Published: October 19th 2011July 6th 2011
The following day was mainly a driving day. We headed into Wales and this meant we would get a break from heritage sites – our card was only for England and we were too tight to pay to see anything else.
Not too tight, though, to try and avoid the toll bridge from Cornwall to Wales – we're talking an extra 4 hours on the trip.
We were in Wales. Not a lot different to England, this southern part – pretty country, lots of pubs called the Red Lion - save that the BBC Cymru station was in Welsh – truly a wacky language. Somebody needs to donate these people some vowels.
We made our way to the coast and found ourselves in the tiny town of Newgale. The name was appropriate – the wind was blowing constantly and hard from the Irish Sea as we clambered out of the Kia, and the rain was sporadic, but persistent.
The campsite was a tent only place, basically a field near the beach. There was a little caravan in the field, next to the pub across from the beach, and we found the lady there. She had, in fact,
the tent was much more stable after I tied it to the car
only come back to refund people their money when they left due to the weather – she was a little shocked that we wanted to book in. But we're made of sterner stuff. Also – we had nowhere else to go.
We got the tent up. It said “Weather Checked” on the side, and it was Welsh made, but I doubt it had been tested like this. Even with all guy ropes solidly in, so tight they were humming in the gale, the back was sagging. I moved the little Kia so it broke some of the gale, and tied one guy rope to the wing mirror.
Then we went to the pub, 200m away. This, it goes without saying, was the main reason we chose the site.
The Duke of Edinburgh was full of young folk from the Bristol Officers Training Corps. We knew this because they were all wearing shirts that said Bristol Officer Training Corps. We commented about them, forgetting momentarily that they could understand what we said. They were mostly too pissed to care, so they carried on as boozed up army types will do, until they were suddenly ordered to get in
The tent to the right was gone in the morning
the bus by a cranky looking sergeant. The place mostly emptied, leaving us with our excellent beers, and some relieved locals.
We drank our beers, played some pool, then repaired to the front bar for a good Welsh feed. Back in the tent all was well. Late by the time we finished, around 10pm, it still wasn't dark, which made venturing back out into the storm a little easier.
But the tent was fine. Cozy, and solid, it stood up well. The storm only increased overnight, and I got up a couple of times to tighten guy ropes and what not, but there were no problems in our tent save the annoying bloke getting out of bed every ten minutes to check things.
The people camped next to us weren't so fortunate. Upon waking we discovered them sleeping in their Morris Minor, their collapsed tent flapping sadly on the ground next to them. They hadn't set it up properly in the first place, slackos. The yoof of today.
The morning was still pretty windy so we got the tent packed up quickly.
We headed out of South Wales and headed into North Wales. The countryside changed.
Rolling green hills gave way to craggy outcrops of granite. A country with a bit more bark on. And sheep, lots of sheep.
It was during this day that we realised our car radio had been somehow set to only pick up pop stations – we managed to fix it, but it now seemed to be stuck on the hair metal setting. Driving across Wales listening to Van Halen and Whitesnake was interesting.
Pulled up finally at Snowdonia – which I'd always though was a made up place, from a fantasy series I'd never read. The campsite was one of the best I have ever seen. You got into it by walking through a garden centre/nursery type place. It was nestled in a loop of the Seiont River with large green lawns and not many people. We pitched our tent right up next to the bank on the impossibly green grass, the water flowing past over the river stones making a very pleasant sound, if also increasing the need for a toilet break. We could easily have hung out there for a few days.
But we had to take the car back to London, so we drove
back, this time not avoiding the motorways. It really wasn't all that far although keeping the Kia up to motorway speed was a touch tiring. I blame that on the almost-accident I caused when we had almost finished the drive. Appropriately the words “I come from a Land Downunder” rang out from the car stereo as I missed the turn into the B and B and caused momentary chaos in the traffic.
The B&B, Shepiston Lodge, was nice, and the nice couple at the desk exhibited some surprise when we told them where we had come from. I think that some English folk think their country is bigger than it is.
Our room had a telly, and tea making facilities, so we were already excited. We tried to watch the news, but the News of the World scandal had broken the day before, so that was the only thing talked about. We watched Antiques Roadshow instead, and had a cup of tea.
There are more photos below