We woke to a glorious morning for our final day in Wales. We still had things to see… far more things than we expected, in fact…but they would be on our way back to Yorkshire. I had been reluctant to leave the beach and turn my back on the sea, not knowing how long it would be before I would see it again. “You never know…” had said my companion, and he had been right. I thought we were heading for the mountains and then inland… but instead, we had wandered through the mountains and found ourselves once more by the sea.
I don’t think he was at all surprised when I suggested delaying our departure just long enough to explore the road around Great Orme. We had seen the summit a couple of days before, but from there you do not see the full extent of the headland and it far bigger than it seems from the heights. You really do not get a true sense of scale up there.
The coastal road winds right around the cliffs, halfway between the sea and the summit. It is supposed to be a toll road, but the road was unmanned; perhaps it was too early in the season, but it would have been worth every penny of the charge.
The sea had that deceptive turquoise clarity that promises bathers more warmth than they are likely to get if they are foolhardy enough to brave the currents and the depth.They would also have to brave the sea creatures.
The jellyfish are abundant and not of the small variety either. We had seen them at closer quarters, both on the beach and in the sea. A bit of research revealed that swarms of barrel jellyfish that can grow between sixteen and forty inches across have been borne to the Welsh coast recently. From the cliffs,they look like drowned ghosts in the water.
There were gulls and crows everywhere too. Their cries echoing off the fractured limestone added an eerie quality to the morning, a real contrast to the warm summer sun and the profusion of wildflowers and butterflies in the low green carpet that clings to the clifftops.
The stone speaks to imagination, seeming to wear the faces of its soul in the wind-sculpted rocks. There was a sense of being watched as we drove, stopping at every opportunity to get out and walk. With more time, it would be a lovely place to walk on a summer morning, right around the dragon’s head, exploring the footpaths that lead both down to the little coves and up onto the headland.
But this was a last look at the sea before heading home. Or so we thought. The plan, in as far as we had one, was to take the main highway out Wales for a while then stop somewhere interesting on the way. The likelihood of us sticking to any such plan, though, is usually pretty slim.
From the final stretch of the headland, we could see the isle of Anglesey where we had spent the winter weekend with the Silent Eye last year. You could certainly work in this landscape to your heart’s content. Odd weekends were never going to be enough and, now we had found ‘our’ guesthouse, we did have a place we could base ourselves for future explorations…
Turning our eyes inland across the bay, we could see the hills we had climbed to reach the Druid’s Circle, looking so ridiculously big it seemed impossible that we had done it in an afternoon. Behind us, on Great Orme itself, were the ancient mines where we had descended into the earth. There is an odd sense of intimacy when you walk the land from the depths to the heights. But it was time to leave…our road home led eastwards… so it was only to be expected really when we headed west instead…