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

Thursday July 13th 2017 - Part 1 - Portobello beach and a watery experience

Another extremely warm sunny day arrived and by late morning I was on the road again, this time on a quest to find Portobello beach. Since trying, and failing, to find a way to the far side of Dulas Bay last year I'd found out that my good sense of direction had actually taken me down the right lane and if I'd left the van by St. Gwenllwyfo's church a short walk would have taken me straight to the bay. I'd also learned of Portobello beach, a little known beach at the seaward end of the Dulas estuary, and after seeing a photo of it I thought it looked so nice that I had to go and find it.

There wasn't much room to park outside the church so I pulled in by a field gate across the lane; hopefully the farmer wouldn't want to use the gate any time soon but judging by how peacefully the cows and sheep were grazing I thought it highly unlikely. It was a pleasant walk down the lane from there and I emerged onto the shingle at the side of the bay; to my right was a wide expanse of sand flats with the Afon Goch river cutting through on its way out to sea, and somewhere to the left was Portobello beach. Not far from the end of the lane I came to the seaweed-encrusted carcass of a long dead fishing boat, its ribs looking very much like the remains of a large prehistoric bird, then a bit further on the shingle finally gave way to a very small sandy beach backed by a high retaining wall to some private land. 

The little beach was dissected by a creek a couple of yards wide with a very shallow stream running through it and with a crossing point made out of a pile of stones; I was glad about that as I had my trainers on so didn't want to get my feet wet. From there the beach was stony for quite a distance then all at once, at the point where the river met the sea, I came to a wide expanse of clear flat sand - I'd found Portobello beach. A little way along the seaward side was a rocky outcrop across the sand and at the other side of it, set back off the beach, was the large Mediterranean-style Portobello House. That part of the beach was more stony but it still looked nice and was certainly worth a photo.

With just a couple of shots taken I didn't linger and within a few minutes I was heading back the way I'd gone. All went well until I got to the little creek; although it was still a long while to high tide I hadn't realised or noticed just how quickly it came in along the Dulas estuary - the river had widened, flowing into the creek, and the shallow stream of only twenty minutes before was now well over ankle deep. Even the stepping stones were under water and there was no way I could cross without getting my feet wet so it looked like my trainers were in for an unwanted soaking.

As if that wasn't bad enough there was worse to come after I'd crossed the creek. The river had widened so much that the water was right up to the retaining wall at the end of the little beach - I was cut off, and to get to the next section of beach a few yards away would entail some serious wading. It was fortunate too that I was wearing cycling shorts as the water came above my knees; the dogs had to swim, and while Poppie was quite happy Sophie wasn't impressed at all and was obviously glad when we finally reached dry land. When we got back to where the old boat lay the water was already creeping up round one side of it; fortunately the beach at that point was backed by a grass bank with a footpath which made a good escape route, so I was able to get back to the bottom of the lane without any further mishap.

Back at the van I dried my feet off and changed into my spare trainers; the weather may have been very warm but I didn't really want to spend the rest of the day walking round in wet shoes. With the comfort factor sorted I gave the dogs a drink then turned the van round and headed off for the next part of my day - and hopefully it wouldn't be as eventful as the last half an hour had been.


  1. It's a good job that Sophie overcame her dislike of swimming and knew she had to do it to get across. It's amazing how quickly you can get cut off with the tides. I have no idea where Portobello beach is having never heard of it so am off to look it up.

  2. Sophie didn't have much choice Eileen, she was on the lead and being pulled along by both me and Poppie. I guess maybe the shape of the bay and the fact that it has a river running through it means the tide comes in so quickly; I'm glad the water wasn't any deeper or I would have had to swim too! :)

  3. Goodness, that could have ended differently ..... I suppose if you'd been really cut off you might have gone into the garden of Portobello House but that would have probably given you a long road walk back to the car. At least your dogs are small enough to scoop up if necessary, Daisy - not so much!

    If you have a smartphone, I can recommend a free app called "Tide Times Near Me" which I always use if we're on the coast.

  4. I don't have a smartphone Jayne, I'm a bit of a dinosaur when it comes to things like that - I still use my original Nokia 3310 :) I'd picked up a free tide table booklet from the local shop the day I arrived - it's the first thing I do each year - so I knew what time the high tide was, which wasn't for ages, but I hadn't realised just how quickly the water would rise at that point. If the river wasn't there I doubt it would have come up so far.

    Going back to Portobello House would have meant wading back across the creek and walking all the way back to the sea, and even then the beach could have been under water by the time I got back there. I wouldn't have been completely stuck though - the end of the retaining wall went round a corner and there was a slipway leading up into the field behind. It did have a notice saying 'private land' but if the water had been too deep for me to wade past the wall I would have just gone up there and found my way round that way.

  5. What a story, Sophie overcame her fear thank goodness.
    Hope you're ok.


  6. We were fine thanks Yvonne, just a bit wet. It was certainly an adventure :)


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