Photograph above was taken from the Llanberis Path, one of the routes up Mt. Snowdon, looking towards Llanberis.

Holiday in Wales 2021


1 August 2021 - Sunday

Amazingly enough, we got away on time, collected our caravan from its storage site at noon and set off on what should have been a two-hour journey to Bron-Y-Wendon Holiday Park in North Wales. Being a Sunday, we were expecting a quiet journey so we were rather shocked to find the motorways, and all other roads, crowded all the way into Wales. Sadly, as we neared our destination, we realised that there had been a very serious accident at or near the junction where we should have turned off to the caravan site and the junction was closed. We hoped there were no fatalities in the accident which we understood was horrendous. We turned off at the previous junction and slowly, through extremely heavy traffic, made our way to the site where we eventually arrived an hour later than scheduled.

Notes about Bron-Y-Wendon Holiday Park and the immediate area:

  • Pleasant well-maintained site with very limited facilities considering the expensive site fees. We found much cheaper sites in Switzerland which had better facilities and free internet.
  • Friendly and helpful staff.
  • Internet connection, when working, is very expensive. Most of the time during our stay there was no internet available.
  • Sea view – sunset over the sea – large number of wind turbines offshore.
  • Clean facilities.
  • Children's play area.
  • The site boundary on one side is a railway line – not too noisy.
  • The site boundary on another side is not far from the main road (A55), so there is always some noise.
  • Although this is a coastal site, there is no real beach – lots of rocks and no amenities at all. No good for families seeking a beach holiday where children can build sandcastles.
  • Despite the poor beach with its lack of amenities, there is a huge car park but no overnight camping is allowed – the local authorities waging war on motor-homers and campers as is often the case these days! Unlike on mainland Europe, the UK fails entirely to support motor-homers and their like.


Once on site we got set-up only to find that we had no running water. We survived the rest of the day using water from a filter jug. No big deal.



2 August 2021 – Monday

Up early to feed and walk Kanga, as usual. We went for a walk along the miserable excuse for a beach – about a mile each way along the foot and cycle path that goes to Conwy.

After a certain amount of testing – and a few telephone calls to our repair centre, I found that the water pump inside the inboard water tank had failed. Grace had stopped me bringing my usual comprehensive toolkit, so I was short of tools and test equipment. I managed to borrow a screwdriver from the guy in the caravan next to us and with that help I removed the pump assembly and wiring from the tank. Off we went to the local caravan centre where I was able to buy a new pump and soon had it fitted on our return to the caravan. I also fixed a leak inside the compartment that holds the tank and a lot of plumbing, then another leak from the external drain plug of the hot water system. There is always something to fix when you have a caravan! I'll take my full tool-kit next time.

We celebrated our success by eating bacon sandwiches that Grace made for us, sitting outside under an almost sunny sky – well, rather cloudy but at least it wasn't raining or quite freezing - even for me who hates the UK climate with a passion and who only lives here at all out of necessity when I'd much prefer to live in a land of sunshine. Had it not been for this pandemic we'd have been in the sunshine instead of in wet, windy, wintery Wales.


3 August 2021 – Tuesday

The great thing about caravanning is that, once set-up and organised, you can enjoy doing nothing. Apart from a quick trip to the supermarket to get essentials, such as wine, we didn't do anything except laze in the sunshine and eat – and read. One essential item on a caravan inventory is 'plenty to read'. If you find the weight of your books overloads the caravan and/or takes up too much space in the car, load as many as you can on your tablet or laptop computer and read from that device. As we're only away for a short time, I've limited the quantity of printed books that I've brought (I prefer printed books to electronic versions), but still have plenty to read on my tablet and laptop should I finish my real books.

During a recent weekend away in our caravan, I was reading a very enjoyable book about an English professor who'd lived in Italy for 30 years and toured the country by train. A well written and highly entertaining read. I'd not finished reading the book during the weekend and had left it in the caravan so I was delighted to find it and complete my reading of it today ("Italian Ways" by Tim Parks). I also started a 1300+ page tome printed in a fairly small font that will keep me going for some time – just as well as the weather forecast isn't great from Thursday onwards. This book is of great interest and is entitled "The Great War for Civilisation, the Conquest of the Middle East", by Robert Fisk. I hope to complete reading it in rather less time than the fifteen years he spent writing it.

The photographs below are views of the sunset from the Bron-Y-Wendon caravan site.


4 August 2021 – Wednesday

We ventured out of the caravan site today for a trip to Llanberis, in Snowdonia. Our first port of call was 'Subway' where we filled up with 'foot-longs' for lunch. Off we went to the Llanberis Path that provides a route for those more energetic than myself to walk to the summit of Mount Snowdon. My last trip up this mountain was 51 years ago, when I pushed my bicycle up the mountain from the Snowdon Ranger youth hostel, and then rode down the Llanberis Path. Getting to the top was an achievement but, very disappointingly, there was no view to reward my efforts as there was thick cloud – and rain!

Photograph from the summit of Mount Snowdon, by JP.

We all started the walk up the mountain. I never intended walking far and certainly didn't want Grace and JP to be held up by my tediously slow walking pace. In the end, Grace stayed with me and JP hurtled off into the distance at a pace neither of us could match. Our dear Kanga certainly wasn't interested in setting any records for a fast climb to the summit and we never even got close to it. JP climbed all the way to the summit and back in a very quick time – Oh to be young, fit and strong! Grace, me and Kanga reached a place that was further than I'd intended making it to so we descended to a café for a lemonade – and water for Kanga. There we met Rebecca (photograph below) who'd recently sold her accountancy business, bought a camper-van and spent much of her time touring with her little dog.

I could have climbed higher but had made the silly mistake of taking with me a bag full of very heavy photographic equipment which really made my life difficult.

We descended to Llanberis and walked to the mountain railway station only to find all tickets for the day had been sold. Of course, climbing the mountain by railway is 'cheating' but there was no other way for us to get to have got to the summit.

We sat by the river eating chocolate whilst Kanga paddled and had a drink - her great efforts on the mountain rewarded,

We paid a visit to the local parish church (closed) and got into conversation with one of the locals who seemed fascinated with our 'globe-trotting' lifestyle. Whilst we were still sitting chatting, JP called us and informed us that he was already back at our car after returning from the summit of Mt. Snowdon. He wasn't exactly happy that we weren't there as he needed a drink! We said our farewells and sped off to join him.


Photograph above is of Llanberis and Llyn Padarn from the Llanberis Path.


5 August 2021 – Thursday

Another quiet day. Didn't venture off the site. Even Kanga couldn't be bothered to go for a proper walk. That said, she did ask me to take her out at 0215 hrs, which was most unusual. Not that we went more than a short distance from our caravan, but needs must!

I visited the site office and complained about the lack of internet and they did manage to get us hooked-up again, somewhat intermittently it has to be said. It only lasted a few hours before going off again.

The weather forecast rain, and rain we received. It didn't rain all day as there were many dry periods. Let's say it was showery. And even as the rain fell there was sunshine too at times.

My earliest memory of camping was more than sixty years ago with the Campaigners at Sandown on the Isle of Wight (see photographs below), where the rain bucketed down for several days during the week we were there. No sewn-in groundsheets in those days and a mini-trench dug along the centreline of each somewhat 'open' tent that accomodated six or eight lads, to act as a drain. Awful conditions. The tents were as basic as one could get. Sleeping bags, if any, were also primitive and certainly didn't keep us very warm. I won't even begin to describe the toilet facilities just in case you have a sensitive stomach. But we survived and even enjoyed ourselves and it certainly didn't put me off camping. Maybe we were tougher in those days. JP certainly thinks we were and has often commented about this. Most of the men who accompanied us on that camp were ex-servicemen who'd survived World War II and were used to roughing it in often dangerous conditions that we boys couldn't imagine. So, us lads were brought up to be rather tougher and more resilient than most of today's young men who live in a world that is, in many ways, comparatively risk-free and danger-free. After all, not many young people around today have fathers (or mothers) who have been shot at or bombed! As an example, my father (RAF) fought in India and Burma against the Japanese and saw sights that we would rather not imagine. Even in civilian life after the war he joined the Civil Defence and took part in a whole range of activities designed to help the general populace cope with the real possibility of nuclear bombing during the Cold War.

Nowadays, we have the luxury of a large caravan which is a real home – as we proved by living in it for not far short of a year when we were homeless after returning to the UK from abroad. How things have changed for us. We can now watch in comfort as the rain hammers down.


6 August 2021 – Friday

I awoke at 0710 hrs. to find two large brown eyes staring at me from quite short range. Kanga must have been 'willing' me to get up and give her her breakfast. So, of course, I got up and fed her and she had a short walk as is normally the case first thing in the morning. In fact, since her walk up part of Mt. Snowdon, short walks have been the order of the day instead of the much longer walks she's used to - she must still be tired from being on the mountain. We always try not to push her too far as we know she's getting on a bit in years but she's always willing to try her best when we go out anywhere as she is really devoted to us, her family.

JP asked me yesterday if Kanga might think that our caravan is now our permanent home. We believe she feels it's just her holiday home as she's been with us on many caravan trips now and always ended up at our 'proper' home at the end of the holiday. However, I gave some more thought to JP's question and concluded that dogs don't really care where they stay just as long as they are with their family. Many years ago, my companion for more than 15 years was a yellow labrador, named Skip. He would willingly go anywhere with me and many is the time we slept in a small expedition tent or even in the back of my 'original' Morris mini-van. We had so many adventures together and he trusted me to look after him. Just as long as he was with me, he was happy. Kanga is much the same although she's not keen on being in the car, especially when the caravan is attached.

Well into the afternoon we took a trip to the shopping centre in Colwyn Bay. Apart from buying some essential food there was no reason to go there as it is a run-down town with nothing to make a special trip worthwhile - and this is the case along the coast in roughly an easterly direction towards Rhyll, where all that can be seen are thousands of static caravans, holiday homes and retirement bungalows - although why anyone would want to rent, let alone own, accommodation in such a place that can only be described as a 'dump' is beyond me. Motorhomes and many vans are barred from using the car park by a 1.9 m high barrier which, as JP pointed out, is lower in height than some tall people. Unlike in most of Europe and beyond, the authorities in the UK will do everything they can to stop people enjoying life in their motorhomes. Every year we lose more and more of our freedom to live how we'd like to live as more and more control is imposed on us. Every year there is more legislation pushed through parliament that restricts our freedom, often without the general public realising it. Isn't that sad?

I noticed a couple watching Kanga this afternoon and went to chat with them. They were full of admiration for Kanga who was laying on the grass watching the world go by without even a lead attached to keep her from going off on her own. The couple were Dani (originally from South Africa) and Jane. They had a beautiful Adria motorhome in which they toured for several months of the year. Once on site they toured locally riding their battery-powered bicycles. What a wonderful way to live. As I said to Grace, I'd rather have a motorhome than a house. She wasn't impressed with that idea.


7 August 2021 – Saturday

Kanga took JP for a walk at 0200 hrs. today. I just hope this doesn't become a habit once we're home. at a more civilised hour I drove into Colwyn Bay to buy a couple of tyres for my Nissan X-Trail. Grace and JP slept in very late, followed by lunch and an afternoon sleep. I've been reading and doing odd jobs as the only person awake for long enough. I took Kanga for a longish walk along the seaside. Yet again the internet (wi-fi) isn't working. It's hardly worked since we've been here. I might add in fairness that this isn't a problem caused by the site, but by their internet service provider. We'll be getting a refund on what we've paid for this.

One of the positive aspects about caravanning is the friendly people one normally meets - especially when the weather is sunny and folks are outside enjoying their holiday. Of course, if one has good neighbours it's a blessing and it's always sad to see them go or to depart oneself. On the other hand, bad neighbours usually disappear equally as quickly which is also a blessing. The downside is that one can make friends for a few days and then never see them again unless a concerted effort is made by both parties to keep in touch, which rarely seems to happen.


8 August 2021 – Sunday

The rain continues to hammer down and the wind nearly blows one inside out when venturing outside the caravan. Neither of us had a great night because of the noise of the rain on the roof. Daylight brought a break in the rain but not the incessant wind. I was thankful to have brought my winter jacket when Kanga needed to go for a walk - she didn't want to go far this morning in the atrocious weather. It's been so bad that I seriously considered returning home this morning but Grace persuaded me to stay and continue our holiday in the hope the weather improves.

The weather is a serious business when holidaying in a caravan as it can make or break the holiday. This is why so many people travel abroad for their holiday - to get some sunshine and warmth so they can go out sight-seeing and enjoying themselves. Sadly, that hasn't been possible this year and who knows when it will become a reality again. This holiday has been the worst caravan trip we've ever had - by far, and is such contrast to the six weeks tour we had in France and Switzerland two years ago (2019) when it rained hard for only one day in all that time.

We were going to visit Penrhyn Castle today, then I remembered that most of these places, like stately homes, don't allow dogs to venture inside the building, so there was no point in trying as we certainly weren't going to leave Kanga behind.

One of the reasons that I booked this site was because of the availability of wi-fi internet. Unfortunately, this has hardly worked since we've been here and is quite a big factor, particularly for JP, when the weather is so bad. Luckily, we have a few video recordings to watch on my laptop computer (we don't have a television) which helps a little. I might add that the site manager is doing all he can to obtain a reliable internet service provider.