Friday, 23 May 2014

Bala, North Wales

High Street  GJC_002739_edited-1

After a short lunch break in Wrexham and a quick stop in Llangollen (photographed a better set ... later), I arrived at my destination for the weekend. It's not an obvious tourist destination as many people travel on to the north or mid Wales coast and it was only the second time I had been here. This is blogpost 2 of 3, otherwise entitled "Understanding  ... Entrances, Exits and No Entry" !! Not the best set in the world but it is what is ... i.e. turn up the day and take what I see.

(Apologies for my absence in many ways, The month of 'May' to me means 'away'. I have had other distractions too including the april jungle that doubles as a May(never does) / June garden. Friends want to see my images of last weeks trip to Scotland but you got here first. Computer issues again with my photo library that have got sorted for now... need to spend a month not taking pictures and cleaning up the computer.)

My first Welsh trip was to Llandudno with my parents on the train where we explored a few coastal places in addition to the town. After falling for everything about the North West Corner of Wales (Mountains, Railways, scenery) I decided to return and use Llandudno and Aberystwyth as a base for a North and Mid Wales rail rover to explore the area further in my "pre-car" days. The week in North Wales became a ritual even after a car purchase and became an excuse to find places in the country inaccessible to reasonable public transport. One day I chose to visit the Bala Lake narrow gauge railway but underestimated the realistic road speed and consequently just caught the train so no time for a look around town.

My Accommodation  GJC_002795
This particular weekend was a social activity weekend with a few strangers and acquaintances that I had met before at other events in the North of England.

Accommodation arch  GJC_002707
Entrance ... to Accommodation 
Back garden GJC_002796
A walk around the back garden

Castle gate GJC_002733
Entrance to ... history ... at the other end of town
The town centre of Bala is essentially one long main street with a historic mound thought to be a Roman camp on top of a small hill and a large Lake at the southern end.

Clouds and Rooftops  GJC_002734
The view south from the top overlooking the town
One of the things that always strikes me about the North Wales coast is the ease of transport access that the English have had to infiltrate society over the years for business and tourism. The inland places are very Welsh preserving their own language and customs.

Something to say  GJC_002741
Something to say
The statue of the politician T.S. Ellis (Thomas Edward Ellis) could possibly be the main focus of the High Street. He was leader of a Welsh society (Cymru Fydd) in the 19th century that wanted home rule for Wales. However T.S. Ellis decided on a more pro-active route by joining a mainstream political party where he thought his voice could be heard more effectively. Unfortunately due to his subsequent promotions in Government, he had to withdraw from his time constraining Welsh activities.

Welsh Language and literacy seem high on the agenda here as 78.5 % of the residents can speak fluent Wesh according to the 2011 census with the figure increasing to 95.7 % for the 5 -9 year olds.

English in Wales GJC_002729
The other landmark .... English Chapel  .... Eh?! ... Grim skies, grim mood !
On a tangent but loosely similar theme, history records that a young teenager called Mary Jones walked 25 miles to Bala to buy a Bible in 1800.

English church Door GJC_002730
Entrance to ... The English Language !

Shop ?!  GJC_002724

Just before I gear myself up for activity in the next post, time for a quick look at other things in the main street

Indian in Wales GJC_002744_edited-1
The Welsh and English put there differences aside for an Indian takeaway !!
White Lion GJC_002748
Calm and contemplative thoughts
The night at The White Lion Inn with a load of acquaintances who seemed to know one another well from previous occasions wasn't the best in the world. However, as I write here I look forward "today" to another weekend with the same group of people....

White Lion GJC_002746
Struggling for communication in Bala

... so it can't have been that bad or my memory isn't as good as what it once was !!

I don't often show the progression of image editing but here's one to keep the professionals happy ... entitled ... "Bala, don't even go there"...

No entry(1)  GJC_002742
No entry ... Original

No entry(2)  GJC_002742_edited-1
Straightened verticals and unshadowed ... but not overdone

No entry(3)  GJC_002742_edited-1 - Version 2
Colour popping and saturation ... "A little colour in the weekend"

Petrol GJC_002758
Ooo, is time to fill up and go home?!  no, there's blog post 3/3 to do which is why I came !

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