It's just over a month since Katrina and I started an exciting new chapter in our lives and moved home to North Wales. Our choice of location is Abergele, situated on the north coast between the seaside holiday resorts of Colwyn Bay and Rhyl. Our beloved Manchester will remain in our hearts forever and regular return visits are planned via the area's convenient road and rail networks.
Although the last few weeks have been physically draining, as we unboxed our belongings and added them into new surroundings, we haven't felt the stress or anxiety usually associated with the upheaval of a house move. Honeymoon period maybe, although we put our relaxed state down to the transition to a location that rejuvenates the mind and body.
This is a life style change that we have dreamt about and planned for a long time. We are looking forward to living our dream in a land of coastal beauty, magnificent mountain landscapes, glorious countryside, monumental castles, legendary tales, ancient heritage and a language all of its own. North Wales has beckoned our further exploration for a long time and we can't wait to get started.
Within these posts we hope to introduce you to the places we visit and share our experience through words and photographs. There will be practical and useful information regarding anything and everything about our life in North Wales including exploring, traditions, folklore, food, drink and events as we invent our own pace of life living the dream. My art and photography will still feature including regular tips, tricks and news of my events.
Surrounded by beautiful countryside and within a half mile of the Blue Flag beach at Pensarn, Abergele is a former traditional market town with a history that dates back to 8th century. The town's name is constructed by the words 'Aber'; Welsh for mouth of a river, and 'Gele', originally Gelau; the name of the river which flows through the town. Gelau, in old Welsh, describes a sword blade or the tip of a spear, describing the action of the river cutting swiftly through the land.
The town's centre and commerce is defined by a single stretch of road flanked by local traders. Typical of most British towns, a number of traditional shops have disappeared but fortunately these have been steadily replaced by new businesses that are slowly heightening the profile of this once bustling marketplace.
It is thought that parts of the parish church of St Michael's dates back to the 14th Century. The site is believed to have been home to an important Celtic monastery. Possibly the most famous landmark is Gwrych Castle, easily seen from the nearby A55, nestled in the forested hillside overlooking the town. You would be forgiven for thinking that on first sight this was one of the medieval fortifications that North Wales can proudly boast of, yet this is a 19th Century, Grade I listed, country residence built between 1812 and 1822 by Lloyd Hesketh Bamford-Hesket.
I hope that you join us on a regular basis as we explore North Wales' scenery and rich heritage of magical and mystical tales.