Green hills, seaside towns and lovely castles tarnished a mossy green from age. This is Wales. North Wales, that is. It may be just as full of English as England is, but it’s still Welsh and proud.
On a trip to visit my family in the United Kingdom one summer, I got to explore North Wales and its castles such as Beaumaris and Conwy Castle, both built by King Edward I of England in his conquest of Wales in the thirteenth century.
You see, Edward I was looking to conquer Wales and Scotland so it only made sense to build his defences in those countries. Building castles within England, his homeland, at certain times defeated the purpose. The strategy is to build castles in new lands and defend the newly conquered territory from being taken back by the locals.
But enough with the history lesson.
I have some very dear friends in England, and one afternoon the six of us came up with this bright idea to go camping in Wales for the night. We borrowed a tent, stopped at the local ASDA (the U.K.’s version of Wal-Mart) and stocked up on Carlsberg Export. We stuffed it all into the trunk of my friend’s car and we set off.
I’ll mention we left in the evening when it was already dark and we couldn’t have picked a worse night to go. It was windy, cold and the rain was throwing it down in a fast whipping motion like the cat o’ nine tails. Yeah, we picked a great day to go camping. We also had no idea where to even stop and camp.
My friend Alex had a couple ideas, and after stopping a couple different times to inspect the lay of the land, we eventually found ourselves driving down a narrow road to some desolate campground far off the beaten track. I kept thinking that if we encountered an oncoming vehicle it would be a fight to the death for who would have to reverse their car all the way back out.
We finally arrived at the campground at about 10 p.m. in the pissing down Welsh rain. Sure enough, none of us knew how to put the tent together. We were loud, soaked and one by one lanterns in neighbouring tents began turning on. I clearly remember one of our companions “riding” around the camping area with the flashlight pretending to be on a horse; the English and their sense of humour!
With the tents finally set up we found sanctuary inside and became cozy in our sleeping bags. A well-earned Carlsberg Export was cracked open and we all soon fell asleep.
The next morning I woke up early. I climbed out of my sleeping bag and crawled to open the zipper of the tent to inhale some fresh air. I climbed through the flap and stood up to rub my eyes and that was when all the trouble from the night before had become so worth it! My eyes laid upon the green Welsh mountains surrounding our campground, ones that were not visible in the dark when we arrived the night before.
Tiny white specks dotted the side of these mountains. These were sheep, and I could hear them ever so faint in the distance. The scene was so tranquil. Everything green and lush, the grey overcast sky set the perfect mood for a cozy quiet morning.
Unfortunately, my moment was short-lived after we had the campground manager literally corner us in the communal lavatories demanding we pay up our rent for using the space for a night.
The remainder of the day was spent in Llandudno, a nice Welsh seaside resort town big with the holidaymakers in summer. We played arcades on the pier and miniature golf for the afternoon before driving back to England.
A completely pointless camping trip, but I would not have changed it for the world.