Excitedly we loaded up the car and headed off for Wales.
Our first hotel was in Crickhowell, 4hrs awaytemperature was 5C, wet and foggy
Lisa was doing a Lisa, putting more planning into our itinenary than most military campaigns Before we knew it we had driven past Bristol across the Severn Bridge and we were in Wales
First stop was Chepstow CastleThe initial castle was built by The Normans in the 10th century with upgrades over the proceeding couple of centuries
Then it was back on the road to Crickhowell, and our accommodation in the Dragon Inn.
A most appropriate name for the Inn on our first night in Wales, as the Welsh flag is dominated by a big red dragonafter a rather disappointing meal at the Dragon Inn, is was a 100mt walk to the Britannia Inn and a very enjoyable night of live music and dancing with the localsThe next day it was a short drive to Hay-on-Wye which is famous for it’s book shopsIt was recommend that we take a left, then a right than a left to get to the road to take us up to the Hay Bluff
Back onto single car narrow roads with high black thorn hedges on either sideI’m not sure how I would have coped driving, luckily Lisa made quickly breaking for the cars coming the other way and backing back to an area wide enough for us to pass look easywe drove across a livestock grate, and enjoyed passing close to Welsh Poniesand sheep, with our first snow covered mountain in the backgroundvery soon after, there was a car park, where we could walk up to the snow.
Lisa power walked ahead, to load up with snowballs for my approachI managed to get my limited reply offsomewhere up ahead in the fog was the summit, so we decided to go for ita Welsh Pony, would have made easy work of the going up, with pockets of deep snow and very spongy sphagnum mossbut we still made it to the summit beaconto find out that there was a track, that zig-zagged up, with a lot less steeper gradient that our more direct route, so we went down that waythe scenery up here was spectaculartime for a well deserved cuppa and a bonnet picnicwe passed some highland cattle on the drive downto the ruins of a 12th century abbey
then it was back to our hotel in Crickhowell, to wash off the mud and go out, to a much better dinner at The Bearafter which, we went back to The Britannia Inn, for their live Open Mic eveningthe guy on the right personalised the words from Men at Works’ Down Under, for my presence there to “he comes from a land down under etc etc“, which made me feel specialit was a very fun night of, enjoyable music and beerthe next morning we were on the move again, from South
Wales to Betws-y-Coed in North Wales (Betsy for short)The landscape we drove through of snow-capped mountains was amazing
We stopped in Dolgellau
For a coffeeand a visit to it’s churchand some quality time insidethen it was onto Barmouth
The tidal extremes here, far exceed anything I have seen before. The local boats are duel keeled to suit spending a lot of time sitting on the sand.time for a stretch of the legsand a take in of the glorious harbourbefore a walk across the railway bridge to the other side of the riverThen it was time to continue our journey to Betsy, through the glorious Welsh Highlands
Lisa had booked us into The Courthouse Inn in Betsywith a glorious conservatory, for us to enjoy our breakfast inAfter driving past all those yummy sheepit was time to see how good they tastedas good as they looked
There are some whiskies distilled in Wales, so in order to get us into practice for Scotland. Lisa and I tried them all, while trying to play pool……. very poorly!!!The next day the plan was to drive over to Anglesey.
There was a little bit of snow falling as we left Betsy, but it melted as soon as it hit the ground, so we did not think it was going to be an issue on our drive.10 minutes up the hill and the car was loosing traction
the views with Snowdonia covered in snow were worth the stress of driving On the drive up to the pass, there was more slipping and sliding than Lisa was comfortable with, so we decided to go for a walk in the snow, while we decided what to do next.
when we got back to the car, the grit spreaders had been through and salted the roads, which made our drive down the hill, on the other side of pass uneventful
next stop was Caernarfon to check out the castleThen it was across the Menai Suspension Bridge to AngleseyThe snow dusted mainland added tremendously to the landscapeas we drove to BeaumarisWe had an enjoyable walk around Beaumarisand checked out it’s medieval castle, complete with a moat
There were rather ominous looking clouds shooting in from the Irish sea, so we fast tracked back to Betsy while the roads were still un-icedgoing back through the snow covered hills stopping off to enjoy Swallow Fallsall the rain and melted snow had the waterfall in full flow splendor
We woke the next morning to a snow covered carand the most spectacular landscape as we drove out of Wales
Stopping at Llangollen
which is linked to the rest of the UK via the canal waterway.
A very different marina, for those living on their canal boats, to the one I an use to living on in Logica last coffee in Llangollen, and reluctantly the Welsh portion of ROAD TRIP was at an endnext up Yorkshire and Northumbria.
Long live ROAD TRIP