Despite a bit of poor weather and the need to carry out some chores, we still managed to explore further in our little corner of North Wales. We have tracked down geocaches on coast and mountains and have walked some favourite walks, but with a bit of a twist, and not always with success with regard to the caching!
Following our surprise last time on what we discovered in Bangor, this week we decided to go and explore some of the less well trodden parts of Caernarfon. The old 19th Century town park is now quiet, but there are pleasant walks along the River Seiont and into the town of Caernarfon.
As the sun was setting we headed off over the Aber to enjoy the sunset and views over to the castle. Unfortunately we forgot our purse, so had to forego refreshment on the harbour wall, always such a treat on a lovely evening. There is currently renovation work on going at Caernarfon Castle, but it is an impressive structure and well worth a visit, as thousands of visitors would attest to every year.
The following day we planned on walking around Llyn Idwal, something we have attempted on many occasions, but there has never been anywhere to park. We thought it would be ok this time, after all it is November and England is in lock down, and there would be fewer visitors. No such luck – there was still nowhere to park!! Obviously you also have to avoid Sundays!
Well, if we couldn’t have one lake, then two would have to do and we headed off to Llyn Crafnant and Llyn Geirionydd, high in the hills above Trefriw. It was a bit of a long way round, and we definitely would not have been able to drive Arnie down the access roads, but we were rewarded with a lovely walk in the forest between the two lakes, and a walk around Llyn Crafnant which we had not managed on a previous visit. Some forestry work nearly fouled our attempts at a circular walk, but as the evening was drawing to a close we just had to ignore some of the signs and carve our own path. Perhaps not advisable, but getting lost in the dark would have been more traumatic. Seth enjoyed swimming in the lakes, and we enjoyed a cuppa with a view when we got back to the parking area. It was quite busy here with people enjoying the water and the forest with its many trails. A very pleasant place, with parking and toilets, to spend a day.
Having missed out on completing a long planned walk on Sunday, on Monday we set off on another one, this time to Mynydd Sygyn above Beddgelert. Mr B had wanted to explore this area for ages because of the copper mining there. You can, in normal circumstances, take tours into the old mine workings, but these were not open. Nevertheless we were hopeful of seeing some evidence of the workings as we climbed up the rocky path to the summit of Mynydd Sygyn. Incidentally, this is also the place where they filmed the mountain trek in Inn of the Sixth Happiness, and we could see why!
I say see… That is actually a bit of an exaggeration! Having checked weather forecasts, we decided we had enough time to walk up and down the mountain before the expected rain was due in the late afternoon. We were prepared though, and packed waterproofs, extra layers and warm drinks as well as the usual sturdy boots and walking sticks. We were half way up when the clouds descended, soon followed by rain and wind, but thankfully to our backs. The decision was made to carry on going as the path up had been steep, and we were over half way by then. The descent was planned on a different path and straight down into the village of Beddgelert.
Needless to say, the views were not as far reaching as we had hoped, the going was a lot tougher in the conditions, bur Mr B had a peek down the mine shaft! It is fair to say that we have never been so wet on a walk, and the steepness of the descent meant that we found it quite hard to move the following day!
And to top it all, once we got to the top, the last thing we felt like doing was searching for the geocache which we knew was there!! I wonder how old we have to be before we stop doing theses daft things?
After a day’s rest we felt a little better, and I felt as if my legs were capable of supporting me again, so we headed off closer to home, to track down a cache near the ancient church of St Baglan in Llanfaglan. I must have walked, cycled and driven past this church hundreds of times and never visited or really paid it any attention. The church dates back to the 13th Century, with a rebuild in the 18th Century, but was unfortunately closed for visitors. This did not stop us admiring the building, the views and, of course, finding our cache!
We stayed on the church theme, and visited the enormous edifice which is St Beuno’s church in Clynnog Fawr, yet another place we have been saying for years we must visit as it is barely a 15 minute drive from our house. Again, unfortunately, the church was locked but the outside gave some indication of the interior. The church yard is old, and there is a wonderful lych gate.
Nearby we also found the Holy Well associated with the church, where parents used to take their epileptic children. The children were submerged in the holy waters, then taken to the crypt in the church where they were laid over night. If they slept, then legend has it they would be cured.
Those who read our blogs regularly will know that we do like a prehistoric site, so we were thrilled to find out there is a cromlech, or ancient burial chamber, just on the other side of the main road from Clynnog Fawr. It isn’t visible from the road, but has stunning views across the bay and is worth a walk down a muddy path.
One of our most favourite places in the area is Llanddwyn Island which is on Anglesey and is reached through the village of Newborough. We have amazing views across to Llanddwyn from our house, and as the crow flies it is probably only 5 miles or so. By road, it takes nearly an hour, but is worth the trip.
This time we decided to also explore Newborough Forest, as in the past we have just walked along the sandy beach to the island. As it is now after September, dogs are allowed on the beach and island and so Seth was able to enjoy the walk with us.
At low tide you can walk across to Llanddwyn Island with its ancient church, lighthouses and cottages. Two huge stone crosses dominate the skyline and seem to be visible from everywhere on the island. We have been here many times and it never fails to inspire awe. Please enjoy the selection of photos.
Great news for our future adventures, Mr B has fitted an electric motor onto his pushbike, so now he can keep up with me – and pull Seth in his chariot! We took our bikes along Lon Eifion from Penygroes to Bontnewydd to give them a test run. This is a cycle and walkingpath which runs from Bryncir to Caernarfon and follows old railway paths, as well as following alongside the Welsh Highland Railway. It is well surfaced, safe and well used.
The trial went well, and we can now look forward to more cycling adventures when we manage to resume our travels.
Almost at the end of these two weeks’ of adventures, and we made a return visit to Tre’r Ceiri, less than half and hour’s drive from home. Tre’r Ceiri is one of the biggest iron age hill forts in Britain and certainly in a commanding position on top of one of the Eifl hills. It’s quite a trek up from the road just beyond Llanaelhaearn, but the views are amazing, especially from the top. Apparently…. We did manage to spend a fair amount of time enveloped in low cloud and with tantalising glimpses of the views beyond!
The sun came out in the end!!
We are still enjoying our adventures close to home and planning for the next two weeks. After that we are keeping everything crossed for a Christmas with our children!
Stay safe everybody!