Monthly Archives: June 2009

To The Principality for a Dose of Nostalgia

Joined our friends Chris and Phyl in North Wales on Friday for a jaunt around some places we haven’t seen for a while …


Many years ago, C&P used to spend summer holidays with their kids at an old railway station near Trawsfynydd. (The station ceased to function as such thanks to Dr Beeching, though the line remained operational for a time as a goods line serving the power station.) We used to visit them for a day, with our mutual friends Barry and Val. I also have memories of the area from the time when I had caravan holidays with my Mum and Dad.

C&P had decided to have a short break, staying at The Grapes in Maentwrog, revisiting old haunts and old memories, and it seemed appropriate for us to join them for a day once again.

Lesley and I took The MX for an outing and enjoyed a very pleasant run (top down, of course) with sun shining most of the way.

The four of us (plus Maisie the dog) started out with something new – a walk to a nearby waterfall, recommended by the hotel owner. It looked as if things might take a turn for the worse when it started to rain almost a soon as we got out of the car; we were relieved when if proved to be only a passing shower.

Pretty soon we were in nostalgia mode, as Phyl took us to a place they remembered taking the kids to swim on the south side of the river estuary near Llanfihangel. Sun came out again, and we enjoyed a pleasant picnic lunch and a bit of a gossip.

We then drove down the coast, past Harlech, and I recalled my childhood holidays at Tal-y-bont. We stopped there to check out the beach, which is enormous and was pretty deserted. There a quite a few more caravan parks etc than I think there were 50 years ago!

A walk on the promenade at Barmouth followed, with the obligatory ice cream – Maisie finishing hers in double-quick time!

Then up the river towards Dolgellau, to pick up the A470 back towards Trawsfynydd. We thought it was somewhere along here that we had the incredibly wet tramp to a gold mine with Barry and Val, but were unable to identify the exact location.

On through Porthmadog, where we picked up fish and chips, to end the day with an alfresco supper at Borth. We finished with a walk to the beach where we had shared sun and sand so many years ago – it seemed somehow smaller than we remembered.

All in all an excellent day, lucky with the weather most of the time. Home in under 2 hours (top up, I fear – must be getting old!)

To Oulton for the Touring Cars

An interesting, if sometimes tedious weekend at Oulton Park, marshalling for the BTCC meeting.

The main events were, of course, the actual Touring Car races, but there were supporting races for the Porsche Carrera Cup, Ginetta Juniors and G50s, Formula Renault and Renault Clio Cup. There’s a PDF file of the timetable here (I’m sure there must be a better way of linking a PDF directly into the blog).

Saturday was a long day: mainly practice and qualifying, but ending with a couple of the support races. Signing on was a real drag – queued for about 20 minutes without moving and then inched forward for another 15 minutes before actually getting assigned.

Sunday was better, being all races, and also a late start, which makes a pleasant change. There was a fairly spectacular happening on Avenue in the G50 Cup race, resulting in a half-hour clear-up operation that threatened to clobber the timetable, but having abandoned that race the rest of the programme was just squeezed in. (Report here.)

Being assigned to the Water Tower post both days was a bit of a bummer. They always say, “This is a post where not much happens, but when it happens, it happens big!” – well, this weekend it didn’t. Only action was pushing a defunct Ginetta Junior off track, which is hardly what you’d call exciting!

Still, weather was glorious sun all day both days, so it could have been worse.

Next outing will be BARC meeting on 20th.