Last year we spent a disasterous but wonderful few days camping amongst the trees in Beddgelert, North Wales. We enjoyed it so much that we said, there and then, that we’d come back year after year so that the kids could keep rediscovering it as they grow. We even extended our trip this year, and stayed for an extra night.
Last year the tent leaked, the air bed popped and pretty much everything went wrong. This year ran much more smoothly, although I did manage to break our brightest lamp before it even got dark.
We don’t have the same tent this year. We bought something bigger back in Spring before our Easter break in Rhossili. A Kalahari Elite 8. It’s enormous. It sleeps 8 people, but could actually sleep more than that if you took no stuff. Kids need stuff though. So much stuff. Especially Iris who still seems to end up covered in food/mud/poop several times a day. Next year we’ll have a new car (more on that soon) and possibly a trailer. This year we had a roof box that just wasn’t big enough. How we ever did this without it last year is a complete mystery to me.
The campsite itself is amazing. It’s not called ‘Camping in the Forest’ for nothing. You really do camp right amongst the trees. There are rabbits and squirrels running all around and between the tents. The shower and toilet blocks are really good and there are a few of them, meaning you never end up needing to walk right across the campsite. The laundry and washing up facilities are great too there’s also a station right in the canpsite, so you can jump on steam train for a day trip without even getting in your at.
Last year I wrote posts and posts on what we did and where we went. I could do that this year too, but we repeated a lot of the stuff. Also I can’t really be bothered. There were castles. A lot of castles. With spiral stairs that take you to the top of the towers. Stairs that I just couldn’t manage because my hips are killing me. Caernarfon, Criccieth, Conwy, Harlech, Dolbadarn. Castles.
There were lakes and waterfalls too. Apparently Iris is as desperate as the dog to jump into any water she sees.
There were steam trains again too. We went further on the steam railway this year, from Blaenau Ffestiniog to Porthmadog. Poor Seb, who took it in his stride last year, was a nervous doggy wreck to begin with and kept trying to climb back out of the carriage window. Once the train started moving he settled down and was fine, thankfully. Iris has no fear of the open carriages, and kept trying to lean out. She spent much of the journey waving and calling out ‘bye trees!’.
We stopped for lunch in Porthmadog station, where the sun shone and the views of the water were pretty amazing. Then we went for a walk, and ate ice cream. Don’t think poor Trev got an ice cream to himself the whole week.
We visited Gelert’s Grave again. The story of Gelert, the dog wrongly killed for harming a baby that he only protected, really makes me sad. Is near to a fantastic pub though, where we went several times last year and this year. The Saracen’s Head in Beddgelert first caught our attention last year with it’s ‘Children, dogs and muddy boots welcome’ sign. As we have all of the above, finding nice places to eat isn’t always easy. The food here is amazing though. Even Iris couldn’t get enough of their sausage and mash, saying ‘mmmm, lovely’ with almost every mouthful.
Despite adding on an extra night this year, we often felt a bit rushed to squeeze everything in I can’t comment for everybody else but I felt seriously exhausted by the last day. It takes a long time each morning to get the kids up, dressed and motivated to move meaning it was almost lunchtime before we left the camp most days. I don’t know if going for a full week would really help next year. We’ll have an 8 month old baby and Iris will be 2. It’ll probably be even harder. Perhaps me and Trevor just need to relax a bit and stop worrying about trying to see everything the area has to offer. It does seem a shame to come away at the end having missed something you really enjoyed on a previous visit, but it’s not the end of the world.
I’m already looking forward to next year! We’re hoping to squeeze in some shorter camping trips before then (maybe even one next week!) to get some use of the tent. I’m slightly concerned with how it’ll be for me. At 20 weeks pregnant I found the camping air beds incredibly uncomfortable, and I’m only going to get bigger! I guess I’ll find out.