Mach loop

The Mach loop is an area not far from where we are that the fighter jets use as a training valley, it’s on the A487. It’s on my to do list. Not to get a fighter jet or to fly through the Mach loop valley. But I will admit I would love to. Having watched so much of it on UTube. I want to get up early one morning and get parked up in the valley and climb up the mountain and watch as they fly past.

Yesterday we had a drive out and went through the Mach loop valley. There are only a couple of real parking spots, both were full so we drove on and never saw any jets come through. One place I wanted to check out was a pub/hotel for future lunches next year. The location is fantastic on the edge of lake Mwyngil. There actually two hotels really close to each other. Just imagine sitting outside having lunch at one of them picnic tables admiring the view on a summers day and then as an added bonus a couple of fighter jets come screaming down that valley. Next year we will be there.

Location Location
Spoiled for choice.

After dreaming of being sat in one of those benches we carried on along the B4405 to join the A493 which runs along the coast passing through Llangelywin, Llwyngwril, Friog and ,Arthog. Try saying that lot after a few beers. We stopped in a couple of lay-bys to take in the view.

View towards Barmouth

As the sea comes inland it forms an estuary and at one stage we are driving along side it. The river Mawddach. Another thing on my to do list is to bike along the Mawddach trail which is a biking trail all along a old railway line. Nikki will join me on this one because it’s flat. The trail runs from Barmouth to Dolgellau about eight miles each way with a pub lunch at Dolgellau would be a nice day out, again one for next year. We stopped at part of the trail because there is a loverly old wooden bridge. The village of Penmaenpool sits on the banks of the river Mawddach and you can cross the wooden toll bridge by foot or by car. It’s 80 pence to cross in your car. It’s a beautiful bridge.

The wooden toll bridge

After leaving the bridge we continued on to rejoin the A470 which takes us home passing the bike park which I had been to early in the morning for a quick blast around before we went out. so that was another day out taking in some beautiful views and seeing some more of this fantastic area. And adding places to the list for next year.

The river Mawddach river.

Lost in the woods

I decided to go for a walk the other day, up to the dam. When I got there I decided to check out another path which goes below the dam, it’s recently been resurfaced, that’s the path not the dam. Then I decided to go on a bit further thinking I could get to the waterfall in the nature reserve we have been to before.

I knew I had to cross the river at some point to be on the other side which is where I wanted to go. So I am wandering along minding my own business talking to the trees and listening to the birds singing, I am miles from anywhere and I see a couple walking towards me. They ask if they can get to the waterfall the way I have just come from. No said I you are lost just like me.

We have a chat and decide to take a path of towards the river but that leads us to the river but no place to cross, or is there. I spot a bit where I think I could get across and say to them I am going to cross there. It looks a bit dodgy but doable. Goodbye they say and wander off back in the direction we came from. I am left alone, can I do it, will I get swept away by the gushing water, it had rained a lot which is why I wanted to go and see the waterfall. The rocks were slippery but I made it, Indiana Jones eat your heart out.

The crossing

So now I was on the side I wanted to be on and heading in the right direction, or so I thought. I came to a point with two paths, I decided to go left, the lesser used path. Just like my life sometimes I take the wrong path. Within ten minutes I was in the middle of a wood and no idea how to get out and back on the path. So I just kept walking and again just like my life I was back on track. Another ten minutes I could hear the waterfall and then it came into view. WOW

A view through the trees

With the recent rain the waterfall was in full flow and looked amazing. I climbed down the path to get a view from below. It was good when me and Nikki went to see it last time but now after the heavy rain it was amazing and the noise was like thunder. I was lost no more and wandered back home.

The next day I went off down the bike park to play, again Nikki was doing other stuff. Part of one of the trails goes alongside the a river and past another waterfall. As I was biking along I could see the river was in full flow so knew the waterfall was going to be good. Normally I bike on by it but today I just had to stop. Again the noise and force of the water was spectacular.

Waterfall at Coed Y Brenin forest centre

I biked on to another spot to see the other waterfall in full flow also. It was raining, I was soaked, I was muddy but I was so happy to be out on my bike. I did get changed quickly though when I got back to the car.

Another waterfall

Today we had a day off and decided on a beach day, although the weather was doing it’s best to put us off. We had a lazy morning and then decided to just go for it. We drove to Criccieth beach, by the time we got there it had stopped raining. We had a nice walk on the beach and being out of season there were not too many peaple about even though it was a Saturday.

A broken breakwater

We are now wondering if we will get closed down before the season ends. Bangor which is in the county of Gwynedd the same as us has been put into lockdown restrictions. So we have our fingers crossed because in a weeks time we are off to Lincoln to get our fridge replaced. This has been planned for nearly six months now and as we leave here soon we really need to get it done, even though we don’t want to spend the money it’s costing, but that’s life.

Will we make it

With Covid rearing it’s ugly head again we are wondering if we will make it to the end of the season without getting closed down. Some of the welsh counties are in lockdown and some of the sites in South Wales have been closed down early. We only have until the 27th of this month before we close the gates and then have a week to close the site down and leave ourselves. All this depends on what happens of course. We have a lot of peaple cancelling and even some peaple leaving early because they are worried.

Chasing a rainbow

Today we had a day off and decided to go into Porthmadog, not the high street with all the shops and peaple but around but the harbour and the train station where the steam trains go from. The harbour was stunning in the sun and the boats moored in the harbour looked like a painting with the calm waters.

Porthmadog harbour
Another angle of the harbour.

This part of Porthmadog is so nice now out of season and on a day when the sun is shining. The old buildings are solid and the boats are just sat there. We didn’t see many peaple at all. We then crossed the harbour to go to the train station. It’s one of the things I want to do, go on the steam train but they are running a limited service at the moment again because of Covid so we will do it next year. I wanted to get some photos so we went onto the station area. There is a strict one way system in place and you have to wear a face covering. For those going on the train you are given a carriage number and that’s where you must stay for the outward and return journey. Every carriage is then cleaned etc and the next lot go.

Up close

You also have to book online which I don’t want to do in case it’s a rainy day on the day you are booked in. I wandered around taking some photos and Nikki strolled off to sit in the sun outside the cafe where I joined her after getting some photos. Today’s train was called Linda and she was beautiful. Here she is leaving the station getting a head up of steam.

Full steam ahead
The view from an open carriage

We had a great morning and walked the long way back to the car around a lake and then came back to base for lunch. Across the estuary we could see a steam train coming into Porthmadog, the sun catching the steam as it powered its way along the track. So that’s us up to date and counting down the days and hoping we don’t go into lockdown in this area because we need to go and get our fridge replaced in two weeks time. I don’t think it’s going to be an easy winter for us moving about but whatever happens we will be smiling and looking forward to coming back here next year to do all those things I wanted to do this year.

Steaming into Porthmadog

Turned out good

With the camper being sat on its pitch for six months because of lockdown etc and Nikki’s birthday coming up, it seemed like an ideal excuse to get it out on the road. I hate it being sat for longer than a month normally. So the decision was made to go away on our three days off which also happened to include Nikki’s birthday.

The plan was to go to another club site with a pub nearby, what else did you expect. We would be walking everywhere because we weren’t going to take the car. There is a loverly site on Anglesey called Cae Mawr in a village called Marian glas. A pub just outside the entrance and a twenty minute walk to Traeth beach which also has a beach cafe The site was booked up and we were counting down the days.

The plan was to leave work Sunday at midday and jump straight in the camper and head off, the weather was looking good for the Sunday, Monday and changing on Tuesday. We would get there in an hour and a half, pitch up and chill outside the camper in the sun with a beer. The next day we would go for a walk down the beach and then on the way back go in the pub for a meal and maybe a beer or two.

All pitched up in September sun

We had a loverly chill out on Sunday afternoon. Then when the sun went down we came in for some tea, that’s tea as in a meal not a cup of tea. A great treat then looking out the window to see a red squirrel running about just outside the window. The owners of the caravan next to us came back just before we came in and I asked if they knew if the pub was any good for food. No food only on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. So that buggered up our plans to go for a bite to eat on Monday.

Monday morning was bright and sunny so decided to walk down to the small beach/cove and have a lunch in the beach cafe. Saw this funeral directors on the way with an old village phone box now converted to house a defibrillator a thing a lot of villages do. I could not help wondering if the funeral directors lock the phone box so they get more business.

Is it locked or not

We got to the beach cafe and guess what, it was closed all locked up for winter. Our eating out was not going too well. Good job we can laugh about these things. But we were starving so we decided to walk around the coast path to another small village called Moelfre which, when I looked on google maps did have a pub.

The walk was spectacular and the sun was shining, all was looking good. We even had one bay all to ourselves. About 30 minutes later we reached Moelfre. A very busy cafe was looking good but too busy so headed off to find the pub. Guess what. The pub was closed……..but that was only because it opened at midday and it was 11.50am. There were benches outside so we plonked ourselves down on one facing the sea and prayed they would do food, or if not they had a lot of crisps.

The bay all to ourselves

Thirty seconds to midday I got up and walked towards the pub door praying for food and beer. The door swung open and in I strolled ordered a beer and a soft drink for Nikki and with bated breath asked if they did food. Yes we do here’s a menu the girl said. I could have kissed her if it wasn’t for the wearing of masks and keeping two metres apart. Back out into the sunshine and deciding what to have for lunch, ordered and another beer to celebrate and staring out to sea and thinking how nice this September weather is on Nikki’s birthday.

Moelfre beach /cove.

A loverly lunch was had at The Kinmel arms and now we had to walk back along the coast path. The tide had come in by now and at one point we knew we had to walk on the beach because of a landslide but all was well because it was not a very big tide and the sea was calm. The photo below is my favourite of the day, I had to stop and just look at this so many times.

Stunning walk.
The coast path

We got back to the camper and chilled in the sun again, thinking every thing turned out good. In fact it was better than it would have been if we had stuck to our original plan. The whole walk was only five miles but worth every step just for the views on the coast path. Today we have been for a small walk around the lanes and through the fields. The weather has changed and rain is forecast for later. We will leave here tomorrow morning because we have to start work at midday tomorrow. It’s been great to be out in the camper again, on the road.

You see strange things on the beach.

My play ground

Just a quick post to tell you about my playground. Only fifteen minutes drive away from here where we are working is a forest centre called Coed y Brenin. Welsh for Kings forest. It’s a huge big area, forests normally are. Plenty of parking, a cafe, toilets, bike wash, showers not for bikes but for mucky riders of bikes, information centre and a bike shop stocked with lots of goodies and a bike workshop. You can also hire bikes from them.

There are walking trails, running trails, and of course the bike trails. The bike trails are split in to different runs, blue red, black etc. Depending on your skill level and what you like. There is also a skills track which is a bit of everything to give you an insight into what to expect out on the trails. The trails are from 7-23 miles long. Below are some of the gateways to some of the trails.

A big set of front forks
A bulls nose ring.
The Bulls horns.

There are loads of UTube clips on the internet about the trails if you want to check them out. Just put Coed Y Brenin, blue, red, or black in the utube search sit back and watch.

I plan to do a few of them by the end of the season. I love the blue trail because it’s fast and flowing, divided up into four bits and the more you do it the braver you get and faster. The other day I did three loops of the four loops a total of 24 miles. The scenery is fantastic although some of it is a blur when your going fast. Derelict farm houses, waterfalls, etc.

Only needs a roof
This is stunning.
It’s that bull again.

So that’s my playground, where I go as often as I can on my days or half days off. Boys and there toys. Hopefully next year will be better because the cafe will be open so Nikki will come down there and go for a walk and then we will have lunch in the cafe afterwards. She has been for a walk down there and said it was loverly but wants to do other walking trails. So if any of you go there watch out for an old git with a beard on a blue bike, he will be right on your tail trying to pass or trying to get out the brambles where he overshot the corner.

Fast and flowing

Where’s it gone

Where has the season gone. It only seems like yesterday we were rolling up here in Snowdonia with a big list of things to do and places to see. And now we only have Seven weeks work left and we will be driving out the gate having not done many things on the list. Some have been ticked off but there is plenty more to do next year. And hopefully next year will be a better year for doing things. The four months of furlough put a stop to most things this year.

The other morning when I pulled the blind down the mountain looked so nice in a faded morning light. The sky changes so quickly and the mountain I see out my window comes and disappears. Sometimes it’s topped with white fluffy cloud other times dark cloud.

The view from my window

I have been down to the bike park and getting used to my bike, sometimes a little bit too confident. The different trails are great and all different skills are involved. It is just like a big playground for me. Yesterday I did sixteen miles of trails down there. And it’s even better now because we are working here we get free parking. It’s only a fifteen minute drive away and it has a bike shop, cafe, toilets, showers although the cafe is not open due to Covid.

Start of one of the trails

Another bike ride took me around lake Trawsfynydd and I had to stop for a photo shoot. Again such wonderful scenery.

Lake Trawsfynydd

Reliant is getting more colour on him by the day and even pops in the office now for a crumb. He is also chasing off other robins that dare to come into his territory. He knows where he is well off and can get regular food, until the beginning of November that is. After that he is on his own but I hope he remembers us when we come back next year.

Reliants latest photo.

So that’s up to date, we have just had two day’s off and go back to work today. Our next long weekend off we are going to go away in the camper to a site on Anglesey for Nikki’s birthday. A site with a pub at the entrance and a beach fifteen minutes walk away. Should be good.

You try and say it

Day off today so we had a drive out to Bangor and didn’t we have a loverly time at Bangor. That’s a song if you remember. But before we went there we turned off the A487 and went across the bridge into or onto how ever you look at it Anglesey. The reason for turning off was to go to a town called Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch the town with the longest name in Europe. Now you try to say it. The railway station sign breaks it up a bit so you have more of a chance of getting it right. It’s made up of 59 characters and 19 syllables. The English translation is The church of Mary in the hollow of the white hazel near the fierce whirlpool and the church of Tysilo by the red cave. So now you know.

You say it.

Imagine asking for a train ticket to this station, by the time you got your words out the train would have gone. Even worse if you had come out the pub, or it might sound even better.

After leaving that place with the long name name we went to Tesco, just because we knew how to pronounce that if we got lost. Nikki went shopping, I went to a bike shop just round the corner. We then decided to come back to base a different way. The scenery was fantastic. Huge big mountains dominating the skyline with deep valleys.

Fantastic scenery

I know I have said it before but I never get tired of these views. When you stop and look at the mountains you realise how big they are when you spot a farmhouse at the base of them.

Spot the farmhouse.

We only have two months work left now the bank holiday is over. We were fully booked but all was good including the weather, although the lead up to the weekend we got battered with torrential rain and 60 mph winds. But we came out of it smiling, not just because we only had a short time to go but because we are happy peaple.

Just before the bank holiday we had friends visit us here in their motorhome. Really good to see them and we all went over the pub to take advantage of the eat to save deals. I had a loverly 16 oz steak cooked to perfection and washed down with a pint or two of Guinness. The walk back from the pub is a long one and uphill. About 200 yards.

The long walk home.

Fridge update

I mentioned that our fridge was kaput a few blogs back. The story so far is like this. Fridge went pop, no good, kaput, knackered. Luckily with this job we have a fridge / freezer supplied sitting in our garage. No warm beer and wine for us. It’s an inconvenience, so Nikki tells me going out to the garage to get some butter or cheese or ingredients for tea etc so we have a bucket to put it all in instead of juggling with the ingredients and trying to open the door especially if it’s windy and raining.

I contacted a dealer about doing the fridge, this is after I did a lot of research to see if I could find one that fitted in the gap. After chasing them up because I had not got a reply they eventually said it’s not for them. This was a dealer who advertises that they do all repairs etc. Another dealer was contacted and a few emails exchanged and yet again sorry not for us. It seems all they want is easy jobs like changing a fuse or a tap washer and charge over the odds for it.

Where has customer service gone, it is so poor and frustrating. Third time lucky. Contacted Camper U.K. in Lincoln. They are a Burstner dealer and have a very good name. I started my email to them with it says on your website you can do anything because you have a good team etc. Again I had to chase them up but we got there in the end. They gave me three options of fridge which would fit. Luckily I was sat down when I read the email.

Option one would be to have the same Dometic fridge/ freezer/ oven that we have now. I was told this was no longer available. That would have to come from Germany and take 6-8 weeks and would cost £2961 just for the fridge/ freezer/ oven no fitting etc. Option two was another Dometic which was going to also come from Germany and cost £2421 + fitting. Option three was a Thetford fridge/ freezer but with no oven which would be £1545 + fitting, this is the one I found that should fit in the gap where the other one sits.

So it was option three we went for, not because it was the cheapest but after doing a lot of research it was a better unit. So the call was made, yes we will go for the Thetford credit card out and £1545 gone in ten seconds. Thank you, when the fridge arrives in about a week we will check it out and ring you to book you in. No phone call after a week, leave it a couple more days. Nikki rang them, we were just going to ring you, yes of course you were. Fridge is here and all ok. That’s good can we book in to get the job done then please. Yes some one will ring you later today, the job booking in department. Guess what no call. Nikki rang again with a firmer voice and got it sorted.

Trouble is because of Covid and them being shut for months everything is behind and they are so busy we can’t get it done until October 19th. Ok all sorted we think. I find a campsite up near them thinking go up day before, drive from campsite to camper U.K. in morning first thing back to campsite after and home the next day. If only life was that simple. Got a call the next day to say we will need the camper for 2/3 days, bloody hell your staff work slow don’t they was my response. So many departments and no one knows what the others do. So the final thing is.

We go from here to Lincoln on the Sunday, about a five hour drive for us in camper about 200 miles. We stop on the campsite down the road and get camper to them first thing Monday morning. At that point we will be homeless. We book into travel lodge in Lincoln for Monday and Tuesday nights. We spend two day’s roaming around Lincoln like hobos. Lincoln seems a nice city so should be ok. We hopefully get the camper back late on Wednesday and go back to campsite for another night and then back here on the Thursday. It means us having a bit of extra time off work but that’s ok. It has to be done. All we will have to pay for is the labour, fridge already paid for so although it will be bloody expensive it won’t seem as bad if we don’t add up all the costs like, fuel, campsite, travel lodge, Labour for fitting fridge, meals out in Lincoln wear and tear on our shoes wandering around. Pubs to go in if it’s raining etc.

On a brighter note Reliant is getting some colour and starting to look like a proper Robin. Everyday he comes around for some food and feeds off my hand or Nikki’s.

And is getting to be a right little poser.

At Last

We arrived here in Snowdonia at the beginning of March. On my to do list was to hike up Snowdon. Then with lockdown and now the mad busy part of the season it has not happened yet. At one stage we were going to go for a drive just to sea the mighty mountain. But glad we didn’t because on that weekend according to the local news there were cars parked everywhere and cars being towed away. It’s a very busy place in the weekends.

But yesterday was the day. We had a day off and decided to have a drive out to see the mountain they call Snowdon, the one I am going to hike up, probably next year now. It was forecast to be a hot day so we set of early. The drive took us on the A470 through Blaenau Ffestiniog a typical welsh village surrounded with mountains, with a slate mine on the edge of it. Onwards on the A470 and then turning left onto the A5 towards Betts y Coed.

Heading for another village called Capel Curig we take another left onto the A4086. And there in the distance is Snowdon. Our first glimpse of the mighty mountain and we have only been here for nearly six months. In all honesty I might have seen it before at some stage but didn’t know what to look for.

The road to Snowdon

But before getting a bit closer there was a great photo opportunity to be had on our left, a beautiful lake as calm as could be with great reflections. Luckily there was a lay-by to pull into and get a great shot of it.

Reflections

It was hard to pull away from that lay-by with a view like that. Onwards we come closer to Snowdon on our right. We could have gone another way onto the Llanberis pass to see Snowdon which would have taken us closer but there would have been more traffic and peaple which is why we decided to go the way we went. Another lay-by to pull into and take a photo. With Snowdon in the distance and a slight heat haze just made it look awesome. And the thought that I was one day going to be stood on top of that mountain after a hiking up it. Nikki will be up there also hopefully but she will take the train up and meet me at the top.

Snowdon

That’s it in the middle of the picture if you don’t know. I am hoping later in the season to get some photos of it with snow on top. The surrounding scenery was just as nice. North wales reminds me of New Zealand with mountains and lakes and lots of sheep. And it’s only the real tourist spots that are busy. You can find a fantastic lake or mountain and not see another person all day.

Another welsh view
And another

After staring at the mountain and scenery for what seemed like ages we carried on down the A4086 and joined the A498 towards Porthmadog to get some shopping. And then back to home for lunch and chill out the rest of the day with a BBQ and beer in the evening.

Oh I nearly forgot to tell you about the bike park. The bike park down the road, about a fifteen minute drive away called Coed Y Brenin forest park. I know I have mentioned it before but I got to go down there a couple of days ago. Again an early start, well not early early but early for Nikki as she was coming also. And no she was not going to go on all the forest tracks and rocks and jumps etc on her bike. There are some walking paths all through the woods etc. It was going to be a quick visit because we had other stuff to do. So parked up and agreed to be back at the car in an hour. Nikki strolled off, I rode off on my bike and rode the trails for an hour. First impressions are very good and there are so many trails, all of different skill levels etc. I covered nearly eight miles and again some of the views were fantastic. This bike park will be my playground and only fifteen minutes drive away. When Covid goes away the cafe there will be open. There are also toilets, showers, bike wash and a bike shop with workshop there.

A trail view

Harlech

A day off today so decision was made to go out for the day or some of it. Harlech has a wonderful beach, the town we passed through the other day without stopping. Nikki had found a wool shop on line in Harlech with a cafe / small bar. A weird combination but we are in Wales.

The weather was overcast today but we still like to get out and about. Nothing stops us we’re British you know. It’s not far and the scenery is wonderful if you could see it through the mist. Found the beach carpark and parked up. £3.30 minimum, short work to the beach and then you’re on a huge big beach which I would hate to be on if the sun was out. Today it had just a few peaple on it who have the attitude we are on holiday we are going to sit on the beach, rain or shine.

Harlech beach

After wandering around the beach and smelling the sea we decided to walk up into town to find the wool shop for Nikki and the cafe for a spot of lunch. With the castle up on the hill we knew it was going to be a slog uphill. The road sign said 25% steepness, luckily it wasn’t for too long, but long enough so Nikki says. I waited for her at the top.

A moody shot of the castle.

As you get to the top of the 25% gradient hill you come to Harlech castle, perched on top of the hill with a view out over the beach. Built so they could see all the enemies approaching. The castle only opened today after being closed because of Covid and you have to book on line. I spoke to the guy on the entrance and he said they were booked solid for a week ahead. We have plenty of time to go back and see it if we choose to. The view from it will be fantastic.

Harlech castle view from the side.

Found the wool shop and cafe so we decided to have a spot of lunch. And that is where we got disappointed. Looking at the menu it looked loverly. We opted for a sandwich on granary bread with coleslaw, salad and crisps. Now I was expecting a nice thick bread sandwich with plenty of filling, bowl of salad and some crisps. What I got was a sandwich made with just normal sliced bread, hardly any filling, enough salad for one mouthful and a couple of crisps, well there might have been six. To say I was disappointed is an understatement. Not just because of the food but because for me and Nikki to have this and a soft drink each was £20.75p Bloody rip off. I was going to complain but thought better of it as I was fuming so could have turned out nasty. I will not be recommending it to anyone.

The rest of the small town was nice including other nice cafes, we know for next time and a nice ice cream shop.

That was our day out. We still enjoyed ourselves but you live and learn. I think because it’s mad season, August and all the cafes etc have only just been allowed to open they are desperate for business so charging top dollar and skimping on the food knowing next week will be another lot of peaple on holiday.

When we got back I was busy setting my bike rack up on the car ready to go off down the bike park next week when we’re off and Reliant wanted his photo taken next to the bike.

Poser Reliant