As we drove away from Borth, continuing along the road in the direction that we had arrived the day before, it became clear that there were better wild parking opportunities up ahead that we had missed out on. They do however involve proximity to golfers and we are both naturally reserved about golf balls, so perhaps we were better at the side of the road after all.
Mr Snail had factored into our plans a stop in Dolgellau, where we could pick up some supplies. He had been there before and knew that there was a car park we could fit into and it was on the edge of town, saving us driving through the centre.
Unfortunately his memory was not sufficient to enable solo navigation and he turned the GPS on, which of course sent us right through the middle of the town on a twisty turny one-way route of very narrow streets. Extremely narrow ones, we squeaked our mirrors through without disaster but it was very necessary to keep an eye on the height of any pedestrians in our vicinity.
We were quite early and there was plenty of space when we arrived. It was a beautifully sunny and crisp day, the schools were still on holiday and families were rolling up in cars with bike racks on all the time that we were there. The car park was filling rapidly.
I liked Dolgellau.
A bakery supplied us with bread rolls and four amazingly large cakes, a trip to the butcher furnished bacon, burgers, sausages and free-range eggs, and the wholefood shop had local cheeses (we bought four.) We wandered around in search of a supermarket type shop for some basics but found none, though we followed a sign for the Co-op, we never found it.
By the time that we were ready to leave the car park was full enough to challenge our manoeuvres. It was a case of sitting and waiting until the right car moved to allow us space. Next time we'll pass through the car park and head for the lorry park beyond.
The Dolgellau album:
We were going to wild overnight in a forest car park at Rhyd. We turned off the A487 at the Oakeley Arms and onto the B4410. I noticed the sign that said that buses are prohibited after 1 mile, Mr Snail did not. I wondered if we were going against the spirit of the thing... what constitutes a "bus" ?
We progressed. It was a narrow road with two-way traffic that was surprisingly (to us) busy. We met a narrower section. There were cars coming down, cars behind, and a very unforgiving-looking stone wall on both sides of the road. (It was somewhere about here, if I remember correctly). It was extremely tight but fortunately the driver of the car squeezing by us clearly had experience and knew exactly how to tackle it. She and I communicated by sign language and everyone came off unscathed. Phew. Another disaster averted.
And then we saw it, the very narrow bridge. At 13 foot 6, the height, if measured at the shoulders, would have been fine but it looked incredibly narrow. Just in front of the bridge there was a "buses prohibited" sign. Mr Snail asked if we should attempt it but I suggested discretion be in order. Luckily, in front of that sign, was a turning area for buses at the Tanybwlch railway station on the Ffestiniog railway. We made use of it and got the hell out of Dodge.
I swear that I held my breath all the way down that road and did not exhale until it was clear that we were not going to be playing a game of sardines (or chicken!) with any oncoming traffic.
Back on the A road, we found a lay-by and considered parking there overnight. It was less than ideal but there was a footpath on the other side of the road where we might walk the dog. We did however consult the map and found that just a short way down the road was a large lay-by set back from the road with a large verge between and adjacent to a National Trust woodland with several footpaths through it. Ideal!
The weather was good, the dog was eager... we made the most of it and chose the longest route, with the option of an additional leg to a viewpoint. It was quite a climb and as we neared the top we heard a train whistle - we were approaching the line and as I aimed my camera, a steam train went by. The photo came out all blurry as I did not even have time to focus.
We sat at the viewpoint, drinking the view in and thirstily demolishing our bottle of water.
As we apprached the final leg of the walk we heard the train whistling, coming back from the other direction, or so we thought. We decided to walk up to the line and to wait for the train and try to grab some photos.
We had a very long wait.
We crossed the line and waited and waited. Nell was becoming fractious.
Every now and again we would think that we heard the engine again but nothing transpired and we decided that it was a trick of the geography of the line and we had actually heard the sound of the whistle carrying back and up the valley from Porthmadog.
We decided to walk on up the hill, past the little lake and to see if we might get a view of where we originally intended to park. It was when we were surveying the lake that we hear it again. A definite whistle. The train was coming back! And so we legged it back down the hill, certain that we would miss the train rushing by. We didn't. We arrived back at the crossing, out of breath, but without sign of the train. We waited and waited and waited... it was surely coming, the whistle got louder and then fainter. Eventually, of course, it did come puffing by.
I was rewarded for our infinite patience (aka idiocy) by a couple of good shots.
And then we went "home"...
...to a well-earned beer and a less than restful night. We were frequently disturbed by cars driving past at high speed in the night and sounding their horns at us. This fact alone prevents us from recommending this spot to other motorhome campers - the natives in Wales are less than friendly!
The full album:
Next: the end of Wales