Pwllheli

Pwllheli is more prosperous than I expected, a yachting centre with a large harbour, the end-of-the-line railway station, a high street mercifully free of chain stores, an ironmongers and a disused chapel.

This is the ironmongers:-

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Butlin’s

We passed the site of Butlin’s Pwllheli, one of the largest of his holiday camps, constructed during the war for servicemen, including the Duke of Edinburgh, and opened in March 1947 as a holiday camp after a public enquiry.   Clough Williams-Ellis appeared to oppose it on behalf of the Council for the Preservation of Rural Wales and as Planning Consultant to the County Council.   He promptly announced to the Inspector ‘I myself flatly disagree with their attitudes, and am one hundred per cent in favour of the camp’.   It’s a downmarket version of Portmeirion.

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The Annual Walk (1)

Today was the first day of the annual walk (well, most years).   This year, we’re doing the Llyn Peninsula from Criccieth round to Nefyn, having walked most of the coast of Wales, including the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path, Cardigan Bay and, most recently, Machynlleth to Portmadoc.   The first stretch was along the shore from Criccieth to Pwllheli looking out to Harlech and Cardigan Bay, then on to Llanbedrog after lunch, a distance of 15 and a half miles.   This was the view from Criccieth:-

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A curious modernist villa on the outskirts was nominated for this year’s RIBA awards:-

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Criccieth

We spent a windswept afternoon in Criccieth enjoying the fact that Clough Williams-Ellis’s perfectly modernist 1948 pavilion on the sea front where Billy Butlin brought his customers has now been turned into a smart Maine-style restaurant:-

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Llandegai

I wanted to see the Westmacott monument to the first Lord Penrhyn and his wife which is in the village church outside the gates of Penrhyn Castle.   But the church was closed (Wednesdays and Saturdays only):-

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Plas Cadnant (2)

I’ve been asked for more information about Plas Cadnant, the magical garden on a hill just outside Menai Bridge.   It was originally laid out by someone called John Price in the early nineteenth century (he was Sheriff in 1818).   The head gardener, Thomas Williams, went on to work for the Earl of Crawford and Balcarres and bequeathed his plant collection to Southport Botanic Society.   In 1996, it was bought by Anthony Tavernor, a Cheshire farmer who is clearly passionate about plants and resurrected the old Walled Garden and hidden valley.   We came back in the sun:-

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M. Jones a’i Fab

No visit to Anglesey is complete without a trip to see Merfyn and Trish Jones who run the nicest antique shop in the world on Beaumaris High Street.   He’s got another shop two doors down which is not open to the passing visitor, full of rural Welsh crafts, including the slate ornaments made when the slate workers were on strike:-

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