Chequered flag in sight

We have the chequered flag in sight. The end of the season is soon. As I write this we have nine days until the site closes, in nine days days time as the last one leaves I will close the gates and lock them. Not that we’re looking forward to the last day. To be honest it’s been a tough year with one thing or another and yes we will be glad to see the last caravan or motorhome leave the site.

We then have to close the site down for winter, board the toilet block up, drain down the service points, take all the signs in etc etc. We have two days off before we finish. We also have to pack our own motorhome up and the car ready for our journey to Cirencester at the end of the month which is where we will go for a break on the way down to Devon.

We have one more payday next Friday and then the next payday we will get will be the end of March. We will survive……I think. luckily we like beans on toast.

Our last couple of days off were spent having a couple of trips out and about in between the showers of rain. Then as it was time to go back to work the sun came out, but only briefly.

We went to Betws Y Coed to have a look around. It’s a very touristy town and in the summer is full of peaple from all over the globe and coaches block the roads up. A good reason to avoid in the main season.

As you walk up the Main Street there is a loverly old church which you can’t miss. I can imagine in the olden days this being one of a few buildings and a dirt road passing it with a few horse and carts passing by not like now it’s a main road and busy with cars.

Loverly old church

On the opposite side of the road to the church is a river and a fisherman was trying his luck in the swollen river. The river was in full flow after all the rain we have had but he had a good spot and was fly fishing. The loop around his head is not a halo it’s just as I took the picture I captured his fishing line as he was flicking it out into the river to hopefully catch himself some tea.

Fly fishing

Betws Y Coed has a small station which we went to look at as there was some old carriages turned into a cafe in one of the sidings. On the platform were some great sculptures of animals filled with bottle tops. All something to do with saving the planet but very well done. The rhinoceros was my favourite. I also loved this sign outside one of the tea rooms. Obviously someone didn’t like it in there.

A rare bottle top filled rino
Made me laugh

We were getting hungry by now and had spotted a pasty shop so made our way back towards the shop where we bought two pasties and a drink and wish we hadn’t. I can honestly say it was the worst pasty I have ever had in my life and if I wasn’t so hungry at the time I would have thrown it back into the shop. Maybe I should put a review on tripadvisor and then they can put a sign up outside their shop.

Then before we left this very expensive tourist trap we needed a comfort stop. Now where does the spend a penny saying come from because it needs to be updated. 30p for a pee in this little town. As we passed the river on the way to the car the waterfall was looking good but looking at all that water flowing over the rocks made me feel like I needed another wee, but I could not afford it so I took a quick photo and moved on.

On the way back we or should I say me being the driver decided to take a detour. I had found some mountain bike trails so wanted to see whereabouts they were so we took a very small single track road up through a beautiful valley. Up and up we went into the clouds and the view was fantastic with water cascading down the mountains in certain places and the valley floor way down below us. The picture below is about half way up the valley.

A welsh valley

A couple of days ago while out on site I spotted a loverly fungi. It looked like a alien spaceship had landed on the grass being about a foot across the top. I had to mow the grass but mowed all the grass around it as it just looked so good. It’s turning blacker by the day now but still looks good.

Alien Fungi

So that’s us up to date. This will be the last post from here in Snowdonia. We have loved the area even though we have not done everything on my to do list. We are looking forward to next season being by the sea again. But before that we have the winter to catch up with friends and family. Take care.

Llanidloes

The last few days we have been off work, yes again but don’t forget we worked between the last days off for eight days. And now it’s back to work tomorrow for another eight days.

This few days we planned to go away because it was Nikki’s big birthday although she would not own up to it and insisted that everyone had got it wrong by ten years. It was also our ten year anniversary, apparently that’s Tin. The camper also needed a run out.

We could not decide what to do or where to go. There was a campsite we wanted to go to but by the time we made up our minds it was fully booked so we needed another plan. I tried once more and the dates we wanted came up, well almost we could only get the Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday so I hit the book button and it was done.

Red kite touring park was the site we were heading for at Llanidloes in mid Wales. An adults only site with great views and only a short walk into town for a drink or two and a meal. We arrived at the site in glorious sunshine and pitched up with great views down the valley.

Misty morning view down the valley

The next day we walked into town which was about twenty minutes to see if we could book somewhere for a meal for Nikki’s birthday. Things weren’t looking good, all the pubs were closed Monday and Tuesdays and the ones that were open were not doing food. All the shops were closed or most of them. That was good news as Nikki could not go in them. Nikki’s birthday was on Wednesday the day before we set off back to base so we really didn’t want to go out then. We wanted to go out on the Tuesday. Eventually we found a pub that was open all day and did food. The Red Lion had good reviews so that’s where we ended up on the Wednesday evening. And a good time was had.

Back to our walk into town with all the closed shops. In the centre of town is an old market hall which is a loverly old building built in the early 17th century. Must have been the hub of activity in those days.

The old market hall

The campsite has some nice walks from it around some fishing lakes and up in the woods. I got up early one day and went for a walk around and found a load of dew covered cobwebs glistening in the morning sun and the fishing lake also looked so calm.

Dew covered cobweb

Early morning peace

About four miles from the campsite is Clynedog dam and reservoir and some old building left over from the lead mines. Nikki did not fancy a long walk so I went out on my bike to see the old lead mining buildings and the dam. Good excuse to get out on my bike and stretch my legs.

The lake surface covers an area of 615 acres about the size of 230 football pitches, and is 216 ft deep at its maximum depth. The dam itself is very impressive also.

Clynedog Dam

The old buildings left over from the lead mining days are at the bottom of the dam. They closed in 1884. The remains are of crushing houses, roasting ovens, not the Sunday roast versions, ore bins, smithy, and the mines managers house/ office. Must have been hard work and all that lead getting in your lungs and on your skin would have been bad.

Old lead mine buildings with dam in background.

That was our few days away which we really enjoyed. The weather was fantastic so we had a BBQ and chilled in the sun while having a nice cool drink, beer for me and wine for Nikki. We had a laugh in the pub as we always do and now we are back and I got out on my bike for a short ride. Back to work tomorrow.

The long walk home (from the pub )

Pastures new

We have just had six days off because our work rota has changed for the last two months. This means we work eight days and have six off. Only two months to go which also means we only have two more paydays then no income until next March.

We have been busy on our days off but more of that in a minute. The selection come out on Monday which means we know where we will be going next year to work.

We are going to be working on a site just outside of St David’s in Pembrokeshire South Wales. You can walk into St David’s in about half an hour from the site. St David’s has a cathedral which makes it a city and it’s the smallest city in Britain. A fifteen minute walk from site also takes you to whitesands bay which will be really nice. The surfboard will be loaded for next season as just down the road is Newgale which also has some good surf. Hope the managers aren’t expecting me to do any work. 😁

About 45 minutes drive from here is a farm shop called The Rhug estate which we have passed several times when out and about but never stopped at. Always one of those moments when we say we will do it another day. They have a big Bison outside and naturally do Bison meat which I wanted to try. The thought of a Bison burger on the BBQ got the taste buds going.

The Rhug estate Bison

The weather was great the day we went so we had planned to have a BBQ that evening after going to the farm shop. All their meat is farmed on the estate and everything they sell is organic etc. I went off hunting down the bison burgers and found them amongst the sausages and steak and chicken and all looking so nice. Next to the bison burgers were two fillets of bison steak. I nearly choked when I saw the price £67 a kilo, no wonder that bison is up on stilts out of reach of everyone.

We bought our food for the BBQ minus the bison fillets but I did get the bison burgers, Nikki chose some chutneys. There is also a farm walk which takes you past some of the animals and around the fields which we decided to do as it was a nice day and we had plenty of time. First we went past the turkey field where as we walked past a load of them come running out from the shed towards us. I am sure they were shouting save us save us. So I wished them merry Xmas and walked on.

Save us

The walk was about three miles in total, down some lanes and along side the river. We saw the bison in a field but they were too far away to get any pictures. At the price they demand I expect that’s why they were so far away and all the gates were locked. We sat by the river to chill out and the only thing we could hear was bird song, so peaceful. Occasionally a fish would jump out of the water to catch a fly.

So peaceful

As we got back to the car eight VW beach buggy’s rolled into the carpark, they were on a tour around wales. Being a big fan of VW’s I had to get some photos and have a chat with the owners. The funny thing was Nikki had seen them the day before when she went shopping at Porthmadog.

One of the buggys

After dragging myself away from the buggys we headed home for our BBQ and beer in the sun. The bison burgers were ok, not as good as a nice Aberdeen Angus beef burger but at least I had tried them and now I know not to save up for the fillets of Bison.

The next day was going to be a beach day as again the weather was looking good and the sea was so tempting to get in. The beach we chose was Criccieth beach. We found our spot in the beach and while Nikki chilled I went for a walk to the other end of the beach and back and to explore some rock pools. I can’t just sit on a beach for too long.

Empty beach

By the time I got back to Nikki she was having a paddle and I needed to get in the sea for a swim. Yes it was cold at first but once fully in you soon warmed up. I never found anything in the rock pools.

Rock pool

Yesterday we went to Caernarfon to have a look around. A lot of the town is within the castle walls with the castle at one end. It’s all by the sea and a loverly marina right next to it. You hear of walled gardens but a walled town is the first I have seen. Some loverly old streets within the walls and lots of little places to eat. Some bits a bit further out were looking a bit shabby and rundown. The castle looked very impressive and in a great position to see anyone coming by boat to attack.

Caernarfon castle

Today was a chill out day and it’s back to work tomorrow just as the rain has arrived. Our next time off we are going away in the camper to a campsite about and hour and half away from here. It’s Nikki’s birthday so we will go out to eat and drink in the small town nearby. Not every day though, I don’t want her to lose her skill of cooking.

Through the archway

Long time no see

With all the things that have been going on in the world the last eighteen months, Brexit and Covid has changed our lives here in the U.K. we have missed out on our winter trips and not been able to catch up with friends and family here in the U.K. even when we had the four winter months off. All the planets just didn’t line up. Covid has a lot to answer for.

So when we got a message from our friend Katie saying she wanted to come and see us we were very happy. We met Katie at one of the Hot Rod shows we used to go to. She parked next to us with her then husband and a little bundle called Jack, well he was quite a sizeable bundle to be honest, don’t know what she was feeding him on.

That was eleven years ago and over the years her life has changed and along came Tilly also. We have stayed in touch and nearly every year she would come down to Devon with her kids to see us and we would all have a great time.

She has always camped and the kids would help, I even nicknamed Jack Pegboy because he always wanted to do the pegs. We were always there to help with the tent also. I still don’t know how she got everything in the car or if she left anything at home.

We found her a campsite near us because the site we work on does not take tents and she booked it up for a three day break with the kids and her new husband to be Sean who just happens to like a beer and mountain biking so it was going to be a good break. It also coincided with our days off. I love it when a plan comes together.

The campsite is on the edge of lake Trawsfynydd and is run by a very laid back couple. They have a cottage to let, two small cabins and two tent fields. They only allow a small number of tents on each field so everyone has so much room. There’s a bench and a fire pit by each area and the views are fantastic.

View from campsite

Katie rang to say they had arrived so we give them time to set up and then went round to see them. It had been three years since we had seen them all so a good catch up was well overdue. Jack and Tilly had grown up so much since we last saw them. Jack was all excited because I was taking him and Sean to the bike park the next day and Nikki was going to go for a walk with Katie and Tilly.

The cottage to rent.

We had tea with them which Katie had made and the fire pit was going to keep the midges away. I forgot to say Katie makes the best chocolate brownies and has always made some for me when she comes to see us as she knows I quite like chocolate. Jack and Tilly are always extra nice to me when they come out so I say yes to them having one.

The next day we went round mid morning, loaded the bikes up etc and off we went to the bike park. The boys on their bikes and the girls went off for a walk to see the waterfall. I picked an easy bike trail for us as they had not been before. Sean loved it and Jack loved it even though he fell off three times but he got back up dusted himself down and carried on. Eight miles later we’re back at the car, Jack did really well considering he is only eleven and not really rode any bike parks before. The girls returned from their walk and they enjoyed that. Little Tilly did really well.

Home for a shower while Nikki and Tilly went off to Tesco to get some BBQ food as the forecast was good. Back to the campsite and get the BBQ fired up, we were all starving.

I often bike past the campsite that’s how I knew it was there and just past it on the edge of the lake is an old derelict boathouse which I always wondered how to get to it for some photos. While looking around the campsite I went round a corner and there it was just along from the cottage. So I had to walk up to it and get some photos. It’s well past its best date but still makes great photos.

Old boathouse

Back to the BBQ and another good evening. The next day was their last day so we stayed at home to catch up on things to do and they had a day to themselves before they came over to us in the evening and we all went to the pub for a beer and food. And then said our goodbyes. So good to catch up with them all.

Refurbed boat and old boathouse

Other news is I have just had my bike serviced and some new bits fitted that I had managed to wear out with my sort of riding. And this morning I went to the bike park at 6.30am and did 24 miles. 24 does not sound far but most of that was off road on narrow rocky tracks that only mountain goats would venture onto and some nice downhill sections. It was on a trail called the Beast and it was a very hard ride with lots of knarly bits. But I tamed the Beast.

Looking for the beast

Another Bay in the village

Yes another day off I hear you all cry. In our defence we do work extremely hard in between our days off. So a day off and weather looking ok, not brilliant but ok for a walk.

A search on google earth and I had a plan, unusual for me but yes I had a plan. Looking at the Llyn peninsula I spotted a bit on the northern side that juts out, zoom in to find it was a nice little bay with a pub, always a good idea and a nice small coastal walk for Nikki.

Nikki is not into big walks unless there is a pub at the end but even then she likes small walks and big pubs. There was also a life boat station for some photos.

Less than an hours drive and we arrived at Porthdiniiaen, got parked up in the National trust carpark, £5 for all day the money goes to good causes so I don’t mind paying. Walking boots on, rucksack on to carry my water and Nikki’s and of course some snacks in case we got lost and were starving.

Porthdiniiaen bay

The pub on our route was right on the beach, again a bit of research and it turns out its voted one of the best beach bars in the world. A big title to live up to. The pub called the Ty Coch Inn looks great from the beach and some tables are actually on the beach. This is where we had planned to have lunch after reading up about it on their website.

Ty Coch Inn

As you walk around some rocks from one part of the bay onto the next part you can see the pub and I was already licking my lips. Thoughts of ordering a nice pint and some food, throwing Nikki the keys and saying you can drive back, and then sitting outside the pub on one of the beach benches enjoying the view .

We got outside the pub to discover it opened at midday which was three quarters of an hour away. A look at the menu and my heart sunk, it was all sandwiches and most were crossed off so not available. Nothing wrong with a sandwich I know but so limited choice from one of the best beach bars in the world in peak season. Needless to say we declined and moved on. A shame really but it seems they have a loverly location and don’t need to try very hard and the holiday crowd will flock there. I wonder how many were disappointed.

We decided to walk on round the headland to the lifeboat station and then on further and back towards the car where there was another little cafe. Along the coast path was a loverly old shack I could have lived in quite comfortably.

My love shack

A nice old boat on the beach being done up and then around the next bend was the lifeboat station. I would have loved to see the lifeboat go out, sliding down the ramp with a big spray as it hit the water off to rescue someone. Them guys do such a good job and I always support them when I can.

Old boat
Lifeboat station

At the lifeboat station we decided to have a snack, so sat on the beach and delved into the rucksack and found a bag of crisps and a cereal bar each, times are hard you know. Then Nikki’s phone rang. More about that later.

After eating our snacks we carried on around the coast path which is right next to a golf course. If you played golf this was such a nice course in a fantastic setting. I don’t play so just had the walk. The view from the top of the headland looking back at the bay in the village with one of the worlds best beach bars in the world was spectacular apart from the beach bar menu. We carried on walking and stopped in the little cafe not far from the car for a sandwich and a slice of cake, both which were on the menu and it’s was great service and tasted good.

View of the bay

So back to the phone all. As you know if you follow my blog we applied to be managers. The phone all was to tell us we were not successful, a small blot on the day but we are ok about it. A bit fed up yes but that’s due to the way it was done as we are already doing the job, so we are waiting for feedback from the club. We really don’t see how we can improve because we give 100% now and get so many nice comments about us etc. Will keep you updated when we know.

Jelly fish on the beach

R

Oh what a picture

As you know the ones that follow my blog, I like to take a picture or two whenever we go somewhere, or I go out on my bike etc. So our latest couple of trips out were no different.

We were told about a place called Abersoch, a small seaside town on the Llyn Peninsula which is the bit of North Wales that juts out to the left facing Ireland. Abersoch is on the bottom edge of the Peninsula.

A day off and a bit of a plan to drive out to have a look and have some lunch. I was told there was some surf shops there and lots of places to get food so it was all looking good. The name Abersoch means mouth of the river Soch. Aber means mouth of river and Soch being the rivers name, so there you go you have learnt something today. It’s the same with Aberystwyth and many others in Wales.

We found the small town and parked up and went in search of the coast. The town itself was busy and a lot of the eating places closed apparently due to staff shortages, the two surf shops were pretty boring and had what seemed like all the stock they could not get rid of the last two years hoping someone from inland would buy it as they would not have seen it before.

And now I was getting hungry and with so many places closed and one pub packed out Nikki spotted a small little deli but it had a queue. I don’t like queues and I had spotted a chip shop with no queue, not always a good sign but I was willing to gamble for the sake of my rumbling stomach. So I nipped across got served straight away and stood outside eating my chips while Nikki queued for whatever she was going to have. And yes they were loverly chips.

Then we decided to head for the beach. Found some loverly old beach huts made from corrugated tin, I expect they had been there years and with a coat of paint every year to help protect them they still looked good.

Old tin beach huts.

And even better were the beach huts behind them, looking like real luxury small houses. The photo I took of them is one of my all time favourites. If I ever win the lotto and Nikki gets her dream of having a little property as a bolt hole I will get this photo put on canvas and hang it on the wall. Oh what a picture.

My favourite photo

The next day off I went off to the bike park for a blast doing some different trails than I have done before. The view was fantastic up high above the treetops with rolling mountains in the distance.

What a view

Then we had to go back to work and look forward to our next bit of time off. Luckily for us our next long weekend off was in the middle of a loverly heatwave and being our long weekend off we decided to take the camper out and go away for a couple of days. So we went up to Anglesey to a campsite. We took the bikes because I had looked on google earth and worked out a route to get to a pub on the coast only using small back roads. Nikki was with me so it needed to be a short ride and no traffic. She was very happy with the idea of a pub lunch and this is what was making her get her bike hat on, check her mirrors, and lights and select a gear.

The small bay we were aiming for is called Red Wharf Bay and the pub is called the Ship inn. A proper olde world pub right on the sea front. Originally a row of cottages built in 1740 with a small pub on one end serving ale to the many sailors passing by. The whole building is now the pub.

All Covid secure, Nikki had to queue again to get a table, I was guarding the bikes, well mine anyway. She got to the front of the queue and asked if we could have a table in the shade with space for the bikes. The waiter pointed to a table but said the bikes could go over there a completely different area, Nikki called me over to tell me this. My reply was sorry but I don’t leave my bike away from me. He then gave us another choice when he realised I love my bike which as it happens was a better view and in the shade for Nikki. The tide was out which was a shame as it would have been nicer but sometimes you just can’t have everything. A seat in the shade, Bikes within touching distance and a loverly lunch with a view and of course great company.

Lunch with a view

We were actually sat just behind these tables but the view was unspoilt because that section was closed. Back to the campsite and a BBQ for tea sat outside under the sunshade as it was so hot. The next day was spent just chilling in the shade, it was way too hot to go out on the bikes.

Our spot for chilling on the campsite

So that’s us up to date. Other news is we completed our application to become site managers and got through to the interview stage which was via a zoom call. That was a whole new experience for us but we think it went well. We find out next week if we were successful or not. Will keep you posted.

Ear Two Ear

I get trouble with my ears blocking up. Nikki thinks it’s just excuse to say I never hear what she says. After two weeks of putting oil in them to try and free off the wax ( sorry if your having your lunch while reading this) the wax was still in there and would not come out. So I had to find an audiologist. That’s a person who removes earwax and charges you what he/ she wants knowing you are going to pay because you have no choice. And saying you didn’t hear how much it was going to cost does not wash with them.

The nearest one to us is in Colwyn bay. So an appointment was made for another two weeks time at a cost of £80 for both ears. That give me time to save up and keep putting the oil in my ears and praying the wax would come out on its own and I could save the £80.

On the day we headed off towards Colwyn bay via Surf Snowdonia. Surf Snowdonia is a lagoon with a wave machine in, so for land locked surfers they can still surf. I wanted to go and have a look and it was sort of on the way to Colwyn bay. When we got there there were no waves until 2pm so we just had a look around and left.

No surf Snowdonia

We decided to head on to Colwyn bay have lunch and then go and get my ears hoovered out. We parked up right by the bay and spotted a cafe so headed straight for it as we were both hungry. We didn’t realise the cafe is famous, or so we were told by someone in the carpark. The cafe was called Bryn Williams. We had not booked so the only available seating was outside which is what we wanted so a table for two it was. Then we looked at the menu WOW how much. We decided on a starter each and some chips to share. Sorry they were not chips they were fries that’s posh chips, I told you it was famous. It was nice though.

Nikki’s lunch
Mike’s lunch

After our snack with a three course price tag the plan was Nikki was going to go shopping and I went off to get my ears done. I had a half hour wait so wandered around Colwyn bay. Not my cup of tea at all. I found a loverly old restored clock and the rest of the town I won’t talk about. I wandered into the ear clinic quarter of an hour early as the door was open and went straight on in. All Covid secure with receptionist and ear doctor wearing masks. Sat down, he shoved a camera in my ear and showed me on a huge screen the problem, I showed him my empty wallet and pointed out my problem.

He then stuck a small tube in my ear, a bit like a Hoover and it sucked all the wax out. From entering the building to leaving was 15 minutes and that including paying the £80. I wish I could earn that sort of money. I did point out to him he should be called Dick Turpin and wearing a mask. Then I realised he was wearing a mask.

Loverly restored old clock
Empty Colwyn bay

The following weekend was our time off and time to give the camper a run so we decided to go to a site called Shawsmead which is near a village called Oakford, inland from Newquay, that’s the Newquay in wales below Aberystwyth about a two hour drive from us. We know the wardens there so it was a good chance to catch up with them. It’s only about 70 miles but I don’t think there is a straight level piece of road in that 70 miles.

The site is so nice and peaceful and has lots of areas left for the wildlife which I really like. The bees and insects are so important to us and more should be done to help them. We had a great time and did nothing apart from eat drink sleep and then repeat. A real chilled out couple of days.

Chilling at Shawsmead

The time went way too fast. We had to start back at work on the Wednesday lunchtime and would normally go back on Tuesday afternoon but the sun was out the beer was to tempting so we decided to stay another night and leave early in the morning. So that’s what we did. Up and on the road for 6.30 am. Back to base set up and chill before work.

A couple of days ago we had some friends we met in Spain come to visit us as they were only an hour away from us on holiday. Loverly couple. We met in the pub opposite the campsite for lunch and a good catch up. We had not seen them for two years.

Before meeting them at lunchtime I wanted to go out on my bike so I got up early and was down the bike park and on the trails at 6.15 am. As I was driving there I thought I would do one of the black trails, that’s a severe one. I had wanted to do this particular one for a long time because it involves some huge big rock slabs that you ride down.

The trail is about 12 miles long altogether with some long uphills and some very rocky downhill parts and of course the four big slabs. Not for the inexperienced or faint hearted. I really enjoyed the trail and survived to tell the tale. And even took some photos to show Nikki but she felt sick just looking at them.

One of the slabs
Long way down

It’s hard to capture how steep the slabs are unless you’re into mountain biking then you would understand. A lot of peaple have fallen here and with some nasty injuries.

My favourite one

So that’s us to date. We are now off for two days but not going away, just chilling at base but we will have a day out somewhere and I expect I will go down the bike park. We also have a application form to fill in to become managers. We are really busy at the moment and bookings have gone mad. And I can’t believe we are halfway through the season already. This time in four months time we will be driving out of here to where ever and next year we will be somewhere totally different.

Stay safe everyone we’re nearly there.

The Mawddach trail

We had a couple of days of so wanted to do something of our list of to do things while in Snowdonia. It’s a big list and we will not tick them all off.

Nikki has not been out on her bike much since falling of last year. A couple of weeks ago along the canal path was her first outing on the bike since her fall so a good little run to get her bike legs back. The weather was looking good fo our two days off. I went down the bike park on day one and let of steam down the slopes, round the berms, over the humps and bumps for 18 miles of pure fun.

Down the bike park

Day two we decided to bike the Mawddach trail. The Mawddach trail is a walk/ cycle way which is a old railway line that runs from Dolgellau to Barmouth following the Mawddach estuary. It’s about nine miles each way and totally flat. I told Nikki it will be a gentle ride and plenty of stops for photos etc.

Bikes loaded up in the morning and only a 25 minute drive to get to Dolgellau and park up in the carpark at the start of the trail. There is a hotel/ pub along the way at Penmaenpool with a loverly old toll bridge which we have seen before while out for a drive. We thought it would be nice to sit by the estuary and have lunch there.

Because we were early getting on the trail we decided to have a light snack to eat when we got to Barmouth and then maybe lunch at the pub on the way back.

Nikki at Penmaenpool

So of we set. Now I really enjoy biking along these trails with fantastic views but it’s a bit slow for me compared to Nikki’s average speed. But this was her day so most of the time I stayed with her only now and then did I have a little speed moment and then wait for her. I looked behind at one stage and there she was biking along hair flowing in the wind nice and upright and more importantly still on the bike, another reason for me not to go off to far in case I have to come back and pick her up off the floor. But she was doing good, she looked like Mary poppins.

We had plenty of stops to have a drink, not pub stops just water from our bottles and to take in the scenery.

View from the trail

The last part of the trail into Barmouth goes across a bridge which also has a railway line going across. The whole thing is going to be refurbed at a cost of 25 million pounds starting soon. The views from it are fantastic. On one side you have the harbour of Barmouth and the other side you have the estuary going towards the mountains. And then sometimes you get a train coming towards you.

Stay on the right Nikki

We arrived at Barmouth needing a drink and a bite to eat. And Nikki needing a sit down to rest her legs even though she had been sat down all the way. We found a little cafe with tables outside so i sat down and guarded the bikes while Nikki went in and ordered a coffee and toasted tea cake for herself and a hot chocolate and a sausage sarni for me. Looking over the harbour and watching the world go by and at the same time keeping an eye on the bikes life was good. And the thought of the food was in my mind. Nikki came back out with the drinks. Where’s the food ? Stopped doing food at 11am. Drinks drunk and off around Barmouth to find a chip shop.

Barmouth is the sort of place you love or hate. We don’t really like it, it’s to much like an English version of Benidorm with all the kiss me quick hats and amusement arcades. Peaple with jogging bottoms and football shirts on and they even have donkeys on the beach. We were only here because it’s the end of the trail and we were hungry. We soon found a chip shop and again I guarded the bikes and this time Nikki came out with a portion of chips, and very nice they were too.

The bridge at Barmouth
Barmouth coastline

Now it was time to head back to Dolgellau with a stop at the George 111 hotel / pub at Penmaenpool for another snack. Going back was easier because we had a light breeze behind us but there was more peaple by this time but not enough to be getting in the way. We got to the hotel/ pub got a loverly bench outside overlooking the estuary. Again I guarded the bikes while Nikki went in to get us a nice big glass of cool drink and some menus. Again I was looking at the scenery and peaple watching and she came out with two pints of Diet Coke ( other brands are available )with ice. And no menus, they had run out of food and this was only 1pm. That explains why we could get a seat out side. Still the drink was nice and luckily we had a couple of serial bar snacks in our back packs.

Our table for lunch

Drinks drunk and back on the bikes for the last leg of the ride. Only a couple of miles to go I shouted to Nikki as she climbed on to her bike with a few groans. But I had promised to take her to the pub back at base for a nice glass of wine and we knew they would have food. So that’s what we did. Got back to base showered, a nice cup of tea and then over the local pub for a drink or two and a nice meal.

Well done to Nikki for biking the twenty mile round trip. And after the pub in the early evening we slept very well.

Birthday weekend

It seems like ages since I updated the blog so here I am. The campsite has been busy, the weather has not been very good for this time of year. I think the trouble is we are comparing this May to last May when we were furloughed and basking in loverly sunny weather.

A couple of weeks ago I had a nice ride out in my bike up in the hills and lanes and was rewarded with spectacular views.

Lake Trawsfynydd in the background.

The ride was only about 18 miles but mostly off road which is what I prefer. Only saw one other human, an old farmer who was busy fixing some fencing. Saw lots of sheep but that’s normal in these parts.

With my birthday coming up and it just so happened to fall on our days off we decided to go away for a couple of days. I like to to take the camper out every month just to give it a run so the timing was just right. Shame the weather could not have tried harder to get it right.

We decided to go to Chirk only about 50 miles away but a nice run. We have been to the site before and liked it. There’s a canal nearby and a couple of nice aqueducts. The plan was to get there Saturday and leave on the Tuesday. Sunday was a chill out day. I went for a early walk down to the Aqueduct not far from the site. Amazing structure built all those years ago. This one is in two parts, the upper part is a railway line and the bottom part for the narrow boats. At one end you are in Wales and if you walk across it you are then in England.

Chirk Aqueduct

We planned to take the bikes and to get Nikki on hers. The canal path would be ideal for her being flat. She’s not been on her bike for a long time after falling off when we were in South Wales.

We worked out we could cycle along the canal path to the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct about 5 miles each way. There’s a nice cafe there converted from an old chapel. We would have to sit outside because there no way I would leave my bike outside and go inside for a cuppa. So off we set with a bit of rain forecast but that wasn’t going to stop us. The canal path was quiet so good for Nikki. Just as she was getting her confidence back we came across a tunnel. Nikki is not very good with bridges and tunnels. She would never walk over the aqueduct. So we stop at the tunnel entrance, it’s long and dark, there is a barrier to stop you falling in the canal. Nikki looks scared, there is no way round it. It’s either go through the tunnel or turn back. I would never make her do anything she did not want to do.

She decided to go for it so she put her lights on and walked through. I was behind with words of encouragement. I was so proud for her for doing it. I think it was the thought of a nice hot cup of coffee and a toasted tea cake that did it.

We got to the cafe and the tables outside had umbrellas luckily as it was raining by now. The waitress came out and said it’s horrible out here come inside. I explained I would not leave my bike outside. No problem she said bring them inside. So we took our bikes in the cafe and sat at a table beside them. They were happy there, I offered them some of my hot chocolate and a chip but they declined.

Bikes in the cafe

On the way back I saw a narrow boat going over the aqueduct so on with the brakes and camera out and got a picture of the Pontcysyllte aqueduct with a narrow boat going over it way above the ground. By now it had stopped raining and the tunnel loomed again and yet again Nikki went through it. Back at base I cleaned the bikes off and put them away while Nikki rested her legs. Time to shower and walk down the pub for a birthday meal and a pint.

Don’t look down.

The pub we went to, well it’s a hotel (The Hand Hotel) not like a big posh hotel our birthday budget wouldn’t run to that. It’s a four hundred year old hotel. We have been there before and it’s a bit like going back in time. It’s now had a refurb while closed in lockdown and is very nice. we had a good laugh with one of the bar staff and had a few drinks and a very nice meal. All at a reasonable price. Walk back to base and crash out. Another birthday done.

Yesterday we came back to site because friends had come from Cheltenham to see us in their motorhome. We haven’t seen them for about three years so you have to do what you have to do. That’s right go over the pub and have a catch up. Back to work today.

A bench to sit and think
Bike, boat, must be a plane somewhere up in the sky.

Six months wait

The days have been passing, the months have been passing until the lockdown rules are changing. I know they have been changing at different times between England, Scotland and wales. And I also know it’s been longer than six months for all these changes.

The thing is the six month wait refers to me and Nikki having a proper day out. The last time was when we went to Lincoln last October to get our new fridge in the camper. We then spent a day in the old part of Lincoln, had lunch out and then a meal and drinks in the pub in the evening, a proper day out.

Yesterday was one of our days off, the weather was hot and sunny so a day out was planned. And most important the pubs in wales were opening for outside drinks and food. And we just so happen to have a pub right across the road from us.

But first our day out. We decided to go to Portmeirion, we never got the chance to go last year. We booked our tickets online and planned to get there early to avoid all the crowds because I wanted to take some photos.

Portmeirion is a tourist village designed and built by Sir Clough williams Ellis between 1925 and 1975. It’s styled on an Italian village and is now owned by a charitable trust. It’s famous for the filming of the film The Prisoner. There’s a hotel there, gift shops and cafes. It’s only a eight mile drive for us to get there and they opened at 9.30am so no need to rush although we were first through the gate.

The buildings are all brightly painted and the views from certain points are amazing. We timed it just right with the sun out and as it sits on the edge of an estuary the tide was in and with no wind the water was calm.

I took about 120 phots but won’t bore you with all of them. These are just some of my favourite ones I took.

As you can see the colours are fantastic. We spoke to a painter decorator there and he said how busy he was all the time. We wandered around and then decided to have a spot of lunch. Just sat outside in the sun watching the world go by. It was good to be out again properly. There is a coast/ woodland walk from there also which we did after lunch. Again fantastic views from certain points.

After our walk we went and sat down in the sun again and just watched the world go by thinking how nice it was to have a proper day out. Sod the expense this is what we work for, to enjoy life. After arriving at 9.30am and having a good look around etc we left at 1 30pm. Admission was £13 each and lunch was £20 we never ate in the hotel.

Back to base for a chill out for an hour, then shower and then off to support the local pub which opened at midday. The sun still shining which was good as all the seating is out side. All the tables set out with plenty of space and table service only. A few drinks and a nice meal and that was us done in for the day. A short stroll home to bed. The end of a great day which we had waited six months for. Just got to save up now for the next one.

Have a rest