Windy Wales

We arrived in Wales via the Prince of Wales Bridge, driving on to our airbnb which was located just north of Swansea in a small village on the edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park.

The next morning, we woke to a rainy day. We decided to carry on and drove our little car into the Brecon Beacons. At times it was difficult to see where the road was… and pulling over at the scenic lookout spots mostly gave us a view of clouds…

Our first stop was the Black Mountain Quarries trail. We sat in the car and ate our lunch while the rain relentlessly covered the windscreen. Finally, we braved up, and went for a small walk in the rain to see the old kilns around the hills (once used in the mining of lime). There were plenty of sheep to keep us company…

Back in the car, we drove along roads that may be familiar to Top Gear fans and also along some more ridiculously narrow country lanes. One of them, on meeting an oncoming car, we had to reverse all the way back to the main road (luckily only 200m – but we decided on an alternative route) …

Our afternoon stop was the Pen Y Fan trail. As we pulled into the carpark, the sun started to peek through the clouds …our luck was changing. We started hiking, and I noticed it was mostly uphill… it was then that Kadin mentions, it’s the highest peak in the park! We continued the climb, having many little breaks as we ascended, taking in the panoramic views and also having fun with our hair in the Welsh wind.

We finally reached the peak … the views made the climb worth it! The wind at the top quickly cooled us off too.

After a small break at the peak Kadin decided to mention that we still had to go further to reach the summit. We’d been standing on top of Corn Du… but we only had a short walk across the saddle to reach Pen Y Fan summit…

The next morning, the weather looked a little dreary again. We decided to checkout the coast around the Gower Peninsular. It’s rather frustrating when you’re from New Zealand/Australia and you are forced to pay for parking at the beach (when we’ve grown up with world class beaches with free parking). We consulted our trusty National Trust app, and located a carpark along the coast at Three Cliffs Bay (saving us another £3). Just minutes after we’d parked up a mob of cows wandered into the car park, grazing on the grass between the cars.

Not wanting to risk any bumps or damage on the rental (especially after seeing one of the calves press up against the bonnet of a nearby car), we carefully relocated to the less grassy side of the carpark before heading off. We walked along the coastal cliff trail, once again bracing ourselves against that Welsh wind…

We climbed down to the beach below which had some great geology going on. We explore the caves and rockpools, then managed to climb back up and reach our car just as the rain pelted down.

The next morning, we checked-out, and were glad to see lovely sunny weather – perfect for our big drive around the Pembrokeshire Coast to our next destination in Snowdonia National Park. Our first stop was Bosherston Lilly Ponds (National Trust Parking -another £3). This was a lovely spot for a morning walk in the sunshine, spotting wildlife and we enjoyed some Welsh Cakes by the pond…

The pond walk links up to the beautiful Broadhaven Beach – what a difference the sunshine can make…

Our next stop was Marloes Sands (thanks National Trust -£3 savings). This coastal spot is known for fossils and also showed off more spectacular rock formations. Kadin fossicked around for fossils, and when he didn’t find any, he decided to go for a swim instead. I opted to have an afternoon nap on the warm stones.

When we got back to our car and pinned in our accommodation near Snowdonia National Park, we were a bit shocked to find out we still had more than 4 hours of driving ahead of us (making our ETA after 9pm). We could have spent a lot more time exploring the coastal area but we had to hit the narrow twisting roads all the way to our airbnb, only stopping for a quick dinner and arriving in the dark. After the long drive, I was glad we’d booked the place with a bath tub!

The next morning, we thought we’d start with a quick visit to Penrhyn Castle before heading into Snowdonia National Park (a £25 savings on our National Trust membership). The grounds were expansive, set in the foothills of Snowdonia.

Our quick visit turned into a few hours, when we found ourselves immersed in the impressive rooms inside the castle too…

It was now after lunchtime, and we finally made our way to Snowdonia National Park. It was a super busy place which made finding a carpark rather tricky. We were lucky enough to nab a park from someone about to leave and then headed off on an easy walking trail around Lake Idwal. It was a lovely setting, and once again we were accompanied by the wind of Wales.

We continued the scenic drive through Snowdonia.

We came across a National Trust carpark (free for everyone) just out from the village Beddgelert. There were some nature walks on the sign, so we decided to do the easy 1mile woodlands walk. The trail seemed to go much longer than 1mile… but we were treated to some great views. It wasn’t so great when I stepped in some mud, plastering one of my shoes and soaking right through to my socks!

When I woke up the following morning, my shoes had mostly dried out in front of the heater and were good to go after a session with the hair drier. We checked-out and headed off for our last couple of stops in Wales. First, we visited the walled city of Conwy.

Our last Welsh destination was the stunning Bodnant Gardens (a £28 National Trust savings). The gardens sprawl across 80 acres and was used for the filming for the upcoming remake of The Secret Garden film…

Have fun at work!

Gemma

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