The Referendum and Anglesey

Yesterday was referendum day – stay in, or leave, the EU. We’d already postal voted before we came away and we’d more or less forgotten that the result would have become known overnight. So when we switched on the radio to listen to the Today programme, it was with only slowly dawning realisation that the impossible, the unimaginable ‘leave’ outcome became clear. We were both utterly horrified and dumbstruck at how this could possibly have happened. Not for one moment had I contemplated that this could happen.

So it was with us both dazed and in deep depression that we set off for Anglesey, calling in at Caernafon en-route to pick up some supplies. We drove round to Niwbwrch (Newborough) Warren, pausing to help a delivery driver clear a tonne of pebbles from the road, and onto the drive where he was delivering. To be fair, we had to stop because we couldn’t get past the delivery truck and when the pallet underneath the sack broke, there was no means of transporting the pebbles from road to drive. So all three of us shifted a tonne of pebbles by hand, and the delivery man was very grateful for our help.

We walked along the beach at Niwbwrch, all the way over to Ynys LLanddwyn (Llanddwyn Island) in the sunshine. Hot it wasn’t, but very pleasant all the same. Fabulous views over Snowdonia in the clear skies – not that it was clear over Snowdonia!

Southern Snowdonia from Ynys Llanddwyn

Overnight stops are not allowed at the Warren and we were told by the lady on the gate that the Rangers would chase us off if we tried to stay in the car park there. Very hospitable. So we drove off and found a nice layby off the side of the A4080 between Llangadwaladr and Aberffraw for the night and got treated to a fabulous sunset to offset our sombre moods.

Climbing Snowdon

It’s odd how alert one can become, and how threatening otherwise innocent things can feel during the night. At around 02:30, a car pulled-in to the layby in front of our van. Lights on, engine running. Just stayed like that for a good 10-15 mins, then drove off. One’s mind is turning over what to do if they start banging on the van, or shouting or honking their horn. All things that have been experienced by hapless motorhomers stopping overnight away from campsites.

In the morning, we drive through Beddgelert, turning North up towards the Snowdon Ranger Station beside Llyn Cwellyn Here is a car park and a trail (the Snowdon Ranger Trail, obviously!) that leads up Snowdon’s Western side begins from here. Paying for 4 hours of parking, we begin our ascent: it’s a continuous climb, and it’s always steep (ish). We make it past the zig-zags, and slowly make our way above Llyn Ffynnon-y-Gwas, where we watch the tiny (in the distance) Llanberis steam train making it’s way up the Northern ridge to the summit, way above us.

Above Llyn Ffynonn-y-Gwas, about 2/3rds of the way up the Ranger Path.

The climb gets much steeper from here, and it still looks quite a long way to the summit. We know we won’t have time to get to the summit & back before the ticket runs out on the van, so we’ll have to save our conquest of Snowdon for another time. [Edit – Sept 2017: Having just climbed Cadair Idris last month, we know we can do Snowdon!]

Heading further North towards Anglesey and keeping an eye open for likely-looking overnight spots, we just happened to come across a small campsite at Waunfawr, with a pub attached: Tafern Snowdonia Parc. And attached to the pub is a brewery – The Snowdonia Brewery, or Bragdy Eryri. Well, it would have been rude not to!

Tafern Snowdonia Parc & brewery.

We ate & drank – possibly a little too much, but there was a good range of beers to be tested. Truth be told, not the world’s greatest beer but still a great overnight stop and we had a good night’s sleep.

Llangollen, Betws-y-Coed & Lynnau Mymbyr

We’ve made it up to Snowdonia, having spent last night at Cranberry Moss campsite just South of Oswestry. We stopped off for a couple of hours in Llangollen, managing to just about squeeze the motorhome into slot in the main town car park. Lovely town. Had a mooch round the steam railway, and a relaxing pint at the Corn Mill, right on the river Dee.

Llangollen Steam Railway
The Corn Mill, Llangollen

On to Betws-y-Coed, where we stopped for a couple of hours again: taking a walk down by the Afon Llugwy. Moving on, we wanted to stop by the Swallow Falls but there’s nowhere anywhere close we could park the van.

Ever onwards, now looking for somewhere to stop overnight. At Capel Curing, we hung a left. Just a mile or two down the A4086 lies Lynnau (a little lake!) Mymbyr, with a perfect looking lay-by and no prohibition of overnight stops. Lovely spot, with a backdrop of Snowdon.

Snowdon, behind Lynnau Mymbyr
The Teds at Lynnau Mymbyr

And we’re off again…

We’re planning too much again. I can feel it. Just a mere tour of Wales, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and finally Northumberland.

We want to complete the Wild Atlantic Way (WAW) that we drove the Southern part of in Ireland, last year. It goes all the way round the West of Ireland, up to the border with Northern Ireland. It is, indeed, pretty wild in places. We also want to see Northumberland. I’ve never been there, Joy did a geography school field trip there and I’d heard great things about it, so that’s what decided our route for us.

To resume the WAW roughly where we’d left off, the best route seems to be via the Holyhead-Dublin ferry, then head SW towards Limerick and then West to the coast. Rather than doing all motorway up to Holyhead, we’ll to take the scenic route and take a few days to get there.