Back in the 1950s, Gwrych Castle in Abergele was known as 'The Showplace of North Wales', a sort of early version of Alton Towers with a variety of small attractions within its grounds. It was a very successful attraction, in 1950 pulling in over 750,000 visitors to Abergele and attracting 10,000,000 in total during the years it was open. One of the best remembered attractions is the Miniature Railway - it ran from the Upper Courtyard to a Station situated deep in the Great Castle Wood.
I'd seen an old postcard showing the miniature steam engine 'Belle of New York' at the Upper Courtyard Station and thought I would try and recreate the shot from a modern day perspective. The concrete base of the stations remain but the rails themselves have long disappeared (the line of plants to the right in the modern day photo marks where the rails have been removed).
I'd been meaning for a while to make the effort to visit an old friend of mine, Alison, who has taken over Ye Olde Bull Inn at Llanbedr Yr Cennin in the Conwy Valley. In case you're wondering how to get there, its simple. On the B5106 road between Conwy & Llanrwst, just take the turnoff next to the Bedol pub at Tal Y Bont and it's just up that road.
Whilst I was there, Alison showed me a page from an old guidebook that stated "the Inn is thought to be the oldest in Great Britain and dates back to the early 11th century". This was news to me (the Groes Inn at Tyn Y Groes likes to boast of being the oldest in Wales), but the Olde Bull is certainly situated on an ancient Drovers route to Caernarfon, so it could well be true. Anyway, the pub is well worth a visit if you're in the area. They have a food menu for both lunchtimes and evenings, there's a large car park and Alison tells me that plans are afoot to create a larger beer garden in the extensive gardens at the rear of the pub that run down to the stream.
After having a drink and a chat, it was time to head off towards Rowen. I was walking along country lanes, very little traffic, so peaceful and plenty of time to take in the scenery. Presently, I arrived in Rowen and was surprised to find it a touch noisier than usual. Rounding the corner onto the main road through the village, I found the reason - the Three Castles Classic Car Rally was passing through the village as part of one of its stages. Well, no further excuse needed - I ordered a cold Guinness at the Ty Gwyn Inn and sat outside to watch the cars go past.
Finally, it was time to head off my for final port of call, the Groes Inn at Tyn Y Groes. It turned out that this was all the classic cars were coming from, the car park was jammed full of classic cars of all makes and models. I noticed a lot of Austin Healeys, Triumphs and Porsches, in particular.