Wales, a place that stole my heart and refuses to give it back is the small country wedged between Scotland and England, landscaped with pristine coastlines and dramatic mountain ranges and is guaranteed to sweep you off your feet. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to put into words or express extravagantly my experiences there. The rich history and that charm unlike any other on this planet leaves you with a greater feeling of authenticity especially when you take a walk through the stone-laden halls throughout the country itself.
I remember pulling off to the side of the road and jumping out of the car to capture some of earth’s breathtaking views. Being that I’m not a professional photographer, my photos (cell phone camera) do not give you the total experience that I was blessed to breathe in on that cold road trip in January of this year.
The photos above were taken from the side of the road of Llan Ffestiniog which is a village in Gwynedd en route through Northern Wales. As we traveled on, my heart skipped a beat as we topped a hill and the most beautiful beach came into view, Traer Beach. Needless to say, I had to stop and become one with the spectacular land and sea view I’ve ever seen awaiting me with it’s rock-covered beach and ambient ocean stretching far to where the end meets the sky. I almost forgot just how cold it was as I walked along the shore speechless pinching myself wondering if I was only dreaming.
I wanted to see what was next around the bend and followed the coastline into another area located in Llanabar close to Barmouth where you can stay for days taking in the stunning views in all directions. My curiosity got the best of me as I discovered a wonder situated beside the beach. An early 13th Century church (St. Mary and St. Bodfan) an impressive architectural gem of a building with a large sloping graveyard filled with unique carved headstones, some still in tact but stained with age while others were crumbling among the wild flowers and tall grasses. It would be fitting to mention among these Holy ruins are war memorials I believe 12 Commonwealth war graves that begged your attention perhaps a few tears. I took time walking through the seaside cemetery paying my respects to those gone before and searching for a name that I might recognize from history.
We left this area and headed into Barmouth in the county of Gwynedd. This old-town village where the mountains meet the sea overlooks the Cardigan Bay. While visiting a local shop, I noticed across the street a beautiful old structure, somewhat of an unorthodox chapel full of eclectic mix of interior and exterior treasures. We did not have time to go inside and visit, but I did visit it via internet but no pictures of my own to share other than the exterior from the photo I had taken.
After leaving Barmouth following those snakey country lanes, we found ourselves driving parallel with the River Mawddach estuary where I spotted an old bridge in my rear view mirror therefore sending me into a quick stop in the middle of the road to get a shot of what I found out to be the Barmouth Bridge a wooden construction built in 1867. Thankfully no traffic was coming from either direction giving me time to take my photo. I learned this bridge is one of the longest timber viaducts that is still used in Britain and it’s measurements are approximately 800 yards across and is supported by 113 wooden trestles. After getting my photo, I drove around the curve and in view there was a structure that resembled a castle only smaller. I have searched to find out what this building may be, but to my dismay was not satisfied by any findings leaving me to believe it’s someone’s home. The castle-looking building was built on a bend of the road which also over-looked the Mawddach River. I dared not stop on this curve so my friend took the photo for me.
Our last stop of the day was awaiting several miles up the road. We didn’t even know it existed and darkness was edging its way in quickly. As I followed the winding road, I accidentally took a wrong turn and needless to say it was a worthy mistake. Driving down a long narrow road into beautiful scenery in the Penrhos Mountains, we found ourselves among some history hidden away from public view in a place called Ty’n y Groes in Coed y Brenin Forest. There were two major trails that was accessible along the river that ran through the park. One of those trails was The King’s Gaurds Trail where you could view the biggest trees with very wide trunks and along this path is the King’s Champion, the tallest tree in the forest. Then there was the Penrhos Mountain Trail which was a rugged steep trail that leads you above the forest to where you can see great views of the Snowdonia. I regret not being able to hike these trails, but one day, I will return and it’s on my re-do list. However, I was able to get a few photos of the entrance area before heading back…