Looks like we went for a nice weekend trip to Wales at the end of August, but who knows – only very few people update this blog regularly, and now many months later this is just a faint memory. Looks like a nice scramble who knows where, also up Cnicht, some beach, and I was doing so well with my macro lens.
As usual, we headed up to Wales for Easter. Hurricane Katy was also heading up, so we had to give up kayaking plans, but otherwise we were totes on the top of our game – hiking, sea, sunsets, birds, oen bachs and family time, all check! Plus, awesome time with my macro lens.
We did a nice little hike up the Roman steps to Rhinog Fawr, down by Harlech. Saw a Red Grouse on the way too.
Sunset before the storm, from Dinas Dinlle.
Also a nice hike our fave Yr Aran, the Vatican way this time, with some nice views on the snowy Snowdon ridge.
Spectacularly windy trip around Morfa Nefyn, sort of sunny though. No seals!
Macro throughout. Getting really good at it, should be selling them for postcards!
Oen bachs everywhere!
Thursday, April 2
We hadn’t been to Wales since new year’s, so we were all excited about going for Easter long weekend, even though the weather forecast was nothing special. Booked the tickets online as usual, and on Thursday after work we met up at Euston. Euston was jam-packed as obviously everyone was going away for the weekend but we didn’t worry as we had reservations and it was a direct train. But the train was so full with even the aisles crowded that there was no air and we were also sitting backwards, so overall the trip was quite harrowing. Sometimes I do miss Germany, and these times often coincide with any UK train trips. Nevertheless, we finally got to Bangor, about half hour later than scheduled (yes, half an hour delay on a three-hour direct train), got picked up by Iestyn’s dad, and crashed in bed soon after.
Friday, April 3
We woke up to a morning of incessant rain, but we didn’t mind and decided to go explore a new (for me) Welsh tower Dolwyddelan (or what Iest calls ‘Welsh castle’ but it’s one of those castles that are only like a tower, not like the one in Caernarfon, so it really is just a tower. OK, you might argue that wiki calls it a castle too, but then it shows a picture of a tower, so your call really. It’s a tower. Well built though, proper.). Wiki also adds that “It is thought to have been built in the early 13th century by Llywelyn the Great, Prince of Gwynedd and North Wales. Though the castle was then only one tower with two floors, a second tower was built in the late 13th century and a third floor was added to the first during the late 15th century repairs.” (*tower*, see?)
Anyway, the place was really nice, and thanks to bad weather we were there alone. We decided to do some sketching inside, which went great, and we had an awesome soundtrack of the rain and howling wind – very Welsh! It was also by a farm, which had a batch of beautiful new oen bachs, which is the great thing about Easter in Wales too.
Afterwards the weather actually started improving, and we had some great time exploring pretty Welsh places, including the little bit they cut out of the national park, which I wanted to see and it’s actually not as bad as it sounds. We had late lunch in a super old cottage cafe in Aberdaron, and even went to the beach for a bit. By then the sun was already almost blasting. Iest did’t tell me it was on the peninsula though.
Saturday, April 4
On Saturday morning the weather was already great, so we decided to get back on track with our hiking. We decided to do the Moel Hebog ridge, not from Beddgelert but from Cwm Pennant. It was a good choice because Cwm Pennant is very pretty and we also got to pet a cute little day-old one bach, courtesy of a local farm boy. Afterwards we were all ready and ran up via an old quarry to the first peak of the ridge, Moel Lefn (638m). By then the sun was blasting on full force and we had awesome views toward our fav Yr Aran and Snowdon.
From Moel Lefn we followed the ridge over to Moel yr Ogof (655m) and Moel Hebog (782m). Later on Iest remembered that he should have some sunscreen on, so he slapped a bit of my usual sparkly one but too late anyway, and he acquired his first burn of the season. Up on Moel Hebog peak it was a bit windy, so we sat just under the top with our delicious lunch enjoying the views towards Porthmadog and the sea. Since we had plenty time we also did a bit of sketching from that spot before heading back to Cwm Pennant through path down below the ridge. Altogether a beautiful day.
Sunday, April 5
Another great day, Iest is burned but that did not stop us from selecting the Nantlle ridge for our day hike as we had not been on that one for years, literally, and it’s a pity because it’s one of the best. Early in the morning (early for us anyway), Iestyn’s dad gave us a lift to Nebo from which we started our trip. The clouds were laying low, sort of lazily snaking and rolling through the valley but we knew the sun was awaiting us just a little hike up the hill. We started our ascent from the lake Llyn Cwm Dulyn and by the time we made it up Mynydd Graig Goch (610m) we were down to the t-shirts. Happily merrily above the clouds we hopped over (yeah there was this almost vertical bit which we thoroughly enjoyed in the blasting sun) to Craig Cwm Silyn (734m).
From there it was already the usual deal – Mynydd Tal-y-Mignedd (653m) with the obelisk on top, and Trum y Ddysgl (709m), Mynydd Drws-y-Coed (695m) and Y Garn (633m). Then just down to Rhyd Ddu, where we were being picked up again, to make it to the Easter dinner. We were really quite tired from the day, may be not so much from the hike but more so from the day of sun, to which we are not used after the long and dark winter. It was all really nice though.
Monday, April 6
On Monday we still had a good half day for some family visits and a short stop at Dinas Dinlle, before heading down to the train station. For this trip we did not have any reservations (we had open tickets), we expected the trains to be packed again, and we also knew that due to Euston being under construction, we had to take the long connection via Birmingham. The trip was truly awful, from B’ham onwards we were lucky to be sitting on a half-cheek in the corridor with no oxygen again. Many people in the later stations just plainly did not get on the train. It is really quite strange how the British people insist on the rail services being private in the face of absolutely massive market failures every single time one needs to make a train journey. It is quite obvious that even an incompetent, corrupted, lazy and drunk bureaucrat would central-plan the whole system better than it is run now. Nevertheless, we managed to get safely to Marleybone and then home, super tired but really happy with our Easter weekend.
As Gina has recently moved to London (!!), it’s now going to be a lot easier for us to head to Wales when we feel like it. This is pretty much exactly what we did over the weekend. I took the late ferry from Dublin, and Gina caught the train up from London – and we’d be meeting in Holyhead around midnight. Perfect!
The train ride, and boat trip went without any hitches, and we met bang on time in Holyhead, where dad picked us up and took us home to Groeslon.
We got up super early, and after some hearty breakfast and catch-up with Mum and Dad, we decided to head up to the Welsh mountains – the Carneddau. The weather wasn’t particularly favourable – from down in the Ogwen Valley we couldn’t see the tops of the Carneddau, but we decided to head up anyhow, to stretch our legs, and because we’re cŵl like that.
We started from Llyn Ogwen, and belted up the steep slopes of Pen yr Ole Wen. The fog was thick from around the 600m mark, so just before heading in, we took a few snaps, as I had borrowed a friends Wide-angle lens for the weekend.
What followed was a really refreshing 5 – 6 hour walk into the thick cloud, from Pen yr Ole Wen (978m), across and up to Carnedd Dafydd (1044m) across the ridge to Carnedd Llewelyn, a wee bit of scrambling before heading up to Pen yr Helgi Ddu, and then descending the road-path that leads from Ffynnon Llugwy down to the car. There was a few people up on the hills, as there was a ‘Vegan 10km’ race on – but me and Gina marched onwards, enjoying being out together in the hills.
Directly afterwards, we headed to one of our favourite eating places (especially after a big hike): Pete’s Eat. We had the usual Veggie Grill, with a massive mug of tea, and hot chocolate for me.
On the drive home on Saturday, I noticed that we might be in for a fantastic sunset, as the clouds were breaking up just above the horizon, so after quickly changing from our wet-hiking clothes, we dashed on down to Dinas Dinlle to catch the epic, fantastic pink sunset, which gave me an opportunity to play with another borrowed lens, a 60mm Macro lens which I’ve fallen in love with, while Gina took epic snaps with my iPhone for Instagram (something we’ve both adopted very well):
And that was it for Saturday night! We were both blasted by the day’s hard work, so we had an early night.
Sunday bought with it, much better weather, so after another super early start and hearty breakfast, we decided to go to Gina’s fave place in Wales: Ynys Llanddwyn, and as it was a super nice and sunny day – this was a great idea!
We jetted over in the van, blasting some sweet music from my younger days, to a fairly looking, busy Llanddwyn. Armed with an ice cream (and a chat with the ice cream vendor about my family – Wales is a small place) we made our way towards the island and lighthouse. Thankfully, the tourists were all crowded along the main entrance to the beach, once we past the first 100m walk, the tourists were no where to be seen, which was great.
We made our way over and across towards the lighthouse, where we sat and chilled, and enjoyed the sun together. I (probably) burned my face because of the sun, but it was nice to be by the fresh sea, relaxing with Gins.
From Llanddwyn, we decided to head on over to Rhosneigr for a spot of lunch. Our main priority was pancakes (clown ones!), but the wee cafe was closed, so we decided to have some proper seafood – Gina went wild and had some lovely Rhosneigr Mussels, while I had traditional Fish ‘n chips – with mushy peas! It was fantastic.
And that was it, our short weekend had come to and end – we had to head back to Groeslon to pick up our bags, and catch our trains and ferry, back to London and Dublin.
Lovers of the open sea should walk out to Dinas Dinlle, on the Caernarvon Bay shore. Take the Pwllheli main road as far as the fifth milestone, and shortly after that the road bearing to the right. By taking train to Llanwnda the walking distance may be reduced to 2 1/2 miles, or the bus to Llandwrog reduces it to little ore than a mile. The sands are of the best, and the views of Snowdonia superb.
The antiquarian interest too, is considerable. Here Watling Street ended. It’s modern representative is the stony track to the immediate right of the building that was the Caernravon Bay Hotel. Dinas Hill is an old roman encampment.
Well! This little wee book brings out every kind of knowledge. My parents live really close to Dinas Dinlle, so I know the place very well – spending most of my summers here, swimming in the sea with my friends, I love the place. I have a massive attachment to it, as nowadays, I come down pretty much everyday (when I’m at my parents house) to go for a run, or take some photographs.
I never knew that Watling Street ended here, an ancient trackway in Wales & England. Dinas Hill has always fascinated me. It’s being eroded away now, very quickly (as the photos above also shows) – the sea bashes it every year, and you can literally see chunks sliding down. It gives really nice views of Snowdonia, especially the Nantlle Ridge, and Snowdon itself. Tiss a nice wee place.
Picture wise, there’s two main differences, more people now come to Dinas Dinlle – in terms of living there, and holidays, as we can see more houses and a huge caravan park on the first picture. The main thing on the ‘now’ picture of ‘Dinas Dinlle from Dinas Hill’ is the addition of the wave breaker. I remember as a kid going down to the beach, and the person in charge of doing these wave breakers was no other than my granddad. He’s a Welsh farmer, but did some jobs for the Local Council back in the day – and he was the one with his digger, moving and shaping the whole breaker. Good man. He was also in charge of doing the walkway that can be seen on the second image. So it’s nice to know that Taid did some major work here, as it has helped to get some super nice sand to play in on the beach.