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!