Thursday, 30 August 2012

New £2.7m lifeboat for Porthdinllaen on Llyn peninsula

More than 100 people have welcomed a new £2.7m lifeboat for Porthdinllaen on the Llyn peninsula.

The Tamar class lifeboat - John D Spicer - began its journey to north Wales from the RNLI's headquarters in Poole, Dorset, on Friday.
A new boathouse will be built with materials brought in by sea, due to problems with the cliff-side location.
Volunteer crew members have been training on the new boat, which is faster than the current one.
As it sailed in, sirens, foghorns and flares were let off in welcome as more than 100 people cheered.
The old lifeboat entered service in 1987 and has been launched 315 times.

"When the new lifeboat comes around the headland for the very first time I know there will be gasps from everyone who has turned out to welcome her," said Porthdinllaen RNLI coxswain Mike Davies speaking before the boat arrived.
"Bringing her home will definitely be one of the highlights of my career and a proud moment.
"This really is a fantastic boat and I have every confidence that she will serve us well and help us to save more lives off Porthdinllaen," he added.
The new craft was funded by a bequest from John Dominic Spicer, from Oxfordshire, who died in October 2010.

At the request of the executors of Mr Spicer's will, the new boat is called the John D Spicer.
The new boat will be temporarily kept on a mooring while work to build a new boathouse at the Morfa Nefyn site begins.
It had been hoped that construction on the new building would begin last spring, but that has now been put back.
There had been concerns locally that materials for the new building would have to come through Nefyn and along a cliff-top road by the local golf club.

Last year the charity said it had taken the decision to look at transporting materials for the new boathouse by sea because of the financial implications.
"The close co-operation and assistance we have received from the Nefyn and District Golf Club and the local community has been fantastic, however it just was not a financially viable option to re-align the trackway away from the cliff edge," Colin Williams, divisional inspector of lifeboats in Wales, said at the time.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Nefyn Maritime Museum - Back to the Future!

The coast Path goes through Nefyn and the old Maritime Museum was always a great attraction. I drew attention to the renovation of the building which is at St Mary's Church in one of my previous blogs. Now attention has switched to the content of the museum and the method of display. The staff at the museum have been energetic and imaginative and full use is going to be made of the latest methods of digital interpretation.

This is an artist's impression of the lay out of the new museum.
There will be a large auditorium for all the digital presentations.
The museum owns a wide variety of artifacts. This is some china from the wreck of the Stewart.
Fundraising is now the priority, so get your cheque books out!

Bangor Pier

While walking the Wales Coast Path from Penrhyn Castle through to the Menai Bridge, walkers should stop off at Bangor Pier also known as Garth Pier. The pier is Grade II listed and at 1,500 feet (460 m) in length, it is the second longest pier in Wales, and the ninth longest in the British Isles.

I walked it yesterday as the rain clouds gathered and the wind blew along from the bridges. It is an architectural marvel and it is an unusual feeling standing right out in the middle of the Menai Strait 460m from shore. It's a popular spot for fishing and crabbing.

The Pier was opened to the public on 14 May 1896. The pontoon handled the pleasure steamers of the Liverpool and North Wales Steamship Company to/from Blackpool, Liverpool and Douglas, Isle of Man.

Now Grade II listed, the pier is free to access, but there is an honesty box at the throat which requests that each walker contribute 25p to the pier's upkeep. The pier gates remain open until 9pm in summer, with pre-booked night fishing available.

Due to its location and length, at low tide the site is a haven for the local seabirds to access the rich mud of the Menai Straits, allowing close viewing of oystercatchers, redshanks, curlews, little egrets and the occasional cormorant.

The kiosks, apart from the one at the end which houses a traditional seaside Tearooms, have been rented out to local societies, including Marine Awareness North Wales who run day lectures and tours of the local wildlife, and the Bangor branch of the Soroptimists. There are also seats along the promenade, with memorial benches to RAF Group Captain Leslie Bonnet and writer Joan Hutt.
Now in need of additional works, and part of the plan for the redevelopment of Hirael Bay, locals have expressed concern over the councils ability to provide the required £1million of funds.
View across to Porth Penrhyn from the end of the pier.
View across to Beaumaris.
View from the Tea Room back towards Bangor.
View of the Great Orme.
View of the Pier from Anglesey.

CCW on the Job!

Blog readers will be aware of all the improvements that have been made to the Wales Coast Path in recent months under the direction of Quentin Grimley at Countryside Council for Wales. But even I was impressed to meet Quentin again for the third time in as many months out on the trail on Wednesday 22nd of August.

He was striding over the Yr Eifl hills towards Nant Gwrtheyrn and I caught up with him at the memorial stones. In the middle of the three standing stones is a flat slab inscribed with a poem in Welsh.

Here is the translation into English.

On A Quarry Path

On their knees, who are they
That come to work through the teeth of the wind?

Men tied to the bread of this rock
With their nails chiselled to it
Summer or Winter, the same yoke
Of stones on their shoulders

But they, on this celestial path
Bent, tripping to the peak
Of the mountain, they are the cornerstones
Of our walls – and us,
So far from the knife of the winds
Are the shavings of what they were

Monday, 20 August 2012

Cyngerdd Cerddwn Ymlaen

In case you haven't yet learned the "Language of Heaven", this very broadly translates as "Walk for Wales Gala Concert". This is an unusual opportunity to raise some money for the Wales Air Ambulance which has been such a benefit to walkers in North Wales over the last few years. We had occasion to use it ourselves for a customer who had slipped and broken a leg a few years ago. It's a star cast in a dream setting.

The Gala Concert is taking place in Portmeirion at 7:30pm on the 23rd of August and there are still a few tickets left.

Join Rhys Meirion, Hayley Westonra, Dylan Cernyw, Annette Bryn Parri and others in support of the Wales Air Ambulance for  a Classical Gala concert at Portmeirion. Ticket, Champagne reception & 3 course dinner £60 in aid of Wales Air Ambulance.
Or stay the night for £260 inc. tickets, dinner, b&b for two.

Phone 01766 770000 for an overnight stay or book via email at

Visit the Cerddwn Ymlaen website here.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Gwyl Gerdded Corwen Walking Festival

The Corwen Walking Festival will take place over the weekend the 1st and 2nd September 2012. Corwen is a fantastic venue for this type of event and is a wonderful base for walking enthusiasts as it offers walks from the town that suit all levels of walking. From walks around Corwen itself finding out about the history of the Town to a high level ridge walk along the Berwyn reaching over 800 metres in height the Corwen Walking Festival has it all.

See for more details.

Art and Walking

What is the link between contemporary art, outdoor pursuits and urban walking? To find out you will need to come to Llandudno on Saturday the 1st of September when the Artist Alison Lloyd will lead a circular walk around Llandudno and surrounding high points with far reaching views of Snowdonia. The art is formed by a combination of the walk, the journey and the destination. Meet at the Mostyn gallery at 10:30 for an 11am start and you will return there at 4pm to refreshments at the gallery. The walk is not weather dependent and you won't need a map but you will need to reserve your place at a cost of £10 by calling 01492 879 201.

The walk will also feature micro navigation. This mean moving from one subtle micro feature to another, relying on detail that would probably not need to be observed in clear conditions. This will help considerably in tough weather conditions - or that's what the blurb says, and I'm sufficiently intrigued to go along on the day.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

New Guides to the Snowdon Paths

We are constantly being asked by customers "which is the best way up Snowdon?" And the answer  depends a lot on the weather, the walking abilities, transport arrangements and interests of the questioner.
There are 6 established ways up Snowdon -

Fortunately, the Snowdonia National Park Authority have now produced a reasonably priced leaflet for each of these 6 ways up Snowdon. They costs only 75p each and contain both a useful diagram showing the terrain and a section by section guide as to where to walk and what can be seen. You will still need an ordnance survey map, but these leaflets are useful help and should help prevent you getting lost.

They can be purchased from the Snowdonia National Park Authority Offices at Penrhyndeudraeth, tel: 01766 770274,

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Family rescued from Cadair Idris

A couple of recent incidents have highlighted the dangers of walking in the mountains. 11 children and 3 adults had to be airlifted off Cadair Idris in a 2 hour rescue mission after they got lost in the dark. The party including the youngest child aged 8 and the eldest, 15, had set off up the mountain at around 11am last Wednesday. 10 hours later they got stuck on a slope while making their descent down the south side of Cadair which they had mistaken in the dark as the north side. To tackle such a walk with such young children and with so low a ratio of adults to children was described as foolish. They were also ill equipped and lacked the appropriate map reading skills.
They eventually had to be rescued by a helicopter from RAF Valley at a cost of £4,000. Seven of the party had to be winched off the ridge with the others diverted to flat ground where the helicopter could land.

Another lesson about mountain walking was illustrated by the story of a man from Stoke on Trent aged 32 who set off on his own up Tryfan after leaving his car at Ogwen Cottage campsite. He was reported missing last Monday and a land and air search was made on Tuesday and Wednesday trying to locate him. To date he has not been found. Walking alone is clearly very dangerous as this case shows and if you don't tell someone in detail where you are going then you may never be found if you get injured.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Come on... Give it a Go!

And best of all it's free!

The Outdoor Tourism Project led by Conwy Council is offering an action packed activity week to give everyone an opportunity to try an adventure activity. Providing you are over 18 and resident in Conwy County, you are eligible for one of their free taster sessions. And if you really take to one of the activities then you can progress further through their development programs and maybe even gain a qualification under their Coaching for Volunteers scheme. This is free because the Council are hoping to encourage and inspire the local community to take part in outdoor activities and see the potential within themselves to develop the outdoor tourism sector in Conwy. You can find out more about the project by visiting or by following them on Facebook "Outdoor Tourism Project" and Twitter.

The first activity is Climbing and Abseiling on Monday the 20th of August from 9:30 to 12:30 at Plas y Brenin, see Kayaking and Canoeing follows at 1:30pm.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Pod people

An exciting recent development in camping has been the use of "Eco-Pods". These are purpose built insulated wooden huts that provide a little more comfort than traditional tents. Their aesthetically pleasing shape blends well into the natural environment.

There is a company local to us a near Nefyn called Sustainable Choice that produces these pods. Simon visited the owner Liam last week, who showed him around some pods under various stages of construction.

Liam explained how the pods were built from renewable timber sources, and used environmentally friendly sheep's wool insulation to keep them snug inside.

If you are a landowner looking into providing camping facilities on your property and would like to get in touch with Liam, you can get use the following details:

Sustainable Choice Ltd
Coed Y Frochas
LL53 6TL

Tel: 01758 721513 or 07915 595137