Thursday, 9 April 2009

Walking in the wilds, on to Anglesey

We awoke to grey skies and cool weather, but looks at these gorgeous daffodils! The boys were quickly out of the hostel room to continue playing around the creek. We called them on our way up to breakfast (another cooked one - 2000 calories, anyone?).

After breakfast we loaded the car with all our stuff, then went for a walk on some of the trails from Kings up Cader Idris. Nicole and I kept to the paths, but the boys had a great time exploring by the river, clambering over walls, crossing little bridges, climbing trees...

The boys found these sheep jawbones along the way.

We were all very good, and didn't disturb the many sheep (as the sign on a gate told us, its lambing season, and they would appreciate if the sheep were not upset at this time!)

Throughout our walks we have seen many rhododendrons. They are classified as a weed here, and there is an eradication policy in place. The rhododendrons grow quickly, and are forcing out the native species of plants. So as pretty as the flowers are when they bloom, they are a big problem for the Welsh environment.

After a couple of hours walking, including a drink of the most delicious water from the mountain stream, we made our way back down to the car, and on to our next destination.

Our next stop was a bit of a strange one... Portmeirion Village It's a private village built by Sir Clough William Ellis. He collected parts of ruined buildings and mansions to create this strange little village- completely out of place in the middle of Wales! He harvested the pieces from across Europe and used them to build the village. The first stage was completed 1926-1939 and the second half completed between 1954-1976. Clough was 90 years old when it was finished.

The village is beside the bay, and your admission ticket has the tides printed on it...perhaps people have been stuck when the tide has come in previously! With an exorbitant charge to get in, we had a look around, had a coffee and ice cream, and went for a lovely walk along the shore and back through the gardens. The entire site is listed on the Conservation List.

There were tree stumps with embedded coins - we aqssumed it was to 'kill them off' with the copper from the coins poisoning the trees.. Of course, the boys thought this was great and immediately set about trying to 'extract the cash'! A few pence richer, we got back to our walking!

We drove on to Carnaerfon for lunch (a Tesco sandwich and a chocolate milk all round!) and then set sail for Holyhead, which is a small island up the north-west corner of Wales. (From here, you can catch a ferry to Ireland.) We could also get Irish Radio in the car along most of the West coast of Wales. After some nice highway driving (off the goat tracks for once!), we arrived at the youth hostel, which doubled as an adventure centre with lots of outdoor activities. The boys immediately found some tepees and disappeared for some fun.

The boys met Arthur the goat, who was tethered to the chook hutch. He was fine when there was one child, but he got a bit frightened when he was outnumbered. Arthur the goat is very popular. He has his own blog, his own facebook page (Arthur has 647 friends at this point of time) and a business card (exactly the same design as Nicole's visitor card. The business cards come from a free website) They also met Harry the dog, who was a big friendly bear of a dog, and the chooks.

Later in the afternoon we went down to the local beach, which was a small sandy beach with rock cliffs on either side. Cimbing on the rocks and playing on the beach was great fun - even if the weather was not so pleasant! We walked over the bluff to get a look down the coast, but the wind was blowing so hard and the rain coming in sideways that we didn't stay there for long!

We drove further down the coast to a second beach, this one a big, wide beach that you could imagine would be covered with white and pink (sunburned) specimens in the summer! The kids had a great run on the beach, found a crab in a rock pool, then watched as the life savers came back to the beach in their rubber dinghy. The volunteers let the boys hose the wheels of the tractor and trailor as the boat was brought up the ramp to the shed. It should have been obvious that giving an 8 year old a high pressure hose is not a good idea! Several soaked volunteers later...and very clean tyres!

We walked across the road to a pub for a delicious meal (sticky toffee strikes again!), then back to the hostel for the night.

Camerons view: (Cameron wrote a diary for school, and he has given me permission to post his thoughts in the blog)
We had lots of fun in the morning playing in the water and had a big walk up a hill.

Next we went to a colorful village and saw money growing on a tree! I tried to get all the money out but I only got a couple of pence.

Then we played on two different beaches. On the second beach we helped in an emergency situation, by cleaning the wheels of the emergency life boat.

We went to a pub and had a great dinner. After dinner we went to a hotel and saw a goat which had its own Facebook page!

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