Okay, I’ve got to be honest I’m bored of lockdown. Don’t get me wrong I very much support the cautious approach we’re taking to easing lockdown here in Wales and I’m still very concerned about the potential influx of people in the months to come.
However, there’s only so much pottering that we can do in the garden, all the hedges have been trimmed, lawns are mowed, lettuces planted and we’ve got itchy feet.
Ove the recent half term we more or less lived in the garden and enjoyed it, but when Friday came along, we decided to make a break for freedom.
As it had been so hot, we decided to ride to the beach on our mountain bikes, from our home in Caernarfon to Dinas Dinlle for a picnic and a swim. It is a distance of approximately 7 miles, that combined with the heat meant that this would be a challenge for the kids.
The roads are quiet at present because of the reduced traffic so we decided to cross the swing bridge at Caernarfon Castle (you really cannot miss it) and use the road along Y Foryd foreshore. It’s a non-taxing flat, easy road that affords expansive views of Y Foryd Bay and Aber Menai point on one side and unrivalled distant views of the Snowdonia mountains on the other from y Carneddau, Snowdon range, the Nantlle Ridge all the way across to Yr Efail (known in English as the Rivals – and incidentally peaks range depicted on the WalesTrails logo).
As well as the landscape there is also plenty of wildlife to admire, even from the bikes we spotted five herons fishing on the shore and oyster catchers. I’m a pretty useless ornithologist, but what I lack in knowledge I make up for in enthusiasm and wonderment! There are several information signs along the way that help identify some of bay’s avian residents.
Towards the end of Y Foryd there’s a nice little seating area disguised a pirate ship where we stopped so the kids could have an ice cream – as there are no shops open for ice cream we’d bought them from home so they were semi-melted, but the kids didn’t mind!
It really is a pleasant and easy ride, once at the end of Y Foryd follow the road uphill until you come to a t-junction where you should turn right. Continue along the road a little while until you reached a crossroads of country lanes, here we turned right, you can go straight ahead but the road is quieter to the right and more picturesque. This lane takes you down to yet another stunning section of coastline – if I could live anywhere close to Caernarfon, I think it would be here. This lane passes along the back of white tower campsite, and at the little junction you re-join the road.
From this point carry on ahead until you see signage for the Wales Coastal Path where you should turn right. This is certainly mountain bike territory, what starts off as a lane becomes a narrow footpath and care and caution must be taken as this really is a walking route. You will also need to lift your bike over a kissing gate. The inconvenience is well worth it as the footpath swoops round through some trees before coming to a narrow bridge, here I got off my bike to push it over the bridge and grazed my knuckles the whole way across! It is a bumpy quarter of a mile or some from here, but the views are 360 degrees of breath taking.
We took a final left turn at the beautifully kept Morfa Lodge Holiday Park and continued down past Caernarfon Airport to a small car park at the furthest end of the beach. This is my favourite part of the beach at Dinas Dinlle, it is quieter here through there are no amenities.
We enjoyed a richly deserved picnic on the beach and a swim in the sea which really was just what the doctor ordered, swimming in the sea always makes me feel refreshed and free. The kids are yet swimming completely independently but the beach slopes very gently, it’s possible to go out a reasonable distance and still touch the bottom – this is a great help when splashing about with the tykes. Not only is Dinas Dinlle a brilliant place to swim, it is breath takingly beautiful. The mountains really do plunge into the sea here.
We had a lovely hour or two messing about on the beach before heading back, not wanting to add extra miles to the journey we headed back to Caernarfon the way we came, however it’s possible make this into a round trip by continuing along the road that runs parallel to the beach and past the amenities and play ground (currently closed) and continue until you get to a major T-junction where the country lane joins the A487. The road here is very straight and very fast, cross the road to join the cycle track which is on the pavement for a short while. The track goes all the way back to Caernarfon and re-joins a minor road close to the Welsh Highland Railway station and not far from Caernarfon Castle.
No matter which route you decide to take home this is a great bike ride, in normal times Dinas Dinlle was a great little amenities block, an outdoor shower for washing off the salt, playground, beach shop, and best of all a good chippy!