Showing posts with label Llyn Peninsular. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Llyn Peninsular. Show all posts

Monday 6 June 2016

Back to Llŷn

Friday 3 June 2016
We had such a great time in Llŷn last weekend, we decided to return. On our coastal walk we'd come across a lovely swimming cove where boat owners could also launch.  There was a car park above, so we hoped there would be somewhere there to wildcamp for the weekend.  The traffic was good to us and, although I made a few wrong turns at the end, we eventually arrived about an hour before sunset. There was one old blue VW campervan already parked up and I managed to pull up next to it, shuffling back and forth until we were reasonably level. We were in a great spot, pointing west and facing the mouth of the cove and the open sea. Cathy had already cooked our meal at home, so it just needed warming up and we ate sat outside watching the sun gradually sink towards the sea. It was a cloudless evening and the sunset was spectacular - aside from the Caribbean probably the best we've seen. We were tired after work and the drive so after a brew, headed off to bed to read, falling asleep to the gentle sound of the sea. As we were nodding off an old VW campervan turned up, with two guys and two collies; they pitched a small tent next to their van and soon all was quiet again.

Saturday 4 June 2016
We slept well and I was up at 0800, making us a brew - Cathy had hers in bed and I poured mine into my travel mug. Time for some fishing!  I'd brought some basic sea fishing gear - not perfect for light rock fishing but good enough. The rocks were pretty rugged and sharp so I took my time getting to the waterline. The tide was on its way out but I was still able to spend a good hour or so spinning, watching the wildlife, including sea birds and an inquisitive seal that kept popping up to have a look around. A local fishing boat was checking its crab and lobster pots.  The sea was calm and soon the hot sun was beating down on my back.  Although I caught nothing I enjoyed fishing again and need to get some suitable LRF tackle.  

Back at the van Cathy was cooking breakfast - scrambled eggs with crispy bacon and toast. I had a packet of filter coffee - just add hot water - and we ate our breakfast in the sunshine, watching the tide ebb. It started to get busy later as the day trippers and boat owners arrived, carefully reversing their trailers down the narrow, steep slipway to the beach.  We enjoyed sitting in the sun reading and chilling. Mid-afternoon we headed down to the beach for a swim.  The sea felt cold on first entering (I certainly felt it more than Cathy!), but we were soon swimming together in the calm sea, with the rocks above and the kelp around our feet. We noticed our breath steaming as we swam - really strange! There must have been some cold sea air coming in - it looked like we were swimming in Winter. After a good half hour swim we wandered around the beach searching out sea glass as we dried. All showered, we enjoyed a beer before I prepared and cooked dinner on the Cadac BBQ. I headed off for some more rock fishing (no luck again but I enjoyed the peace and solitude). We sat outside with a cuppa, watching the two guys in the VW catch plenty of dogfish. It was quite cloudy by now but, at the last minute, the sun popped out under the clouds and provided a stunning finale as it sank into the sea - perfect end to a chilled out, relaxing day.  

Sunday 5 June 2016
It was warm when we woke - already 27'C in the bedroom area of the van, so skylights were opened to another clear blue sky day.  I was 'up and at 'em', heading out for another hour of so of splashing a fishing lure into the sea without success!  But, hey, the view was amazing, the sun warm and the sea flat calm - I was completely chilled out.  The local seal was again popping up near the rocks to take a look around and the fishing boat was out checking their pots - just another day in this lovely place. 

It was my turn to cook breakfast - this time mushrooms, bacon, fried bread and eggs.  Not exactly healthy but it set us up for the day. We took a wander over to the other cove with the sheds and winching gear.  This was a suntrap and the heat was bouncing off the pebbled beach as we mooched around and I skimmed the odd stone or two across the flat water.  It was very clear and looked perfect for swimming, so we returned to Nido to get changed ready for a cove swim.  The tide had only recently turned and we had to wade waist-deep to reach the small sandy beach, so it made sense to just dump our gear and carry on with our swim!  It was cold but we were soon used to it and swam along by the rocks until we reached a larger inlet I'd seen on my earlier fishing trip.  It was quite rocky and slippery underfoot, but we were wearing swimming shoes so this helped. It was great to float around in the water, completely enclosed by high granite rocks.  Back on the beach we read and sunbathed before finishing off with a quick final swim - it felt a lot colder so we didn't stay in long. 

At the van we sat outside to enjoy our lunch, watching the comings and goings of cove visitors.  Our campervan neighbours (I'd say they were late 60s) had been out on their fishing boat a couple of times and I chatted to them. They spent winters in Spain in their van and had been 26 times so far.  He was also a keen road cyclist and always followed a mountain stage of the Tour de France, arriving several days early to find somewhere to park.  Sounds like the perfect life! I gave them the rest of our fresh water (a valuable commodity when wild camping) and we reluctantly packed up the van ready to hit the road - we really didn't want to leave.  On the way out we drove down a small road in a lovely lane to do a 'drive-by' of a cottage we'd seen for sale - with a large garden and room for several Nido's it would have been perfect if we'd been ready to locate.  The drive home was lengthy and hot, with numerous traffic jams and some crazy overtaking from the orange-skinned 'Abersoch Mafia' in their audis and chelsea-tractors!

Another great wild-camping visit on the Llŷn, where a weekend's relaxation feels like a whole week off work.  We love this part of Wales, with beautiful, unspoilt countryside and its own micro-climate.  We'll be back soon!

Nido's wild camping spot

Sunset watching

Checking the crab and lobster pots

Breakfast time


A cheeky last-minute sunset

Our neighbours off fishing

Tuesday 31 May 2016

First swim of the year

Friday 27 May 2016
I'd booked this CL at Pwllgoed, just outside the village of Tudweiliog, a few weeks ago.  It's a lovely spot, about a mile outside the village down a single track road.  It's on a working farm - sheep and cows - and is very quiet and peaceful. From the site we had views of both the sea and the hills in the distance, with animals in the adjacent fields. After a meal we walked back down the lane towards the village.  The hedgerows and verges were green and full of life and a warm sunset relaxed us after our drive from home.  Back in the van, we had a cuppa before crashing out early to read.  My ears were ringing in the silence and we were both soon asleep.

Saturday 28 May 2016
We slept well; Cathy woke earlier and had a read, but I slept through until 0900! Breakfast was fruit and yoghurt and Cathy prepped our packed lunch.  I'd sorted out a walk before hand, that would take us along the coastal path and back down a small lane. We stopped off at the village shop to buy some water (as I forgot to put ours in the rucksacks) then walked past a caravan park, down to the beach at Porth Towyn. Here we joined the path and headed south west with the sea on our right. The sun was shining and the air warm, promising a good day.  There were several small coves and beaches on the walk and not far along we came across some old shacks at what must have been a fishermen's cove, complete with a small cottage on the headland, built into the hillside.  Just after this we reached a lovely, calm cove with a small car park above. It's a popular spot for dive boats to launch and one was already in the water, waiting for its passengers.  Some people were taking a swim - no doubt chilly from their screams! The water was very clear with the sand and seaweed covered rocks very easy to spot.  We continued to walk in the warm sunshine, past more coves and small caravan parks.  This part of the coast really is a well kept secret, a hidden gem of unspoilt countryside and beaches, teeming with flowers, wildlife and seabirds. Eventually we reached Traeth Pennlech and dropped down to the beach for our lunch stop. The sand flies were a pain, so we ended up eating our butties while paddling in the sea, which our feet really welcomed. Back on the coastal path, we stopped again at Porth Colmon for a brew, sat on a bench overlooking the sea. Our return journey was along a narrow lane, lined with hedgerows. We passed some lovely old cottages, with great views and plenty of room for Nido! It was a sun-trap and we were both flagging by the time we turned off the road by the White Lion Inn, to return to the van.  After a cuppa, I prepared dinner while Cathy had a shower. We cooked and ate outside, before moving into the van to read, occasionally checking the sun's progress as it slowly dipped down, throwing a golden light on the distant sea and reflecting off the side of Nido. With no wind, the birds singing and feeling warm from the sun and food, I have no doubt we'll sleep well again tonight. 

Sunday 29 May 2016
I'd set my alarm for 0730 as I wanted to get out for a bike ride before too much traffic was on the road. It was warm already and after breakfast, kitted up and ready, I unhooked the bike from the rack and turned left out of the campsite. Not far along I had to stop a couple of times to adjust the gears - where's my wingman when I need him!?  Before I left I'd scribbled a rough route on some paper and the early part of the ride was spot on.  However it was only rough and about half an hour in I took the wrong route, turning left instead of right.  I carried on for a while, aiming to reach the sea and follow the coastal road.  Eventually I saw loads of tents on my left and what looked like a long, sandy beach - not one I recognised, so I knew I was on a bit of an adventure! Starting to climb around the steep hill, I saw a car park on my left, so pulled over to take a look at the information board.  I was by a National Trust property at the western end of Hell's Mouth, a well known surfing beach between Aberdaron and Abersoch - how the hell did I end up here!?  Now I had my bearings I knew I could follow the road to Aberdaron, then pick up the coastal route.  Turning left out of the NT car park, the road climbed up and up and up.  Down into the granny gear I managed to get about 100m before the road turned and kicked up again, only steeper.  That was me done; I had to stop a couple of times for a breather, some water and a puff on my asthma inhaler! The road seemed to climb forever but eventually I topped out, riding along the narrow lane before starting the steep descent into a very busy Aberdaron.  We all know what goes down must go up (again), only this time it was a bit more manageable and I was able to stay clipped in.   The narrow lanes were great for cycling - smooth and no potholes, but they were quite busy with bank holiday beach seekers.  I knew there was a café at Porthor - aka Whistling Sands beach.  I turned in and walked down with all the beach goers. I had to cross some of the soft white sand in my cycling shoes to get to the café, but was soon recovering sat outside with a latte and a twix,overlooking the beach.  We came to this beach about this time last year on Cathy's birthday, an equally warm and sunny day. Back on the road, I soon reached Morfa and was cycling along the lane we walked yesterday, before returning to the main road into Tudweiliog and back to the campsite.  A great ride although twice as long as I planned!

Cathy had been busy, having a good clean and re-organise of the van, plus she'd prepared lunch. After  sorting out my bike gear, we loaded up our rucksacks and walked back down the lane to the village, taking the footpath alongside the pub and across a couple of fields, to a track taking us back to a lovely beach we found yesterday.  It was quite busy and the only way to reach the small, sandy cove was to wade through the sea.  It was a hot sun-trap, but a little spoiled by some noisy jet-skis and powerboats.  We dumped our gear and slowly entered the water for our first sea swim of the year.  It was cold but not unbearable and we were soon swimming out, with rocks and cliffs either side of us.  We swam around to a small inlet, where we sat on the warm rocks and in the shallows before braving the colder water to return to our picnic blanket and towels.  We enjoyed our lunch sat in the warm sunshine. We went for another swim later - it felt a lot colder the second time around! Unfortunately those around us were still noisy and the men had gone off to fetch beer, so it wasn't going to become peaceful any time soon.  We packed up and reversed our route back to the van. Unpacked and washed up, we had a cuppa outside, before I enjoyed a hot shower.  The breeze was a bit cooler this evening, so we sat in the van with a G&T and some snacks.  It was another lovely sunset and there was still some light until about 2200.  It's been a really relaxing day - plenty of exercise and sunshine, so we'll sleep well again.  Tomorrow we head for home but we'll make the most of the day, starting with a lovely cooked breakfast, enjoyed outside in the sunshine hopefully.

Monday 30 May 2016
We woke with the sun and were up and sat outside in the warm sunshine with a cuppa by 0800.  It promised to be another hot, sunny day, but unfortunately we had to return home.  I cooked us a breakfast outside and after doing our inside and outside tasks, we left the site to visit the National Trust property - Plas yn Rhiw - at the far end of Hell's Mouth beach, the one I came across on my bike ride yesterday.  The satnag took us down some interestingly narrow lanes but we eventually pulled into the car park at about 1100, to find the house and garden don't open until midday!  So instead we turned right and walked down, past a basic campsite, to take a land-slipped footpath down to the beach.  The tide was out so we enjoyed a bare foot walk along the surf line.  The beach is long but only accessible from each end and only at low tide.  With high, crumbly cliffs, it had clearly suffered some storm erosion and there wasn't much sea glass for Cathy to pick up, so we didn't stay long! Instead we picked up the main road heading to the north coast to look for a lunch stop. One beach had a "campervans not wanted here" sign, so we moved on and ended up at a large car park right by the beach at Dinas Dinlle, not far from Caernarfon airport.  We took our lunch and chairs down to the beach and chilled out for an hour - a nice break in our journey. Then it was back on the road and home to unpack before I took Nido back to his storage place.  

The weather was outstanding all weekend and, on returning home, we realised we'd had it a good deal better than some places, particularly the east and mainland Europe - flash floods in the Black Forest so we hope that's finished before we visit in July!  We'll definitely be back to the Llyn Peninsular soon; it's so beautifully unspoilt with quiet lanes, great walks and remote coves perfect for swimming.

Lovely, quiet CL with great views

Nice Tacky Shack!

Sunset reflection

That was one hell of a climb on the bike!

A welcome coffee stop on my bike ride

Lovely swimming cove

Hell's Mouth beach

Friday 29 May 2015

Llŷn Peninsular

Thursday 21 May 2015
This was to be our first weekend on a slightly longer trip, as I booked the Friday off to tag onto the bank holiday weekend.  It was also the postponed birthday weekend that Cathy should have enjoyed last year, but we had no can and she was still in bits after her Mum died.  So we're going to make the most of it.

I picked up Nido on the way home from work and, after loading him up and strapping my bike to the rack, we headed off.  Our first stop was the Little Roodee car park in Chester, just £1.50 for the night. One motorhome was already parked up and another joined later - safety in numbers. Without any messing we walked up to our favourite tapas bar - Porta - on Northgate Street.  We were the first in but it soon started to fill up. We enjoyed calamares, gambas pil-pil, tomato bread, jamon croquetas, chicken wings and padron peppers, all washed down with some wine.  Cathy also had a Portugese custard tart with a glass of rich desert sherry.  Well fed and watered we walked back to the van in the warm evening.

Saturday 22 May 2015
After breakfast we put some new graphics on El Nido and had a chat with one of the guy in one of the motorhomes next door.  We needed a few items in town, so walked up as the shops opened.  Firstly Lakeland for a storage box, then Cathy needed a belt as she'd left hers at home.  Then it was on to Build a Bear to buy some cool gear for Tiglet!  He now has a cowboy hat with aviator sunglasses (ready for the Malvern Show!), a bright 'Bermuda' shirt and sun hat and a very smart sequin bow-tie for those more formal evenings!  I'm sure everyone thinks we're mad but it's only a bit of fun and we needed a mascot for the van.  He has his own hashtag - #tigletontour - via @N1DOA on Twitter.

We headed off down the A55 under cloudy skies and, after stopping at the Welsh Food Centre at Bodnant for some goodies, arrived at our first campsite at about 1300.  Tŷn y Coed campsite has about 40 pitches but is very well kept, with immaculate facilities.  We had a quick chat with one of the owners then pitched up in one of the fields - just us but 2 tents arrived later in the evening.

We had lunch sat outside, by which time the skies were clearing then grabbed our walking gear and went off to find the Wales Coastal Path.  Wales have now completed the path on every stretch of the coastline and it's well maintained and sign-posted.  We had a walk in one direction, then doubled back to drop down to the beach just below the NT car park at Porthdinllaen. This was the first time since my op that I'd been to a proper beach and for the first time for years I could smell the sea - it was wonderful!  We followed the beach around and finally reached the Tŷ Coch Inn, right on the beach with great views over the bay. We sat outside with a beer, relaxing with a great view over the bay, watching people come and go.

It started to rain on the walk back so on our return to the van Cathy had some hot chocolate and me coffee, then I prepared a chicken curry with naan, which we both enjoyed; the sea air had clearly given us an appetite. I think the chilled, free champagne from Ocado helped! Cathy went off to wash up and I tidied away and we had a cup of tea before heading off to bed.


Saturday 23 May 2015
Happy Birthday Cathy! xxx
We woke to clear blue skies, although some high cloud soon started to move in.  I made the tea while Cathy opened her cards and presents. Breakfast was some artisan bread toasted and eaten outside.  I tried one of the coffee sachets - good value.  With everything secured, we drove over to empty fluids and top up fresh water then drove off for the short hop to our next overnight stop.

We stopped at Porth Iago last July and loved the scenery and isolation.  Perched on top of a sandy, cliff, the stop,is basically a field with no facilities.  But the views are stunning and, if nobody else is there, you have a beautiful, white sandy cove all to yourself.  This time it took us a while to find it, but after a few false starts we pulled into the farm yard with the weird brothers staring at us.  I paid £3 to park for the day and we drove into the field.  There were a few cars and a couple of VW campers already parked up.  Cathy prepped the flask, fruit and cake (I'd ordered some birthday sponge in two flavours) and we walked East along the coastal path.  It was warm and sunny as we walked along the cliff top, enjoying the view and sound of the blue water.  The path took us to Porthor Beach, or Whistling Sands as it's better known.  This is caused by the sand particles rubbing together and making a squeaking sound. We had a quick paddle in the clear but very cold water, then sat and had our fruit, tea and cake.  After a sunbathe we walked along the beach to the little café and back again before walking back along the path.

Back at the van we had a quick change before shuffling down the sandy cliff path to our favourite beach at Porth Iago, just above where the van was parked.  There were quite a few families on the beach with dogs also enjoying playing. It was lovely and warm so we crashed on picnic blanket.  I had a wander down to the water and walked around.  We both had a snooze and a brew and enjoyed feeling the sun on us.  At about 1600 we came back up to the van and I prepared dinner - marinated chicken, Greek salad and pitta bread.  We set up outside but it was windy and took a long time to cook the meat - by the time it was ready we were frozen! But we toughed it out, almost finishing our dinner before coming in to the van.  Cathy was enjoying her birthday champagne and after eating we put everything away, washed up and sat in the cab (with the gas heating on 21'C!) watching the sun sink. A couple of VW vans were next to us - two men with 3 boys and 3 dogs and a big BBQ!  After dinner I took some doggie treats out for them to share.  As it darkened we had a hot drink before turning in for the night. It's been a lovely day; sunny, quite warm (out of the wind) and very relaxing.  I think Cathy enjoyed her birthday and no doubt we'll sleep well again tonight.

Cool Tiglet!

Approaching Porthor beach (whistling sands)

Myrtle's Mug shot at Whistling Sands beach

Sunny but the wind was chilly

Late afternoon at Porth Iago

Sunday 24 May 2015
It rained in the night and we woke to a grey, though warm morning.  I cooked breakfast on the Cadac - bacon, eggs and bread and we ate in the van, with the side door open and a panoramic view of the cove and sea.  With everything washed up and secured, we left Porth Iago and drove the short distance to the National Trust car park at Porthor. We left the car park and walked along the coastal path heading west.  It gradually started to warm up and the cloud lifted and, by the time we returned to the van and flashed the kettle up for a brew, it was warm and sunny.  

Our next stop was a CL at Pant Gwyn, back up the coast.  This was easily found and I parked up to find the owner and our pitch.  This site comprises four separate camping fields, none of which meet the description of a CL - five pitches.  So although it was a good site with great sea views, we did feel a little seen off, as we were looking for a bit of seclusion and this site was very busy.  But it was still quiet and laid back, with good facilities and the obligatory welcoming working collie dog.  Once pitched up I prepped my bike and went off for a ride, while Cathy stayed behind to read and chill out.  I followed the B road heading NE and on the way found a small shop, so bought some fresh crab, red wine and some savoury snacks.  I carried on to Porthdinllaen, spending some time by the beach before reversing my route.

Back at the van, once everything was put away, we walked through a field of sheep and joined the coastal path, heading south.  There were some lovely rocky beaches, but we continued on to join a popular sandy beach.  The water was cold but we soon got used to it as we walked along the surf line.  After a sit in the sun, we returned along the path, stopping off at one of the rocky beaches for a sunbathe, before returning to the van.  The sun was still warm and strong, so we sat outside with a brew. Cathy had a shower while I topped up fresh water then we prepped dinner before I had my shower.  We were both glowing from the sun, but felt a little chilly despite sitting facing the setting sun. Dinner was cooked on the Cadac - new potatoes fried with chorizo, spring onions, garlic and green pepper, plus a leaf, tomato and cucumber salad.  Some pre-dinner Pringles accompanied the red wine.  As it was starting to get chilly, I went to wash up while Cathy put everything away.  We sat in the van to watch the sunset and finish our wine, before a hot drink and turning in for the night. As I type it's 2216 and there's still a thin band of red and purple light above the sea - lovely. Tomorrow we head back home after a really enjoyable and relaxing weekend.

Breakfast with a view - Porth Iago


Monday 25 May 2015
We woke to grey skies and drizzle.  After breakfast, tidying up and securing, we drove off to the National Trust house and garden at Plas Newydd, right on the Anglesey shore of the Menai Straits and with a view of the Britannia Road bridge.  We didn't bother with the house but had a walk around the gardens.   Driving back east we stopped off at Colwyn Bay for fish and chips overlooking the sea before getting hope early evening to unpack, clean and return Nido to storage.

So another good break in the van with lovely scenery and some decent weather.   

Sunday 20 July 2014

A week on the Llyn Peninsular

With our van still not ready and, having moved our holidays several times because of the constant delays, we decided we needed a break. We've had no time off for 9 months so were very much ready for a change of scenery. We wanted to go somewhere quiet and peaceful, by the sea but close enough to home to return if our van were to be finished and ready to collect (fat chance!). So we decided on the Llyn Peninsula in North West Wales.

Sunday 13 July 2014
We decided to stay on the same site for the first two nights to enjoy a bit of relaxation without the need to drive, so I booked us in to the Aberafon Camping Site, in Gyrn Goch, nestled between Gyrn Goch mountain and the beach. I found this site in a great little book from Vicarious Books titled 'Sea View Camping Wales'. This site had several different fields and our pitch overlooked the sea, beach and mountains. We'd packed the van the night before, so after breakfast we packed our food and drove down to the unit, filling up with fresh water before heading off.  On the way down we stopped at the Welsh Food Centre at Bodnant for sour-dough bread and wine.

We arrived at the site in the early afternoon and, after setting up, went for a walk along the pebbly beach, walking down to the jetty and small harbour at the end. Returning, it was time for a G&T and a sit in the sunshine. I lit the BBQ and cooked us lamb chops and chorizo sausage, with salad and wine. A bit tired and confused (those G&Ts were a bit strong!) Cathy had an early night while I sat and watched the sunset.

G&T time!

Monday 14 July 2014
The weather was wet and windy today, with the tops of the mountains hidden in low cloud, so we spent most of the day inside the van reading and snoozing.  We did manage a short walk later in the afternoon, but the rain soon drove us in.  Dinner tonight was cooked in 'Oska' - the rest of the chorizo skinned and chopped up, with tinned tomatoes, garlic, peppers and some croutons made with the last of the sour-dough bread.

Tuesday 15 July 2014
We woke to lovely blue skies - time to move on.  I looked through our 'Secret Beaches Wales' book and we decided on Porth Dinllaen. Packed up and fluids emptied and topped up, we drove the few miles to our next stop - the beauty of this area is that nowhere is very far away.  The roads are mainly quiet country lanes, which can be challenging in a large motorhome, but there are plenty of passing places and nobody seems to be in a hurry. We arrived at the car park to find it's owned and run by the National Trust, so free to us members (thanks to Nicola & Chris).  

There was plenty of room so we parked by the cliff, packed our swimming stuff and walked down the 60 steps to the beach.  The tide was in but there was still room to walk along this sandy beach.  We headed towards the small waterside hamlet of Porth Dinllaen in the distance.  With blue sky, hot sun and calm, clear waters, we could easily have been in the Med.  We reached the cluster of holiday cottages, fishermen's sheds and the Ty Coch Inn and walked beyond that, along the coastal path, towards the lifeboat station.  It was a rocky headland but there were plenty of places to get to the water - great swimming spots!  We picked ours and Cathy was first into the sea - the delight on her face to finally be swimming in the sea again was great to see.  I was next - initially chilly I was soon fine and enjoying the feeling of salt water on my skin again.  After about 15 minutes we headed back to the rocky shore to dry off before walking back to the Ty Coch Inn for lunch.  This is a great little pub and we managed to bag a table overlooking the beach. I ordered us a beer and grabbed a menu.  It was mainly sandwiches, paninis and jacket potatoes, but looking around the portions were generous. Cathy had a welsh black beef sandwich and I had chicken, ham and mayo. It was lovely sat barefoot, eating our lunch and watching families play on the beach.  We headed back along the beach and stopped off for a sunbathe.  I went back to the van to get our chairs and some fruit while Cathy went for another swim. Back at the van, I booked us in to a CL (max 5 pitches) at Llangwnadi. We enjoyed the rest of the afternoon relaxing on the beach before heading off to the CL.  On arrival we were met by two oldsters who insisted we pitch over in the far corner, but as there was no electric hook up, I ignored them and pitched in a spot between the other vans and next to the EHU.  They were a very funny couple, having been to this CL for the past 25 years (so perhaps they thought they owned it!?). We walked down to the owner's main campsite and house to pay for the pitch and explained about the old couple - the owner said we were fine where we are (phew!).  Back at the CL the old chap was touching up the paintwork on a caravan and explained someone else tows it there while they followed in the campervan - so basically they were taking up two pitches - no wonder they were keen to push us into the corner.  Still, I made the peace by showing him our Secret Beaches book and wrote the details on some paper for him. Dinner tonight was BBQ again (if the oldsters allowed us to light it!).  I made a marinade of marmalade, peanut butter, garlic, salt, pepper, chilli flakes and olive oil for the pork steaks, which we had with couscous and salad and wine.  Then it was chilling and reading time before bed (by this time we had no phone signal so no chance of interruption).


First swim of the year

Refreshments at Ty Coch Inn after a hard day on the beach

In the pitch that the oldies didn't want us to use
Wednesday 16 July 2014
We woke early and walked down the lane to a large and empty beach.  The tide was out and we had the place to ourselves.  Back at the van, breakfasted and showered, we emptied/filled fluids and headed off, no doubt to the relief of the oldsters still inside their caravan! Our next stop was to a small cove used by fishermen, which I saw in the NT handbook - Porth Meudwy.  The car park was free and empty as by now it was raining quite heavily.  We stopped in the van for some lunch and waited for the weather to improve. It wasn't long before the sun was out so we walked down the track used by the fishermen to the small cove.  There were about 4 fishing boats and one had just been brought in at the top of the tide.  We the followed the coastal path up and over the cliffs, with great views and made our way down to Aberdaron to walk along the beach.  Although quite windy it was warm and sunny, so we enjoyed the sound of the surf as the tide receded.  Reversing our route, we had a quick brew at the van before deciding where to stay tonight.  I picked a campsite called Mynydd Mawr at the very end of the Peninsular, overlooking Bardsey Island.  This was a small site comprising two fields, one slightly sloping and one flat.  Nobody was around so we picked a pitch and hooked up.  I planned to pay at the onsite cafe in the morning but, as I was preparing dinner, the owner turned up for a chat and payment.  The sky was blue and sun strong, but it was quite windy. After eating and washing up we took a walk along the headland, then climbed the westerly headland to look at the setting sun and towards Ireland.  The owner said on a clear day you can see Wicklow, but with the sea haze and low sun, we didn't spot it.  Back at the van we sat in the cab seats with a beer to chill and watch the sun drop before heading off to bed.  We also watched four old amigos playing ball. They were staying in a small caravan and tent and had clearly been on the lash for most of the day.  We tried to guess who they were - ex-hippies, blue-chip CEOs escaping the cut and thrust of business life, or maybe just four old mates escaping from their wives for a few days!

A large heart!

Thursday 17 July 2014
We both slept well and the morning was sunny and already hot at 0800. We sat outside with a brew hoping that the café was going to open so we could get a cooked breakfast. Sadly it didn't (weekends only?) so instead I made us a bacon and egg sandwich, before wandering over to the washing up shack. We topped up fresh water at the pitch then drove down to empty the loo and grey water, before heading off.

Our plan was to park at the National Trust car park again and walk to some coves called Borth Wen. This meant crossing a golf course using the public footpath, but the golf club had decided to remove the path markers which made it very difficult to find, so we ended up following the coastal path right around the headland to end up at Porth Dinllaen again. We walked along the path, past where we swam on Tuesday, to the small sandy beach next to the Lifeboat Station.  This was a lovely quiet spot with calm waters and we both enjoyed a swim.  At least it was peaceful until a group of about 100 school children descended on the beach, surrounding us with noise, chattering Welsh and much digging of holes!  They took turns to visit the lifeboat station and within an hour peace returned. Sun tanned and dried, we walked back to Ty Coch Inn for a beer before making our way back to the car park via the beach.

I had phoned the van converter in the morning to get an update - he was supposed to call me yesterday but of course didn't - this is usual. He said the van might be ready tomorrow and he'd call me later to confirm - again as usual he failed to do this.  So on our return I rang him again, only to be told the cushions & curtains aren't ready, blaming the lady doing this for the delay (no mention of the 6 months he's delayed things so far!). When I told him we would not take delivery (or pay him) until everything was completed, he pretty much said in that case he would sell the van and refund our money. A job that should have taken just 6 weeks has now taken longer than 6 months and still no end in sight. Now we just want to get the van from him and, needless, to say, we will never recommend anyone to use him.

By now we were ready for something to eat so drove to find fish and chips in Abersoch. We spent quite a lot of time (and several circuits of the one-way system) trying to find some motorhome friendly parking and eventually parked in an official but unattended car park (no trailers or motorhomes allowed). Having found the chippy, we took our supper and sat on a warm, sandy beach to eat them, eyed up by a couple of shifty looking shite hawks (aka seagulls!). On our way back to the van we bought a few groceries.  I don't think we'll be visiting Abersoch again - pretentious, tacky and over-priced.  We'll stick to the quiet areas.  Back at the van we decided to try wild camping tonight at the car park by Porth Meudwy we found yesterday. But as tomorrow's the weekend, I thought I'd better book us in to a site for Friday & Saturday as they seem to fill up quite quickly.  I rang a couple of sites - no answer - how the frig can you run a campsite and then never answer the phone!  I eventually got through to a site on a farm about 1/2 mile from Aberdaron and booked us in for two nights - at least I think I did - couldn't understand a word the lady said!  We headed off to our wild camping spot and arrived at about 1900.  There were a few cars here so we tried to look like we had just arrived for a quick brew and a walk - until Cathy got the chairs and table out! I had a lovely shower to get rid of the salt and sand, as did Cathy (after me that is - there's no room to share a shower in a motorhome!) and we sat outside with a brew and reading. There's only one car left here now and then perhaps we'll have the place to ourselves.  Let's see if we survive our first night wild camping in the UK!

Nice wild camping spot

We had the place all to ourselves

Friday 18 July 2014
Well, we survived out first night wild camping in the UK. Once the final car left we had the place to ourselves, the only sounds were chicks shouting to be fed nearby, plus a field of cows having a good moan. We sat in the cab seats reading until about 2200, then read in bed for a while.  Sometime in the night a thunderstorm came in, with lots of thunder, lightning and very heavy rain. We woke to cloudy skies but it was still very muggy. Breakfast was a bacon and egg butty, then we drove off to our next stop from the Secret Beaches book - Porth Iago.

We drove down a narrow farm track and paid the £3 to park all day at the ticket machine outside the farmhouse. We weren't really prepared for what we found.  We drove past a small campsite and into a grass car par, on the cliff edge overlooking Porth Iago. The view was stunning - clear out to sea and the beautiful, white sand of the cove with the tide out.  We walked down and had a wander around - it's only a small cove but we had it all to ourselves. On the way down I saw a sign for overnight parking for £8, so we decided there and then to stay here overnight. This is the sort of camping we had in mind when we thought of getting our own van - sat in warm sunshine with a fantastic view and a small beach with great swimming. We had a walk south along the coastal path towards Whistling Sands - it was away in the distance so we turned back towards the car park (my left ankle's been playing up so I can't walk far at the moment). Back at the van I drove on to the levelling ramps and set the heating and fridge to gas while Cathy got the kettle on.  We sat outside with our brew in a really warm breeze, watching the tide come in to the cove.  Shortly after we had a lunch of chorizo, garlic salami, hummus, red pepper & goat's cheese tapenade and krackawheat. Then it was time to hit the beach.

The tide was on its way in, but the soft white sand was above the high tide mark, so we set ourselves up and went for a swim.  It was chillier but still refreshing and after a good swim we walked up and down the beach, shuffling our feet to make the sand squeak - we don't need Sky TV to be happy!   We spent the afternoon sunbathing, snoozing, swimming and chatting about all sorts of subjects from quantum physics to Spanish tapas!  About 1700 we walked up the cliff path to the van for showers and sat outside overlooking the cove with a beer. It was blowing a hooley so eventually we moved into the van, where I cooked grilled welsh lamb steaks, patatas  bravas with a spicy red pepper sauce & mayonnaise and a salad.  We had a couple of glasses of red wine then saved the rest for later.  Washed up and cleared away, we dressed warmly and walked to the end of the headland with a picnic blanket and the rest of the wine to watch the sunset.  By now the wind had dropped and we sat on the grass watching the sun set and chatting. We saw various sea birds heading off to roost, plus either a dolphin or porpoise surfacing. As the sunset we finished our wine then sat until almost dark, before walking back to the van. Now safely and warmly tucked up, it's so quiet my ears are ringing from the silence.  After a lovely, relaxing day with sun, sea and good food, I'm sure we'll sleep well tonight.

What a view!

Handbrake on and in first gear - just in case!
You can just see the van to the right of the clifftop

Tea break with a view

Time to swim and chill

More sun-downers!

Sun-downer selfie

Party Island (at least that's what we called it)

Even more sun-downers

Snoozing off the sun-downers

Saturday 19 July 2014
We both slept really well in the peace and quiet of Porth Iago and awoke to a grey but warm morning.  After a cuppa in bed we dressed and walked the other way along the coastal path towards the other cove mentioned.  The sea was like a mill pond and a couple of fishing boats were out checking their lobster pots. We walked along the narrow path, trying but failing to avoid the sheep poo!   The other cove was narrower than Iago and pebbly - nowhere near as nice - so we didn't bother to go down but instead turned around, ready for our breakfast.  As we sat outside a couple came with two large kayaks and lowered them down the steep dune cliff on a rope - clearly they'd done this before. 

We washed up, secured, waved to the family in the little van that had spent a couple of nights on the cliff top and headed off. On the way out we stopped at the farmhouse to pay the £8 overnight fee. The farmer was a typical strange sort - didn't say anything, didn't make eye contact, just went into the house and came back with the change for my £10, handed it over without speaking and walked back the the shed. Another guy (his twin brother?) turned up in a land rover and stared at us until we drove off - strange pair.
We drove to the NT car park as it's the only place we've had a phone signal.  There was a voicemail to call Paul the van converter, so I sent him a text.  Finally, our van is ready (apart from cushions, seat covers & curtains - we'll get them later) so I arranged to pick it up on Friday morning, which should give us time to get it ready to head down south for the annual camp out with Jane, Ron & gang. 

By now it was tipping down with rain, so I picked a campsite out of the Seaviews book - Dwyros Camping & Caravan site.  I dialled the coordinates into the satnav and drove off. On arrival the owner showed me a pitch - not ideal as it was in the middle of the field, but with hook up and water, for one night it'll do. Cathy hooked us up and filled fresh water while I emptied the loo.  This is quite a large site and we seem to have landed amongst the crocs & onesies brigade - lot's of noise, kids on bikes (and adults in cars) driving over the hookup cable - we won't be back here!  But settled in, Cathy did some packing while I downloaded last night's photos.  We had some lunch and chilled out - it was quiet now and hopefully the cloud and mist will lift later so we can take a walk into Aberdaron, which is about half a mile away.

Finally the weather improved and we walked down the coastal path, then up again and we ended up opposite the campsite!  We walked down into the village to find a spar shop, bakery, fish & chip shop, cafés and pubs, plus another free NT car park!  We had a couple of drinks in the pub overlooking the beach and ended up chatting to the Mr T on holiday.  
Back at the van I cooked pasta carbonara with a bottle of white wine. Now the rain has stopped and the views have improved, so we're sat reading. But we won't be sad to leave this campsite. 

Sunday 20 July 2014
We didn't sleep well.  The Chavvy TCP neighbours were talking loudly and playing music until 0230, then we were awake and up by 0630 for breakfast, dump waste, pack and leave - we were glad to get away and will avoid large campsites in the future.  Our drive back was fine and after 2-3 hours cleaning the van, we locked it away and returned home to unpack and sort out.

We really enjoyed the Llyn Peninsular and will definitely go back.  It's like a little slice of Cornwall on our doorstep, only we can't understand what the locals are saying!  Hopefully next weekend we pick up our own van and head down to the south coast to meet up with our great friends, Jane & Ron, plus others for our annual camp out.