Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Wales - it's all lambs and ice cream

So I told you a little about what Wales was like with my Brownies, this post is more about the parts of Wales that we visited.

We stayed near Abergele - up in the North of Wales. I have to be honest, on the way there, we went on the M6 then down the M56 and after that I spent so much time watching the road and the Tomtom, I didn't take in much of what I saw.

We stayed in a Girlguiding property: Ty Clywd, about 5 miles from Abergele. It was in a beautiful setting in a village called Llanfair Talhaiarn. The Tomtom told us we were there and we clearly weren't so we pulled over next to a man working on his plants - he took one look at us and said "Guiding?" We clearly weren't the first people to pull over and ask, we were only about 500 metres away and it was kind of him to be so patient with us!

The building was surrounded with fields and all day and night you could hear sheep and lambs bleating. It was lovely, even though I live in a fairly green county, we still are not in the countryside by any means so it was great for the girls to have the contrast to every day life.

On Saturday we made use of a nearby walk to go out through the village and down to a small weir for our packed lunches. We were in a field with sheep, initially they stayed away from us but after a while one mum with two lambs tucked under came over to have a good shout at the group. We couldn't work out why she was so agitated but we were gathering up our things and as soon as we moved off, she and several other sheep headed straight for the water for a good drink. Clearly the warm weather was affecting them as much as us!

We crossed a narrow bridge and climbed some very steep steps to reach the near top of our walk - one Brownie complained that it "stinks of ladybirds up here" which wasn't really the reaction we were expecting...what do ladybirds stink of anyway?

The rest of the walk was on road and a good opportunity to go over walking etiquette with the girls, many of whom just never go for walks at home, as evidenced by the cross section of footwear from walking boots through trainers down to a pair of red slipper shoes!

The drive back on Easter Monday was the real eye opener to Wales. Rather than take the same route home, we decided to head down via Llangollen and then Telford onto the M6 - it ended up taking the same amount of time but was so much more beautiful.

Within minutes of leaving the property, we were on the edge of a reservoir near Denbigh - breathtaking and if we'd had time, we would have explored. After that, as we drove to Llangollen, we kept passing beautiful scenery after beautiful scenery - roads with tall trees on either side, stretches of water, lambs gambolling everywhere...over and over we kept saying how glad we were to have driven back this way.

Before we reached Llangollen, we even passed a farm with buffalo! I looked it up afterwards: Rhug Organic Farm. We'd brought packed lunches, but if not, we would definitely have stopped there, there was a sign saying their takeaway was voted best in Britain. There were signs for kayaking and other water sports all along the way, very appealing and made us very sad we didn't have any time to play with!

The weather was glorious and we stopped in Llangollen to eat our packed lunches on the bank of the river. The girls and us took the chance to go down to the river and actually stand in it - there are lots of rocks, large ones so no real risk! We could see a steam train going down the side of the river...noted that down as another thing to do it/when we revisit the area as a family.

We wanted to press on and get home so after about 45 mins we headed back to the car, via a tourist shop that also sold ice creams - absolutely gorgeous ice creams. It was on Market Street, opposite the car park, on a corner, and the lady inside was very kind too, not minding our fidgety girls one bit.

After that, we headed back to England and home...but Wales left such a good, and unexpected, impression that I know we will be back, with Guiding or with family, or both!


Kelloggsville said...

My daughter went camping in Abersoch last summer http://jonandsarah.blogspot.com/2008/07/north-wales.html

We must have driven back exactly the same way because we stopped at Rhug Estate Cafe for coffee and hubby had a burger at the open log cabin part. We commented on the Llangollen Railway as we drove past it. And yes, it left a lasting impression on us too. I was getting all "Ivor" nostalgic and would also love to go back, how fantastic to experience it with Brownies - very brave to go so far and sounds wonderful. Thank you for sharing

Anonymous said...

As a family we love North Wales and have had some great times there, Snowdon, bedgelert, Fairy glen, Bala, Ffestiniog, etc etc etc so so much to do and enjoy. Cottages are often cheap there as well esp. at Easter


TopChamp said...

I love Wales - both my parents are from North Wales and my boyfriend is from Swansea. Sadly (for me) I'm Oxford born.

I'm glad you enjoyed it - it sounds great fun!

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