Tuesday April 23, 2002 was our last full day in Wales. Since Kitty was suffering a head cold (and we were still staying at the hostel with forced lock-out during the day) we again abandoned serious hiking and made a leisurely car trip. Our route this time was a figure "8" first south along the coast as far as Barmouth Bay and then inland before heading north, on a mix of roads yet untravelled by us and ones followed the day before. See map of north western Wales for reference.
We stopped in a lightly travelled area - one also with enough of a pullout to park the car safely - and walked for several miles enjoying the sights. This estate with "Alice in Wonderland" or "Edward Scissorhands" shrubbery was a real surprise. It wasn't open for viewing at the time but we were able to see quite a bit from the gateway.
Kitty found something sad and out of place with this lone cow in the muck just up the road from those lovely estate gardens. She (the cow, not Kitty ;>) deserved to be out on a nice green pasture, maybe in the company of some sheep.
A cut into the rocky hillside provided a fascinating view of tree roots splitting shale. The roots of another tree nearby are the home of moss and a small light green slug.
Tom decided to photograph Kitty on the return leg of the walk to prove that she was *really* on this day trip.
This stone work and wrought iron pleased the sense of order both of us find in man-made geometric patterns.
Curiosity got Tom and he just had to have a look inside this cave. Not surprisingly only water could be seen; a hip boot adventure only.
Our next real stop was in Harlech on the coast further south than we had travelled the day before.
We enjoyed a cold lunch and the view of Cardigan Bay from the large lounge behind the bay windows of this large aging but still gracious St. David's Hotel. While doing so we planned our walk along the beach which lies beyond a golf course and then sand dunes.
At a rise in the dunes, Tom pauses with a cool stiff breeze blowing.
The mist prevented us from seeing any further than the prominent point less than 5 miles south of Harlech.
The lesser populated area in the southern portion of Harlech as seen from the beach.
Tom reads up on the ecology of the Harlech Dunes - after we completed our walk along the beach but used the prepared walkway to cross back.
A closer view of Harlech, mainly occupying a hillside overlooking Cardigan Bay, was seen as we crossed first the dunes and then St. David's Golf Course.
Harlech College with St. David's Hotel to the right can be made out in the mist while the golfers play on.
Harlech Castle is surrounded on the hillside with much more recently constructed buildings in the town of Harlech.
This lamb in a field on the edge of the dunes before we crossed the golf course caught our attention as unusual from all those we'd seen so far on the trip since it had markings much like an Appaloosa horse. Is there such a breed of sheep? It didn't look like any of the sheep in the field at the time but treated the ewe in the right rear as its mother a few minutes later.
Once on the town-side of the golf course we had a much closer view of the Harlech Castle.
As we neared the St. David's Hotel where we had parked our rental car, we passed Harlech College, which Kitty photographed earlier from the beach. This gate and stonework complemented the older campus buildings and those in the immediate area.
After leaving Harlech we continued south to Barmouth which is on the northern tip of Barmouth Bay. From there we then proceeded east along a river (name not identified on our map) till the next main highway heading north.
A train bridge connects Barmouth to the other side of the river outlet that empties the mid-portion of Snowdonia National Park.
The tide just beginning to flow inward into the river up from Barmouth Bay produces interesting views.
It wasn't until we almost completed the figure 8 route we planned that we saw our first patches of blue skies in Wales - a truly lovely pastoral scene.
A little further east, along a secondary road (B4418) nearing Rhyd-Dduand, the wind and rain erosion on the steep hillside made an interesting study in surface contrasts. And the rare blue sky patches were enjoyable.
Only a short distance further along the same road closer to Rhyd-Ddu we were back into the mist. We came across a blanketed reservoir at high elevation which we were told by lone fisherman, seeking a better spot, was stocked with fish with trout.
Just down the road from the reservoir a young lamb (younger than those in the lowlands) took refuge in the greens - but not too far from mom.
This ended our 2nd full day in Wales, at which point Kitty crashed soon after supper in order to be up and checkout by 9am.
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