Two Hundred and Fifty Miles through North Wales: Day 5, Part 1

The group explored Betws-y-Coed after receiving letters from home. They described the town as ‘lovely place situated between high cliffs, the sides of which are rugged and clothed with dense woods… the place, a great favourite of British painters’.

Swallow Falls

DD/DM/1113- Picture of the Swallow Falls from the original diary 'Two hundred and fifty miles through North Wales on a wagonette'

Fifth Day

Friday 10th September 1890

Betws y Coed to Capel Curig, Llanberris [Llanberis] and Bangor

We are up early and have a quiet walk by the river side, then to the post office to receive the expected letters from home which put our minds at rest.  After breakfast another stroll around the village. Betws y Coed is a lovely place at the junction of the Rivers Conway and Llwgwy [Llugwy] it is situated between high cliffs, the sides of which are rugged and clothed with dense woods, and their summits crowned with pine, the richly sylvan character of the scenery combined with the beautiful mountain torrents, make the place a great favourite of British painters.  There are some splendid Hotels here, the Waterloo Hotel is a very pretty one, near the Railway Station is an old church shaded by yew trees and used only for interments. The principal sights at Betws are the Swallow falls, the Miners bridge the fairy Glen, Conway fall etc, etc, etc. There are some fine Hotels, the Royal Oak that most modest of painters David Cox actually painted a picture for the signboard has gone through many vicissitudes including a visit to the Court of Chancery when its ownership was disputed. The signboard being valued at one thousand pounds, it may be seen at the Hotel. 

Time is now getting on, before nine we are off for Capel Curig, one mile from Betws, we come to the Miners Bridge, one of the sights of the place and the road traverses a sylvan district with the river murmuring through the woods and high timbered cliffs on every hand, a gate on the right of the road leads to the spot it is easily found by a wooden hut being placed at the entrance to the walk where a man sells photographs of the Bridge and views of locality.  The bridge is a sloping wooden structure placed from the rocks to the rocks on the level of the stream, the views up and down the river are very charming, a mile and a quarter up the road past the entrance to the Bridge we come to the Swallow Waterfall and one of the finest in Wales.  We leave our conveyance in [the] charge of the boy opposite the Hotel at the entrance to the fall and have views of the fall from the top. A lovely view it is, the fall is called from its fanciful resemblance to a swallows wing.  I and Ellis also went to the bottom of the steps to view it from there also the steps being rather steep the ladies did not venture. 

Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery holds a collection of art by David Cox. A biography of David Cox is available at

http://www.birmingham.gov.uk/cs/Satellite?c=Page&childpagename=Lib-Central-Archives-and-Heritage%2FPageLayout&cid=1223260696644&pagename=BCC%2FCommon%2FWrapper%2FWrapper

Also see The Peoples Collection at

http://www.peoplescollectionwales.co.uk/Item/8063-trefriw-near-llanrwst-with-mill-by-david-cox

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