This morning began with a proper English Breakfast … for Kat anyway. After a morning jaunt through the lavender garden (like you do) we set off for our first full day with the Morgan.
The drive out of the Worchester area took us on some back roads (I think they’re all back roads in Wales?). Some of them were of the impossibly narrow variety, with stone walls on either side. One finds oneself immensely aware of all the time and effort that went into sculpting those beautiful aluminum wheel arches, which are inches from a sudden impact.
After about an hour and a half of driving, we got into Wales proper. We saw a number of wild pheasants along the way, which was particularly exciting for Kat. Although she wasn’t able to capture any on camera, we were able to buy some pheasant greeting cards at our first stop on the tour – Ivy House Café in a small Welsh village. Although empty when we arrived, this tiny cafe/post office quickly filled with road bikers stopping for a sweet snack. We enjoyed cream scones, clotted cream and jam before heading back onto the road. Everyone loved the Morgan.
We quickly learned that the route book keeps to a very tight schedule. A schedule that implies that the Morgan employees doing the forerunning might have been playing fast and loose with the national speed limit. In any case, we slurped our tea and coffee and hit the road. Our next stop was Lake Vrynwy, which sits behind a gorgeous dam of the sort that only the Victorians would build. It’s a busy recreational area with hikers, bikers, paddleboarders and lots of families. Everyone loved the Morgan.
We spent the allotted 15 minutes ooo-ing and aaah-ing at the dam, then hit the road for our lunch stop at Palé Hall. We’re also spending the night at Palé Hall, so we were able to leave our bags. Kat had her first coronation chicken sandwich. We may have spoiled ourselves in London. We hit the road quickly to try to get a jump on the afternoon schedule.
As we got deeper into Wales, we really started enjoying the scenery. Lots of sheep, hills covered in low shrubs blooming with pink and purple flowers, and astonishingly beautiful houses tucked into hillsides. At one point on our drive, we got buzzed by an RAF fighter jet. Our route guide had warned us about this. It was … pretty cool actually. Our first stop in the afternoon was at Swallow Falls. These falls have a unique feeling, cutting through jagged shale. Also, we got to park next to a Lotus.
The landscape began to open up a bit as we climbed a bit higher. The midway stop in the afternoon was up a valley lined with old slate mines. We started getting better views of the high peaks of Snowdonia National Park. Though not high in absolutely terms, they’re the highest in the UK. We stopped at a scenic viewpoint to get a better look. Also because there was an ice cream truck parked there. We got soft serve cones with “flake” and “sauce”. Yes please.
We stopped for a wander in the ultra cute village of Beddgelert. We bought tea and coffees so that we could linger in a little patio by the river, and try Welsh fruit cake (bara brith). Then it was time to push on towards our overnight – we were a decent bit behind schedule!
Around this time, the low fuel warning light came on, which was a bit alarm giving the gauge said we had a quarter tank left. It seems the Morgan tank might be a little lacking in baffles, so going uphill causes all the fuel to slosh away from the fuel sender. As long as you keep going downhill, you’ve got plenty of fuel! We stopped at one more scenic overlook, then got some fuel and made our way back to Palé Hall.
After a quick turn-around, we joined a few of our fellow guests in the fine dining hall for a multi-course tasting menu. You can choose between 5 or 8 courses. In the interest of time and our waistbands we opted for 5. Although the dinner was very nice, the most memorable part of the meal was definitely the atmosphere. Seated a few tables away was a gregarious man from Belfast and his Polish geneticist wife. Dan, the Irishman, had befriended the couple seated next to them and proceeded to become more boisterous and excited as the courses progressed. By the end of the evening, he was serenading us with the Our Father and a series of Irish drinking songs. A thoroughly entertaining evening.