Criccieth

After a truly lovely afternoon at Portmerion on Friday (link) the next thing to do was get to our hotel, have something to eat and see the lay of the land.

As it turned out both the hotel (The Lion) and the location (Criccieth- which was chosen almost completely at random) were really nice!

Although we’d planned to explore a little, after eating at a nearby restaurant (we went for an Indian meal where I had a rather tasty Chicken Shashlik) we both decided we were a bit pooped and that an early night was called for.

We’d retire to our rooms and start fresh in the morning.

The next day (after a relatively on plan breakfast – I trimmed the fat off the bacon and left the hash browns and sausages alone) we headed off to the nearby Criccieth Castle – with the intention that we’d have a look around and then wander along the coast.

However the castle (at 9.30am on a Saturday) appeared to be completely closed!

Sadly there was nothing for it but to carry on toward the beach – and this (it turned out) was actually a rather good thing.

Although we didn’t realise it at the time the tide was slowly on its way in – but for the moment it was quite far out and we could amble slowly along, hopping from rock to rock, looking at the sea and just generally exploring.

The weather had (for the second day in a row) come up trumps and it was absolutely impossible to not get slightly lost in the calm of a day where we found ourselves in yet another unspoiled area of natural beauty that was largely deserted.

I can only assume that the rest of the UK was glued to the royal wedding – which seemed to be a theme for the rest of the day too.

As we sifted through the pebbles and drift wood whilst soaking up the ambiance we slowly made our way to the North End of Criccieth beach until we reached an estuary and abruptly found ourselves cut off.

At this point we decided to hop onto the coastal path back toward town – which we ended up sticking to (with one or two deviations) for most of the afternoon.

By the time we had made our way back the castle had opened to the public – and thanks to my friend being a patron of CADW (link) we managed to get free entry which was a bit of a bonus!

Initially I was simply entranced by the view of the beach we’d just walked along (which was now mostly under water) and we found a spot where we could just sit back for a few minutes to appreciate the sunshine, the breeze and the passing gulls – which we were suddenly eye to eye with as they flew by.

To be honest life doesn’t get much better than sitting back and looking at miles stretching into the distance – and knowing that all of them are ones you’ve just walked along and climbed over.

The castle is derelict (destroyed around 1400 by the English to crush the uprising of Owain Glyndwr) but probably all the more beautiful for being so.

The view commanded from its ‘Engine Tower’ (where local historians believe there was a trebuchet capable of shelling the beach or surrounding area) is just great. The whole area opens up when you stand there – and you can only imagine what it would be like if the two story tower that once housed the artillery was still present and you could stand on its battlements.

From where we stood, far away in the distance was out next destination. We would follow the promenade along the sandier part of the beach and then rejoin the coastal path.

But not before a bite to eat.

We sat in the shade for a while and tucked into lunch – which in my case was a baked potato with tuna and some coleslaw.

The path we were following ran parallel to the coastal railway – which for the whole time we were there barely seemed to showcase a single train.

I could have been tied to the tracks for most of the day completely without incident.

The lovely thing about the absence of passengers or freight was that we could just enjoy the peace and quiet and the incidental details of hedgerows and bushes alongside the path.

It wasn’t long before we’d reached the far end of the trail and after climbing up a small hill found ourselves overlooking a much busier beach filled with cars, camper vans and some rather mysterious looking coves cut into the rock.

The view from here was also fantastic – and it seemed that it was almost impossible to look in ANY direction without a sharp intake of breath and saying ‘wow!’

We sat on the rocks – around 100metres above the beach and looked down on the people below whilst we chatted about what to do next.

Since there was absolutely no plan to any of the day’s activities we just decided to sit for a while, enjoy the sunshine and then wander back into town for an evening meal.

This time however we’d take the beach route and walk along the shore line instead of the coastal path – which as we came back down the other side of the hill showed just how far we’d walked from the castle.

The beach is absolutely unspoiled – and the water quality is fantastic.

It’s so clear and blue when the weather’s nice that you’d be forgiven for thinking you could just reach down and drink a handful – but sadly you can’t.

What you can do though is gaze endlessly into little limpet pools when you find them and look for teeny tiny creatures (of which sadly there weren’t any willing to pose for a photo.)

Once we’d made our way back to town and had a quick shower (it was a warm day!) we headed out again to an oddity that we’d spotted earlier on in town.

A convenience store, video rental outlet and kebab shop all in one!

The Criccieth Star is something of a little miracle.

I’ve NEVER before seen a standard corner shop with a fast food outlet directly opposite the guy on the till – yet here it was!

Furthermore the kebabs on offer were the griddled shish kebab kind rather than the awfully unhealthy doner variety. I chose to go for a large lamb one with salad and my and my friend chose to go for chicken.

The plan was to eat it on near the sea with some drinks – and honestly it turned out to be the perfect place to munch away.

It was getting a little colder by this point so we headed back to the hotel. Since we were both a little pooped (we’d been walking for around 9-10 hours!) and were nodding off a bit we both headed off to our respective beds.

I however couldn’t sleep.

It seemed a waste of a day to go to sleep so early – so I nipped out for one last walk and sat watching the sun go down by the beach with a friendly seagull.

As I strolled back to my room later that evening (after having a natter with a nice Welsh lady in the petrol station) I was feeling pretty blissed out.

Considering almost none of our trip had been regimented or planned we appeared to have once more fallen squarely into the hands of Lady Luck and she’d adeptly caught us with a smile on her face.

I couldn’t help but wonder what we’d get up to the following day and if our good fortune (and the weather) would hold out!

Tune in tomorrow and find out internet!

Davey

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