About Me

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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

Saturday April 4th 2015 - Barmouth & the Mawddach Estuary

I woke early that morning to the dawn chorus, a cacophany of birdsong coming from the surrounding trees and interspersed with the occasional hoot of a pheasant, with the sound of the river running below the steep bank just behind my pitch. The sky was grey but by the time I'd breakfasted and walked the dogs later on it was gradually turning blue and the sun was making an appearance. Time to get the map book out and plan where I was going for the day, and rather than stay inland I decided to drive down to Barmouth on the coast, which was a place I'd never been to before.

My route took me from the A5 down the A494, past the lake at Bala and through the southern reaches of the Snowdonia National Park; the scenery was lovely and I could have stopped several times to take photos but if I did that I would never get to where I was going so I resisted temptation. At the end of the A494 I reached the A470 and a slight dilemma - a sign pointed left to Barmouth but also straight on to the same place. Which way was best? I chose left down the A493, and later on was glad I did. Another couple of miles took me to a sharp right hand turn down a short lane to a wooden bridge over a river; there was a toll charge of 70p to drive across the bridge but it was worth it for the surrounding scenery. Unfortunately I couldn't just stop as there were other cars behind me but I'd noticed a small car park nearby so I would make a point of going back that way later on.

The lane from the toll bridge joined the A496 which ran alongside the Mawddach estuary and into Barmouth, and a couple of miles from the town itself was a long roadside lay-by so I pulled in there for a few minutes - the views across the estuary were just too good to miss out on a few shots.

The road took me straight into Barmouth and following the signs I came to a large sea front car park; that would do nicely so I found a space, got a ticket from the machine and with the dogs on the lead set off to explore. Across the road a wide sandy beach interspersed with low dunes stretched to the right as far as the eye could see; to the left was a jetty and the little harbour so that's where I headed for, and photography-wise I wasn't disappointed. Even though the tide was out there was still some water in the bay,  and with many colourful boats anchored up or beached on the sand I got several nice shots.

On the way into the town I'd spotted a grassy area at the side of the road which would make a good vantage point over the estuary and the railway bridge so from the jetty I headed along the road past the harbour and back to the place I'd seen, then with another couple of shots taken I retraced my steps and went in search of a cafe - it was time for coffee and cake.

Unfortunately it seemed that a sunny bank holiday weekend rendered Barmouth's harbourside and sea front a very popular place to be and I hadn't a cat in hell's chance of getting a table at a cafe where I could sit outside with the dogs, so I went back to the car park and put them in the van. Even though it was sunny there was a cool breeze blowing, so with the windows open a couple of inches and the van in the shade I knew they would be okay for a short while.

Just off the harbour and away from most of the hustle and bustle was the main shopping street so I decided to have a look up there. Many of the shops were closed but I finally found Goodies tea room, and with no customers in there I had my choice of tables. I ordered carrot cake and a latte coffee and both were excellent, in fact I was so impressed with the coffee that I had a second cup. With the inner woman satisfied I returned to the van and released the dogs then took a walk along the promenade. A small but colourful fairground and a few gift shops and cafes were followed by another large car park and rows of hotels, guest houses and private bungalows so I didn't walk too far before heading back to the van - it was only 4.15 but I wanted to get back to that toll bridge while the sunshine was still good.

It cost another 70p to drive back across the bridge, and with the van parked up I took the dogs and went on a quest for some more photos. A single track road near the end of the bridge ran for a short distance along by the river and a pub/restaurant and hotel looked out across the water to the hills on the far side. It was a lovely little spot with great views and I was glad that I'd chosen to take that left turn earlier on - if I'd gone straight on I would never have known about it.

Those should have been the last photos of the day as time was getting on and I didn't want to be too late getting back to the tent, but as I was driving past Bala lake I noticed a camp site which seemed to go right down to the water's edge so I pulled in, parked up just outside the entrance and went to take a look. It was a big site with a mixture of statics, tourers and tents and the camping field did indeed go right down to a sand and shingle beach at the lakeside; no-one bothered me as I walked round, and with a handful of shots which were definitely the last ones of the day I returned to the van and completed my journey back to Felin Uchaf with no further stops.

Back at the tent I made a brew and something to eat then passed the time until dusk doing the crosswords in a magazine. With the dogs walked just before it went dark I settled them in their beds and retreated to mine with my book for the rest of the evening. I'd had a really good day, the weather had got better and better as the day went on and I'd got some good photos; fingers crossed that the following day would turn out to be just as good.