A Postcard From Wales!
Here at 2meeuk we love adventures, whether at home or away & this recent half-term holiday period was no exception. With travel restrictions being relaxed and a week of the holidays still to go, I decided a ‘Lad and Dad’s’ mini adventure was in order. North Wales was the destination, so I booked an apartment in Llandudno via Air BnB, shook the dust of the beach towel and walking gear, packed up the motor and headed out. Our first official trip & quality time away for both my 4 ¾ (nearly 5) year old & I - no mum, no grandparents just the two of us! Familiar with the jewel that is North Wales, even living there during my childhood I had a loose plan of what to do and where we could explore. I decided beaches, mountains and castles would be perfect for us to add more layers to our bond as father and son.
We arrived into the land of castles and dragons mid-morning on Monday, I had asked for early check-in at the apartment however, that wasn’t until 1230am. With a couple of hours to spare, we stopped at the holiday town of Rhyl & parked on the seafront. The tide was just heading out, so we spent the next hour beach combing and building a makeshift lean-to shelter, the beach was very clean and brought back memories, of my Nan and Grandad taking me there during the 70s. This was when Pontins at Prestatyn was a favourite destination. With time slipping away, we headed back to the car and onwards to Llanduno. Upon arrival we checked into the apartment unloaded our bags and had lunch. After lunch, we packed a day sack and walked along the promenade to the sandy part of Llandudno bay beach. If you are not familiar, the majority of the sea front is terraced stones with the sandy part closer to the pier. The afternoon was spent testing our new Sky Rider frisbee, crabbing and making sandcastles; the weather was perfect with blue skies & the sun on our face. We headed to the pier at around 1600 hrs to grab an ice cream. The stallholder advised us to be wary of the greedy seagulls, which Ed seemed to find hilarious and we teased them with every taste. The pier was in sound order with some of the stalls open, Ed loved the fact you could see between the boardwalks to the sea. After a stroll along the pier & with grumbling stomachs, we treated ourselves to fish and chips out of the packet, we headed back to the apartment noting a few gift shops selling rock on the way. Following supper, we had a play together with some toys Ed had packed and settled down for the night.
Ed was up with the lark due to the lack of black out blinds in the apartment, this was ideal as it allowed us to get on the road to Snowdon early. For those that are familiar with Mount Snowdon, I had decided we would head up the mountain via the Pyg track which is a little more challenging than the Miner’s track. This would be Ed’s first big mountain, arriving in Llanberis I grabbed a coffee and then drove a little further to the Car Park at Pen Y Pass. After spending 10mins connecting to Wi-fi to pay £18 for a space, we parked the car and changed our shoes. I had found Ed a pair of UOVO outdoor shoes and Trespass walking socks, a few weeks before so he could break them in. We headed slowly up the side of the mountain and with every step the conversation developed, after 30 mins of walking Ed and I were in full flow, chatting about giants throwing boulders and dragons breathing flames at them. Our first water stop, Ed mentioned how small the road below looked and the cars were like ants! I had a CamelBak water bottle that was ideal for the walk. I think Ed liked the large size of it as we were sharing & he was keen to undo the lid and drink away. We continued up the mountain, navigating the differing rocks and step sizes, a few occasions Ed would need a shove up but overall, he took it all in his stride. We stopped for a snack after an hour of walking and took a picture of the valley behind us. There were other couples and small groups walking, they seemed very enamoured with Ed attempting the Pyg track. We pushed on to the saddle at the base of Crib Goch, where the path crosses over away from Llanberis Pass. We left the path and headed up a hillock for a break. The weather was cooling slightly and after an hour and a half of walking, this was a great point to head back down. Ed had a water-stop and took a few photos with his Kidizoom camera he was keen to push on but after a chat we headed down. It took us just shy of an hour to get back to the car park. Ed had been amazing we were both on cloud nine with the thrill of the Welsh air & the views from Snowdon. We had both immersed ourselves in each other and time had slipped away. We jumped into the car and drove into Llanberis for a picnic at the park by the lake, after eating we bought a well-deserved ice cream from Georgio’s located on the high street near Pete’s Eats. We then headed back to Llandudno and spent the remainder of the day on the beach and choosing bars of rock for various relatives.
After another early start, we packed the car and headed to Conway Castle, I had pre-booked tickets online for a 1000 hrs slot. We arrived around 9am and parked just behind the castle, we grabbed a coffee and pain au chocolat from an independent shop on the high street. We sat next to the castle on a grass verge basking in the sunshine and tucked in. After coffee we made our way to the entrance and had a short wait before heading inside. This was Ed’s first big castle visit, he raced around taking it all in. As I’ve found with most castles in Wales, they are all very well maintained. The tower staircase areas were closed, but overall it was well worth the visit. We took a few photos and then he proceeded to fleece me in the gift shop! After the castle, we visited Drew Prichard’s antique shop although closed, we ended up buying some pottery from a nearby gallery. En-route back to North Yorkshire, we stopped off at Eastham on the Wirral for a picnic with Nana.
For those of you feeling a little hesitant about going solo with your young children, I fully recommend North Wales as a destination; the locals were more than helpful, and the tourism industry is a well-oiled machine with plenty of options for accommodation and days out. We had the most amazing time away without any fuss and I feel this has set the tone for future Lad and Dad"s adventures - so watch this space!