Our first day saw us driving through the countryside from Shrewsbury to Conwy then the amazingly picturesque Snowdonia National Park where we stayed the night at a very old Inn. See Part One here: A Long Weekend in Wales Part 1
On day three we were looking forward to heading to the Welsh coast.
Where did we stop?
Dyfi National Nature Reserve – Borth Bog (Cors Fochno) and Ynyslas Dunes was a fascinating find and one we enjoyed walking around. Though not all areas were welcoming as part of the beach is sectioned off as it still has landmines from WW2 somewhere under those sand dunes.
The conservation efforts in this area are to be applauded. The colourful descriptive boards which are all about what lies beneath the sea and on the seashore are attractive to read for adults and children alike. Even in the toilets, they have the cycle of water from its source to the bathroom and beyond.
After wandering along the beach, we then headed along the coast to Borth which looked rather bleak. A treeless ribbon of buildings along either side of a road built along the storm beach. Some of the more interesting buildings are one storey cottages, fashioned out of rounded beach boulders and roofed in slate, homes of long departed fishermen and mariners.
For more information: Dyfi Ynyslas National Nature Reserve
Walking along the road stopping at the odd shop to browse, as you do. Then we headed over to where small groups of people who were either enjoying the glorious sunny weather sitting on benches alongside the harbour or families crab fishing. Incredible how much laughter can be heard when the sun is shining, it was a delight to listen to.
Then for contrast, we had a river in which to walk along with decorative seats to contemplate life in the shade if the sun was too much.
Unbelievably, it was that sort of afternoon in Aberaeron.
Those that know me are aware of my love of cardigans. How could I not resist the curiosity of visiting a place with the unusual name of Cardigan?
The Squire was keen too for other reasons besides mine. Mainly to do with being the fourth largest harbour in the UK. Besides, it was on the way to our destination for the day, and we were in need of some substance, in the form of caffeine and food.
A repetitive and necessary business fueling the energy tank.
A very short walk around this village and up a steep hill to get a better view between a break in the clouds. Magic!
Though you do take your life into your hands when walking around those narrow streets. If like me you are trying to capture a few photos with a bus backing up and down the street to forego his exit due to another car zooming into his space.
Imagine living there with all those diesel fumes. Years ago those who dwelled in there would not have had to contend with that issue. What made me smile was a pub amongst them, when stepping out you are literally on the road. For goodness sake, I hope many didn’t trip when having a skinful!
More than just the UK’s smallest city with the Bishops Palace ruins to visit. It is a base in which to walk miles around the coastline. Quaint cafes, yarnbombing to even more intriguing pubs in which to rest in afterwards.
What more could a person require?
Our accommodation for the night was a place on the main street looking out to sea, it is a popular place to frequent, so we found out. An old-fashioned type of hotel, quite a few lined up along the promenade it would have been the place to be seen many years ago. It was an adventure in itself and one we enjoyed participating in.
It was an end of a long day travelling, after booking into our hotel by the sea we were looking forward to a warmish night to relax by the seaside and indulge in some fish and chips, then a walk along the sea frontage. Maybe not the most fabulous idea, the fish and chips, that is, not the walk, which was needed to digest that late meal. One day we will remember that experience next time we are by the seaside and have that occasional urge for takeaways.
A quirky custom that we read about then witnessed is the kicking at the end of the pier.
At the end of finishing their degrees students would walk from one end to the other, with a kick at the end for good luck. We found it amusing to witness that on our morning walk to see two women practising that ritual. Which, in the beginning, the kicking was done by the male students to alert the female students from another university that they were down by the sea frontage.
Devils Bridge – and falls
What was more fascinating than the walk or falls was the formation of three bridges on top of each other. Usually, a bridge is built in another location though on reflection of seeing the terrain we could understand why they were built that way.
“Let’s do something different”, said us! With that thought, we decided on Devils Bridge and a view of a few waterfalls. Which we completed and survived the horrendous steps.
Cwm Valley [Elan Valley]
Heading to the valley, we went through the township of Rhayader, which we thought might be worth a walk around and we were right. It was also a waypoint so our GPS wouldn’t take us down roads we were choosing not to go. I loved the incentive to linger longer, and that was to locate around the town 52 images that give a flavour of what’s on offer throughout the year.
It was the drive not far from here that was worth a more extended stop and an even longer walk. Big bonus when we parked the car it required no coins or pounds. With a second glance back to see the sun peeking out of the clouds highlighting the hills behind the deep blue lake. What a lovely serene countryside. Making us think more than once of our homeland, New Zealand.
Through more scenic areas we head to our last destination for the day which would take us out of Wales and back to England. Hereford was to be our overnight stop before our journey to Devon started the very next day.
Our short journey through parts of Wales was the best weather wise weekend in five years. Upon arrival at our various accommodations, we were greeted with these words,
“You are lucky, as you have had a grand day for it!”.
And, indeed we had!
Thanks, Wales, we hope to return.
More information on planning a trip to Wales:
The Richmond Hotel – Aberystwyth