Although we've been camping a couple of times in the last couple of years, we've not yet been back to North Wales. So the slaying of some demons was overdue.
Our friends Steve and Helen (plus Euan) organised things this time round, settling on the Eisteddfa Camping Site near Criccieth and close to Porthmadog, just up and round the coast (but importantly a couple of miles in land) from Shell Island. Deb, Neil and Lucas also came, and stayed in a caravan on account of them having to travel by train - an unfeasibly lengthy six-hour journey from The Wirral.
We arrived on a Monday, after a pretty long but increasingly scenic journey of our own from Leeds. Our new larger car helped greatly with accommodating our luggage. Our pitch, unusually, was a rectangle of slate chippings, more commonly used by caravans I supposed. It gave a sharper, but drier camping surface, but the rocky ground caused problems with banging in the pegs.
During the week we always kept an eye skywards for rain. This summer still hasn't really started yet, and the two weeks before our holiday were particularly wet and windy, and saw much flooding across the UK including North Wales. This week we were to be lucky, with some rain falling, but mostly at night, and the middle of the week was particularly pleasant with some warm sunshine.
Tuesday, the first full day, gave us an opportunity to visit the nearest village. Criccieth. We strolled the seafront, found a secluded playground, had lunch in a tiny cafe, and visited the castle.
Wednesday bought the promise of sunshine, so we headed west to Abersoch. I immediately liked the beach, but found it to be riddled with posh teenagers. No matter, we unfurled our picnic, paddled in the chilly sea, and dug sandcastles. We could have been at Scarborough!
The next day delivered even better weather. Today we did our own things. Deb and Neil caught the train a couple of stops to Harlech, while Steve and Helen drove to Angelsey, to the beach at Beaumaris. We went to nearby Portmeirion. This was on our to-do list from 2010, and we sure picked the best day to walk around this charming, eccentric village.
Friday was the last full day, and with it came rain. Not heavy, thankfully. We all went to Caernarfon, where we sat out the worst of the wet in a massive soft play built into an ex-church. Then we headed to the castle for a good nosey, before repairing for coffee and cake.
Saturday was home time. After packing our temporary homes into our cars, we went our separate ways. Neil and Deb went to Criccieth to get their train, Helen and Steve took a drive through the mountains to have lunch in Betws-y-Coed, while we retraced our coast-hugging inward route. We stopped at Conwy for a stretch and a bite, and we liked the place.
We all had a great time, but as ever it was good to get back to our own beds.