I’m just coming to the end of two weeks of vacation of which we spent the first 10 days on a family holiday to Wales. We originally had had various plans for an overseas trip but, apart from anything else, we’d failed to get Duncan a passport! In the end, we spent a week in a ‘lodge’ at a place called Timber Hill near Broad Haven in Pembrokeshire and then, because the original plan had been to find some mountains, up to a cottage in Llanberis for 4 nights.
We couldn’t have picked a better period weather-wise. We had blue skies for almost the entire week in Pembrokeshire. As a consequence we spent 4 out of the 6 days just on the local beach at Broad Haven which was reached via a pleasant 20 minute stroll through a wooded valley. Emma had a whale of a time playing in the sea and sand. Duncan, sadly, still needs to learn that sand is not for eating! Our two trips out were to nearby Picton Castle and to the headland adjacent to Skomer Island.
We were slightly concerned to be only the third car in the car park at Picton Castle despite arriving at around 11 o’clock. The castle itself is certainly nothing to write home about (it’s in need of a paint job if nothing else) but we whiled away a pleasant few hours in the grounds. Emma enjoyed the adventure playground although there was a worrying moment where she decided that the tree house was a changing room and removed the lower half of her clothing! There was also a maze and we spent quite a while in the walled garden, replete with lily pond. The food in the restaurant was also better than your average tourist attraction (with a Spanish theme for some strange reason).
We hadn’t planned to take the boat over to Skomer Island (famous for its puffins) which was just as well as the island had reached its 250 person limit when we arrived. We watched the departing boats whilst we had lunch though and then pottered around the headland.
From Emma’s point of view, our stay at Timber Hill was probably most memorable for the selection of games in the lodge (the fact that Cluedo had half the pieces missing didn’t matter a jot to her enjoyment of playing with it!) and for the fact that they completed the new play area towards the end of the week and she was the first down the slide.
The trek north to Snowdonia was most notable for the first possible incidence of car sickness for Emma. It’s hard to beat that part of Wales for winding roads mind and apparently Christine had also been car sick in much the same spot when she was a child. Our accommodation for this part of the holiday was certainly spacious (we didn’t use the room on the third floor). It didn’t take Emma long to alight on the vast array of toys that were on offer. Duncan, meanwhile, made a beeline for the large collection of candles and other nick-nacks which had to be rapidly moved up out of his reach.
It was too much to expect the weather to be quite so great in Snowdonia but there was still plenty of sunshine to be had and the only real rainfall took place in a massive thunderstorm one night. Duncan is in a carrier but Emma has been too heavy (at least for me) for a while now and can’t/won’t walk more than a mile or so. Much to my amazement the cottage had a copy of “All Terrain Pushchair Walks – Snowdonia” which I had previously spotted online. With this as our guide, we embarked on the 5 mile loop round Llyn Padarn. By lunchtime we’d only just made it past the National Slate Museuem and the Llanberis Lake Railway. The section after that was pretty steep and fortunately Emma walked it all as I wouldn’t have fancied manouvering the buggy with her in it. It was a quiet road and then cycle track for the return along the lake.
The next day the forecast was for rain so we just went to the nearby waterfalls and to the start of the Llanberis Path up Snowdon. Christine then amused the kids in the centre of town whilst I ran the previous two walks looking for hats that Duncan had dropped (I had a 50% success rate in finding them again!). In the end, the rain didn’t really come to anything.
Christine was determined that we should get up something so on the last we took the bus up to Pen-y-Pass and then walked along the Miner’s Track to Llyn Llydaw. Splashing in the puddles from the overnight rain was enough to keep Emma walking nearly the entire way. Indeed, we had to ask her to get in the buggy so we could get to the lake for lunch. Christine then headed up Snowdon and back whilst I amused the kids. It was then my turn to head to the summit whilst Christine walked the children back down. Sadly, although we had walked in sunshine, the cloud was stuck on the Llanberis side of the mountain and mostly engulfed the summit so not much to see. Still, I couldn’t hang around and had to run much of the descent via the Pyg track to get back in time for the same bus as the others. Emma’s ice cream in the cafe and then dinner at Pete’s Eats concluded a successful day out.
All in all, we had a fantastic 10 days away and have also had a chance to catch up at home in the past couple of days before returning to the normal fray on Monday. That time’s also allowed me to put lots of photos of our time in Pembrokeshire and Snowdonia on Flickr.