9th September – Wednesday
On the harbourside in Conwy, there has to be at least one shot of The Smallest House in Great Britain. It is only £1 to have a look in when the lady is there, dressed in traditional clothes, but there is always a queue. Maybe next time.
We went shopping twice on consecutive days with the trolley, once for food and a second trip for booze. ‘Clank, Clank, Clank, goes the trolley’ as the old song goes.
11th Sept – Friday
Jim and Lynn of yacht ‘Full Circle’, who we met in Harwich, and who took us to Ipswich (which was very successful as we stayed 3 years) live nearby and invited us for tea and to stay overnight.
They collected us from the Marina and we went to a micro brewery while the takeaway was cooking then onto theirs for a good catch up and a look at their beautiful new home.
12th Sept – Saturday – Magical Mystery Tour
Jim cooked us a Full Welsh Breakfast and we set off in the car on a blue sky day. Through Port Eirias on the pretty seafront and onto Llandudno, our first port of call was Port Dinorwic where ‘Full Circle’ is moored. She is the same type of boat as Fleur, which is what brought us together to start with.
The lock at Port Dinorwic
The pretty harbour, reminiscent of Dutch harbours.
We walked the length of the marina to the banks of the Menai Straits and sat outside the Garddfon Inn with our drinks. It feels like you can touch Anglesey from here. There was a small boat race from the yacht club, which kept us amused with their ducking and diving.
There was also an aerofoil windsurfer making the most of the breeze, sadly to quick to photograph but amazing to watch. They appear to defy gravity.
Our tour then continued for the most beautiful couple of hours up the Llanbaris Pass, through the Snowdonia National Park, Capel Curig, Betws-y-Coed, Llanrwst and back to Conwy. WOW. We need to come back with the car and thoroughly explore around here, it is stunning.
On arrival back at the marina, the Marina Open day was in full swing and we managed to snaffle four pulled pork buns and a few drinks from the ‘Boatfolk’ event. A nice ending to a terrific day, thanks to Jim and Lynn.
13th Sept – Sunday – Conwy Castle
After such a great day it would have been nice to put our feet up, but due to current restrictions we had booked a tour of Conwy Castle online in advance £8.80 each.
Top Tip: If you don’t have time to visit the castle, walking the town walls is free. The entrances are located around the walls, in some places they are quite well hidden. We felt too guilty to even try beforehand, but realised after we completed the castle tour.
One of the very many pictures we took of the castle, from the Town Walls.
We had a 2.00pm time slot and arrived at 1.45, thankfully, as the queue was growing, and was even longer due to social distancing. We soon realised that about half the people had not booked 24 hours in advance, so they were turned away. The person on the door had a printed list to tick off the ticket holders.
There is a steepish slope and stairs to enter the Castle.
A sculpture made from roof beams. This guy meets you at the door.
Starting on the ground level you get a real sense of the scale of the castle. Small steep spiral staircases take you to each of the 3 levels. Once at the top the views are stunning.
From the top of the castle overlooking the River Conwy.
The Three Bridges.
Centre - The 1826 Chain Suspension Bridge, designed by Thomas Telford, which served for 130 years.
Right - The 1848 Tubular Bridge developed by Robert Stephenson, the first ever tubular bridge, note the gap in the roof for the steam from the steam trains to escape.
Far Left – The 1958 single arch steel road bridge, faced with stone, built to accommodate modern demand.
Beneath the water – The 1991 Immersed Tube tunnel, The North Wales Expressway. A prefabricated tube, floated and sunk into the river bed, the first in the UK.
High level view looking into the castle, showing all the different levels and angles.
Mick on the Town Walls. The walls give you a great view of the town within the walls and how it is all tightly packed in.
Towards the top of the town, the wall walk gets very steep and high.
The wall goes all way from the castle to meet the river at the far side, where the final exit staircase is.
As I said previously the castle is difficult to photograph due to the angle of the sun, this was in late afternoon, showing the river moorings.
I could not resist a picture of the river from the bridge, showing the HUGE sandbank in the middle at low water, sailors beware.
We ended the day at Johnny Dough’s Pizza place, as recommended by Lynn, excellent.
14th Sept – Monday
Mick serviced the Eberspacher (hot air heating system).
We then walked to Deganwy, which we can see from our Marina. Through town, over the bridge and along the river path to Deganwy Spa Hotel and Marina. All the shops were closed, so we walked all the way back to town and stopped for a pint at the Liverpool Arms with a cheeky pasty from the bakery.
15th Sept – Tuesday
Girls Day Out. Lynn collected me and we went to Abakhan at Mostyn, near Rhyl. It is a fabric and craft emporium of the highest order, with a great café. Welsh Rarebit for lunch. Lynn got what she went for, I got some sparkly blue fabric and wool for a cardigan for Evie.
We then progressed to the ‘Tweedmill’ which is not a tweedmill but a shopping experience par excellence. Nice grey jumper for me and new shoes and clothes for Lynn. They sell Lemon buns here too in their café. What a lovely day, whizzing around chatting and shopping. Very much appreciated, thank you Lynn.
The next 6 days flew by. Mostly eating.
The Popty Bakery in town is superb. Lynn recommended the Lemon Buns. Sweet bread bun with lots of custard and a tangy lemony icing.
Feet up with my knitting, tea and a bun.
Also many walks in Bodlondeb Woods nearby, Fish and Chips by the harbour (from The Galleon Chippy), Dinner at the Mulberry Pub and Restaurant in the Marina, walk on the beach in the evening, Mick helped a neighbour to get up his mast, more Johnny Doughs Pizza and our last night sitting outside the Mulberry at Sunset with a Wine and a Beer.
21st Sept – Monday – Train Home
We walked to the station with the trusty trolley and took the 12.40 train from Llandudno Junction. Conwy Station is currently closed due to the virus.
Two changes at Chester and Manchester Victoria got us home by 16.30. £58 for 2 with a two together rail card. Because we had to use more than one train operator, the discounts are not as large as usual. At present, don’t forget to take sandwiches and drinks as there are no refreshment outlets open on any of the stations.
Amusing Signage Continued…
Tipio is a perfect word for Fly-Tipping.
The boat above is called ‘Ship Faced’, raises a few eyebrows with the coast guard when calling for a radio check according to the owners.
Sailors Info: Conwy Marina
The marina is much improved since Mick’s last visit. New Office, facilities, Shops and The Mulberry Pub and Restaurant (named after the Mulberry harbours which were built here during WW2).
The tidal variation can be over 7 metres.
The facilities are the best we have seen since Lymington. Vanity units in the ladies and sockets for hairdryers. Washers and Dryers £3 each. Wifi. Electric by metered card. On site shop for papers and sundries.
Riverside walk into town takes 20 minutes, shorter via the road. Lidl is a 40 minute walk, but brand new, Tesco further, but there is a Spar in town and many bakeries.
We were particularly impressed that a Deep Clean of the facilities takes places regularly at present.
And finally…I cannot believe we could have three such beautiful weeks of weather in North Wales in September. John Dobson told us it was going to be nice and he was right.
We are thoroughly enjoying Conwy, the marina is friendly and well run and our neighbours have been welcoming with an active Facebook group. Fleur is staying in Conwy for the winter. We are hoping to visit her often and explore the area.
We count ourselves fortunate to have had the opportunity to have 2 months away this year. About a third of our normal trip but still a privilege in these strange times.
Stay Safe everyone, thanks for reading.