The joy of the Llyn peninsula and Wales

We have enjoyed our summer in North Wales and are now in our last week. We took a trip on the bike to Barmouth in mid Wales. We originally were going to stay a couple of nights but accommodation is very hard to come by or very expensive so just a day trip until later in September.

Barmouth is about 30 minutes past Harlech. As you approach there are big flat sandy grassland areas between the cliff faces and the road with enormous caravan sites, cheek by jowl as far as the eye can see. Driving into town it’s reminiscent of Rhyl: dodgems and waltzers, ice cream parlours and fish and chip shops. It improves immensely when you get to the beach. It’s a deep wide sandy beach with sand dunes, and it’s one of the prettiest beaches I’ve seen in Wales.

The harbour at the estuary opening is overlooked by Barmouth Bridge.

Barmouth Bridge, or Barmouth Viaduct is a Grade II* listed single-track wooden railway viaduct across the estuary of the Afon Mawddach near Barmouth, Wales. It is 820 metres long and carries the Cambrian Line. It is the longest timber viaduct in Wales and one of the oldest in regular use in Britain. It was closed due to repairs.

We sat on the beach with a sandwich and coffee watching the kids having donkey rides and jumping around on the trampolines. The accents were more Birmingham and the Midlands unlike Abersoch which has more visitors from the north west.

The town is a typical happy seaside town. Lots of cafes, bucket and spade shops and many a dippy hippy emporium selling incense and Indian happy pants. I liked the vibe.

Beautiful 3 storey stone houses back up to the cliffs, it has obviously had money in its past. There are plenty of coffee shops and places to eat, moules frite on the harbour doing a roaring trade.

We stayed a few hours and then decided to ride up the estuary towards Dolgellau. The scenery was lush and green with beautiful houses hanging on the edge of the water, tall trees and rock formations hiding the immense view. A red kite landed in a tree as we passed, glorious. It’s a very pretty part of the world.

Our garden has been abundant with fruits this year. Gooseberries, rhubarb and black currants. Lots of pies, compotes and crumbles adding to my expanding waistline. There are damsons at the bottom of the drive but you have to be quick or the passing fruit pickers nab them all. The apple trees have suffered a bit this year with intense heat then lots of rain (too late).

We have found more slow worms in the garden compost heap and a clutch of snake eggs, undoubtedly grass snakes.

Chris has been filming but we haven’t seen them hatch yet. We had lots of baby rabbits…but no longer, the culprit was a fox who showed up on the films, they were disappearing by the day. Life is cruel..

As the water has been warmer I have been swimming, not usual for me in the Welsh waters. We have been in a couple of times and it’s been fun, certainly makes you feel alive…

Just a recap on Bear Grylls and his island. He now has his ramp in place and the big construction barge has been towed back to Milford Haven a 48 hour journey. He always arrives by helicopter for his summer holidays. We saw him leave the island with his 2 children on his Sealegs boat and someone took a picture of him collecting his Waitrose shop from a van near the harbour. He obviously doesn’t just eat leaves and berries…..

St Hywens church in Aberdaron advertised ‘Evensong, Rachmaninov by candlelight’ it sounded appealing so we went.

We entered the church to be greeted by the friendly female vicar taking the service. As it started the candlelight and the beauty of the 12th century church came into its own, it was very atmospheric.

The quietness of the congregation, the soft lilt of the vicar’s voice and the music sang by a Russian military choir was sublime. I’m not religious but felt soothed, almost meditative. Very pleased we made the journey it’s a beautiful, simple church in a spectacular location. The vicar explained that all through the centuries older, dying monks made the pilgrimage to Bardsey island to die and to be resurrected. You could feel the history of the building in your bones

We have done lots of this…

And this. It’s been fun

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