Conwy, North Wales
Colwy marina is big and modern, it has a buzzy bar/restaurant that always seems busy and lots of boats. Apparently my grandfather, Jack Garner, kept his boat here many years ago so I've been here before as a baby or toddler, I have no recollection, although I do have the urge to go and look for his yacht, Lady Rita.
We spent three days here, done a bit of exploring locally, Colwy Town, the castle and town walls on Friday, out to see the Menai Strait yesterday in preparation for our passage through, On Sunday we climbed up the hill just behind the marina, along the ridge, down to the beach and walked barefoot back to the boat in the sunshine, really pretty heather covered hills and a beautiful sandy beach, if it weren't for the busy dual carriageway that runs along the coast between the sea and the hills and the constant drone of traffic it would be idyllic.
Saturday started wet and miserable so we took our bikes on the train to Bangor in order to cycle down to the Menai Bridge and have a look at The Swellies, another stretch of water with a perilous reputation; a narrow stretch of the Menai Strait which, if navigated with care at the right point of the tide i.e. slack high-water, presents no problems at all, but if you get it wrong all sorts of disasters await, so a little research can't do any harm.
The Swellies lies between the Menai and Brittannia bridges, the tide can reach 8-10 knots, it's important to get your timing right.
It's all very well being this well-prepared on the water, a little more attention to detail wouldn't go amiss for our land-based expeditions......we managed to alight our train a stop early on our return from fact-finding mission to Menai Strait; Conwy station isn't difficult at all to recognise, so how we managed to find ourselves on the platform of some unpronounceable station, I have no idea. We were so absorbed in the business of collecting bikes and bags, that when the doors opened, we got off, train pulled away and we looked around for the exit, it probably took 15 seconds to realise what we'd done, there was now six miles and a mountain between us and Bliss!
Fortunately there's a cycle path along the coast, avoiding a mountain pass. The sun came out and it was a nice six mile ride home.