LLANDUDNO AND THE GREAT ORME
After my run in with Conwy Castle Bridge - and feeling in desperate need of crunchies, of which I had non - I got out of town and not being sure of which way I needed to go - Strict Lady was of course just telling me to ‘Turn around as soon as possible’ obviously intent on taking me back for another try at the bridge - I turned left, and it being a sunny afternoon by the sea and still in the autumn tourist season, there was simply nowhere to stop and take stock of the situation.
On and on we drove until the first car free place wide enough to safely pull in without causing further traffic chaos, and I found myself in Llandudno. Amazingly I was outside a Mobility Superstore, who, even more amazingly were not only open seven days a week, but had a wing mirror in stock for the scooter, something I will find very useful as my arthritis makes it impossible for me to turn round properly to look behind.
I had previously considered visiting Llandudno to go up the Great Orme, a famed beauty spot. So suitably fixed up with my mirror, and helpfully provided with a map to get me to the tram station I set off, on what turned out to be a longish scooter journey, and a lot of it uphill, so I was pleased the batteries held out.
Being a sunny afternoon there were quite a few people waiting to go up on the tram so we certainly got our six pounds worth in time at least, with the uphill journey including the wait at the halfway station, taking nearly forty five minutes for what the internet informs me is one mile.
The tramway was first mooted in 1896 with the lower section to the halfway station opened in 1902, and the upper section to the top of the Great Orme opening a year later in 1903.
As far as I understand it the trams running now are still the originals. Beautifully cared for they run on a funicular system, which means that the weight of the downward tram is used by a system of ropes and pulleys to assist the upward tram to rise. This has to be carefully balanced in the event of the downwards tram being fully loaded at the end of the day with returning visitors, when the last carriage to the top will be carrying very few.
The trams are controlled from the two upper power houses where the winchman dictates the speed of the tram, directed by the attendants who actually ride on the tram and signal through to the winch man as to when to reduce speed or bring the tram to a stop.
At the top there are splendid views out over the countryside and the bays, and also views of the wind turbine field I had seen earlier in my North Wales travels, (still with non of the blades turning). The fact it was a stunningly warm, sunny day helped to make the trip a worthwhile and pleasant one - in an open-sided tram to the very top of a seaside cliff might have been less enjoyable on a wet or windy day.
After a quick look round and a few photos I headed back on down, as reception at the caravan site I had booked into just outside Conwy closed at 5.45.
I had phoned as soon as I could after the Conwy Castle Bridge Fisasco, to be told that - Yes. There was another way to the site other than under said bridge, but it was very narrow, and very steep and very bendy, and any big vehicles always preferred to use the Castle Bridge route. So with some trepidation we set out, and I have to say she wasn’t exaggerating.
We arrived with minutes to spare, and somewhat flustered I said that the difficulties of the approach road was not mentioned on their website, to which the reply was “Well we are in the hills, what do you expect’ - Thinking that Snowdon was ‘In the hills’ and I hadn’t had that much trouble there we let it pass, and I mentioned that I was expecting a parcel during my stay. ‘Oh - We can’t accept any parcels. Its against our insurance policy’ was the slightly smug reply
Feeling somewhat miffed I wound my way up hill and down dale throught the huge caravan park, to finally arrive at my designated plot, where I was less than overwhelmed with my view of the bank of gorse in front of me. And even less delighted to be woken by heavy machinery which then worked on pretty well throughout each of the days I stayed there, emptying the huge heavy clanking metal dustbins, so tall I could barely reach to lift the lid; towing caravans to the storage area; and carrying out various ground works as they converted the site touring plots to static caravans, available to purchase for nearly £60,000 for a twenty year lease plus the annual costs of approaching £4000, so I suppose they could afford to turn their noses up at tourers.
Still I have been mostly lucky with the places I have stayed, so on the balance of probabilities there are bound to be some green sweets in the packet. And as my brother had not yet sent the parcel that could be rescheduled for a later date.