Sunday, 27 March 2011

Well, we're back...

It's been ages since we had a holiday. Last time was Christmas 2009, and then I ended up driving to and from home about 4 times because of the logistics of ferrying people to and from the Barn.

This time it was just me and Bren, in a static caravan near Porthmadog.

The weather was perfect. There were hardly any children there (and not that many adults either) so we had the swimming pool almost to ourselves. The light coloured stuff at the top of the picture is sand. The beach was almost on our doorstep, and although we didn't spend a lot of time there, on our second night, with clear skies, we went to the beach where there was hardly any light pollution, and saw stars. Hundreds of them. Maybe more. The beach was almost deserted even during the day. It's unusual in that cars are allowed to drive along it. We went on there in the car very briefly to catch and photograph the sun setting over a castle.

First night was really just a matter of checking in, unpacking, and generally getting ourselves sorted. We went for a walk on the beach as dusk fell, and had a quiet night in.

Back in May 2009, I blogged about wanting to climb Glyder Fawr, Wales' 6th highest mountain, and an incredibly rugged landscape. Unfortunately, 2 days of solid heavy rain put paid to that, but on Tuesday, after a lie-in we drove to Llyn Ogwen and started climbing.

The climb was never dangerous, but it was far more arduous than walking up a well marked path to the summit of Moel Famau. The track was well paved at first, up to Llyn Idwal, but then it became less of a walk and more of a climb. Still safe, in good weather and daylight, but there are dangerous places nearby. Cliffs, loose ground, and fast flowing water. Even sheep can get it wrong here.

Once the sheep disappeared over the edge of the rock, it would have fallen about 450 feet straight down by the way.

We finally got to the top of the Devil's Kitchen at about 4.15 pm, and it became obvious that if we went much further, we'd probably end up trying to get down in the dark so we had our coffee and energy bars, and we turned back.

Absolutely stunningly beautiful place though. It didn't matter that we didn't make it to the very top, although I hope to do so at some point. Just being there was enough.

And I created my best ever image thanks to photo-stitching software.

This is a shrunk version. The original is a little over 12,000 x 4,000 pixels. A 54 megapixel image! Might look good in our hallway. We got back to the site to find the clear skies studded with stars, as I mentioned earlier, and although we were tired, we went to the beach to lie on a sheet and stare at the sky for a while.

As you might expect, we took things much easier on Wednesday. Did no driving. Just did stuff on site. Crazy Golf, Swimming, throwing our money away in the arcades. That sort of thing. The rental of the caravan was a real bargain, but try to do too many camp based activities and you'd find it soon added up to a lot of money.

The next day, we went out to Portmeirion, famously the setting for the TV series, "The Prisoner" but an utterly whimsical architectural mission by a guy called Clough Williams-Ellis, who spent 50 years designing and building a model village that incorporated all sorts of weird and wonderful styles.

That night was our last night, and again, we had a quiet night in. We watched Where the wild things are

Spike Jonze is an excellent director in my opinion.

Anyway, on Friday we dawdled home, via Anglesey (Church Bay) and got lost while trying to avoid roadworks on the A55.

And that was that. Back to work tomorrow.

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