Wales – Weather Watching

Borth Postcard

I always say that I will never go to Wales ever again.  It always rains in Wales.  I always say that I will never go to Wales ever again.

In 1975 I went to University in Wales and over a period of three years spent 90% of my student grant on raincoats, wellington boots and umbrellas.

In 1986 I went to Wales for a holiday to the Hoseason’s Holiday Village in Carnarvon in North Wales and it was so cold and so wet that we gave up on the fourth day, abandoned the holiday and drove all the way back home. I said that I would never go to Wales ever again.

After staying away for a quarter of a century I went to Wales in 2011 and it rained (and I got a disputed speeding ticket in Aberystwyth).  I said that I wouldn’t go ever again. In 2015 I went again and it rained and I said that I would never go again.

In March this year a good friend phoned me and invited me to go to Wales with him for a week in a caravan in Wales and I agreed.  I had clearly forgotten about the rain.

Rain In Wales 1

I might not have agreed to go except for the fact that this was at the mid-Wales beach resort of Borth and I remembered going there on a family holiday when I was about ten years old and even though I knew that it was almost certain that it would rain I was interested in returning and the prospect of seeing what it looked like fifty years or so later!

My pal was already in Wales, he had spent the weekend there with another friend and the plan was to meet him in Llandudno on the north coast where we would exchange him like a secret agent on the Bridge of Spies so on the appointed day I set off from my home town of Grimsby and drove through drizzle towards the almost certain prospect of rain in Wales.  If I was a betting man I would have gone to ‘Betfreds’ and put a £ on it!

It was a truly horrendous journey.  It rained continuously.  It rained relentlessly.  Over the Pennines creeping clouds dragged drizzle like a plough over the morose moors. Even the soggy sheep were looking for shelter.  On the motorways around murky Manchester visibility was about two inches, possibly less. Progress was slow.  Then something strange happened and around about Liverpool I left the black clouds behind and by the time I got to Chester the sun was beginning to show its face.

This sort of meteorological phenomenon occurs only about once in a thousand years because normally you drive to Wales in good weather and it rains when you get there, never the other way around.

Wales Landscape

This was not what I was expecting at all and my spirits soared as I drove to the place of appointed exchange and took possession of my travelling companion and his luggage in a McDonalds car park, an appropriately shifty sort of place to do business.

My travelling companion lives close by to me in Grimsby which is just about as far away from Wales that it is possible to get in the United Kingdom but he remains a true Dragon fire breathing patriot and on the drive south to our caravan accommodation he was keen to take me to the village of Llanystumdwy near Criccieth because there is the grave of the British Prime Minister David Lloyd George.

He grew up here as a young boy and this is where he chose to be laid to rest.  A magnificent spot in a shady glen and overlooking an excitable river with wild water tumbling down over rocks from the soggy mountains inland.  A great boulder marks his grave but there is no inscription. A monument designed by the architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis surrounds the grave and there is a simple plaque to inform visitors who may not realise who is buried here.

David Lloyd George Grave

David Lloyd George is the only Welsh man to ever hold the office of Prime Minister, but wait, hold on a minute, although he had Welsh parents he was actually born in Manchester which must surely make him part English?  50% English I would say. This is like the Wales football team at the European Championships.  They did ever so well but a third of the squad were born in England including the three goal scorers in their famous victory over Belgium.  That is why that despite the fact that in Wales (including the 30% English squad) they shamefully cheer when England lose we (the English) by contrast always celebrate a Wales victory!

north wales

We left and drove around the west of Snowdonia and Cader Idris and then through the towns of Dolgellau and Machynlleth, where we stopped for groceries and then continued directly to Borth which I was pleased to see hadn’t really changed a great deal at all in the last fifty years since I had been there.

It is not an especially exciting place it has to be said. Tripadvisor lists only lists only six things to do, a list which includes the RNLI lifeboat depot the railway station waiting room, the golf course restaurant and an unlikely zoo.

We checked in, found our caravan accommodation, moved in and settled down for the evening, later I walked to the beach to enjoy the unexpected but most welcome end of day sunshine.

Borth Seafront Wales

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31 responses to “Wales – Weather Watching

  1. Lovely! I would love to visit~

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  2. An irresistible title, Andrew, and a great read 🙂 And no rain! You managed that in Ireland too. Must be climate change 🙂 I was in Criccieth (Butlins 😦 ) oh, so many years ago. I seem to remember it rained.

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  3. You are quite right about the Wales football team. I am actually eligible to play for Ireland through my great grandma O’Neill. Unfortunately, Jeremy keeps pestering me to be Shadow Foreign Secretary and the lunches there are a lot better.

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  4. It always rains in Wales….especially around Snowdon. I can remember the rain driving almost horizontal across the valleys….. But equally, I recall some beautiful sunny early October weekends years ago!

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  5. Love the name Borth! If you ever watch Hinterland on BBC4 (Detective series set in Aberystwyth partly in Welsh, partly in English), half of the murders are in Borth.

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  6. I follow numerous well-written, well-photographed, frequent bloggers. I’m curious how much total time you spend each day posting and reading blogs. It seems to take me a long time.

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    • Kim would say far too long and she may well be right. I keep my follows to no more than 50 and give reading my priority. I write my travel stories up quickly, schedule them and tweak them regularly until publication. I confess to spending at least 2hours a day here.

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  7. Sounds like a brave thing you have done here by returning to Wales. I had to look up Grimsby and you are right, it is about as far away as one can do without setting sail. Glad you had or are having a good time. Sounds like a lot of fun. Feel free to send some of that Welsh weather over here to me in Northern California where we are sweating our tails off.

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  8. We have a reputation of it always raining on the Oregon coast, too, but the sunny days are that much more appreciated. Though to be honest, I also enjoy the moody overcast, cloudy and even thrilling storms we get.

    I really enjoy seeing more of the photos you’ve been posting. I ten toward the visual, in case you hadn’t already guessed! 😉

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  9. The gods of chance had to give you at least one sunny day after all the times you have visited Wales, Andrew. –Curt

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  10. Have a friend looking to buy house and move to Wales so looking forward to finally visiting that place of beauty, ruggedness and wonderful history

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  11. Yes, I can confirm it does always rain in Wales. We are now living in Swansea. On Monday, this week, we had more rain than the whole of July and were the wettest part of the UK. However, it hardly ever gets humid in Swansea, which I am grateful for. Since moving away from the South-East of England, Humidity is something I don’t miss (Oh, and the crowds).
    Hope you got to try some Welsh Cakes, Andrew?

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  12. I loved your blog on the subject of rain in Wales. Tourists think the same thing about Seattle that it always rains. Your blog was humorous. I liked the pic of the sheep in the rain too.

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  13. love the sheep pic

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