Situated just 9 miles (15km) from the North Wales coast, the village of Llanberis lies beside two lakes, Llyn Peris (from which it takes its name) and Llyn Padarn. Wales's highest mountain, the majestic Mount Snowdon (3560 feet, 1085m), rises above the village and throughout the summer is visited by many tourists via a historic rack-and-pinion railway. Walkers and climbers have a choice of routes, ranging from a straightforward trek beside the railway track to the challenging Horseshoe Route which includes a hair-raising scramble along the knife-edge ridge of Crib Goch.
Many of the local population speak Welsh as their first language and you are sure to hear it around the village. In the Middle Ages there was hostility between the Welsh and the English invaders, and you can still see the remains of the Welsh defences at Dolbadarn Castle in the grounds of the Symposium hotel.
In the 19th century the area became prosperous through slate mining. Today you can learn about the life of the miners by visiting an interesting museum and a hospital which was established by the mining company to look after the many casualties that occurred in the mines. And you can follow the miners' commuter route by taking a narrow-gauge rail trip beside Llyn Padarn.
Llanberis Lake Railway
Snowdonia National Park
Today Snowdonia is a popular tourist destination and Llanberis lies at the heart of it. Within a few miles are all of Wales's 3000 foot (914m) mountains: while this may sound tame to many international visitors, remember that the ascents start near sea level and the terrain is often steep and rocky -- think of all the slate in the area! Edmund Hillary's Everest expedition trained on Snowdon, and one of the local hotels has a collection of memorabilia including their climbing ropes and boots.
A unique feature of ISVCS is the opportunity to spend time in spectacular mountain scenery. Each day a hike or excursion is organised, with different options available allowing for the differing mobility of the participants. These activities are optional but have always proved very popular among attendees at previous Symposia. The following outings are proposed (subject to weather conditions).
Monday -- easy walk in the foothills of Snowdon, with views over Llyn Padarn.
Tuesday -- choice of walks in the Ogwen Valley, starting with a near-level walk around Llyn Idwal and optionally ascending to the Devil's Kitchen on the route up Glyder Fawr (1001m).
Wednesday -- ascent of Snowdon by the rack-and-pinion railway (it is planned to book places on a steam-powered train); descent either by train or on foot.
Thursday -- choice of walks on the classic ascents of Snowdon from Pen-y-Pass; ascending by the Miners' Track to two lakes (Llyn Llydaw and Glaslyn), with optional continuation to the summit ridge and return on the Pyg Track.
Friday -- forest trail above Llyn Padarn, visiting the Miners' Hospital and old cottages.
Accompanying spouses and family members may like to visit the following attractions, which are all within walking distance of the Symposium hotel.
- National Slate Museum
- Electric Mountain (underground tour of a hydro-electric plant)
- Llanberis Lake Railway
- Snowdon Star (boat trips)
And within a 1 hour drive:
- Betws-y-Coed, a pretty village with waterfalls
- Conwy Castle
- Caernarfon Castle
- Harlech Castle
- Isle of Anglesey, travelling over bridges built by Stevenson and Telford, visiting the spectacular South Stack Lighthouse and the famous railway station at Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch
- Blaenau Ffestiniog, for an underground tour in a former slate mine
- Portmeirion, a picturesque Italianate village which has frequently been used as a film and TV location