Hafod Owen | Snowdonia
Updated: Oct 14
I’ve finally had a 2020 adventure! Well, it’s my second one this year as I ran away in July when lockdown was relaxed and the world felt a little safer.
This adventure though ... it was more exciting than I could ever have imagined.
I knew something was happening when all the bags started to be packed the day before. There’s a list of things (I’ve worked it out) that only leave the cupboard when my little pink bag is being prepared for something more exciting than the local park or woods. If I see a pile of bandanas being packed, I know there’s a possibility that I might just sniff out a beach or two.
We set off on a Sunday afternoon; it was freezing, even for a fluff-butt like me, so I dressed appropriately. I wasn’t told where I was going; my excitement levels can get frenzied if there’s a beach visit on the horizon.
I know we drove for hours, and Mummy had to book us into a National Trust place on the way, so we could both use the bathroom and get some Scooby snacks to keep us going. By the time we stopped, I'd had to strip off naked because the sun played nicely for the day.
The stop-off was fun because I got to sniff a new kind of poo – made by deer. It wasn’t smelly enough to do a back shimmy on though.
The sun was shining and the water was gleaming, so we sat by the river bank and ate our Scooby snacks, with everyone else being just as well-behaved with their social distancing and face masks.
Another couple of hours passed and we finally arrived in a place called Gwynedd. Our journey was a bit stop and start in Snowdonia because the human had to keep reading directions, and she’s blind without her reading glasses. I think she was nervous too because it was getting dark: there were no streetlights, and the petrol arrow was pointing at red. I’d have been happy camping out in the forest, but Mummy doesn’t wee or poo on the leaves like I do, and she may be hairy, but not quite as hairy as me.
After a lifetime driving down bendy bumpy dark lanes, and a detour that made Mummy swear quite a bit (a lot if I'm honest), we found our house – all lit up and ready to share our adventures for the week.
I didn’t wait for the human to empty the car of all my luggage – no. I scamped out so fast that I skidded on the driveway gravel like a Saturday-night boy racer on Southend seafront. I needed a sniff, I needed a wee, and I needed to discover where the fox poo would be.
My priorities overrode the struggles my human faced as she carried bag after bag into the house that contained my bowls, food, snacks, bandanas, leads, collars, jumpers, coats, and BEACH BALLS.
When I’d investigated the garden and the sheep, I honoured Mummy with my attention so we could find the doggy rules. There’s always a doggy rule page in the folder, isn’t there?
But there wasn’t. Not one doggy rule in the house. Can you imagine my excitement? So, I ran up the stairs and investigated every bedroom, duvet, pillow, and crevice. I owned a Welsh kingdom for the week.
I’m not going to lie; I was a bit excited.
My excitement level increased the next day when we arrived at one of our favourite beaches and met up with one of my much-loved aunties and her fluff-butt (fellow hound, not literally an aunt with a fluffy butt – although there might be a story in that somewhere). I was so excited, I screamed and howled as if I was being murdered.
We walked, we ate, we played in the sea, then we walked, and we ate some more. I got put in a pink straight jacket (for what reason I’m not sure, but I wasn’t happy), and then I got dragged away kicking and screaming because the day had finished. I don’t know why you humans do that to us – give us hope of living the dream for the rest of our lives, then drag us away, so we have to eat and sleep in the warmth back home. I wanted to wail like a banshee.
When the next morning came, I was fed up. I knew there was a beach in the distance because I could smell it, but that evil human would never agree to take me. As a compromise, I agreed to a walk around a giant lake called Llyn Cynwch, where there were sheep to stare at and lots of stinky things to bury my nose in.
It didn’t feel like a long day, but we stopped and walked in loads of different places so that the human could get some photos and I could pee up everything that was already stinky. My mission was to make Snowdonia smell like me, and I tried my very best to succeed.
Normally, we’d explore all the dog-friendly places in an area, and I’d get hundreds of treats for posing on random things, but with Covid floating about in all the humans out there, we decided to limit Mummy’s contact with the people population and planned just one day with the germy public.
Wales was going into staggered lockdown while we were there so we dashed over to Betws-Y-Coed for a few slices of cheesy pizza and a bit of shopping to get supplies.
Apparently, cheese is bad for the bulge around my Mummy’s tummy, so she dragged me around another huge lake (Llyn Elsi) and nearly killed my little legs.
I thought I might get to rest on Thursday, but when I heard what we were about to do, I didn’t want Thursday to happen – not one bit. I mean, seriously ... what human decided it was a good idea to float around in a giant lake on some kind of inflated misshaped balloon?
Humans are bonkers, and mine, and my uncle, are even more bonkers because they were having far too much fun. I tried to look after them, but sometimes you’ve got to leave them to their madness and just join in. So, I donned my life jacket and did a decent Hawaii Five-O.
Now, you’d think I’d get a rest at some point, but the next day I got dragged into the car again and driven down country lanes in the wind and the rain. The worst part of the journey was that once the bendy roads ended, there was the smell of sea for miles and miles, and I’m not stupid, I know what sand looks like even if I’ve never seen it in real life.
Well, the human felt sorry for me because then this happened, and I was finally ... FINALLY ... allowed to run free on the sand and rub it all over my body.
A day of rest arrived, hurrah, and I slept for most of it on the sofa, and with the real fire blazing to keep us warm. I needed this rest, and so did Mummy, because Sunday was my uncle’s birthday and the nutter humans went wild swimming in the stream up the road.
Well, I’ve never heard so much ridiculous commotion in my little life. Why would they even do that to themselves? Us hounds aren’t that reckless, and I stayed on the banks, watching with horror.
My week ended with birthday steak for my uncle, and a bit of happy birthday singing to serenade him.
I didn’t want to leave Snowdonia; in fact, I was positively miserable leaving our adventures behind. To cheer us both up, we left early in the morning and headed for Barmouth Beach. One last walk together before being London bound. As soon as I can, I am packing my little bag again, and heading off while the human sleeps.
A note from Julie
Covid-19 stole our adventures this year. We’d planned so many and watched each one collapse as lockdown took over. Like everyone else, we sat at home for months, not quite believing what was happening. When the government finally released me from shielding, I was desperate for us to have an escape and an adventure.
Luckily, a wonderful house called Hafod Owen in Gwynedd was free: listed by Dioni, our favourite (and the best) online holiday booking service for premier and luxury self-catering accommodation in North Wales.
The house is perfectly (and remotely) placed in Coed y Brenin forest park. Surrounded by thick forest, mini waterfalls and gushing streams, there are also glorious mountain views in the distance.
There was nothing better than waking up and taking a mug of steaming coffee out to one of the many hidden benches strategically placed for the best mountain views.
The owners of Hafod Owen were incredible to communicate with – they kept us up to date with their Covid cleaning policies and helped us out with things while we were there.
Everything was well equipped, kitted out, and thought out.
With such a wonderful location and view, I hadn’t expected the gardens to be so lovely or well maintained (who would need them with so much green scenery outside each window), but the gardens were a joy to sit in.
Hafod Owen is a lovely old house with unusual curves, interesting nooks and crannies, and a real sense of country life with muddy boots and hot soups. I imagine that in the summer months, it would be gloriously colourful and full of wildlife activity (not forgetting the nosy sheep only a few feet away in the neighbouring field).
If you book this wonderful house, please do think about the neighbours (sheep, lots of sheep) because although the garden is enclosed and secure, a more actively curious dog might scare them – Rea just stares and wiggles her tail.
Would we go back to this house? Definitely. It is designed and laid out for a large family in so many ways, with four bedrooms, a bathroom, shower room, and a large open plan lounge/kitchen/dining area, as well as a large utility room that is brilliant for muddy boots, wet coats, and general overspill space when the house is full.
As to the location – we may have been away from everything and everyone, but so much was on our doorstep. We walked through the forests, ran on trails, hiked up hills, and were pretty much near everything we wanted to enjoy.
Paw Rating 🐾 5/5