The rough and the smooth of the North Wales coast

I have to share these two images from Criccieth. They both capture a moment on the jetty. Last night the local girls & boys came out to play. This morning a lone angler was trying his luck in the dawn peace.

Today was a day with a lot of smooth and a bit of rough thrown in towards the end. I popped into Caernarfon on my way along the north coast of the mainland – well worth a return visit. An historic walled town on the Menai Straits, it overlooks the coast of the island of Anglesey a few hundred metres away. Its narrow streets and many arched gates match the huge defensive tower that faces out to sea.

Now I have a problem. I thought when I discovered Bangor pier that I had found my new, favourite pier. It is really hard to find. Any signs for the pier abandon you in the middle of town with no direction to go in. Sleuthing my way through the towns streets I eventually find the pier at the end of a series of residential streets. Coming around a corner it takes your breathe away with its elegant turrets and weathered boardwalk. It is 1/3 mile long, almost touching Anglesey. At low tide the whole Strait is dry with only a narrow channel of water at the far end to allow sea—going vessels through.

‘So what’s the problem?’ you ask. Well Llandudno is the problem. What a gem of a place this is and what a magnificently glorious pier struts its stuff out into the line between the blues of sea and sky.

Both are magnificent. I thought that when I found Colwyn Bay Pier that there would be a third competing for the accolade of THE pier of North Wales. Well no. I drove along and around the promenade at least three times until I spotted something:

I stopped and asked two local guys who confirmed that I had guessed right. This was all that remains of the famous pier. Last year, 2018, it collapsed after years of neglect and the council had to remove all the wreckage except for this monument to past glories.

I stopped at other places on my way around the coast – Deganwy, Rhos-on-Sea where the clouds gathered to keep me on my toes

Rhyl had some photo opportunities. It is amazing how a low tide transforms all these places. A high tide and you think ‘oh, there’s a few nice buildings’. A low tide adds colour and atmosphere and scale and turns it into a completely different place. Look at these two images. The boys, especially, are so absorbed in messing around in the sand & water.


So now to the bit of rough. It’s not rough if you like static caravans. Towyn is my idea of caravan hell. I’m going to design a computer game entitled ‘Escape To wyn’ (clever title, eh?). I have to explain that along here the coast is hogged by the inhabitants of Towyn. Towyn consists of acre upon acre upon acre of blocks of static caravans. A maze of grid-ironed routes tangle themselves around these between high pre-cast concrete walls only disrupted by the occasional entrance to a ‘park’ or a ‘camp’ or by an arcade of arcades or a speakered line of ‘factory shops’.

I eventually emerge unscathed and risk a cuppa tea at the bijou seafront refreshment stall on the edge of this nightmare.

The day ends on a high though. The last place on this part of the coast before you each England, is called Talacre. It doesn’t look much on the map – a load of camping and caravanning symbols and, yes, you have to go through both. Make the effort. Take the walk from the pub, through the car park, across the rough ground and through the gap in the dunes. There is hardly anyone there but these images show why this is one of my favourite beaches.

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