|It's not every day your daily commute includes a view of Snowdon in the early morning November sunshine!|
Sometimes you just need to get away......
With an enforced week off work in late November, I decided to travel back to North Wales, where I was a student back in the early 1980's. For 3 years, Bangor, Gwynedd and Snowdonia was my immediate life.
Now 30+ years on, I am back in my old familiar stomping ground, marveling at the changes that have occurred since I was last her, 3 decades ago. Alot more retail parks, more roads, and bigger buildings than were here when I was a student.
Whilst I have lost touch with almost all of my University contemporaries, I now have new friends in and around the Bangor area.
With a bit of nostalgia, I left a very wet Surrey last Sunday afternoon, and drove the 250 miles up to southern Snowdonia.
I'm staying in a bothy about a mile from the village of Llanfrothen. It's a stone built Welsh cottage up a valley that contains a small stream. It's about 12' x 18' with a bed on a mezzanine floor. Downstairs a small kitchen, a woodstove and a toilet/shower-room. It's basic - but sometimes basic is just what we need to bring us back to some of our fundamental values.
So, I'm here for a week, not exactly for relaxation, but to catch up with some of my good friends who live in this little corner of North Wales.
My hosts this week are Trystan Lea and Glyn Hudson - who founded Open Energy Monitor about 4 years ago. The bothy belongs to Trystan's father, and was once uses as an architect's studio, before Trystan and Glyn took it over a few years ago as the premises for their start up open source energy monitoring company, Megni.
Megni has now outgrown the bothy, and has moved to a serviced office premises in Parc Menai - a fairly new development on the southern outskirts of Bangor.
It's 25 mile commute from Llanfrothen to Parc Menai - and so Trystan has wisely invested in a Nissan Leaf Electric Car. With a range of 60 miles, it easily meets his daily commute requirements - and what a commute that is, through the beautiful scenery of south Snowdonia.
|Our all electric Nissan Leaf, on the Pen Y Pass, en route to Llanberis.|
The Nissan Leaf is an all electric super-mini. It can seat 4 adults in comfort, and has a boot that can easily swallow a couple of mountain bikes, with the back seats lowered.
A 50 mile round trip uses about 13.5kWh of mains electricity, or about £2 worth. The same trip in my Golf TDi would cost about £6.50 in diesel.
Trystan uses the Leaf on a daily basis and at weekends, recharging at night on a standard 13A extension lead, and occasionally with a top up at the office, on the end of an extension lead.
|"Chapel in the Valley" Cwm Dyli. Hydro-electricity generated here has served this part of Snowdonia for 110 years.|
|A mirror-like lake on the way to Caernarfon|
|Though early morning mists we see, visions of reality....|