The Big Wales Trip 2018

The blog has been a bit quiet recently, but I’ve been getting the lorry ready for our first big trip in it! This prep included building the portable beer terrace on top of the cab. The amazing weather has meant we’ve spent so much time out on the terrace, which inspired the building of the portable deck so we could enjoy the weather to the max whilst away. Fitted with an electric winch and folded away against the house, it was all ready to go!

Below is a little day-by-day log of our trip!

DAY 1: 19/07/2018 – We’re off! We left bath at 11.30am, heading towards Port Talbot to pick up a new surfboard I had got as a early surprise birthday present for Sophie! After the surfboard pick up and a stop at Tesco to stock up on food we drove to Porthcawl on the hunt for some surf! Unfortunately, upon arrival the sea was as flat as a pancake! However, can’t really complain as the weather is beautiful!! After a lovely walk on the beach, we set up the BBQ on the beer terrace and settled in for a warm evening relaxing and watching the sunset.

MILES TRAVELLED: 95 miles

 

DAY 2: 20/07/2018 – The surf forecast was flat for the next week so we decided to head further north to explore more of Wales. We left porthcawl at 9.30am, filled up with diesel  and headed to Margam Park, a big country house and grounds where we had an explore and some lunch. After lunch we headed to Henrhyd falls, a waterfall park in the Brecon Beacons. We had a hot and sweaty 5km trek along the river past what would have been some incredible waterfalls, had there not been a month of drought! After lunch, we continued on our way through the Brecons, on the hunt for somewhere to stay for the night. Along the way we found Penderyn, the only single malt whiskey distillery in Wales. We had an interesting tour of the distillery and whiskey tasting before setting up camp by a reservoir in Powys.

MILES TRAVELLED: 64 miles

 

DAY 3: 21/07/2018 – We left the reservoir around 9am, and headed towards the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) – http://www.cat.org.uk. This is a great place that shows off so many different examples of how to be environmentally friendly and live off-grid. After exploring CAT we camped nearby on a beautiful campsite down by the river. We had BBQ for dinner and then played cards around the fire; a very peaceful evening!

MILES TRAVELLED: 81 miles

 

DAY 4: 22/07/2018 – We left the site early and headed off to Harlech to see its stunning castle. This journey took us on some rather scary windy roads, but we made it in one piece and even found a car park that fitted us! After a great tour around the castle and some beautiful views from its turrets, we went for lunch in an amazing restaurant overlooking both the castle and the sea. We then drove along the coast to Barmouth to find the most perfect of locations for our next night. On a road heading out of the town centre, with parking spaces all along it, it was ideal. To make things better it was only a paths width away from the sea, being able to virtually dive in from the lorry! The only issue were the signs every 20m stating no overnight camping. Luckily, upon arrival, we had two lovely ladies, who also owned a homemade campervan, come bounding up to us raving about the lorry! (Check out their Instagram: @trucklife814). They had stayed here the night before and assured us it was perfectly fine! With this reassurance we set up camp and wasted no time jumping in the sea! After a lovely swim we dried ourselves off and relaxed on the sea wall, whilst answering a barrage a questions about the lorry from everyone who passed. We considered installing a ‘£5 a photo, £1 a question’ policy, which would have paid for the whole trip in this one night alone!! Highly satisfied with ourselves we got an Indian takeaway and ate it on the beach, watching the sunset; an activity we highly recommend!!

MILES TRAVELLED: 51 miles

 

Day 5: 23/07/18 – After such a beautiful evening, it was a surprisingly gloomy start in Barmouth, so we had a cozy movie morning and then drove off to a campsite recommended by the TruckLife people: Cae Du costal campsite In Tywyn (we highly recommend). This campsite had a super sketchy entry: firstly a really steep hill down and then through the tightest tunnel ever! But, once through the other side it was worth it, as we got to park on the edge of a cliff with views over the sea. The weather cleared up and the day ended with the most beautiful sunset ever!!

MILES TRAVELLED: 28 miles

 

Day 6: 24/07/18 – Late morning we left Cae Du and headed towards Aberystwyth, our destination: Morrisons! We desperately needed to stock up on food as the house was completely empty. From there we went to Devil’s Bridge Falls, which was an impressive set of three bridges on top of each other, followed by a big climb up alongside the waterfall. We then had to work out where to camp for the night. We looked on Park4night, a great app showing where other campers have stayed, and found a little carpark right on the beach in Llanrhystud. A stones throw from the sea and another self-built rustic camper there to greet us; we had some how managed to find another perfect spot to stay in! The other truck was home to a lovely artist couple who live in their truck full time (Check them out: https://boonrig.weebly.com). After admiring each others trucks and a swim, we invited our new neighbours for a bbq. This ended up being one of the best nights yet; lovely food, great company and a cracking sunset.

MILES TRAVELLED: 37 miles

 

Day 7: 25/07/18 – We woke up to amazing sunshine, so naturally we took the breakfast to the beer terrace. To make this scene even more idyllic, a small pod of dolphins swam right in front of the beach just as we were eating!! This set us up for a lovely day spent swimming in the sea and sunbathing. Just the chilled day we needed after so much travelling, and especially good for Tom to have a break from driving for a few days. That night, the Boonrig guys returned the dinner favour by cooking us a vegan roast dinner in the evening, which was surprisingly delicious for us devoted meat eaters!! We stayed in Llanrhystyd another night as its so beautiful, and we spent the evening chilling, listening to music, watching another insane sunset and planning our next move.

 

Day 8: 26/07/18 – We spent the morning packing up the lorry and prepping for our next move. The Boonrig set off first as they are far quicker than us (we struggle with hills majorly!). We planned to meet in Rest Bay, Porthcawl but when we got to the car park we have camped in many times before, the warden told the Boonrig they couldn’t stay, so we moved to a nearby nature reserve. This turned out to be a lovely spot where we stayed for the night. We had a BBQ with the guys before trekking down to a hidden beach, only the locals seemed to know about, for a sunset surf. Whilst the waves were a little small, the water was amazingly warm and being in the water at sunset is such a calming experience! We then headed back for an earlyish night as good surf had been predicted for early the next morning.

MILES TRAVELLED: 78 miles

 

Day 9: 27/07/18 – Up and in the water by 7am for an early surf was a struggle but worth it for some big waves, finally!! A big surf session before we wondered hungrily back to the lorry for breakfast. The weather turned a bit grey after breakfast so we hunkered down and watched some films until lunch time, when we said goodbye to our new friends. After food we headed back to Rest Bay and we arrived just as the weather brightened up, calling for a windy coastal walk.

MILES TRAVELLED: 4 miles

 

Day 10: 28/07/18 – Our final night in Wales was a super windy night! We accidentally left a surfboard under the lorry, which led to a very disrupted night involving multiple trips out to make sure it hadn’t blown away! After a bad nights sleep we had a slow morning with bacon sandwiches hoping the rain would stop and the wind would die down so we could get a decent surf in! Some friends from the New Forest, Victoria and Lior, were heading up to Porthcawl to surf, so we met up with them about 11am and battled the wind down to the beach! The waves were actually pretty great, ideal size and not too messy! Whilst the waves were good, the weather pretty extreme with strong winds and some of the heaviest rain ever! Despite this, we had a great surf, staying in the water nearly 3 hours. After getting back to the Lorry we warmed up with hot chocolates, showers and a lovely lunch. This was a fab way to conclude our trip, as we packed up the lorry that afternoon and headed back to Bath.

MILES TRAVELLED: 81 miles

 

The trip was finished with a great family meal at Soph’s house to celebrate her graduating from uni. This was a great chance for her parents and grandparents to see the lorry and to chat to everyone about our trip!

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Trip summary:

TOTAL MILES TRAVELLED: 520 miles

We had an epic trip exploring Wales, and managed to fit so much into our 10 day trip; from exploring the south coast and the Brecon Beacons to Snowdonia National Park and all down the west coast. We have seen some unbelievable sunsets and landscapes and had such a brilliant time together, with no crashes or breakdowns and lots of BBQs! Overall, the first trip in the lorry has been a huge success!

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2 thoughts on “The Big Wales Trip 2018

  1. Hi Tom, This is a great blog. Well done. You certainly travelled some miles in ” The Lorry”. I loved your diary notes. I should think Wales is still reeling from your visit, The celebration on Sunday was special and it was good to meet your Mum Tom.

    Best wishes Alan & Vonie

    Like

    1. Congratulations for this brilliant blog, rich with stories and images, that have made me know much more about those distant lands.
      Greetings from Patagonia Argentina.

      Like

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