Thursday, 14 August 2014

Sea day

Today we have declared a sea day, which means we stay on site. The weather forecast was not promising but it’s sunny and warm and I manage to get Alex out of bed and down to the pool. He goes in the water while I sit and read the autobiography of Clough Williams-Ellis who founded Portmeirion. Alex persuades me into the water, which seems colder today than last time, but I soon return to my sunlounger. As we leave the pool Simon comes down to meet us. I’ve realised that there’s a route from the corner of the pool area to the viewpoint adjacent to the Gate House, and we walk back that way.

Lunch is whatever we can find in the fridge – we’re eating out tonight so apart from tomorrow’s breakfast this is the last meal in the cottage. Then we go back out to try and walk out onto the estuary. It’s pretty time-sensitive – it’s recommended to leave the estuary at least two hours before high tide – but at low tide it appears to be possible to walk right out to the island.

The tide is going out but we can’t see a way across yet. Instead, we walk around the peninsula and explore the beaches we find on the way. I head for an impressive beached tree, only to find two enormous Portuguese man o’war jellyfish beached nearby.

We make it almost to Portmadog but there’s a deep channel that means we can go no further. There are warnings of quicksand posted along the beaches and in places we sink to above our ankles, which deters us from venturing too far from the firm sand. As we walk back along the shoreline the water is noticeably lower and we think again about going further out into the estuary. But there still seem to be deep areas and we’re not certain enough of our way ahead.

Arriving back at the hotel we notice people out on the sandbar in the estuary. It’s still not clear how they got there, but another person sets off from near White Horses and wades across. It seems quite shallow but at one point he seems to be up to his chest. It seems quite a risky prospect and in the end we decide to stay put – actually, the sand bar is quite featureless and wouldn’t compare with the rock formations we saw walking along the shoreline. There were even sections of pure white marble sandwiched between the rocks.
We have to pack now, ready to vacate tomorrow morning. Then we stroll down to the hotel for dinner, stopping on the way to record the 7pm chimes of the clock which plays the Welsh National Anthem. The water is even lower now, and as we sit on the terrace with pre-dinner drinks the clouds are reflected in what’s left of the water – it’s stunningly beautiful.

The food is excellent. After dinner we head back to the Gate House for cheese and a final drink. It will be a wrench to leave this place.

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