Back at the tent I made a brew and some breakfast then sat for a time in the sunshine while debating where to go for the day. I needed to get a hot water bottle from somewhere but not wanting to go back into Llangollen I decided to have a look round the small town of Bala, have coffee and cake in the Loch Cafe overlooking the lake - Llyn Tegid - and take the dogs for a walk by the water's edge.
About three miles from the site, and just at the far side of Corwen village, I came across a small car boot sale on a bit of waste ground which was part of the Rhug organic farm, so I pulled in to take a look. There was nothing of any real interest to me until I got to the last stall where I saw a decent-sized collapsible metal dog crate for £20; I didn't really need one but it was new and was the type of thing that may come in handy sometime. Knowing how much these things cost to buy from pet stores I decided to have it, so handing over my cash I went to get the van while the lady on the stall collapsed the crate for me. It went in the van easily, and pleased with my purchase I continued the journey to Bala with no further stops.
Driving straight through the town I headed for the leisure centre car park on the outskirts, which is cheaper than the one by the lake, and finding a space in the shade of a tree I left the dogs in the van while I went in search of a hot water bottle. I was in luck, and managed to get a nice blue one from a pharmacy, then after a look round the shops - down one side of the street and back up the other - I went to retrieve the dogs from the van for a walk by the lake.
The lake side is a very popular place and being the Easter weekend it was very busy, with people enjoying various activities both on and off the water; the Loch Cafe seemed to be full and the ice cream van in the car park was doing a very good trade. I walked for quite a distance along a nearby path before returning to my starting point via the water's edge, where I got several good photos, then seeing that the Loch Cafe was by now virtually empty I left the dogs back in the van and went to treat myself to some coffee and cake.
I've been in that cafe many times during various camping weekends at Carrog and my favourite indulgence has always been their Caramel Apple Granny with cream, however I was disappointed to see that it was no longer on the menu and when I asked the lady behind the counter she hadn't a clue what I was talking about, so it seemed like it had been quite a while since they'd last served it. The small range of cakes they now had, which were on display at the counter, didn't look particularly exciting and most of them were pre-packaged, but I was ready for a brew so I ordered a latte coffee and a slice of caramel shortbread and went to sit at a table. To say that the place wasn't busy just then it took an age for my coffee to arrive and when it did it wasn't exactly mad hot, so I drank it quickly, wrapped the shortbread slice in the serviette provided, and took it back to the van feeling strangely let down - and from being a place I'd always liked going in the Loch Cafe would now be crossed off my list of coffee-and-cake eateries.
After giving the dogs a drink I set off back through the town and round the top end of the lake to the far side, in a quest to find a nice little place at the side of the lake where my then partner and I had stopped for a picnic one year. Now I could remember parking up by the roadside and crossing over the miniature railway line to get to the water's edge, but eleven or twelve years on nothing looked familiar and the spot where I thought we'd parked was taken up by the entrance lane to a private sailing club. Thinking that maybe the place I was looking for was further down the road I drove on for another couple of miles but when the road veered inland slightly I knew we hadn't gone that far, so I turned the van round and went back to the sailing club entrance. That was the closest I could get to the railway line and I felt sure I was in the right place, but with no public access to the lake at that point I had to admit defeat. Driving round the edge of town I headed back towards Carrog, stopping off for a brief look at the shops in Corwen village, then back at the camp site I spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing in the sun outside the tent.
When the warmth finally went out of the sun I retreated back into the tent and sorted out my evening meal, which was finished off with a brew and the shortbread slice from earlier, then as the daylight started to fade I took the dogs for their last walk down the lane as far as the bridge and back. And when I finally went to bed much later on it was with the comforting knowledge that my new hot water bottle would keep my feet warm and toasty all night.