When all around you is fraught . . .. . .the only solution is a walk along the Glan yr Afon - Riverside Park in Llangollen. So wonderful at any time of the year. The noise of the river rapids soothes. The timeless beauty of the towering mountain clothed in autumnal colours makes you realise what really matters.
Llangollen in the Dee Valley is beautiful at any season as is the drive down the A5 to Betws-y-Coed
Memories in the mists of time.
We are so lucky to live in this wonderful part of North Wales and thankful that we chose it all those years ago when looking for a better future. Times were a-changing in Lancashire in the late 60's with the closure of the coal mines and cotton mills - affecting engineering trades in the service industry. With hope in our hearts, we took the plunge and, with our small baby, went into unchartered waters in a manner of speaking.OH had passed his driving test but having no car, we hired one as he came for his second interview in a village nearby - the passport to a new life.
We first saw Llangollen one snowy January as we drove down roads packed with ice and snow. The roads had only just become passable. The A539 runs alongside the river as it flows along the bottom of the valley. With snow-laden trees sparkling in the winter sunshine, to a young couple coming from a Lancashire mill town it was like fairyland. The street signs were - and still are - in Welsh. Llangollen has a deep Welsh history and culture. Stopping for lunch at the Grapes Hotel just over the ancient bridge on the A5, we and our baby daughter were given a warm welcome and food.
Fast forward to November 2017
Parking up in the car park on Market Street last week and hoping for an empty space I commented, " I think that Tuesday is market day". And it was. Stalls were spread along with market traders coming to the end of their morning's trading. We found a space. Coming out onto the street, we decided to head into town for a bite to eat. The Italian Fouzzi's Cafe Bar by the bridge and the Royal Hotel was again a good choice. Settling for a hot roast pork bap, side salad and fries, washed down with a cool drink, we had to hurry back to the car park to put in more money as OH must have pushed the wrong buttons when a 50p piece was rejected. One hour cost us £2.00 instead of £1 and we wanted 3 hours at £2.50. Meanwhile, I wandered along to look in the range of independent shops of which Llangollen has many.
Turning to head towards the side streets to the river, in front of us was that timeless view of the towering mountain that rises above and shelters the town. Today it was wearing its colourful autumnal dress. Passing the Cornmill riverside restaurant, we stopped for a while to watch the canoeist riding the rapids. This part of the river is a favourite for canoeists; the water races over the rocks as it heads towards the ancient bridge and beyond, through the villages and towns on its way to Chester and the sea.
This particular group appeared to be in training and quite young. Each waited for the signal from the instructor before they launched themselves off the weir into the raging river. So brave!
Further along we were struck with awe and calmed by the sheer beauty of what nature had provided in this ever-changing scene. The photo above explains what I mean.
A little further along, we stopped to read the information board about the history of the Riverside Park. Retracing our steps, we took the easy, level route back to the main road.
This little trip was just the medicine needed to soothe the soul.