travel | snapshots of north wales

Tuesday, 24 May 2016


we woke up to an awful day, but a day we had tonnnnes of plans for, so weather was not something we were about to let get in the way... especially not of a good story! we jumped in the car and followed the windy holy island roads until we reached south stack lighthouse. we had planned to head down to the lighthouse, climb it, and check out the museum. it was pelting down icy, biting rain, and the wind was so bad that it all seemed far too-dangerous to us, so we forfeited that idea for a warmer one: getting back in the car. since then, i have learned it's haunted so i am glad we didn't go in.



from there we headed to church bay, as we'd planned to check out swtan cottage - a fully-restored example of a 17th century welsh cottage, with a twee thatched roof. it's a stone's throw away from one of the country's most beautiful coast lines - a sand and pebble beach that stretches out for miles. tales of this bay foretold of dramatic views, rock pools and incredible sunsets, but... as it was nothing but freezing cold and we were basically standing in a cloud, we didn't have a chance to see those sights for ourselves. as for the cottage? not open until may 28th. it was only may the first.
from there, we headed to conwy. they have a castle that you drive through on the train! it's so cool, and obviously my favourite of all the castles, and i was so excited to get out of the car and see it in the flesh (so to speak). we didn't go inside the walls, because literally you could spend your whole life just walking around welsh castles, and also were not made of money and we had other things to do. it gave me feelings though! so big and looming. love!







we hadn't eaten yet, so headed into the twee main street to anna's tea rooms where we stopped in for a cuppa (coffee) and delicious welsh scones (jam first, because we're not animals) while we warmed-up and recharged, and planned our next steps. bellies full of hot coffee, we headed out on to the sea front for a wander to find britain's smallest house and wales' longest bridge, before retreating from the cold and back into the car for our next stop: llangollen. so many ells.



we landed in llangollen, parked the car really damn fast as i was bursting for a wee - the drive was over an hour, and those coffees at anna's were really dying to be released, then headed out for a look around the town. another twee high street, another welsh village. llangollen was noticeably void of castles at first look, but what it lacked in first-line defence, it made up for in other weird and wonderful things; the steam train railway station was in full swing, with those puffing beauties coming and also going, and the dee river was absolutely teaming with water-activity-sport-like folks, extreme kayaking down the river! there were loads of people lining the bridge above watching them tackle the white water, and we sat up above them in the dee-side cafe, eating fish and chips, dry and warm and wondering how on earth white water rafting became a thing in wales.



from llangollen, we headed to the pontcysyllte aqueduct that carries the llangollen canal over of the river dee and in to north east wales. it's fucking terrifying and because i was too busy having a panic attack at the height of it, i took no photos. i don't want to remember it, because when i saw how narrow the water flowed up there and learned that those damn adventure junkies actually kayak over the top where there are no barriers to stop them falling off the edge, i lost my shit. google it, i can't.

once i'd calmed down, we got back in the car and started to make the long trek back to holyhead. we planned to head home via bangor, but when we got there, there was nothing open. it was the sunday of a bank holiday weekend, and after six pm. we filled the petrol tank and grabbed some snacks for dinner, then did a quick whistle-stop of what we could see that would still be open - the castle we'd seen the day before, and the pier - which was closed, but relied on a honour-system to guarantee the 70p entry fee is paid, then walked all the way to the end and back just for something to do, before heading back to the b&b; calling it a night after a totally long day!

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