Wednesday, 23 September 2020

Mid Sept 2020 – Conwy Part 2 and Home

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.

Wednesday, 16 September 2020

Late Aug, Early Sept 2020 – Conwy Part 1

27th August – Thursday – Fleetwood to Conwy

With rosy Blackpool spectacles removed, we resume normal service.


We departed Fleetwood at 0600, just after first light.


There are numerous buoys to be negotiated to get into the estuary, and more to get out to sea.


I take pictures of Mick with significant seafaring landmarks in the background, this is one of many attempts to take a picture of me with Blackpool Tower. 


Blackpool Tower from the sea.  Bye, bye Blackpool.


Windmills have dominated this years journey, but today the Gas Rigs were the stars.  The picture above shows the size of one rig compared to its support vessel.  We passed several during the day.  Sailors are not allowed within 500m of a rig.


The strata of the Great Ormes is clear to see.  Made up of Limestone and Dolomite, formed during the early Carboniferous period of the Earths geological history between 339 and 326 million years ago.  Copper was mined during the Bronze age 4,000 years ago.


Conway River Perch Beacon in the River Conwy. 

We knew the weather was not going to be great, but made the choice to leave Fleetwood, as the next chance to leave on the right tide, would have kept us there for at least another week.  Most of the day was overcast, the sea choppy and roly.  The showers had been light and we thought we had been quite lucky.  Just as we rounded the Orme the heavens opened.  The route in takes us very near to the south shore, to enter the relatively narrow channel towards the marina. 

We left Fleetwood just before high water and arrived in Conwy on the incoming tide, to get over the sill into the marina at just after 5pm.  62 miles in 11 hours.

28th August – Friday

We managed to moved the boat to a different mooring early in the morning and then settled in for a lazy day to sit out the forecasted heavy rain.  The first mooring we were assigned, was too narrow and Fleur only just fit.

29th August – Saturday


Our first glimpse of Conwy Castle.  Mick knows this area well, as he kept a previous boat here, but it is all new to me and I had no idea how beautiful it is.

The castle mysteriously melts into the background for such a big structure from this angle, when the sun is not on it, hiding it’s size.  It is difficult to take a good picture from this direction as the sun is directly behind it, many attempts have been made, more later.

30th August – Sunday

A truly glorious day and so we went for a walk on the beach.


Opposite Deganwy


Watching people launch and retrieve boats and jet skis is always a good waste of half an hour.  This guy nearly took his car for a swim, but he had plenty of helpers who were happy to get wet.


Looking towards the Great Orme.


Wading bird looking for lunch in the marina at low tide.

31st August – Monday

Mick cleaned the bright work while I sewed up my epic Moss Stitch cardigan.


1st Sept – Tuesday – Quick trip to Llandudno

We walked out of town towards Llandudno Junction to have a look at the train station, which we may need at some point.

Mick spotted a bus to Llandudno, so we hopped on.  Not planned, but it was a nice day and too early to go home.  £5.50 each for a day ticket.  There is a good sized shopping centre to be fully investigated at a later date. 

We made our way to the promenade towards the pier.


The pier was busy so we will save that for a later date too, as we will Happy Valley Park.

The tram up the Great Orme is currently closed, the cable cars are not open when it is windy.


We walked the full length of the promenade after a nice lunch of Welsh Rarebit at the Lemon Tree Cafe.


Then a pint in The Palladium, another building saved by Wetherspoons.  Beautiful outside.


And inside.

We will definitely be back in Llandudno when we have a vehicle with us.

4th Sept – Friday

Walked into town and saw Drew Pritchard from tv programme Salvage Hunters in his shop in the High Street.

Bought our first and not last Vanilla slices from the Popty Bakery.  Pasties and Lemon buns are also highly recommended.

The next few days were spent just enjoying being here, walks in the woods, beware the 93 steps, reading, shopping and bear making.


Cream Mohair bears from last years fabric and a small bear started previously.

8th Sept – Tuesday – Plas Mawr


We could not keep walking past Plas Mawr, as it sits majestically in the High Street.  We had to wait a few days as entry is only by online bookings at the moment.  The usual Heritage Days or Open Doors as they are called here have been cancelled this year. 

Built in 1577 by Robert Wynn and his wife Dorothy Griffith.  Plas Mawr is an Elizabethan Town House.  It was rented out as cheap lodgings in the 18th and 19th centuries, then became headquarters of the Royal Cambrian Academy of Art.  It was taken over by the Welsh Heritage Agency, CADW in 1983 and extensively renovated at a cost of £3.3M.  It is regarded as one of the finest surviving Town Houses of the era.


The tour starts in the Great Hall, were we collected audio guides, included in the £6.50 entrance fee.


The ornate fireplace dominates the room, as do many others around the house.


The kitchen with suspended food store, to keep the food away from the vermin.


The plasterwork around the house is impressive and would have been highly decorated.


Dorothy’s bed chamber.


The upstairs dining room, surrounded by tapestries, hung on Tenter hooks.


Mick sat at one end of the huge roof space, occupied by the servants.  Nothing is straight.


The rear elevation gives some idea of the scale of the house.

It is rare to visit such as old property in such well restored condition.  I have left many rooms unphotographed for you to discover.

End of Part 1.

Part 2 – Conwy Castle and a mystery tour.