19
May2012
0

For easter weekend, we decided to go for a roadtrip to North Wales. We had been told to expect castles, mountains and rain. We didn’t climb any mountains but weren’t disappointed on the other points. The castles were amazing and it rained most of the time we were there.

But first we had to get to Wales. We convinced a couple of Rob’s friends from NZ (M&M) to join us on our wee adventure. First adventure stop was the town of Ironbridge – a village that is home to the world’s first arch bridge to be made out of cast iron.

The world's first iron bridge in Ironbridge

In the 18th century, cast iron used to be too expensive to use for large structures. However in 1775, a new blast furnace nearby lowered the cost and encouraged local engineers and architects to build a bridge of cast iron. The bridge was revolutionary, the town was renamed to Ironbridge and it became known as the birthplace of the industrial revolution.

On Telford's Iron Bridge

One incentive for us to cross the river was to try a world famous Ironbridge pork pie from Eley’s. We got an Easter special pork pie with a whole boiled egg inside! It was pretty amazing.

An amazing pork pie in Ironbridge

Onward on our roadtrip… We drove through Chirk to see Chirk Castle, built by Edward I in 1295 as a defensive fortress. It was part of a chain of fortresses used to secure Wales for the English crown. At £11 a ticket, we decided to not go inside. Here’s me with M&M below!

Chirk Castle

However, what ended up being the highlight of Chirk was the Chirk aqueduct.

Canal boat on the Chirk Aqueduct

The 21m high and 210m long aqueduct was built between 1796 and 1801 by Thomas Telford and William Jessop to carry the Ellesmere Canal. Yep, it carries a canal up in the air.

Overlooking the Chirk Aqueduct Eating a pork pie in Chirk

What’s even more impressive is that this aqueduct is the smaller of two aqueducts in this region – the Pontcysyllte aqueduct is 38m high and 307m long. We didn’t make it up the road to see that one, but maybe next time we’re in Wales. 🙂 This one was pretty awesome.

Chirk Aqueduct

Another reason to come to North Wales was to visit Abergele – the village where my Dad lived when he was a baby. Yes, he is Welsh. The address I had was from Dad’s birth certificate – Gofanon Bach, Rhyd-y-Foel, Abergele.

So, we drove to Abergele, and promptly found why there was no street number on the address – all the houses have unique names, not numbers. Makes it a bit tricky to find places.

The 2 locals we harassed for information unfortunately didn’t recognize the name Gofanon. So, all we had was what Google Maps told us, which was this top house. We’re still not sure if this is actually the house, but it looked like a residence, so we decided to leave them alone. Maybe I’ll call sometime and make enquiries. But anyway, I did visit the village where my Dad lived as a baby!

Gofannon Bach in Abergele

Now, it was time to get to our final destination – Llandudno. The double ‘l’ at the beginning of the name means its not an ‘l’ sound, but a ‘klch’ sound. Yep, that’s the best I’m going to do with spelling the sound. It’s a pretty lovely seaside town, though it was blowing a gale when we drove in.

Llandudno's Boardwalk

What better way to finish the day than at the pub. We found the Cottage Loaf (down an alley, in the rain) and we weren’t disappointed. We went back every night for at least a pint. Gem.

The boys in the Cottage Loaf pub The girls in the Cottage Loaf pub

All-in-all, it was a pretty great first day.

Outside the Cottage Loaf pub