Snowdon climbed, it was time for some standard sightseeing and we chose nearby Caernarfon and it’s fabulous castle for our next destination. While we’re happy to use campsites on the occasions where we’ll be staying in one place for a while, we don’t feel the need or really want to when we’re constantly on the move like we are now. It was about 6pm by the time we left Snowdon and we simply needed a spot to park, cook and sleep before driving on into Caernarfon town in the morning. In Europe there are so many motorhome aires available that it is easy to find non-campsite places to park but even then we still look for wild camping spots on occasion depending where we are. We find the best resources either Park4Night or Search For Sites, although you do often have to trawl several suggestions before finding something suitable. This time, we used Park4Night and found the beautiful spot in the image above, along the water’s edge on the Ffordd yr Aber road just outside the town, enjoying a stunning night sky and peaceful night’s sleep.
Driving into Caernarfon, we parked in the Morrisons car park, did a quick bit of shopping and left the motorhome there while we looked around the town. Caernarfon Castle was built by Edward I, taking 47 years and creating an impressive fortress, town gate and defensive walls right alongside the River Seiont. It’s a massive construction and completely dominates the town with its solidity and height. Along with Edward I’s other castles at Conwy, Beaumaris and Harlech it forms an impressive World Heritage Site.
The best, or most interesting part of the town surrounds the castle. The old streets nearby have names like ‘Hole in the Wall Street’ and the buildings are painted in colourful hues giving it a lively feel full of shops, cafes, ice cream parlours and craft stores.
Walking along we spotted a hand-chalked sign saying ‘Smallest Bar in Wales this way’. Intrigued by this little bar, we followed the directions just a short way down the road coming across Bar Bach and its cosy little interior with just a handful of snug seats and tables inside. We ordered a couple of Welsh beers and took them out, sitting on the wall outside where special tray tables were attached to the wall and sat in sight of the castle walls to enjoy it.
In the afternoon it was time to move on and we’d found a pub stop where we could park for the night if we had a drink or meal. We made our way to The Panton Arms in Pentraeth where they welcome up to 5 motorhomes in their spacious car park. The landlady was originally from Brighton and has been running the pub for the last 5 years. She told us that its very popular with motorhomers and they get a good deal of us visiting and spending money in the bar and restaurant. There aren’t any facilities but we didn’t need them so all well and good. Also luckily for us it happened to be their weekly quiz night so after a couple of drinks and a really tasty meal we formed ‘Team Buzz’ and took part in what was a fun, but not overly successful for us quiz, scoring a pitiful 28 out of 50. Oh well, you can’t win them all.
We toured Europe for almost a year and found out how great most councils are at making life relatively simple for you to park overnight, empty waste and fill up water. Now in the UK we are in the process of discovering how many councils really don’t understand just how much money motorhome owners from both the UK and Europe are willing to spend in their local businesses so often making it difficult for you to do so! Pubs like the Panton Arms are forward thinking and welcoming and we are very glad of them but there aren’t any services so we still have to look elsewhere for those.
Because of the lack of services we were searching for water the next day, spotted Evans Caravan and Camping at Pwllheli ( https://m.facebook.com/hobbycaravanswales/) stopped to ask if they knew where we could fill up and without the blink of an eye they said to pull up to the gate and they would fill us up, no ifs, buts or maybes. Thank you, Evans, that was very much appreciated.
We don’t expect something for nothing (although you often get it in Europe), we just want to be able to visit a town or attraction without parking miles away. We would like to spend the night in places we like and will invariably spend money while we were there. It seems to be slowly changing but change can’t come quick enough for us and many other motorhomers. We don’t make a nuisance of ourselves, make a mess or leave anything behind but money in local tills!