…. looking for another in the pool. They selected the venue for the afternoon after careful consideration of the Beach Guide. Good choice thought I, for in addition to the sandy beach and the rock pools, I knew there was a castle, and another chance to visit Mr Cadwalader. The Urchins had said a brief hello to the man on the previous day, at Betws, but this time had insisted I take them down to Criccieth. Oh well, one must. And the sun shone. All day.
It was a day that started with a brief excursion on the bike, getting to know the lie of the land, cranking down the gears and up the hills, stopping with a view over the bay far below, and out far and wide across the peninsula. Big horizon. But those slopes were nothing to the ones we drove through later.
But firstly back to the beach. We had a visitor. Moats were being dug down by the water’s edge; pages being turned on the rug. Pebbles were being turned, and the waves swished on, relentless, driven by an offshore breeze. A louder noise came closer, above. It looked to be a replica wartime bomber. Mr Barnes-Wallis himself may have watched from the castle rock, or perhaps those braving the waters were about to be strafed. Propellers birled, stirring the air, streaming moisture. But the exit, now that was fine. Having come in under the radar it departed, skimming the chimneys it seemed, below the flying dragon, on the railway side of the castle. Spectacular stuff.
But Mr C was calling. His vanilla the day before confirmed that Mr Equi operates at a different level, so we played it safe and went for the flavours. Coffee & walnut it had to be, in the absence of any pistachio; truly sublime. And off we went, to the other beach, the one with the rock pools. Quieter it was, the breeze all but gone. The few clouds that had greeted our arrival had long since headed for the hills, leaving just sky, big sky, saltire blue. Few people. Magic.
And which part of Australia are you from? I’d stopped, rather than interfere with a shot of the castle being framed. The Glasgow part, seemed the easy option.The gold shirt with the logos was a bit of a clue, but it was the hat that made their mind up. No corks! There’s no corks, thought I. And the question had come from my ancestral homelands of Fife, of all places, of all accents.
As we left town the skyline took the full glare of the lowering sun. Big jagged peaks; brutal bare rocks. Big country. It drew us in, and the scenic road back to base it had to be. Ms Krall took her seat at the ivories, for a chanteuse is the best guide to the road through the mountains. #When I grow, when I grow too old to dream – I’ll still be thinking of that road through the hills, The Royal Goat posed many a question, though there was no denying Mallory’s, base camp almost, as we scoured the skies, agog. ‘Tis rugged country.
We’d passed along the same road, in the other direction, the day before, and seen little. Above, a layer of cloud hid the peaks, oozing sweat on those passing through, Below was green; green and deep; steep and distant. Eyes on the road.
It’s good to be back, and to raise one of Mr C’s cones to absent friends. And it’s good to be able to paddle barefoot in the sea, as I recall my last barefoot adventures on the same stretch of