Mt. Snowdon

Mt. Snowdon, or Yr Wyddfa in Welsh, is the largest mountain in Wales, at 3560 feet and one of the wettest, receiving upwards of 180 inches of precipitation (from the picture, not just rain). It is a focal point of much of the culture of Gwynedd in the Dark Ages. In the Welsh version of the Arthurian tales, Arthur sleeps in a cave in the mountain, to one day rise again and lead his people to victory against their enemies. ‘Snowdon’ comes from the Saxon words ‘snow dun’, meaning ‘snowy Read More…

Population in Wales

The population estimate for Wales in the early Middle Ages, at the Norman Conquest in 1066, is 150,000. This is squarely in the ‘medieval warming period’ which began around 950 AD, in which Wales experienced a warmer climate than between the 13th and 19th centuries. This site indicates that the population doubled by 1350 to 300,000, but then was cut by 1/3 with the Black Death. It didn’t reach that total again until the 16th century. As of 2008, the population of Wales was roughly 3 million, creeping slowly up Read More…

The Weather in Wales

When my son took his American History class, he read to me from the diaries of Lewis and Clark when they wintered on the Oregon coast after coming all the way across the country.  Mostly what they did was complain about the rain: “Rained again today.” “Rained all night long and into the morning.” “Rained all day for the third day in a row.” Having grown up in western Washington State, I know all about this problem.  Having lived through the last two years in Eastern Oregon, I am intimately familiar Read More…

Sunrise and Sunset in Wales

For those who live in a far northern or southern region of the planet, this will not be news, but for the vast majority of people who do not, the idea that the sun will not set in the summer until what is traditionally viewed as ‘night’ and will rise far too early in the morning is very foreign.  Look at the chart below, showing sunrise and sunset times for Cardiff (which is in southern Wales) for June 2010.  Note that for the entire month, the sun rise varies by Read More…

Rain (again)

The weather is one of those things that everyone talks about, whether it’s good, bad, or indifferent. In the sunnier parts of the world (such as Redlands, California), people would mention the weather only if we had any, as in “we’re having some weather, aren’t we?” It was as if the normal ‘weather’, which was sunny and hot, wasn’t weather at all. Given that the 18 months we lived there we had 5 inches of rain, you can see why they might think that way. At the same time, having Read More…