Saturday, 14 July 2012

Gorphwysfa Hotel, Pen-y-Pas, North Wales

The Gorphwysfa Hotel was a former coaching inn located at the head of Llanberis Pass. The inn became a popular climbing centre with its heyday in the early part of the 20th century. The hotel became the Pen-y-Pas Youth Hostel in 1971. The guestbook on display in the hostel has entries for 1913/14 from G M Trevelyan (eminent historian and first president of YHA), Aldous Huxley (the author) and George Mallory ( ill-fated Everest climber).

Lowry, Jan Gabrial and Tom Forman stayed at the hotel in early October 1933 arriving on the 1st. Forman knew about the hotel from a mountaineering trip the previous year. (Godron Bowker Pursued By Furies Pg. 166). Jan wrote in her diary; "...the Gorphwysfa Hotel at Pen-y-Pas (which by the way - in surroundings remote and stern - could have served as the setting for the House of Usher)" and later "Our accommodations are primitive and damned cold." (Jan Gabrial Inside The Volcano Pg. 27).

Lowry, Jan Gabrial and Forman walked up Snowden from here. Arthur Lowry visited Lowry at the hotel to discuss fiances sometime in mid-October 1932. (Jan Gabrial Inside The Volcano Pg. 28-29). Jan's states they stayed in Wales until Sunday, October 15th when Lowry went to home to Inglewood and Jan went to London.

Lowry later referred to the hotel in Under The Volcano after discovering a comment in the hotel's visitors' book; “Climbed the Parson’s Nose,” one had written, in the visitors’ book at the little Welsh rock-climbing hotel, “in twenty minutes. Found the rocks very easy.” ” Came down the Parson’s Nose,” some immortal wag had added a day later, “in twenty seconds. Found the rocks very hard.” (Pg. 185).

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