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  Plas Curig - Boutique Hostel
16/04/2012 Hostels aimed at outdoor users are traditionally well-known for their functionality rather than their luxury. But Plas Curig in Snowdonia is one of a growing number of accommodation providers that is set to change all that. It is a premium budget hostel billed as the only 5-star hostel in Wales and recently featured in The Guardian as the UK's poshest hostel.
more info...

Snowdonia Running Guides and Landscape Walks
04/09/2008  are two new outdoor focused businesses sharing a love of Snowdonia but appreciating its special qualities at very differing paces. Mountain running and geotourism have both recently experienced a growth in interest. So if you are a novice or fully-fledged fell runner looking to take to the hills, or wished you knew more about how Snowdonia's landscape was formed, you should check out these businesses
more info...

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Latest News
These are the two most recent news items on For a complete list of news items go to news archive. You can also search this site for keywords.

Discover the Heart of Adventure
19/12/2014 is a newly launched online guide to the finest outdoor spaces and places of north Wales. With over 230 venues marked and waiting to be discovered on an interactive map, there are adventures to suit everyone, from dabbler to daredevil.

From the many choices, it's possible with a couple of clicks, to quickly flag up the region's finest rock climbing crags, show outdoor enthusiasts where to take the family kayaking or point them at north Wales' golden beaches.

Each venue has additional data which includes real time Met Office weather and rainfall radar feeds plus the journey time. Where appropriate it'll also include, the mountain area forecast and ground conditions or tide times.

This provides outdoor activists with the real time information they need to plan their days to get the most out of their adventures. Links to the appropriate guidebooks and maps for an activity venue are there to aid further research. is brought to you by the team that developed back in 2002 and functions as the main platform for the Heart of Adventure north Wales brand. It is the culmination of over 10 years of experience of working with the outdoor sector in north Wales.

Through Twitter a dedicated Market Place is embedded on the site, allowing advertisers to engage directly with their audience and highlight special offers, sales and promotions. iWitness Pro is another valuable feed on the site but this one is less 'chatty' and is concerned with keeping users up to date with safety relevant issues.

Snowdonia-Active's CEO, Chris Wright, said:"There's a real appetite from the outdoor sector to shout about the high quality of the offer in north Wales. At long last, the Heart of Adventure branding provides a fantastic hook to allow us to compete, and beat, other outdoor activity destinations."

"We’ve worked with local guidebook publishers, photographers, and outdoor professionals to make sure that north Wales is presented in an authentic and inspirational way."

He added: "Until now there was no focal point for the Heart of Adventure brand. fills that gap by showcasing the high quality and diversity of the outdoor activities available in north Wales, while at the same time providing the hundreds of businesses it supports with a modern and compelling platform on which to cross-promote their product."

An especially commissioned video to accompany the site gives an insight into the variety of outdoor activities, come rain or shine, that north Wales has to offer. There's also a one minute version available to embed and help spread the word.

If you are an activity provider, gear shop, hotelier, B&B, outdoor friendly cafe or pub etc. you can take out a banner ad on the site with exclusive sponsorship of your customers favourite mountain route, bike trail, beach or bouldering venue, providing a targeted opportunity to engage with new customers. See here for full details of the options available. 

A 2014 Visit Wales report highlighted the fact that in terms of regional impact, north Wales outdoor activity tourism with a £213 million contribution to the Welsh economy, is nearly twice that of the next highest contributing region.

Topic: Heart of Adventure, Outdoor North Wales.

Land Rover shoot on Moel Eilio

Photo: The first 4x4 vehicle arrives on Eilio's summit (the photo they didn't delete!)

A recent and controversial advertising shoot for 4x4 vehicles has resulted in damage to the grassy slopes of a prominent Snowdonia mountain. It has also exposed a weakness in our public bodies and their ability to protect the landscape of National Parks. Considering the history and on-going problem of illegal off-roading within National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Garry Smith argues that this perhaps wasn’t the most sensitive of marketing ideas by Land Rover’s advertising agency.

The view from Moel Eilio’s rounded summit (726m) is arguably the best in North Wales (…the secret’s out now). Yet it’s strange that the mountain remains beneath the radar of many visitors to Snowdonia. The view is an uninterrupted 360-degree panorama, taking in all the region’s main mountain ranges and spanning both the north and west coastlines. ‘Eilio’ is very much a locals’ hill. Its position, directly above Llanberis, and its broad grassy ridges make it easily accessible for all ages, from dog-walkers to fell runners.

It is likely the same qualities that make Moel Eilio attractive to walkers also brought the mountain to the attention of the location scouts working on behalf of Land Rover. On a mid-October morning, under a clear blue sky, a collection of 4x4 vehicles made its way up the mountain’s grassy northern spur. As they were spotted from the valley, the local police received complaints and the National Park warden at Pen-y-pass was alerted. The warden immediately made his way to Moel Eilio to investigate but on arrival was informed that as the landowner had given permission for an advertising shoot, nothing could be done to stop the vehicles driving up the mountain.

Two local female teachers watched the arrival of the vehicles on the summit and were annoyed enough to take photographs of what was happening. On seeing the camera, a member of the production crew came over and intimidated them into deleting the images. This was despite the teachers protesting that they were in a free Wales and that he had no right to hassle them in this way.

Photo: The damage to Moel Eilio the morning after the shoot

The National Park Authority did know, a few weeks in advance, of Land Rover’s intention to film in Snowdonia but were not consulted in detail on any location other than the Miners Track on Snowdon. Emyr Williams, CEO of the Authority said “all possible efforts were made initially to discourage this shoot”. Later adding “it is very frustrating for the Authority that we cannot stop this kind of commercial activity”.

A national body which could have possibly prevented the shoot was Natural Resource Wales (NRW), which has the responsibility of protecting Moel Eilio’s SSSI* designated summit. NRW were notified by the location company in advance but were also “powerless to object to the shoot”, as the landowner had given permission. The ‘minor planned incursion onto the SSSI’ was argued not to be a damage risk. All NRW could do was voice their disapproval, by pointing out they had recently gone to great lengths to send someone to prison for 22 months for “doing something similar on Snowdon”.

Lets get this straight, Land Rover have not done anything illegal. Their representatives obtained the correct permission for their advertising shoot. However, they ignored all respected advice and without any apparent social or environmental responsibility, proceeded to film off-road vehicles on a sensitive Snowdonia mountain. They have left an undeniable mess; 4x4 tracks running up the mountain’s grassy slopes and wheel ruts scoured into the wet ground, some to a depth of 30cm. Yes it will heal in time, but we’re realistically talking a lot longer than the couple of months that have been suggested. The location company has admitted that some damage was done but state that measures were taken to “mitigate slippage” during the shoot. They also claim a proportion of the damage may have already been done by fencing contractors (...a claim easy to disprove). Land Rover have yet to comment.

The consensus is that Land Rover’s agents have done bad. The choice of Moel Eilio as a venue to promote off-road vehicles appears as both arrogant and inconsiderate. An important and iconic Britsh brand like Land Rover would be expected to recieve better advice from their advertising agency. It also seems like the current system for environmental protection in Wales may be broken. A system which fails in being able to protect the landscape of National Parks is evidently not fit for purpose.

As for the message that will be sent out about Snowdonia
when this advertisement is aired. Recreational off-road vehicles will be seen on a grassy peak with the easily recognisable backdrop of Snowdon (Yr Wydffa) and Clogwyn Du’r Arddu. I’m not for one moment suggesting the general public would assume that Snowdonia is open for off-roading... but then again, that’s like saying advertising has no effect.

Photo: The grassy ridges of Moel Eilio seen from Clogwyn D'ur Arddu


* A site of special scientific interest (SSSI) is a conservation designation denoting a protected area.


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