Greetings fellow Adventurers!
Join me for a quick flashback to the Christmas holidays just gone, when we took the Ratmobile on a Welsh mountain adventure.
As some of you may already know, my wife Alli intends to follow in the footsteps of King Edward I later this year, by walking his invasion route along the north coast of Wales from Chester to Harlech – she has a post about it here.
That being the case, we decided to take a trip up there for a few days to explore, get an idea of the lie of the land (to help with the route planning) and to just get away from it all for a few days after the madness of Christmas.
Location: Wales – the northern bit between the sea and the sticky-uppy bits.
Total distance traveled: lots & lots
Total time at the wheel: Many hours (but not as much as you’d think)
Packets of square crisps eaten: Too many to count!
So on a misty morning, with the Ratmobile crammed to the gunnels, we headed northwest past Birmingham and the Black Country, through Shropshire and up to the lovely old city of Chester.
We didn’t have too long to spend in Chester, as we had another long(ish) drive on to our hotel. But whilst we were there we had just enough time to wander around the famous ‘Rows’ (built in the 13th century – these are elevated walkways around the buildings good for shopping) and a visit to the stunning Chester Cathedral – which just happened to have a beautiful Christmas tree festival going on.
After Chester we headed off along the north coast of Wales, trying to follow Alli’s upcoming route as best we could. We had some lovely views of the coast and the countryside as day turned into evening and then into night. Reaching Caernarfon well after dark we had a well deserved glass of wine, had a some dinner and headed to our room at the Premier Inn, where our son Nathan showed us how to plump our pillows professionally – and very nice they were too as we fell asleep.
We spent the morning in mooching around the town and Caernarfon castle. Built by Edward I in the 1280’s as part of his Iron ring around Wales, this is a massively impressive and imposing building. It’s more than worthy of a blog post in it’s own right and I’m sure Alli will do one as part of her walk – so I’ll leave it to her. But if you get the chance, you should go there.
In the afternoon we took a drive through Llanberis and up and over the Pen y pas in Snowdonia to enjoy some views of the stunning mountains.
As the day drew to a close and the landscape turned dark we drove down into the beautiful village of Beddgelert for a warming cup of tea. After which it was back to hotel for dinner (a salad bowl each from Morrison’s – yummy!), some more wine and sleep.
Day three saw us packing up Ratty and heading over to a favourite of ours, Bondnant gardens near Conwy. Run by the National Trust the gardens are absolutely stunning. A mix of gardens, woods and various types of habitat, all crammed into a beautiful river valley. It is the most stunning ‘wild’ garden we’ve been too – take a look at the website!
After the gardens and a quick visit to the visitor centre – it was time to head back southeast to home and some well deserved rest – oh and probably more wine!
Farewell my Friends!