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

Sunday August 28th 2016 - Part 1 - A day of exploration

In spite of the previous night's metaphorical finger crossing the morning arrived with a sky full of grey cloud. By 11am there was still no sign of any sunshine but it was warm and at least it wasn't raining so I decided I would still have my 'big day out' which I'd intended to do at Easter but didn't because of the rain; if I found anywhere worth photographing I could always return on a sunny day in the future.

My first stop was at Bala on the A494; having been there many times before I hadn't intended to stop but it seemed that even though it was Sunday most of the shops were open, probably because of the bank holiday, so I decided to have a quick browse round. With just an hour on the car park ticket I went up one side of the street and back down the other, going in just two shops, then took the dogs for a short walk along the lake side. Even though it was so cloudy the lake was still very busy with various people swimming, boating or just chilling out with picnics on the grass, and several dogs were enjoying themselves in the water.

The next stop was a brief one by the wooden toll bridge at Penmaenpool on the A483; I've taken some lovely photos there on a previously sunny occasion but I think it's such a cute little place that even though it was so cloudy I couldn't resist stopping to take a few more shots before I drove over to the other side of the estuary.

My third stop was another unintended one in a lay-by on the A496 approaching Barmouth. As I rounded a bend I saw up ahead and over the wall on my left what appeared to be a little house built on a small rocky outcrop right on the sands of the estuary; it seemed to be a strange place for a house as it must surely be completely surrounded by water at high tide, so with curiosity getting the better of me I pulled up in the lay-by and walked back along the road to investigate.

At first I couldn't see anything as the wall was too high and overgrown with bushes but eventually I came to a clear part where I could see over the top. With windows and a doorway all open to the elements the little house looked rather abandoned and unloved, though the presence of a nearby tarmac slipway suggested that it may have once been a boat house rather than a house to live in. There was no way I could get to it for a proper look so I had to be happy with a couple of snaps from the roadside, and with my curiosity satisfied, partially at least, I made my way back to the van.

As I walked back along the road I passed the driveway to a house set down below the road itself. I hadn't noticed it before as it ran at an angle to the road but I couldn't miss it this time - it was full of flowering shrubs, plants and trees on both sides and down its whole length, making a colourful display which, even on such a cloudy day, was very attractive. This was too good an opportunity to miss so at the risk of getting told off for trespassing I wandered part way down and took several shots, though luckily there was no-one around so I didn't get challenged.

Back at the van I just had to take a photo of the sign in the lay-by; it was surrounded by a very colourful raised flower bed and was thanking me for visiting Barmouth, but it was on the side of the road going towards the town not coming away from it. Now I could have been missing something obvious but that seemed a bit odd to me - surely it should have been on the other side of the road?!

Down in Barmouth itself the sky was clearing and the sun started to appear in fits and starts through the clouds; I decided not to stop there though as I'd already taken lots of nice photos on my visit at Easter last year, so I just drove straight through the little town and out the other side. After that I was on a true voyage of discovery as I'd never been any further north along that particular stretch of coast so everything was new to me. As I left Barmouth behind the weather got better and better; the sky turned blue, the clouds turned white and fluffy and the sun shone, so when I saw a sign saying 'beach' I turned off the road and went to take a look.

A country lane led from the main road past fields and a couple of camp sites, ending in a tree-shaded car park and a boardwalk through the dunes; the car park was full though so I had to park on the grass verge at the side of the lane. A sign near the boardwalk told me that part of the beach was a designated naturist area so not wanting to come across something I had no wish to see I thought I'd better not stray too far along when I got there. 

The boardwalk emerged through the dunes onto a wide beach which looked like it stretched for miles and probably did, though I had no idea if it had a name. Ahead of me and right across the bay were the hills and coastline of the south east part of the Lleyn Peninsula, while in front of me the beach was alive with families enjoying themselves in the sunshine. With several shots taken I made my way back to the van and headed back to the main road to see where else I could discover.

As I passed through the village of Llanbedr I saw a sign for Shell Island and briefly thought about going there but then decided against it. It was reached by a tidal causeway and was cut off when the sea was in; not knowing the tide times I didn't want to go there and become so engrossed in exploring that I ended up getting stuck for several hours if the tide came in so I gave it a miss; I could always go another time.

My next intended stop was to be Harlech so I continued north along the A496, but as I rounded a bend I saw what I thought was one of the best beach views that's not on Anglesey. I'd just passed a lay-by so I found a safe place to turn round and went back to park up, though I left the dogs in the van for once as I wouldn't be many minutes. At the end of the lay-by was a grass verge and a stone wall with a steep grassy hillside leading down to the beach below, and from my elevated position at the roadside I had a fantastic view over the beach itself to Porthmadog, Borth-y-Gest, Black Rock Sands and Criccieth right across the bay, with the hills beyond. In the sunshine it was a stunning view and the photos I took really don't do it justice.

Back in the van I spent a few minutes going through the photos I'd just taken to make sure I'd got the best shots I could - I would have hated to drive away from that view and then later on find that the photos weren't right, but they looked good enough on the camera screen so I pulled away from the lay-by and headed for Harlech and the next part of my day.


  1. It's a shame the mornings are so overcast, but that driveway you found is very colourful and pretty. It's very strange about the Barmouth sign, I can't think why it would be facing the wrong way. I didn't know about a naturist area either, I would have no interest in discovering that! I've been to Shell Island and it's vast, worth a visit at the right time. I do like the last two photos, yes, a stunning view, I like to see them when the mountains look blue.

  2. That driveway was really lovely, it would have looked gorgeous if the sun had been shining.

    The Barmouth sign isn't actually facing the wrong way - that's what you see if you're driving OUT of Barmouth but it's on the right hand side of the road rather than the left where you would see it more easily. I can only think that maybe there's no room for it on the left so that's why it's in the lay-by going into Barmouth - or maybe it's just my crazy way of thinking! lol

    Years ago my ex and I once thought about camping on Shell Island after someone at work told me about it but we never got round to going there. I believe there's a little harbour there so I may make a visit sometime in the future as long as I know the tide times.

    That last view really was stunning; it really needed a panorama shot to show it at its best but I haven't yet managed to figure out the right setting on my camera. At least that's an excuse to go back there another time :)

  3. Wonderful post , so interesting to read and such awesome pictures.
    Pleased you are having a wonderful time.

  4. I did have a lovely time Yvonne. I've actually been back home since Tuesday afternoon but I've been working late into the evenings since then so it's taking me ages to write up my posts - and I've only another week then I'm off again, for ten days this time :)

  5. I like your overcast photos. I like the brilliant contrast of the colors of things and people against the gray sky. Your first sunny photos almost looked like watercolor paintings. Lovely. it has me wondering if the sky would be that same brightness and color in the places that were still overcast.

  6. Glad you like the photos Susie, now I think about it the last two do look a bit watercolour-ish.

    When I took the photos of the first beach the sky was clear blue right out to the horizon but behind me over the hills it was still full of dark grey cloud which produced some very contrasting light conditions. I suppose on a plane up above the clouds the sky would be blue all over :)

  7. Youre' right, those last two pictures are great, fabulous view definitely worth stopping for.

  8. When I drove round the bend in the road it was as if the view jumped up and slapped me in the face, it really did have the wow factor and I couldn't NOT stop.

  9. In general, driving across bridges makes me nervous, but I would love to be able to go over that adorable bridge you found! Such character!
    What a beautiful spot you happened upon in those last two photos! Was there no way to get down to the beach? It's surprising that no one was down there.

  10. I think that section of beach was part of a much longer beach hidden from view by the bend in the road. Just back from the lay-by where I parked was a long lane with a sign for 'beach' and what looked like a large caravan site right at the end but it was quite a distance down so I didn't go looking - maybe that's something I can do next time I'm down that way :)

  11. Barmouth is our very favourite place in Wales with it's stunning beaches, mountains and that bridge! We biked along the Mawddach Trail last week on a stunningly beautiful blue sky, very warm day and that little toll bridge is fabulous!


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