Snowdonia has long been renowned as one of Britain's most stunning and beautiful locations. But more than that, it is the sort of place that continues - no matter how often you visit - to astound and amaze. We took a train out Wales way recently, to get reacquainted with this most awe-inspiring stretch of rugged country.
Of course, many of the six million visitors that the are attracts are interested in one thing above all else - Snowdon, the great and imposing mountain itself, and the pursuit of its peak. First scaled in the 1600s, Edmund Hilary used it as a sort of practice peak before his Everest expedition. A hulking monster that juts up into the Welsh sky above, it's easy to see why.
But that's not why we've come back to Snowdonia. There is, away from the intrepid walkers determined to conquer the mountain (and on some level, themselves too), so much beautiful scenery to explore. After a train ride out, we head on foot for a little adventure along the Welsh coast.
After a tip from a friend who gets through walking boots at the same rate normal folk get through breakfast, we headed to Aberdaron, an apparently stunning setting rich with wildlife, scenery and history. As ever, our expert was correct. The village itself is picturesque and tranquil and set right on the edge of the windswept Welsh shoreline. We set out, leaving some promising local pubs behind us until later in the day, and trekked first along beautiful beach.
The wind was up, the temperature pretty brisk, but the views more than made up for that. The sort of craggy, knotted, tough-born country that has inspired so many writers from these parts is everywhere. The architecture of the area - all stark and simple homes and ancient churches still standing, untouched for centuries - also creates a real sense of timelessness and permanence.
We plodded on further, until we reached a little haven, home to local fishermen and their boats - each of which was a combination of water-beaten white and faded summer colours. Had someone thrown into the view a sorry-looking bearded man in a mustard yellow overcoat, it would have looked like something from a Wes Anderson movie.
As we pressed on across open country, a familiar problem in Snowdonia presented itself. There was still so much more to discover, but so little time left in the day to explore it. The short winter day was closing in, and the sights, sounds and pubs of Aberdaron were calling us back. The rain began to fall in short, sharp squalls. We turned and headed for home.
A short walk, then, but proof of Snowdonia's epic scale and untold attractions. The mountain is magnificent, the views from the myriad other peaks stunning. But Snowdonia is a region with so much to offer - returning time and again isn't just recommended, it's essential. See for yourself how right we are.