Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Mountain Rescue Wales

Stay Mountain Safe
The Oakeley Arms Hotel is situated in the Snowdonia National Park, one of the most beautiful parts of Wales (well, we are a little biased......). The park is home to some of the most stunning mountain ranges in Britain, as well as some of the highest peaks.
And while the hills are beautiful from afar, many visitors to the area want to get a little closer to the action and opt for an adrenalin filled day on the mountains. The first recorded ascent of Snowdon was in 1689 and it is now estimated that approximately half a million people stand proudly on the summit of Snowdon each year. And, while the majority get up and down with no incident, each year there are a few cases who need expert help.

A rescue helicopter arrives on a snowy Snowdon
Image by John S Turner via Wikimedia Commons
This is where the amazing services of our brilliant Mountain Rescue Teams come in. There are four Mountain Rescue Teams that cover the Snowdonia Area. The Aberglaslyn Mountain Rescue is based in Porthmadog; the South Snowdon Team is based in Trawsfynydd and covers the southern ranges such as the Rhinogs, Arrenigs and Moelwyns. Ogwen Valley Mountain Rescue is based in the northern Snowdonia village of Capel Curig, and the Llanberis Mountain Rescue Team covers the most popular ranges of Snowdon and the Glyders.

There was a time when there was no help for people who got into trouble in the mountains, but by the early twentieth century, mountain hiking and exploring had begun to become popular as more and more people took to the hills for a day out. Incidents and accidents in the hills were increasing, and after a particularly nasty accident in the Peak District in 1928, a small band of mountaineers and outdoor enthusiasts came together to try and co-ordinate rescue efforts to make them more efficient, and safer. By 1936, The First Aid Committee of Mountaineering Clubs was formed and was the forerunner of all the Mountain Rescue Teams in the country.

Today, Mountain Rescue England and Wales oversee all regions and Mountain Rescue Teams; their work is invaluable and saves countless lives every year. The teams are run by volunteers who give up their time to assist those who need help, often in severe and dangerous weather conditions. Although the primary function of all Mountain Rescue Teams is to assist those in difficulty on upland terrain, the teams also help in other crises - searching for missing people, assisting in floods, animal rescue and major incident emergency assistance.

Mountain Rescue Teams in England and Wales provide valuable support and assistance in crises
Image by Iain Lees via Wikimedia Commons

So let's give a big cheer for the fabulous Mountain Rescue Teams of Snowdonia. You're all heroes to us.

Snowdonia's Mountain Rescue Teams rely on donations and voluntary contributions to keep going. If you'd like to support any of the teams, click on the links above for details of how to donate. It's a worthy cause.

Find out more about Mountain Rescue England and Wales click here

If you need Mountain Rescue assistance in an emergency whilst out on the hills, dial 999 or 112. Ask for the Police and then the Mountain Rescue service.


Monday, 25 February 2013

A Night at the Oscars

Lincoln Lines
Ok, so we know we're a long way from Hollywood here at the Oakeley Arms, but we were glued to the coverage of the Oscars 2013, as Daniel Day-Lewis made Hollywood history. The British actor became the first person ever to win the Oscar for Best Actor three times - leaping ahead of legendary names like Marlon Brando, Tom Hanks and Jack Nicholson, who all have two Best Actor wins each.
Daniel Day-Lewis scooped up the award for his role as US President Abraham Lincoln in the epic historical drama Lincoln, directed by Steven Spielberg. The film, which was released in UK cinemas last month, chronicles the last months of Lincoln's life in the mid nineteenth century as he battles to abolish slavery in the USA.
Despite being born into a poor farming family, Abraham Lincoln is known as one of the greatest American Presidents of all time. He led the country through one of it's most testing periods, both morally and consitutionally - the American Civil War (1861-1865).
President Abraham Lincoln
Image by Alexander Gardner [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
It is thanks largely to Lincoln that slavery was abolished and thousands of slaves across America were given the freedoms and rights of white American citizens. But, did you know that President Lincoln's roots can be traced back to a tiny village not too far from the Oakeley Arms Hotel?
Ysbyty Ifan is a tiny rural hamlet on the edge of Snowdonia National Park, and it is believed that Lincoln's great, great grandfather, John Morris, lived and worked in the village. His daughter, Ellen, left behind rural North Wales and emigrated to America with a group of local Quakers, sometime in the early 1600's.
She met and married Cadwaladr Evans (who was, coincidentally, from nearby Bala) and the couple settled in Pennsylvania. They had a daughter called Sarah Evans, who in turn had a daughter called Nancy. Nancy was to eventually marry Thomas Lincoln, and their second son Abraham would change the course of American history forever.....
Much of Ysbyty Ifan is run and managed by the National Trust. It is set in the beautiful, rugged and remote hills of eastern Snowdonia, and is well worth a trip to explore. For more information see the National Trust website. Ysbyty Ifan is a short 30 minute drive from the Oakeley Arms. If you'd like to visit during your stay with us, please ask staff for directions.

Friday, 22 February 2013


Italian Dreams
Don't forget that this Saturday, the Welsh International Rugby team play Italy in the latest round of the RBS Six Nations Rugby Championships.
The Welsh team are heading out to Rome for the game on Saturday, at the Stadio Olimpico in the city. Since 1992, Italy and Wales have met 13 times. Wales have won 10 of those games, and have drawn once, so it's a fabulous track record. Keep up the good work boys!
Italian rugby really came to international attention when Italy joined what was then the Five Nations Rugby Championships in 2000. Since then, the team have gone from strength to strength, and are now rated 9th in the world. So, they won't be pushovers, but we're hoping that Wales can bring home a great win on Saturday!
Don't forget that you can catch all the Wales rugby games at the Oakeley Arms bar. Don't miss this Saturday's, kick off is at 14:30. And there'll even be free home-made curry or chilli for everyone at half time.
See you there! Come on Cymru!!
Previous Wales vs Italy match at the Millenium Stadium
Image by Ezioman via Wikimedia Commons

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

National Chip Week

Mr Chips

We're pretty excited here at the Oakeley Arms, because did you know that this week is National Chip Week? No, we don't mean the clever little things that are hiding in your laptop, but the yummy and delicious chunks of potato that make any meal a feast fit for a king!

We don't need much of an excuse to indulge in one of our favourite treats, so this week is the perfect reason to tuck into a chip or two!
Chips (or French Fries as the Europeans and Americans call them.....) are one of the world's most popular snacks and potato dishes. Whether you're in Snowdonia or in Timbuktu, you're never far away from a chip or two. But, there has always been some debate as to the history of chips - the French claim that they invented them, whereas Belgium have also laid claim to the humble fried potato, as far back as the 17th century!
Traditionally, here in the UK, chips are served much thicker and chunkier than the usual skinny french fry. It is thought that the first chips were served here in 1860, in a market stall in Oldham. The classic British dish of Fish & Chips is one of the most popular ways to eat these yummy fried potatoes, but we think that chips go with pretty much anything!
image by idesign-er on
How do you eat yours? With salt and vinegar? Ketchup? Brown sauce? Do you love a sprinkling of cheese on top? Or do they have to be naked? Tell us how you love your chips!
Hungry? Why not pop down to the Oakeley Arms for a taste of our yummy chips. Have a peek at our delicious Welsh menu here.
National Chip Week runs from the 18th - 24th February. Find our more on the website, click here

Monday, 18 February 2013

Wakestock 2013

Festival Fever
One of North Wales' most popular music festivals has this week announced some of it's top acts for this year's festival.
Wakestock, a celebration of music, dance and the sport of wakeboarding takes place every year near the Llyn Peninsula town of Pwllheli.
Acts just announced for 2013 include singer and rapper Example, dub-step act Magnetic Man as well as DJ's Zane Lowe and Jackmaster and new bands Bastille and The 1975.
The first ever Wakestock was held in 2000, and was a small wakeboarding festival with a party for just 800 people. In thirteen years it has grown to be one of the best loved events in the summer festival calendar, and attracts some of the biggest acts in the UK pop music scene.
Fingers crossed for sunshine and blue skies for this summer's festival season!
Image by esgaard on
This year's festival takes place on the 12th, 13th and 14th July. Tickets are on sale now!
For more information and for tickets visit the Wakestock website
And if you don't fancy camping in the mud, why not book a room or a cottage at the Oakeley Arms for the weekend? It's just a short hop or a bus ride from the main festival arena. Contact us for more information!

Monday, 11 February 2013

Trawsfynydd Power Station Film Star

We heard news here at the Oakeley Arms that a new film star is hiding within our midst (or should that be mist....?!)
News came last week that nearby Trawsfynydd Power Station, the nuclear power plant that was built in the 1960's, was the subject of a groundbreaking new film that was shown at the Tate Gallery in London at the beginning of the month.
The film is part of an exhibition called Performing Architecture, that explores some of the famous modern and industrial architecture of Britain that has now lost their original use and purpose. Trawsfynydd Power Station has been shut down since 1991 and is now undergoing a process of decommissioning to make the site safe.
The distinctive buildings of Trawsfynydd Power Station
Image by Russell Neailey onWikimedia Commons
The distinctive buildings were designed in the 1950's by renowned architect Basil Spence, who was well known for his stark, angular design of industrial buildings. The film created at Trawsfynydd is called Emptyspaces, and intends to explore many issues such as how the building sits within the natural landscape, it's cultural and historical significance, especially to the local area and people, and also asks the burning question - what does architecture become when it is no longer useful? 
Do you love it or hate it?  Is it an important industrial landmark or a blot on the landscape of Snowdonia? Whatever your opinion, the building is unique and it certainly leaves an impression on you.
You can find out more about the project on the Tate Galleries website, click here.
To find out more about Trawsfynydd Power Station, click here
The power station sits on the edge of Llyn Trawsfynydd in the shadow of the dramatic hills of Southern Snowdonia.
Image by GFDL-SELF-WITH-DISCLAIMERS/William Connolley via Wikimedia Commons


Friday, 8 February 2013

National Marriage Week

Love is in the Air
We've come over all romantic here at the Oakeley Arms this week, because did you know, it's National Marriage Week?
So, if you've been waiting for the right moment to pop the question, then this week would be a pretty perfect one!
Last year, the number of couples getting hitched rose by almost 4%, the largest increase for almost 10 years. And the number of divorces is at an all-time low too, so what are you waiting for?
Image by Conmani on
And if you're looking for a perfect venue for your special day, then look no further than the Oakeley Arms. Why not come and celebrate with us in the stunning surroundings of Maentwrog village? Our historic hotel in Snowdonia is one of the finest locations for a beautiful Welsh wedding.
We can offer a wide range of services to suit individual requirements, exclusive service, private use of function rooms, five acres of grounds and a range of accommodation options for your guests.
Contact us today to see how we can help you with your big day; we'd love to be a part of your big love story.
National Marriage Week runs from the 7th to the 14th February 2013.
Image by The Swedish on

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Rugby Rugby

A French Stick?
Well after last week's defeat at home to Ireland, the Welsh team have got a little catching up to do this week. The team head out to Paris in time for Saturday's match against France.
Are you brave enough to make a match prediction? Here at the Oakeley Arms we'll be cheering on the boys, "COME ON CYMRU!"
Join us for the game, showing live in the bar. There's even a big pot of home-made chilli or curry for everyone at half time.
See you on Saturday!
Saturday 9th February. Kick off 17:00
France v Wales 2007
By Fabienkhan on Wikimedia Commons

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Red Nose Day is 25 years old!

Charity Laughs
Did you know that today is the 25th anniversary of the first ever Red Nose Day and the Comic Relief live show? Hands up who remembers watching it on BBC1 all those years ago. Ok, go on then, we don't like to admit it, but we will! Where did those 25 years go?
Comic Relief was originally founded in 1985, by comedy writer Richard Curtis and comedian Lenny Henry, in response to the widespread famine across Africa in the 1980s. Although Comic Relief works all year around, the highlight is the annual Red Nose Day, which was first broadcast on the 5th February 1988.
The live shows are supported by some of the country's most famous, and funniest, faces, as well as having a huge amount of support from the nation. Schools, offices, businesses and charities organise fundraising events up and down the country in an attempt to raise as much money as possible for the Comic Relief charity. And wearing a silly bright red nose is just one of the ways the public can donate! Over the years there have been big red noses, little red noses, squishy red noses, noisy red noses and even red noses for cars!
This year's Red Noses are dinosaur themed.
You can buy yours from branches of Sainsbury's or Oxfam
This year's Red Nose Day takes place on Friday 15th March, so you've got over a month to think of some great and funny fundraising ideas! What about a jumble sale, a cake sale, a fancy dress party or a sponsored swim, walk or hot-dog eating contest!
And Comic Relief is not only for good causes in Africa and abroad. Here in Wales, the Comic Relief charity has given cash to over 700 community groups and good causes since 1988. There are grants available this year, so if you run a charity or good cause in Wales and think that Comic Relief can help, then check their website for details of how to apply for a grant. See
Miranda Hart and Lenny Henry wear their Red Noses with pride!
All images courtesy of

Friday, 1 February 2013

Rugby Fever

6 Nations Championship 2013
It's that time of year again...... rugby fever isn't far away! This Saturday is the start of the annual and brilliant 6 Nations Championship, and here at the Oakeley Arms, we're pretty excited!
image by John McKeag on
Wales v Ireland is the first game of the year, played at the Millenium Stadium. Can the 2012 champions defend their title and bring the cup back to Wales for a second consecutive year? We really hope so, all fingers and toes will be crossed for what's hotting up to be a smashing opening game.
Come on Cymru!!
And don't forget you can watch it here with us! We've got big colour televisions in the bar and lounge, a well-stocked bar packed with local ales and yummy ciders, and we're even offering delicious bowls of homemade curry or chilli for everyone at half time during all the Wales matches.
Wales v Ireland 13:30 Sat 2nd February.
See you soon!
More information about the championship, fixtures and tables, click here