stopped falling, it's not giving way to ice patches, black ice and treacherous driving conditions. Stay safe, and stay warm!

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Bridge over the River Dwyryd

End of an era.....
One of Snowdonia's most well-loved, and historic, bridges is just a short hop from the Oakeley Arms in Maentwrog. Pont Briwet, or Briwet Bridge, provides a quick crossing over the River Dwyryd between Penrhyndeuraeth on the northern side and Harlech on the southern side.
Pont Briwet
Image by Anonymous via Wikimedia Commons
The grade II listed wooden bridge has stood proudly across the river for over 150 years. Before that, the only way to make the crossing and avoid the lengthy 8 mile journey around the estuary was to cross the dangerous tidal flats on foot or by boat. The journey was often a perilous one, with quicksands, fast tides and strong currents to deal with.
But in 1860 Pont Briwet was constructed across the river, and as well as a safe route for  passengers on foot and horseback, the bridge provided a speedy railway link between the western coast of Wales and the towns along the Llyn Peninsula.
However, work will soon be underway to construct a new bridge. The £19.5 million project is due to start, with the current iconic bridge sadly earmarked for demolition. The new bridge will carry a single train track as well as two lanes for car traffic, to replace the current single lane. The new bridge will also be stronger and able to carry buses, lorries and HGVs, which the old bridge isn't able to do. Travel links will be greatly improved, as well as response times for emergency vehicles.
Pont Briwet is currently privately owned, and so a toll of 50p applies to car traffic. The toll won't apply when the new bridge is up and running, and one thing we won't miss is scrabbling about in the glove-box for 10 pence pieces. But one thing we will miss is the striking and historic wooden bridge welcoming us across the estuary. The iconic bridge will be sorely missed by locals and visitors alike.

Pont Briwet at sunset
Image by OLU via Wikimedia Commons

Monday, 18 March 2013

RBS 6 Nations Rugby Winners!

What a Weekend for Wales

So, who saw the match? Or would it be easier to ask who didn't see it? We're still giddy here at the Oakeley Arms, and a bit groggy, as we join the rest of Wales in shaking off the weekend long hangover after the celebrations.
And what a match it was. Wales started out strong, and stayed strong, to fend off old rivals England, who looked like the occasion at the Millennium Stadium was just a little too overwhelming for them. Wales only needed to beat the English team by 8 points to secure the 6 Nations Championship title for a second year, but the whopping 30-3 win went down in history as one of the most exciting games of rugby in recent years.
The atmosphere at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff was electric on Saturday....
image by DaveSW on
Wales have now caught up with England in the 6 Nations record books; the win on Saturday means that both teams now have a total of 26 championship titles since the competition began in 1883.
The Wales team celebrated their victory in style at a black tie event on Saturday evening, followed by a big brekkie on Sunday morning. Well, the boys deserve it, don't you think? And messages of congratulations flooded in from Welsh fans all over the world - from David Cameron to Charlotte Church to David Hasselhoff.
So, all that's left is to send our own congratulations, here from Snowdonia and from all of us at the Oakeley, to the band of boys that we are SO proud of. Well done boys; you did the nation proud.
Now, where's that strong coffee? We need it this morning......
Image by Martyn Hutchby on

Friday, 15 March 2013

The Final Countdown

Old Rivals......
It's nearly time, and we are pretty excited here at the Oakeley Arms..... This weekend is not only the final of the 2013 RBS 6 Nations Rugby Championships, but it's when our home nation Wales will meet old rivals England for what is set to be one of the most exciting games of the championships so far.
Both teams have a point to prove, and a lot to lose. In order to defend their 2012 Champions title, Wales need to win by 8 points. But, England have a lot to play for - following their 4 previous wins this year, if they beat Wales on Saturday it'll mean the first Grand Slam for the team in a decade. And they'll walk away with the 6 Nations title........
It's true that England have won more matches against Wales since 1992, but we won't let a little statistic like that stop us from taking the glory!
We don't like to lose at the Millenium Stadium, especially not to England. So come on boys; keep up the good work!
Kick off is at 17:00 on Saturday 16th March. It's certainly not one to miss, so come and join us at the Oakeley and enjoy the game in style! See you there.
Image by zoonabar via Wikimedia Commons

Monday, 11 March 2013

80s Pop Stars get High!

Gig Relief
Some of the biggest pop stars of the 1980's dug out their microphones and their song sheets at the weekend, for a very special gig in aid of Comic Relief.
Here at the Oakeley Arms, we were delighted to read of the chart toppers' comebacks. Kim Wilde, Go West, Bananarama and Tony Hadley were among the acts that performed at this special and record breaking gig for the annual charity extravaganza.
In conjunction with British Airways, the stars performed a live gig at 43,000 ft (or 13,000 metres), breaking the record for the highest ever gig. Meanwhile, the passengers on board broke the record for performing the highest ever Harlem Shake! Ah, we wished we could have been on that plane!
BA's involvement with Comic Relief is just one of their good deeds for charity. They have raised over £4 million for Comic Relief in the last 3 years. And this year, Comic Relief want to raise more money than ever before for their charity that helps good causes both here in the UK and abroad.
The annual Red Nose Day will take place this Friday evening, and there's loads of ways you can get involved. You can help by buying and wear a red nose for the day, organising a fun fundraising event at your school, university or workplace, buying One Direction's charity single, or even just donating on the day.
2013 Comic Relief Charity single by One Direction.
Image from
Other celebs supporting Comic Relief this year include Miranda Hart, Graham Norton, Jessie J, Mark Watson and a whole host of others who have given up their time to Do Something Funny for Money! For more information about Comic Relief, fundraising ideas and the initiatives they support, click here

Friday, 8 March 2013

Wales and the Scots

A Scottish Visit

So, the RBS Six Nations Rugby Championships is marching on, with the penultimate round of games  being played before the grand finale next weekend. This Saturday sees Wales take on Scotland, at their Murrayfield ground.
Since 1992, Scotland and Wales have played 21 times, and Wales have won 13 of those games and have drawn once. Hopefully the boys can keep up the good work this weekend.
Don't forget that you can catch all the Wales rugby games at the Oakeley Arms bar. Don't miss this Saturday's match; kick off is at 14:30. And there'll even be free home-made curry or chilli for everyone at half time.
See you there! Come on Cymru!!
Image by al green via Wikimedia Commons

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Festival Number 6 is a winner!

A Winning Festival
Last year was special for the Number 6 Festival - it was their inaugural event, held at the magical location of Portmeirion, just a stone's throw from the Oakeley Arms Hotel.
It's a festival like no other, partly due to the special venue, and the first year was an enormous success.  The festival has already scooped two awards at the UK Festival Awards last December, for Best New Festival and Best Headline Performance - for the awe-inspiring live set by legends New Order. And last week it was announced that the event has landed another top prize. Festival Number 6 was awarded the Best Small Festival at the NME Awards.
So, it seems that it's not one to be missed. Bands, acts and headliners are due to be announced shortly so keep an eye on the festival website for more info. And it's not just an event for music lovers either. With a thriving Arts and Culture section, last year's festival featured appearances and talks by writers, comedians, journalists, presenters and poets. It's also a family-friendly festival, so it's suitable for the little ones too.
Don't fancy camping? Then why not reserve a festival day ticket, and come and stay with us here at the Oakeley Arms? We've got a wide range of rooms and self-catering cottages so there'll definitely be something to suit your group. See our website for more details and how to book.
The 2013 Festival Number 6 will take place on the 13th-15th September. For more information and tickets, visit their website
See you there!!
The magical Italianate village of Portmeirion is the setting for Festival Number 6
Image by Scott Wylie via Wikimedia Commons

Monday, 4 March 2013

Celebs Ahoy

Famous North Walians
In last week's blog, we explored the connection that linked us here at the Oakeley Arms to Daniel Day-Lewis' momentous Oscar win. It was a little tenuous, but fascinating nonetheless. We discovered that one of the most famous American presidents, Abraham Lincoln, could trace his roots back to Ysbyty Ifan, a tiny Welsh village not far from the Oakeley Arms.
So, to continue the celebrity theme, we thought we'd rack our brains and think of all the fabulous celebs and famous faces that have a link with our little corner of Wales... So, here goes!
  • Our absolute favourite astrologer and "Strictly" star, Russell Grant has made Snowdonia his home for many years.
  • Opera star Bryn Terfel was born a short hop from the Oakeley Arms, near the town of Caernarfon, and still lives there with his family.
  • Pop princess Duffy is best known for her chart-topping album Rockferry, but she was born and grew up in the small town of Nefyn on the Llyn Peninsula.
  • And the original pop princess, Kylie Minogue can trace her roots on her mother's side to Blaenau Ffestiniog. Kylie's great-grandmother was born in the town before she later moved to South Wales with her husband. A family re-union was held a few years ago  right here at the Oakeley Arms, but sadly Kylie was simply toooo busy to come along!
Image by Georges Biard via Wikimedia Common
  • We can even link north wales to the East End of London now! One of soap's nastiest characters Janine Butcher, is played by Charlie Brooks who grew up in Barmouth, a stone's throw from the Oakeley Arms.
  • First World War hero T.E.Lawrence (or Lawrence of Arabia) was born in Tremadog in 1888 to an illegitimate governess Sarah Jenner and an Irish landowner Sir Chapman, who had left his wife to run away with Sarah. The couple were not married, but called themselves Mr & Mrs Lawrence.
    Image in public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
  • And who could forget Welsh boy Glyn, on the 7th series of reality show Big Brother in 2006. Glyn Wise was born in Blaenau Ffestiniog; perhaps he shares a family link with Kylie Minogue?
  • And here's another snippet from the world of reality television. Did you know that Chico Slimani (yeah, "it's Chico time!!") from the 2005 X-Factor contest lived for a little while in the village of Llanystymdwy, near Criccieth?
Have we missed anyone out? If you know of a celeb that graces the nearby streets, then let us know in the comments box below!

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Mountain Rescue Wales

Stay Mountain Safe
The Oakeley Arms Hotel is situated in the Snowdonia National Park, one of the most beautiful parts of Wales (well, we are a little biased......). The park is home to some of the most stunning mountain ranges in Britain, as well as some of the highest peaks.
And while the hills are beautiful from afar, many visitors to the area want to get a little closer to the action and opt for an adrenalin filled day on the mountains. The first recorded ascent of Snowdon was in 1689 and it is now estimated that approximately half a million people stand proudly on the summit of Snowdon each year. And, while the majority get up and down with no incident, each year there are a few cases who need expert help.

A rescue helicopter arrives on a snowy Snowdon
Image by John S Turner via Wikimedia Commons
This is where the amazing services of our brilliant Mountain Rescue Teams come in. There are four Mountain Rescue Teams that cover the Snowdonia Area. The Aberglaslyn Mountain Rescue is based in Porthmadog; the South Snowdon Team is based in Trawsfynydd and covers the southern ranges such as the Rhinogs, Arrenigs and Moelwyns. Ogwen Valley Mountain Rescue is based in the northern Snowdonia village of Capel Curig, and the Llanberis Mountain Rescue Team covers the most popular ranges of Snowdon and the Glyders.

There was a time when there was no help for people who got into trouble in the mountains, but by the early twentieth century, mountain hiking and exploring had begun to become popular as more and more people took to the hills for a day out. Incidents and accidents in the hills were increasing, and after a particularly nasty accident in the Peak District in 1928, a small band of mountaineers and outdoor enthusiasts came together to try and co-ordinate rescue efforts to make them more efficient, and safer. By 1936, The First Aid Committee of Mountaineering Clubs was formed and was the forerunner of all the Mountain Rescue Teams in the country.

Today, Mountain Rescue England and Wales oversee all regions and Mountain Rescue Teams; their work is invaluable and saves countless lives every year. The teams are run by volunteers who give up their time to assist those who need help, often in severe and dangerous weather conditions. Although the primary function of all Mountain Rescue Teams is to assist those in difficulty on upland terrain, the teams also help in other crises - searching for missing people, assisting in floods, animal rescue and major incident emergency assistance.

Mountain Rescue Teams in England and Wales provide valuable support and assistance in crises
Image by Iain Lees via Wikimedia Commons

So let's give a big cheer for the fabulous Mountain Rescue Teams of Snowdonia. You're all heroes to us.

Snowdonia's Mountain Rescue Teams rely on donations and voluntary contributions to keep going. If you'd like to support any of the teams, click on the links above for details of how to donate. It's a worthy cause.

Find out more about Mountain Rescue England and Wales click here

If you need Mountain Rescue assistance in an emergency whilst out on the hills, dial 999 or 112. Ask for the Police and then the Mountain Rescue service.


Monday, 25 February 2013

A Night at the Oscars

Lincoln Lines
Ok, so we know we're a long way from Hollywood here at the Oakeley Arms, but we were glued to the coverage of the Oscars 2013, as Daniel Day-Lewis made Hollywood history. The British actor became the first person ever to win the Oscar for Best Actor three times - leaping ahead of legendary names like Marlon Brando, Tom Hanks and Jack Nicholson, who all have two Best Actor wins each.
Daniel Day-Lewis scooped up the award for his role as US President Abraham Lincoln in the epic historical drama Lincoln, directed by Steven Spielberg. The film, which was released in UK cinemas last month, chronicles the last months of Lincoln's life in the mid nineteenth century as he battles to abolish slavery in the USA.
Despite being born into a poor farming family, Abraham Lincoln is known as one of the greatest American Presidents of all time. He led the country through one of it's most testing periods, both morally and consitutionally - the American Civil War (1861-1865).
President Abraham Lincoln
Image by Alexander Gardner [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
It is thanks largely to Lincoln that slavery was abolished and thousands of slaves across America were given the freedoms and rights of white American citizens. But, did you know that President Lincoln's roots can be traced back to a tiny village not too far from the Oakeley Arms Hotel?
Ysbyty Ifan is a tiny rural hamlet on the edge of Snowdonia National Park, and it is believed that Lincoln's great, great grandfather, John Morris, lived and worked in the village. His daughter, Ellen, left behind rural North Wales and emigrated to America with a group of local Quakers, sometime in the early 1600's.
She met and married Cadwaladr Evans (who was, coincidentally, from nearby Bala) and the couple settled in Pennsylvania. They had a daughter called Sarah Evans, who in turn had a daughter called Nancy. Nancy was to eventually marry Thomas Lincoln, and their second son Abraham would change the course of American history forever.....
Much of Ysbyty Ifan is run and managed by the National Trust. It is set in the beautiful, rugged and remote hills of eastern Snowdonia, and is well worth a trip to explore. For more information see the National Trust website. Ysbyty Ifan is a short 30 minute drive from the Oakeley Arms. If you'd like to visit during your stay with us, please ask staff for directions.

Friday, 22 February 2013


Italian Dreams
Don't forget that this Saturday, the Welsh International Rugby team play Italy in the latest round of the RBS Six Nations Rugby Championships.
The Welsh team are heading out to Rome for the game on Saturday, at the Stadio Olimpico in the city. Since 1992, Italy and Wales have met 13 times. Wales have won 10 of those games, and have drawn once, so it's a fabulous track record. Keep up the good work boys!
Italian rugby really came to international attention when Italy joined what was then the Five Nations Rugby Championships in 2000. Since then, the team have gone from strength to strength, and are now rated 9th in the world. So, they won't be pushovers, but we're hoping that Wales can bring home a great win on Saturday!
Don't forget that you can catch all the Wales rugby games at the Oakeley Arms bar. Don't miss this Saturday's, kick off is at 14:30. And there'll even be free home-made curry or chilli for everyone at half time.
See you there! Come on Cymru!!
Previous Wales vs Italy match at the Millenium Stadium
Image by Ezioman via Wikimedia Commons

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

National Chip Week

Mr Chips

We're pretty excited here at the Oakeley Arms, because did you know that this week is National Chip Week? No, we don't mean the clever little things that are hiding in your laptop, but the yummy and delicious chunks of potato that make any meal a feast fit for a king!

We don't need much of an excuse to indulge in one of our favourite treats, so this week is the perfect reason to tuck into a chip or two!
Chips (or French Fries as the Europeans and Americans call them.....) are one of the world's most popular snacks and potato dishes. Whether you're in Snowdonia or in Timbuktu, you're never far away from a chip or two. But, there has always been some debate as to the history of chips - the French claim that they invented them, whereas Belgium have also laid claim to the humble fried potato, as far back as the 17th century!
Traditionally, here in the UK, chips are served much thicker and chunkier than the usual skinny french fry. It is thought that the first chips were served here in 1860, in a market stall in Oldham. The classic British dish of Fish & Chips is one of the most popular ways to eat these yummy fried potatoes, but we think that chips go with pretty much anything!
image by idesign-er on
How do you eat yours? With salt and vinegar? Ketchup? Brown sauce? Do you love a sprinkling of cheese on top? Or do they have to be naked? Tell us how you love your chips!
Hungry? Why not pop down to the Oakeley Arms for a taste of our yummy chips. Have a peek at our delicious Welsh menu here.
National Chip Week runs from the 18th - 24th February. Find our more on the website, click here

Monday, 18 February 2013

Wakestock 2013

Festival Fever
One of North Wales' most popular music festivals has this week announced some of it's top acts for this year's festival.
Wakestock, a celebration of music, dance and the sport of wakeboarding takes place every year near the Llyn Peninsula town of Pwllheli.
Acts just announced for 2013 include singer and rapper Example, dub-step act Magnetic Man as well as DJ's Zane Lowe and Jackmaster and new bands Bastille and The 1975.
The first ever Wakestock was held in 2000, and was a small wakeboarding festival with a party for just 800 people. In thirteen years it has grown to be one of the best loved events in the summer festival calendar, and attracts some of the biggest acts in the UK pop music scene.
Fingers crossed for sunshine and blue skies for this summer's festival season!
Image by esgaard on
This year's festival takes place on the 12th, 13th and 14th July. Tickets are on sale now!
For more information and for tickets visit the Wakestock website
And if you don't fancy camping in the mud, why not book a room or a cottage at the Oakeley Arms for the weekend? It's just a short hop or a bus ride from the main festival arena. Contact us for more information!

Monday, 11 February 2013

Trawsfynydd Power Station Film Star

We heard news here at the Oakeley Arms that a new film star is hiding within our midst (or should that be mist....?!)
News came last week that nearby Trawsfynydd Power Station, the nuclear power plant that was built in the 1960's, was the subject of a groundbreaking new film that was shown at the Tate Gallery in London at the beginning of the month.
The film is part of an exhibition called Performing Architecture, that explores some of the famous modern and industrial architecture of Britain that has now lost their original use and purpose. Trawsfynydd Power Station has been shut down since 1991 and is now undergoing a process of decommissioning to make the site safe.
The distinctive buildings of Trawsfynydd Power Station
Image by Russell Neailey onWikimedia Commons
The distinctive buildings were designed in the 1950's by renowned architect Basil Spence, who was well known for his stark, angular design of industrial buildings. The film created at Trawsfynydd is called Emptyspaces, and intends to explore many issues such as how the building sits within the natural landscape, it's cultural and historical significance, especially to the local area and people, and also asks the burning question - what does architecture become when it is no longer useful? 
Do you love it or hate it?  Is it an important industrial landmark or a blot on the landscape of Snowdonia? Whatever your opinion, the building is unique and it certainly leaves an impression on you.
You can find out more about the project on the Tate Galleries website, click here.
To find out more about Trawsfynydd Power Station, click here
The power station sits on the edge of Llyn Trawsfynydd in the shadow of the dramatic hills of Southern Snowdonia.
Image by GFDL-SELF-WITH-DISCLAIMERS/William Connolley via Wikimedia Commons