Archive for the ‘Llyn Peninsula’ Tag

Perfect Midsummer Sunset   20 comments

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In the midst of a UK heatwave the best place to spend the night is on a cool mountain summit. Another stunning day and another chance for a wild camp. I headed to mid Wales for a camp on the summit of Pumlumon Fawr (or Plynlimon depending on which name you choose). Its not that high and you can drive to a high access point giving less than an hours walk to the top. A worthy consideration as I had to carry several litres of water to keep the brews flowing. It was the day after the longest day and the views were wonderful as I parked up and set off. I should warn you that I took a lot of photos so settle in for the feature presentation.

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Its a short climb but has some steep bits which I found hard work after a day at work and carrying all that water. Luckily there was a decent breeze blowing to keep the heat at bay

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My target summit in shot

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Sheep watching me on the horizon

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Looking north over towards Snowdonia

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A final steep slog brought me to the top. Stunning view to mountains and across Cardigan Bay

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Its a perfect summit for a wild camp, flat with plenty of spongy moss and grass. The vegetation is only a couple of inches thick though so anchoring the pegs takes a bit of work although in weather like this it hardly matters. My usual routine was initiated. Stove out and water boiling for a brew while I put the tent up.

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The setting was magnificent and I was in the perfect spot to watch the setting sun over the next couple of hours

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I sat, drank tea, took in the views, wandered about, ate jaffa cakes, drank more tea, ate more jaffa cakes, you get the idea

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The moon even put in an appearance.

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There was a grand view of the Llyn Peninsula where I’ve spent many happy weekends and holidays. I was chuffed that the sun went down just behind one of my favourite small hills, Carn Fadryn.

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I didn’t have the whole summit to myself. A couple of friendly chaps and their equally friendly dog shared the sunset with me and provided a nice foreground for a photo

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My bedtime view

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The mountains of Snowdonia

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Nant y Moch reservoir

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And a darker shot of the moon

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An isolated hill, overlooking the sea with a flat spot on the summit. One of the finest spots I can recall to watch a sunset. Simply magnificent

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I never sleep all that well when camping but in weather like this it hardly matters. I got up around 3am to answer the call of nature and watched a spectacular moon-set over the bay (no photos alas). I awoke to a hot morning and got up for a pre-breakfast stroll around my camp site

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Sadly the wind had dropped and the midges came out to have their breakfast, namely me, while I had mine

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I packed up in a cloud of midges but as I finished up the breeze picked up and blew them away. The breeze stayed with me so insect problems – other than a few clegs – kept them away

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I went for a stroll around the hills to the east, normally pretty soggy but after a dry spell the going was easy on springy dry turf

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I headed down via the Nant Felen stream which has some pretty waterfalls and pools. The one below was just deep enough for a quick skinny dip in icy cold water

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This part of Cwm Gwerin is rough pathless terrain with plenty of tussocks but its stunningly beautiful and untouched

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I wandered past the spot where we camped a couple of years back and found a breezy spot for an extended lunch

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Al that was left was the return along the broad Hengwm valley and along by the reservoir to the car. The valley was as tough and rough as always, albeit much drier than usual. It looks like there is a much better path on the north side of the valley which I need to try next time I visit as I surely will

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The route below is hand drawn so I’ve no accurate idea of how far I walked, maybe 10 miles in total with my summit wanderings. Still, it wasn’t a trip about clocking miles

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A memorable outing and I’m really enjoying these one-night outings straight after work on a Friday. A real pick me up and still time left in the weekend to spend with the rest of the family. Another one coming in the next post

 

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A Review of 2017   18 comments

I’ve read quite a few blog post in the past few days reviewing other peoples 2017 exploits. I enjoyed them so much I thought I’d do the same. Good excuse to look back through my photos and remember what we got up to. At my age I need help remembering stuff!.

Acutely conscious of the modern trend for these awful “round robin” letters you get at Xmas (we get one of these smugograms every year) I tried to select photos that bring back a particular memory for me so its more a personal, family introspection on outdoorsy stuff, than a blow by blow account of the year. As its based on my photo collection if I didn’t photograph it, it ain’t here!

January

We started the year off in Tenerife and New Years Day was spent on this rather splendid beach (the earlier part of the day was in the mountains but I cocked up the photos from that part of the day!)

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Returning to the British winter, a walk along the Cats Back in the Black Mountains with TBF, memorable for a cloud inversion after a very wet morning. A reminder that despite our travels we are lucky to have some stunning scenery on our doorstep

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A solo day out in the Brecon Beacons, the first snowy walk near to home and pretty much the only one with significant snow during the early part of the year (made up for it at the end)

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A glorious day out in the Black Mountains with TJS and a cooked breakfast on a cold Table Mountain. I like this photo though as it has Mynydd Troed in centre shot, my very first mountain climbed when I was about 10

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And my usual skiing trip (only a weekend this year) to finish off the month. Snow was a bit rubbish but we had a laugh nonetheless

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February

Another solo day on Fan Fawr in the Brecon Beacons. I remember this day for a very mild Friday afternoon (16C) and snow in the mountains 18 hours later

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A short walk with TBF on Hatterall Hill

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March

The first weekend of the month is always spent in Scotland with friends of long standing. A new location at Bridge of Orchy and a two out of three days were magnificent winter days. The walk along this ridge high above Rannoch Moor on the first day was superb

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Me and TJS also managed a cheeky backpack into the Black Mountains. Straight from work on the Friday for a one nighter in my new tent. Need to do more of these this year

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2017 is the year I rediscovered cycling – mainly to help my knee and also to be less of a lazy layabout during the week. The Hardman – a VERY keen and VERY fit cyclist caught wind and insisted we meet up in the Peak for a trip along a couple of the old railway trails. A cracking sunny day and I survived cycling with the Hardman!

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And we finally managed a meet up in the Berwyns with Uncle Fester after a few aborted attempts

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April

More cycling and solo trip through the Brecon Beacons on the “Gap” route. Cycling to over 600m was a first for me and I started to feel that I almost, might, actually enjoy cycling.

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Easter and a major backpacking trip with TJS to the Cairngorms. The weather was wild and windy but we had a couple of superb wild camps and TJS bagged his first Scottish 4000 footer

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I even coaxed TJF out for a bike ride along the Brecon and Usk canal

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May Day weekend was mostly in April. Mixed weather but we had a fine gaggle of friends on a hike around Greendale, taking in Buckbarrow and Seatallan

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May

No finer way to celebrate a birthday than a lunchtime hike. This one was on one of my local hills, Bryn Arw with TBF

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Followed by a weekend away in Cornwall. It almost felt tropical on the white sands just north of Padstow on one of our walks

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Whitsun weekend was spent with our good friends in Silverdale. The Sunday was a real winner with a long but easy stroll and a fantastic pub lunch. Weather was mixed the rest of the time but great company, many laughs and a chance to relax

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June

A different walk from the usual mountains. One of the small hills that overlook Gloucester and across to the Cotswolds. Not something I’d do every day but a nice change

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One of the highlights of the year was the long-planned backpacking trip with the kids into the Howgills. Despite poor weather we gave it a go and it was a huge success. The kids really enjoyed the adventure and I’m hoping they have caught the wild camping bug

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July

After the backpack trip I was out of action for a few weeks recuperating and resting after a minor knee op. Didn’t affect my water based fun though, a nice albeit far too long trip down the river Wye

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By the end of July I was back in the hills again (the knee op has been a great success I’m pleased to say). A fine evening stroll with TBF and TJS on Ysgyryd Fawr (we even took a cheeky cold beer to drink on the top)

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Another “local walk for local people” – this time Garway Hill where we reached the top, saw this nasty storm approaching and raced it back to the car. We won.

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Late July brings the annual camping trip to Towyn Farm on the Llyn Peninsula. We packed in lots of walks and beach fun in a very mixed few days of weather. My abiding memory though was this game of Kubb which was huge fun with both adults and kids alike taking it far too seriously and larking about in equal measure. A happy afternoon

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August

The big family trip of the year, a rail trip around some of Europe’s finest cities. An real change from our usual outdoor camping trips and it was real success. We all took took to the city life rather well you might say. One of my best ever holidays. A few photos that made me smile

One of the many fountains in Paris (we called this one the fountain of throttled fish)

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A monster thunderstorm in Turin

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My favourite seafront walk in Venice

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The Colloseum in Rome – of course

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Schloss Belvedere in Vienna (courtesy of an unplanned extra couple of hours from a very late train)

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The thermal baths in Budapest – “like taking a bath in a wedding cake”

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A stroll along the Spree river in Berlin on a sunny Sunday afternoon

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And the railway bridge over the Rhine in Cologne

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September

Back to earth with a bump. A few days after the heat and sun of Europe we were walking in the Black Mountains in driving rain and cold winds!

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But there was still enough warm weather left for a round of the hills near the Talybont Reservoir in the Brecon Beacons

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October

A walk with friends in the Roaches on the dreariest day of the year (when everywhere else was sunny – I’m not bitter)

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More evidence of my new found cycling passion (probably too strong a word). A ride around the tracks of the New Forest while TJS took a look around Southampton University

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And why settle for one trip to see major cities when you can do it twice. As a special treat for TJS 18th Birthday we spent a week in Barcelona. Probably my favourite city but despite all its famous sights, this little known hill and its view overlooking the city was my favourite spot

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November

After sunshine comes the reality of winter. A couple of cold but beautiful days. One in the Black Mountains on the Sugar Loaf and Crug Mawr

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And one of my favourite walks in the Black Mountain

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A delayed birthday treat weekend for TBF saw us in Padstow for a couple of nice meals and walks along the Cornish coast and Dartmoor

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December

And last into the proper depths of winter. The first snows saw me and TJS head into the highest peaks of the Black Mountains

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The day after saw the biggest dump of snow I’ve seen in my own backyard for many a year. Walks around my village in deep snow under crisp blue skies were wonderful

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The start of the Xmas holidays is marked with an annual get together of my University friends and their families. Always great fun but this year we could climb the hills in snow (rather than wet rain) and play at snowballs

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Finally coming full circle with a return to the Canary Islands to spend Xmas in Lanzarote and Xmas Day sunning ourselves on the beach

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Well I enjoyed looking through my photos, choosing a few and reliving a great year. Hope you enjoyed it too. All the best for 2018 🙂

On the Beach and in the Hills in Wales   13 comments

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Blog silence is over and I’m back from my summer travels. Much to tell you about our grand tour of Europe but before that (be patient) one post to catch up on. I don’t need a calendar or alarm to remind me the school summer holidays have started. Other than a house with two sullen looking teenagers moping about to tell me term-time is over, I find myself at Towyn Farm Campsite and beach as if to celebrate. Friends and their offspring gather and fun is had by all.

When we arrived it was glorious, a cloudless blue sky and plenty of warm sunshine to heat me up while I was putting the camper up. Excellent. When I awoke the next morning it was lashing it down. Ho hum!

By late morning it had stopped and whilst the hills were still shrouded in cloud we decided to go for a walk anyway. It was DB Jr’s Birthday so he gets to choose and he chose Carn Fadryn, better known to him as Birthday Hill. Inspired. As we drove up and walked higher so the cloud lifted. The bracken was wet and the trailblazer – me – got quite a soaking. No matter when you’re climbing a small hill with disproportionately great views!

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Bilberries were plentiful on the way up, stringing the party out somewhat

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By the time we summited, blue sky was plentiful and views stunning.

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TJS decided that he could see Pembrokeshire even though he was looking north. After a suitable period of laughter I judged the distant land we were looking at as Anglesey when in fact it was Ireland. I’ve been up here many times but never seen that far. Amazing transformation in the weather from a few hours previous. TJS continues to claim that mistaking the North Irish sea for Pembrokeshire and then having me mistake Anglesey for Ireland was some kind of moral victory – the poor deluded boy.

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A trip up Carn Fadryn is essential on these gatherings and this time it got the trip off to a great start. I don’t remember it raining at the end of the day but I guess it must have done if this photo is anything to go by

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Whatever, the weather delivered a stunning sunset. The beach faces North West, ideal for sunsets at this time of year

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We adopted the same approach the next day. Lazy breakfast, late morning walk, late lunch. This time down to the end of the peninsula. It’s a glorious walk and the Silverdale gang had never done it. They were suitably impressed

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All was going well until we all got a soaking from a vicious heavy shower a few minutes before we reached the cars. Small price to pay for cracking walk. Not sure what we did the rest of the day. It may have rained. We may have gone to the beach. Without photos I have no chance of remembering these days.

Same for the following day. I think – he said hesitantly – that we had a spell of heavy and persistent rain all afternoon. We gathered in the camper to play games, tell stories and drink tea. Spirits were high even in bad weather

Later (based on these photos anyway) we must have had a grand sunset and played games on the beach in the fading light.

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Great fun if your idea of fun is trying to catch a dark red cricket ball or catch a frisbee hurtling towards you in the twilight (it is great fun by the way)

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Now the next day I do remember. We went for a walk. Again. This time an early start and we headed up to The Rivals. We walked up here a few years ago but there was some unfinished business and unclimbed hills. It was a gloomy chilly day but again spirits were high as we headed out to an un-named point 250m above the sea

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Its an amazing spot, a view into an almost secret coastline. The cliffs are so severe that no path traverses the shoreline. The Coast path actually traverses through The Rivals

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The views down to the sea are precipitous, enough to make my legs go wobbly. The view up and along the coast in both directions magnificent even under a grey sky

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Time to move on and bag one of the obvious three summits we hadn’t done, again un-named. We found a sketchy damp path most of the way but then these mountains are made of stern stuff. The path vanished to be replaced by waist deep heather covering boulders. It took an age to climb the last few hundred feet. There was bitching aplenty including me, from my ever twisting knees. Having just had a knee op, I was warned to stay off “uneven ground”. I think this might just fit the description

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Time for a brew on the summit. I had a stove, EWO had a flask of coffee with milk. Well he would have done if his partner, TYG had not put milk in the wrong flask. He was not best pleased. “You total waste of space” was the insult he chose. Not sure why I found it so funny. I still do. In my good mood I offered him my milk to prove the space I’d been occupying was being well used

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May as well bag the main summit while were there. A steep and swift climb had us admiring further summit views

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A grand morning out and by the time we’d reached the campsite, sunshine was again plentiful. A game of, well I can’t remember actually. It involves throwing blocks of wood at other blocks of wood. Sound boring? Well its not. Way more skillful than it sounds and enormous fun with a gang of people. EWO called it “Plop”. Not the correct name but much funnier.

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An afternoon on the beach for the usual fun, games of tennis, cricket, rounders, baseball etc

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I went in the sea and body-boarded one of the days. Can’t remember which day. Might have been this one. Possibly the day before

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Not to worry. We had some sunny weather and that’s what matters

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Our last evening was spent trying to BBQ a pigs worth of local sausages (Black Pudding ones in my case – awesome) in a strong wind. The weather had been breezy for almost the entire week, making my decision to pitch facing the prevailing wind direction seem rather foolish (although it was dry warm, sunny and calm when I did)

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The last day we packed up but left enough time for another afternoon on the beach, this time to play bowls in a pathetically over-competitive way 🙂

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Another superb week away. Set us up nicely for our main holiday a week later. A Tale of Eight Cities. Coming soon…..

 

Llyn Peninsula Coast and Mynydd Anelog   6 comments

As the kids break for summer we head to the Llyn Peninsula and Towyn Farm. Familiar faces of old friends and favourite beach spots and play draws us back year on year. It was, as always a wonderful few days, relaxing and comfortable. The weather was kind, warm with plenty of sunshine and the rain restricted to nights and early mornings. I don’t seem to have taken any photos of the beach fun that dominates these holidays. If you want a flavour then just look back through my older posts and you’ll find all the evidence you need of just how special a place this and why it has such a hold on my heart.

By way of compensation I do have some photos of a walk along the coast and up to the splendidly name Mynydd Anelog.

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We did a similar walk a couple of years back and discovered just what a quiet, unspoilt and magnificent stretch of coast it is.

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It was bright but with a good spread of cloud but as we walked it cleared into a pretty much cloudless late afternoon and early evening

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We even managed to convince a few of the teenagers to join us

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The views from Mynydd Anelog – and in fact all of the various hills along the peninsula are majestic. It’s rather splendid to be able to see both north and south coasts simultaneously. There are other parts of the UK that have a much higher profile and reputation for coastal splendour but the Llyn Peninsula is as good as any of them

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At this time of year both the heather and gorse are in bloom and gives striking contrast of colour especially on a clear blue summers evening

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As always the island of Bardsey has pride of place off the coast

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We were late back to campsite to find everyone else in a deep game of – well, I can’t remember the name – that involves throwing blocks of wood at other blocks of wood. It’s a  rather strange and equally skilful and compelling game and I was bit disappointed to miss out. Made for a good spectator sport while I fired up the BBQ

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And seeing as the campsite delivers some stunning sunsets………..

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A fabulous long weekend to warm up for our main summer holiday (yes,another one!)

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