A rather dull day nine as we drove north along the coast from Barrow-In-Furness to Carlise.
Photo of the day
St Bees Lighthouse
First stop of the day was the South Walney Nature Reserve, with its views back north to Piel Castle, which we had seen the evening before from the other side by Rampside.
The ranger’s hut at the nature reserve, an Aladdin’s cave of nature related info.
We encountered a very curious (and hungry) friend.
Next to the pebble beach, we found this sign, we moved on quickly…
But behind the beach there were idyllic views over meadows to the Lake District.
Cute seaside cottages (very close to the sea on the other side) in the small village of Ravenglass.
The word’s first commercial nuclear power station. Julian had remembered adverts for the visitor centre as a kid, and was weirdly curious to visit. However, it seems the visitor centre no longer exists, so instead we made do with these views across the fields.
More views across fields. We were trying to get a closer look at St Bees Lighthouse, but down a very narrow quiet country lane we came across private property signs. So we decided to view from a distance over this golden brown wheat field.
A bit of a tired looking lighthouse at Whitehaven.
Remains of Whitehaven’s industrial past.
Next to Maryport Lighthouse there was a display of lighthouse paintings by local school children, so here is one of them to add a bit of colour to day nine of our Coastal Road Trip.
A bleak and cold evening at the Maryport breakwater.
Before heading east along the coast to Carlise we stopped by Siloth, with its surprisingly wide cobbled streets, and long stepped promenade stretching into the distance.
Today’s drive on the north west coastline was pretty varied as we covered everything from quiet coastal villages to busy holiday resorts like Blackpool.
Photo of the Day
As you follow the north west coastline, Preston is the first crossing point over the River Ribble. As luck would have it there was a disused lighthouse by the local Morrisons supermarket at the town marina. I guess not many lighthouses have a trolley park at their base.
Lytham St Anne’s
Lytham Windmill, our first windmill (keeping Jarno happy), right on the edge of the grassy Ribble estuary.
The view across the estuary from the local RSPB sanctuary.
Lytham St Anne’s Pier and the broad sandy beach.
Donkeys being prepared for the day ahead on the beach.
A few typical sights along the long Blackpool seafront. First at the southern end, Blackpool Pleasure Beach, behind a chippy.
The Blackpool lights (by day), no prizes for guessing who were sponsoring this section of the lights.
And at the northern end of the promenade, the magnificent Blackpool Tower.
The promenade looked pretty smart here, it clearly had a recent face lift. A huge shell work of art (Mary’s Shell) on the empty beach.
More disused lighthouses, first the larger Pharos Lighthouse at Fleetwood.
Then whilst having a picnic at Knott End-on-Sea, we had a great view back west over the River Wyre to the Lower Lighthouse at Fleetwood.
Crossing the River Lune at Lancaster, we stopped to look at Lancaster Castle. Interestingly it was still a working prison until 2011.
Silhouette of the Lake District mountains, outlined and labelled on this clever art piece on Morcambe Promenade.
This statue needs no introduction for the Brits, but for the rest it’s a statue of Eric Morecambe. A famous British comedian. Julian did a selfie with him but his sunglasses were lopsided, ironic.
Small quiet pier on to the River Kent at the quaint village of Arnside.
The railway line separating the view back over the River Kent to Arnside.
The Hoad (Barrow) Monument on the peak of Hoad Hill to the east of Ulverston. Only took a picture as it resembles a lighthouse.
Before heading to Barrow-In-Furness for the night we stopped by the rather unusual and slim Rampside Lighthouse.
We started day seven of our trip by going back west a few miles to Llandudno before continuing east out of Wales into England. Some typical and some not so typical British seaside sights today.
Photo of the day
Early Sunday morning at Llandudno Pier, eerily empty. Everyone was clearly still in bed, as they knew the heavens were about to open.
Colourful hotels at the end of the Llandudno promenade. The start of the Great Orme hill and headland behind. We then drove around the Great Orme Heritage Coast loop, would have been great views if it it hadn’t been pouring down with rain.
We looped back to Colwyn Bay where we stayed the night before. The promenade and road along the sea front was closed off due to an ongoing waterfront improvement project. In the distance we could see the pier, which looked in a sorry state… hopefully that is part of their improvement project too.
The lifeguards were having a peaceful day at a very quiet Prestatyn Beach. Wind turbines off shore in the background, which became a surprisingly common sight on our coastal journey.
The Talacre Lighthouse at Point of Ayr. Abandoned, but looked great, even on a stormy morning.
Flint Castle with impressive views over the River Dee. We bumped into a lovely Canadian family that had also been staying at the same B&B as us near Cardigan, we had also bumped into them at Cilgerran Castle three days earlier… small world.
Crossing the River Dee over a rather striking Flintshire Bridge, flanked by electricity pylons. Blue sky starting to peep through the clouds…
The now disused Leasowe Lighthouse, not the most attractive lighthouse, but still striking with the blue sky behind.
The view from New Brighton out to the lighthouse and beyond to the cranes on the other side of the River Mersey.
One of the one hundred Antony Gormley’s ‘Another Place’ statues, submerged in Crosby Beach. A bit spooky but very striking. Very cool to see in person.
A bit of beach marketing.
A lovely clean beach backed by sand dunes and pinewoods at the National Trust’s Formby Point. They’ve clearly struggled with beach erosion though, this looked like an old road or building that had collapsed in the beach and sea.
A Mr Whippy ice cream van finishing work for the day at Southport Beach.
A striking looking weather vane style fish sculpture on the Southport Promenade.
On our way to Preston for the night, we passed Marshside, with views across to Lytham St Ann’s, and Blackpool Tower ghost-like in the distance. A sneak preview of our trip tomorrow.
After beautiful weather on day five, day six started rainy and windy and continued most of the day. As today’s trip included Anglesey, the weather matched our expectations for the wind swept island… but we had fun nevertheless.
Photo of the day
Welcome to Caernarfon! Impressive castle but the verdict is out on the rest of the town. Though we did have a good coffee.
And the Merry-go-round Carousel in the market square brightened things up a bit.
It had to be done, first visit on Anglesey was to the the town with the longest place name in Europe and second longest in the world: Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch. Which means even the train tickets have to be extra big.
…and the train station signs… etc etc… you get the idea 😉 Secretly I (Julian) was excited to visit, I had always wanted to since a kid. Check.
Next stop was Plas Newydd House & Gardens. The impressive interior is home to the largest canvas painting in the UK. We did take a picture of it, but we couldn’t get the whole painting in the shot, so best to just google it!
A bit of colour on a grey day in the Plas Newydd Garden.
Anglesey, west coast
Most of the west coast of Anglesey looked like this, wet, windy and stormy.
Struggling to get out to sea at Trearddur Bay, we watched a little longer, he capsized a minute later and gave up.
The rain stopped by the time we arrived at South Stack Lighthouse on Holy Island, also a RSPB bird sanctuary. We also tuned in to Irish radio and our mobile phones started trying to connect to Irish networks, you then realise how close you are to Ireland.
Great views of South Stack Lighthouse over some pretty severe cliffs. We walked a bit further on to also try and see North Stack Lighthouse, but the weather closed in and all we got was pictures of sea mist.
Following the northern and eastern coast of Anglesey, we ended up at Beaumaris Castle. Seemed one of the nicest towns on the island.
Beaumaris Pier, with seagulls hovering in the wind, almost in formation.
Back on the mainland we passed through Bangor to Conwy, and its grand 13th century Conwy Castle, before heading to Colwyn Bay for the evening.
Sunshine again! Best day of weather so far. On day five we drove the remaining part of the Welsh west coast, then looped around the Lynn Peninsula ending back at Porthmadog.
Photo of the day
Braich y Pwll
Lifeboat resting in the shallow and still early morning waters of Barmouth.
Old meets new at Harlech Castle, with is modern bridge linked into the medieval fort.
The totally surreal village of Portmeirion. Created by Welsh architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis. Weird but we kind of liked it.
The Central Piazza, but nothing is quite what it seems…
Yes, this is Wales..?!
Criccieth with the contrast between the trim colourful town houses and the headland with Criccieth Castle perched on top.
Abersoch, tide is out again…
Plas yn Rhiw
The blooming cottage garden at the modest yet comfy Plas yn Rhiw House, another National Trust property.
The former fishing village of Aberdaron with its bay and beach, plus car park concertinaed in this panorama shot.
Braich y Pwll
The most westerly point of Wales, with breathtaking views from the single track lane to the coastguard lookout at the top.
Hello from Braich y Pwll and the Irish Sea.
Braich y Pwll sheep enjoying the weather too.
Another National Trust stop at Porthor Beach on the north side of the Lynn Peninsula.
After trying to find Porthdinllaen precariously walking across a golf course, we turned back to the car park, and realized we could see it in the distance on the other side of the headland.
And in the final photo of the day, with the view to the east from Porthdinllaen across to Porthnefyn. We then headed back south to Porthmadog for the evening.
Today we are starting our journey near Cardigan then driving up to Dolgellau, about 130 miles. And yay!.. a sunny day 🙂
Photo of the day
Coastal Road Sheep
Being welcomed by this gentleman at Cilgerran Castle entrance.
St Dogmaels Abbey
A few minutes down the road we reached the remains of St Dogmaels Abbey. As well as castles, and lighthouses, lots of abbeys on this trip too!
Slightly worrying sign whilst parking near Cardigan.
The Welsh love their colourfully painted houses, this was on a side street behind the castle. And yes, we did wear cardigans in Cardigan.
We enjoyed a picnic, with great views overlooking Aberporth bay.
A curious telephone at Penbryn Beach.
And families enjoying the golden sands at Penbryn Beach, protected by the National Trust. Free parking at the top of the hill if you are National Trust member.
Again colourful Welsh houses at New Quay, we missed the turning for the town, so stopped further along the coast at Llanina Woods. A muddy car park, with short walk through the woods to the pebbly and sandy beach.
Making the most of our National Trust membership, driving slightly inland to visit the Llanerchaeron Estate. Understated interior and beautiful gardens.
A little potter around the gardens.
..and time for coffee.
Then back to the coast to the colourful harbour houses of Aberaeron.
Coastal Road Sheep
Sheep along the coastal road.
Coastal Road Drivers
On the road again…
The remains of Aberystwyth Castle on the sea front. Aberystwyth was grander than we had expected with its long promenade.
Views from Aberdyfi across the calm evening waters of the Dyfi estuary to Ynyslas.
Jarno checking out the view from Tywyn promenade.
Woolly street art over the bridge at Bryncrug.
The view over houses and woodland to Snowdonia.
Coastal Road from Llangelynin to Fairbourne
And setting sun.
Off on our third day of travel. We will cover about 130 miles of coastal roads today. A grey sky, but we’ll bring some sunshine.
Photo of the day
Colour and thoughtful art above the industrial landscape of Milford Haven.
Welsh summer, heavy rain at Dale Beach – time for a coffee to wake us up!
Stunning views, steep cliffs and choppy waters at St Ann’s High Lighthouse.
Walkers at the National Trust’s Martin’s Haven.
And here are two of those walkers with Wooltack Point and Midland Isle behind us.
Skin Care Cymru’s alternative Welsh flag: ‘Don’t Be A Lobster’, flying above the coastguard’s hut at Martins’s Haven.
Julian stayed here at St Brides with his family 10 years ago, so was keen to visit again.
The cute little village of Little Haven, with 30min free parking, just enough time to do a mini tour.
And the view west from the top of the short cliff path walk above Little Haven. Lush grass clinging to the rocky cliffs.
We thought this Pembroke single track road was funny, double yellow lines on both sides, no chance to pass someone never mind parking!
The tidy, wide and flat sands of Newgale Beach.
Looking down over Solva Bay with its boats waiting for the tide to return.
St Davids Cathedral in Britain’s smallest city. Really impressive, except for the coffee in the Cathedral Cafe, too hot!
The beautifully painted ceiling of St Davids.
We took the wrong turn looking for Strumble Head, and ended up with this amazing view west from Pwll Mawr.
Getting addicted to lighthouses now… took 100 pics of Stumble Head Lighthouse in the fresh and bright late afternoon sunshine.
And again stunning views west along the Pembrokeshire coast from Strumble Head.
And the final stop of the day in Fishguard, before heading to our B&B for the night near Cardigan.
On Day 2 we traveled from Llanelli to Pembroke, about 120 miles again. Here are some of our more interesting stops.
Photo of the day
A bit of grey start to the day at Burry Port. Here with the view out to sea, behind us a small harbor town and rolling green hills.
Kidwelly Castle, quite impressive for a little town. The first of several castles today!
Carmarthen, the oldest town in Wales, also had a castle. Looked quite similar to Kidwelly, at least from the front, don’t you think? I thought I had a been here as a kid, but then realized I had it muddled with the much more impressive Caernarfon Castle in North Wales.
Further down the west side of the River Towy we reached Llansteffan Castle, a pleasant 10 minute walk up from the beach car park. Great views from the top across to Ferryside and Carmarthen Bay.
And back down at the car park, great views again across the beach and the bay.
Further west we reached Laugharne, the final resting town of Dylan Thomas. An impressive castle for a small town, sitting next to the River Taf.
At Pendine Sands the Lifeguards had put up this fun notice board.
Pendine Sands is most famous for its land speed records in the early 1900. Babs is the most famous car, and is displayed in the Museum of Speed by the beach. Sadly its driver (Parry-Thomas) was killed when the car crashed during a land speed attempt in 1927. The car was buried in the sand dunes, and was later dug up and lovingly restored. Look at that engine!
At Saundersfoot, one of the most popular tourist towns in Wales, we looked over the beach. Full of families enjoying the milder late afternoon weather, as now the clouds had started to clear.
Cute wollen bollard covers in the streets of Saundersfoot, don’t ask me why, but they brightened up the streets.
We loved Tenby, and a bonus, we found a street with my name…. but I’m no saint.
Fresh Tenby fudge being prepared. Another bonus.
Colourful Tenby houses, and boats all neatly anchored in the peaceful harbour.
Then we heard the emergency signal call for RNLI crew, and a few minutes later a lifeboat was launched. Hope all was OK.
Around the corner we found the beautiful Manorbier Bay, and posed for some road trip selfies…
The National Trust owned Stackpole Quay was full of families enjoying the evening sun, playing about in the sea.
We climbed down the ladder to reach the second bay.
An evening picnic with great views!
Back in the car park we noticed this beach books trailer. We are not sure exactly how it works but we guess that during the day you can borrow books from this, like a mobile library. If so, what a great idea.
A renovated seaweed hut at Freshwater West. Yes, new to us too! Apparently used in the early part of last century to dry seaweed that was used to make Welsh lava bread.
Warm evening sunlight as the sun started to set at West Angle Bay.
Pembroke Power Station viewed across the fields from Angle to Pembroke. It was quite a contrast to the landscape we had seen so far, but here it somehow looks organic, growing out of the bushes at the edge of the field.
Pembroke Castle in the evening light, our final castle of the day!
Final shot of the day from Pembroke Dock across to wind turbines at Milford Haven.