The Dignums at Gwalia Farm; cabin on the lake

Last week Phil and I took a few days to unplug and relax at a beautiful spot in North Wales: Gwalia Farm, near Machynlleth. There’s a cabin there with no electricity or phone signal (bliss), and lots of beautiful unspoiled countryside and wildlife. There’s a taste of luxury there too, in the shape of a wood-fired hot tub! I enjoyed stoking up a fire, and then a couple of hours later, when the water was a very warm 39°C, we gently parboiled ourselves, with a glass or two of wine to help with our marinading.

One gadget I did allow myself during our stay at Gwalia was my Garmin GPS. It’s like orienteering, but for dummies, and shows you exactly where you are on its stored Ordnance Survey map of the area. This was great for going out on adventures: you can see where all the footpaths are, and head out on some lovely off-the-beaten-track walks without ever worrying about getting lost! We saw mushrooms sprouting, blackberries ripening, red kites soaring, and fighter jets zooming through the valleys. There’s an air base nearby, and apparently they do a lot of practice for flying very low, under the radar. I managed to capture one of them with my camera in the split second it flew past.

I also climbed up a great big hill to say hi to the local trig point, see the sea, and walk past with the big white propellers of the wind farm nearby.

Gwalia Cabin is a hidden gem, miles from any town or main road, so all you can hear during the day are the trees and wildlife, and all you can see at night is… nothing! It was very dark, which I loved. We managed to take a few night sky pictures during the occasional breaks in the cloud that the Welsh climate graciously allowed us.

If you’ve ever cooked a breakfast of bacon and eggs outside over a camping gas hob, you’ll know it tastes better than anything they serve at the Ritz. There were plenty of local feathered friends to share the bacon rind with, and we were even visited each day by a beautiful pheasant. The small lake by our cabin had its very own heron, who would flap gracefully through the trees. We were told there are otters living there too, but didn’t get to see them this time around. It’s an excuse to revisit.

Our cabin was very cosy in the evenings, lit just by candles and a flickering wood fire. There was an outdoor shower, which was much more pleasant than it sounds, and even a very groovy composting toilet, with the best view from the throne that I have ever seen!

We’d like to thank our hosts Dee and Amy at Gwalia, who made us so welcome, showed us how to light the wood-fired hot tub, and provided candles for the cabin, and sawdust for the loo. We’ve returned with our batteries recharged, ready for the rest of the wedding season, and we look forward to visiting again!

We thought we'd share some of the photos we took during our stay.


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