An ancient Mid Wales town that has produced gold for royal wedding rings for more than 100 years is preparing for ‘21 days of love’.
Between St Dwynwen’s Day on January 25, when Wales celebrates its patron saint of lovers and Valentine’s Day on February 14, Dolgellau aims to become the nation’s most romantic town.
A series of romantic events and competitions is planned for the ‘Love Dolgellau’ campaign to attract visitors to the historic market town, which nestles in Southern Snowdonia and has more listed buildings than any other town in Wales.
Romantic links to the town extend as far as the Royal family. Wedding rings worn by the Queen Mother, the Queen, Princess Margaret, the Princess Royal and Diana, Princess of Wales, were all made from rare gold mined at Bontddu, near Dolgellau.
To show that the people and businesses of Dolgellau are generous as well romantic, money collected during fundraising events throughout the ’21 days of love’ will be donated to Welsh Hearts, a charity that provides defibrillators and associated training to communities across Wales.
The programme of events includes a honey bun baking competition at Y Sospan café on February 4. Honey bun, which is unique to Dolgellau, doubles as a term of endearment often used when people refer lovingly to their partner or spouse. Money raised from the sale of honeybuns on the day of the competition will be donated to Welsh Hearts.
Dolgellau’s honey bun is just one of the recipes included in a book ‘Paned a Chacen’ written by BBC correspondent Elliw Gwawr which will be promoted during the event.
There will also a ‘find the magic heart’ competition, with people challenged to hunt for a heart hidden in a business premises in Dolgellau. The winner will receive a magic heart hamper packed with locally produced goodies and gifts from local businesses. Shopkeepers will also have a chance to win a prize for the best shopwindow.
Couples who got engaged in Dolgellau are being encouraged to share their stories and pictures on the ‘Love Dolgellau’ Facebook page, with a prize being offered for the best story.
To help romantic men and women plan the perfect meal, Gwin Dylanwad Wine is arranging an evening of food and wine pairing on January 27 followed by a soup and love song evening onFebruary 3 with entertainment by Richy Jones and Andy Makenzie.
Penmaenuchaf Hall is offering romantic ‘heavenly heart’ afternoon teas, welcoming couples with hearts and petals, candlelight, fresh flowers and sparkle, roaring fires and plumped sofas. Teas cost £15.50 per person, with £1 going to the charity for each one sold. To book, call 01341 422129 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ffynnon Town House is offering romantic breaks, special St Dwynwen’s Day and Valentine’s Day dinner menus and afternoon tea with Prosecco. Gwin Dylanwad Wine will be popping corks for champagne cream tea with shortbread hearts.
Pandy Isaf Country House Bed and Breakfast is offering a romantic break package with fizz, flowers and handmade Welsh chocolates. The business will donate £10 to Welsh Hearts for each booking on Tel: 01341 423949 during the period
Abbey Décor is giving a 10 per cent discount on all red and pink paint mixes, with customers given the option of donating the saving to Welsh Hearts. Sulis Hair and Beauty is arranging a series of special offers and will be decorating the shopwindow for the 21 days.
Arran Furniture will be decorating its showroom and running a competition to win a valentine’s hamper, while Moncrieffe Hair Salon will be offering a complimentary glass of Prosecco and strawberries to customers.
Following the 21 days of love, a speed dating wine tasting evening at Gwin Dylanwad Wine café-bar on February 17 is designed to give matchmaking a gentle nudge.
Referring to the speed dating wine tasting event, Llinos Rowlands from Gwin Dylanwad Wine, said: “There is no shortage of ladies signed up for the event, but we do need a few sophisticated men to come along! This will be the Welsh equivalent of the Irish Matchmaking Festival.
“Dolgellau has been named in the top 10 destinations for Valentine’s Day breaks and we also want to promote Wales’ own patron saint of lovers, St Dwynwen.”
Sharon Peake-Jones, of five-star bed and breakfast cottage business Pandy Isaf, said: “Love Dolgellau will hopefully be the first of a series of events to promote our beautiful town, the Welsh culture and at the same time support a good cause.
“Having defibrillators in an area like this is very important and can save lives.”