I woke that morning to a grey sky and light rain though it had stopped by the time I took the dogs for their first walk. Undecided what to do and where to go if the weather was going to be damp I wasn't in too much of a rush to go out, so I spent most of the morning pottering about round the awning and talking to others in the group. It was lunchtime when I finally decided to make a move, and wanting to go in search of a camping shop as I needed some extra guy lines I decided to drive over to Betws-y-Coed, stopping at Llanrwst on the way. Dragon had told me the previous night about a little tea shop which was by the river in Llanrwst and which did lovely cakes, so I thought it was worth checking out.
The A548 from Abergele to Llanrwst started just down the road in the town, though once away from Abergele itself it was more of a B road than an A road in many parts and I have to admit that for once in my life I didn't particularly enjoy the drive. There were many twists and turns, bad bends and steep inclines going down (sometimes a bend and an incline all in one) and my mind went back to the day last October when my brakes had almost given up the ghost going down a long incline near Skipton - if the same thing happened on that road then I could be in trouble, though thankfully it didn't and I reached Llanrwst safely. Crossing the narrow stone bridge over the river I saw the tea shop on the other side, and pulling into the rough-surfaced car park I found a space, parked up and went to see what delights it had to offer. It was only a very small place but obviously very popular as all the tables were occupied and there was a queue of half a dozen people waiting, however there was a 'take-away' counter round the back and some tables set out on the grass so after studying the menu I ordered my coffee and cake, but as it was a bit too chilly to sit outside I took them back to the van. And I have to say that the chocolate cake with fresh cream was absolutely delicious.
By the time I'd taken my tray back to the counter the sky had started to clear and the sun was appearing in fits and starts, so releasing the dogs from the van I went for a short walk along the riverside to take some photos. With half a dozen shots in the camera I returned to the van and with the dogs back on their bed I set off to drive the four miles to Betws-y-Coed.
I had been to Betws-y-Coed three times before, the last time only a month previously while on a day out with my son and daughter-in-law, but always being with someone else I'd never really been able to look round properly so this time I would have the chance. It's a very popular place and being the Easter weekend it was very busy, so it took three circuits of the car park before I was able to find a space. Leaving the dogs in the van for once, as I would be going in and out of shops and couldn't keep tying them and untying them every couple of minutes, I paid my car park fee and got a ticket then set off to find some guy lines. And that's where I was destined to be disappointed - I walked all the way up the main road on one side and back on the other, going into every shop there was, and though most of them sold outdoor gear and accessories it was all walking stuff. Not one single shop had any camping gear even though there are two campsites in the village and other sites not far away, and even the large tent display, which just happened to be in the nearby park, didn't have any accessories - how absolutely useless! The afternoon wasn't a total waste of time though as I found a nice little spot by the river and got some lovely photos.
Returning to the van I clipped the leads on the dogs and took them for a walk round the grassy area at the far end of the car park, then once they were settled back in the van I set off for the return drive to the camp site. Going back over the A548 somehow didn't seem to be as bad as before, I think mainly because the steep downhill parts were now uphill, and with the sun shining brightly and a cd to sing along to it was really quite pleasant. Back at the site I reversed the van onto my pitch, connected the awning, then set about making a brew and something to eat. Some of the group members were planning to have a barbecue later on but I didn't want to wait so long before having something to eat so I decided not to join them, and when I heard the sound of light rain on the top of the awning I was glad I wasn't outside. I spent the evening until bedtime reading and watching a bit of tv, then after a final short walk down the lane and back I settled the dogs in their bed and retreated to mine, with fingers metaphorically crossed for good weather the following day.
- Hi! I'm Eunice and I live in Bolton, Lancashire, with my two dogs Sophie and Sugar and an assortment of cats - well it used to be Sophie and Sugar, now it's Sophie and Poppie. I first began camping back in 1997 when my then partner took me to Anglesey for my birthday weekend. We slept in the back of the car - a hatchback - using the cushions off the settee at home as a mattress, and cooked and brewed up on a single burner camping stove. The site was good, the views were great, the weather fantastic and I was completely hooked. Following that weekend we got a two-man tent and some proper accessories and returned to Anglesey two weeks later, then over time we progressed to a three-man tent followed by an old trailer tent, then a new trailer tent, a campervan and finally a caravan. When my partner decided that the grass was greener on the other side of the street - literally - in April 2009 and I suddenly found myself alone after fifteen years, I decided there was no way I was going to give up camping and caravanning if I could cope on my own. This blog is the story of my travels, trials and tribulations since becoming a solo camper - I hope you like it