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APRIL 2018



What’s on? You r month l to local y guide events


INSIDE J Homes & Interiors J Town in Focus J Food & Drink

Locked up Exploring life behind bars Playing the Game

Meet the local athletes competing at the Commonwealth Games






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Join an exclusive club offering a world-class five-star lifestyle set in a beautiful coastal location. Pure luxury is offered as standard, but expectations are always exceeded.

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NEW PINES HOLIDAY HOME PARK New Pines offers the perfect blend of traditional holiday home ownership with a five-star country club atmosphere. Relax or be as active as you wish, all within a secure gated setting.








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SEAVIEW HOLIDAY HOME PARK An intimate luxury five-star holiday park, situated in an unrivalled location. Either enjoy the peace and calm or use a range of facilities at Talacre Beach only a mile away.









Breathtaking sea views Peaceful and relaxing location Close to sandy beaches Use of Talacre Beach’s facilities: Indoor heated swimming pool, steam room, sauna, spa pool, air-conditioned gymnasium, leisure and activities programme, bar, restaurant, entertainment lounge and evening entertainment



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*Site Fee offer only available at Talacre Beach and New Pines. Applies to new customer purchases only on selected new and pre-owned models. No part exchange allowance can be used in conjunction with this offer.


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Dear Reader It’s our birthday! Yes, North Wales Magazine is celebrating its first anniversary this month – and what a year it has been. We have wined and dined, zip wired and surfed, strolled and cycled all over the region. We have also nosed at quite a few properties,

journey, so why not subscribe for just £2.99 a

wedding venues, spas and golf courses. But,

month and see for yourself what North Wales

most importantly, we have met some amazing

has to offer?

people on our travels. Turn to page 33 for further information, and As editor I have interviewed rock legends

be among the first to receive our extended

Mike and Jules Peters, author Trisha Ashley,

May issue which will contain a new walking

fashion designer Patrick Joseph, adventurer

route, a coastal column from Anglesey Sea

Ash Dykes (turn to page 32 to see what he’s

Zoo and a rural living feature – so you’ll be

up to next), actress Rachel Lumberg, rally

sure to get even more bang for your buck.

driver Jade Paveley and model Chloe Keenan. Who knew that we had such amazing local

Now, where’s that birthday cake?

talent here in North Wales? But, like all good birthdays, now is the time to look forward as well as back – and we have some very exciting plans for the next 12 months. We’d love you to become part of our

Kate Hamilton Founding Editor

We want to hear from you! J Are you organising or taking part in an event that should be covered in our what’s on listings? Then make sure you tell us! whatson@ J Keep in touch. Send in your contributions, letters, photos and press releases and become
part of the North Wales Magazine family. editorial@ J If you want to ensure that you receive each and every copy of North Wales Magazine then why not subscribe? It costs just £2.99 a month. subscribe@ J Advertise. If you own a business in North Wales and want to get your message in front of 20,000 local readers every month then drop us a line. Prices start from just £75. sales@

Front cover credit: Shutterstock

NWM 2018 Page 5


Page 6 NWM 2017

Contents 9 What’s On?

Your guide to all of the best events, shows, festivals

16 The Big Picture

Art Director Simon Marriott

Celebrate spring in Llandudno’s Happy Valley

19 Prison Sentence Exploring the dungeons and gaols of North Wales


Enjoy a day out in the market town of Mold


32 Record Breaker Discover which world first Ash Dykes is preparing to tackle now

Meet the local athletes competing in this month’s Commonwealth Games down under

41 Anglesey in Spring


Now is a great time of year to visit Bryn Celli Ddu

47 Food & Drink

North Wales Magazine is an independent, regional monthly magazine produced by KSG Publishing. It is available to pick up from a wide range of independent outlets throughout Conwy, Denbighshire, Flintshire, Wrexham, Gwynedd and the Isle of Anglesey.

The area’s wining, dining and culinary scene

67 Homes & Interiors interiors and a conservatory special

82 Community News


A roundup of regional happenings

85 In my opinion… Our expert columnists share their thoughts

95 Crossword Get to grips with our brain-teasing puzzle

97 Competition Win a very special afternoon tea for two at a local vineyard

98 Horoscopes

Contributors Stephen Gregory Alison Hough Tim Watson Cai Ross Julian Hughes Simon Smith Steve Goodier Nick Embrey Luke Edwards Caroline Roberts Aled Canter Contact Us editorial sales subscribe

35 Competitive Edge

Get inspired by homes that are on the market,

Editor Kate Hamilton Publisher Grant Hamilton

and days out taking place in North Wales this April

25 Town in Focus



Disclaimer: All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part (electronically or in print) without written permission is strictly prohibited. Every attempt has been made to ensure the accuracy of published content, and any views or opinions presented are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of North Wales Magazine. The publishers assume no responsibility for any damage, loss or injury arising from participation in, or as a result of, any offer, competition, information or advertisement contained within the magazine. North Wales Magazine does not endorse any of the advertisements featured. All words and images remain the property of their respective owners and all copyrights are observed. North Wales Magazine is not associated with any newspaper group.

See what April holds with Portmeirion resident Russell Grant

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"One of the greatest railway journeys in the world..." • Enjoy spectacular scenery while you travel through Snowdonia in comfortable, modern carriages • On-board refreshments service • Short or long trips available


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01766 516024

Children’s Easter Party 1st Join the Pen-y-Bryn pub in Upper Colwyn Bay for a Children’s Easter Party. Egg hunt in the garden (weather permitting), games, snacks and disco will all take place from 5pm. This is a free event but you’ll need a ticket which are available from behind the bar

What’s on this...


Land / Sea 1st MOSTYN presents Land / Sea – a fourmonth exhibition by artist Mike Perry whose work engages with significant and pressing environmental issues, in particular the tension between human activity and interventions in the natural

The Road To Su Casa Festival

environment, and the fragility of the


planet’s ecosystems. The exhibition runs until 1st July.

The Road To Su Casa Festival comes to the Fat Cat in Bangor with special guest Joshua today

Easter fun 1st Come to Rhuddlan Castle today for a spot of storytelling, decorating a biscuit as a yummy Easter

Rag rug demonstration

bonnet, an Easter


quiz and a free

There is a rag rug making demonstration

Easter egg for the

on at Trefriw Woollen Mills today – great

first 200 children

inspiration for recycling your woolly pullies!

Tŷ Pawb 2nd

Wrexham’s brand new arts and market hub Tŷ Pawb will open its doors to the public on today with ‘Dydd Llun Pawb’ – a day-long celebration with a carnival atmosphere, featuring live music, performing arts, crafts and food and drink

Hand spinning demonstration

The Ollie West Band

2nd – 5th


Come to Trefriw

The Ollie West Band are a band based

Woollen Mills today

in Manchester, creating unique pop-

and see how fleece is

fusion that has been compared to a

spun into yarn on a

blend between Billy Joel and Elbow

spinning wheel

and recognised by the likes of Neil McCormick and Dean Friedman. They will be performing at Holyhead’s Uchledre Centre at 7.30pm tonight

NWM 2018 Page 9



Chamber Music Concert 6th

Russell Brand

Join Isabelle Moretti (harp) and Ensemble Cymru for


a Chamber Music Concert at Galeri Caernarfon at

“Once you’ve had a baby you’re

7.30pm this evening

a parent and immediately you go from being a madman (cool) to a mad dad (not cool). How can

Alice In Wonderland the Musical

you be a dangerous, edgy, rebel


with a tiny, little daughter?”

The Powerplay Junior Musical Theatre Company will be

Good question! Join Russell

performing four fabulous fun shows at the Little Theatre in

Brand at Venue Cymru tonight

Rhyl for all the family to enjoy this Easter with Alice and all of

for the answer

her mad friends. Shows take place at 3pm and 7pm today and tomorrow. All tickets are £10

Supporting Seeds 4th During this fun and interactive mindfulness session for families at RSPB Conwy today you will learn techniques and discover tools to help manage stress, reconnect with each other and lessen family rivalry. Must be aged four or above. £4 per child, £5 per adult. To book call Cara 07900 387619

Drive-in cinema 6th Join Surf Snowdonia for a cult classic film night with Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction! Reservoir Dogs will be shown at 7pm followed by Pulp Fiction at 9pm. It will be £15 per car, or why not enjoy both Tarantino films for £25 per car? Please note these films are strictly 18+ and ID will be checked

Bee hive building demonstration 5th


Drop in to Penrhyn Castle from 10.30am today and see its


team of woodland rangers buzzzily building new homes

Strap on your safety goggles, science’s

for its very own Penrhyn bees

greatest and most volatile live show, Brainiac Live! is at Venue Cymru today!

Guided walk

More mischievous than ever before Brainiac Live! will take you on a breathless ride through


the wild world of the weird and wonderful. Expect

A guided walk is taking place at RSPB South Stack in Holyhead

exploding dustbins, combusting microwaves and loads of

today. £3 for RSPB members, £4.50 for non-members. Call 01407

live daredevil stunts…

762100 to book your place. The walk will begin at 11.30am.

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Folk Concert

Saturday Kitchen with Hefin



Calan, Ben Creighton Griffiths, Paul Dooley, Maeve Gilchrist

Visit Bodnant Welsh Food today for a demonstration

and Nic Gareiss will be performing a folk concert at Galeri

inspired by seasonal ingredients and get some great recipe

Caernarfon this evening

ideas and tips for entertaining family and friends

FunPlay Friday 6th Get messy with mud at RSPB Conwy today. There’ll be loads of stuff to play with, chalk, mud pies, hoops and den building bits! Open between 11am and 3pm, this free event is suitable for children aged three to eight

Gardeners’ Market 8th Come to RSPB Conwy between 10am and 4pm today and buy fabulous plants grown at local nurseries

Felt & stitch work 10th Come and visit Di Brown, a very clever

The Bootleg Beatles

lady working with felt creating wall


art, pictures and

The world’s most famous Beatles Tribute band continues

stitch work crafts at

to draw critical acclaim from across the globe with their

Afonwen today

stunning recreation of the greatest songbook of all time. Tracing the Fab Four’s journey through the sixties, every tiny detail is meticulously covered from costumes to authentic

Writer in Residence

period instruments – and they are performing at Venue


Cymru tonight

Visit Gladstone’s Library writer in residence, Rachel Malik, today as she traces a brief history of the historical novel before turning to the genre’s apparently unending contemporary appeal

Sign engraving 11th John Caldwell will be engraving on his aluminium signs, illuminated signs and carved wooded signs at Afonwen today

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Meic Stevens


13th Join Galeri Caernarfon for an evening in the company of the legendary Meic Stevens. Between songs he will be discussing his life as a professional singer with Alun Llwyd of Turnstile Music. Please note that this is a Welsh language event

Milton Jones

Milton Jones is Out There. No, really

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra

out there and, this time, he hasn’t


just forgotten his keys. He’s holding

The Royal Liverpool

up the mirror of truth to society, and

Philharmonic Orchestra will be

he can see right through it, which

performing The Power of Love

means it’s probably just a window. In

at Pontio Bangor at 7.30pm this

his brand new show he’ll be putting



his foot down and lifting the lid on the pedal bin of lies at Venue Cymru

Soundwaves Presents Kaluki & Cafe Mambo 14th

12 th

Two of Europe’s biggest dance brands come to Surf Snowdonia

Pond dipping

today. This all day festival is the perfect start to the summer

Drop in to RSPB Conwy between 2 and 3.30pm today and have a go at pond dipping. Wildlife Explorers £1, non-members £2.

Earth Deva 12th & 13th Earth Deva Marie designs and creates statues of goddesses,

Story Circle

fairies, wolves,


cats and more at

Are you between 7 and 12 years old? Do you love telling stories,

Afonwen today. All

acting, playing games and having fun? Then come to Venue

her own designs

Cymru at 1.30pm today to express yourself

and beautifully hand worked and painted

The Magic Of Hollywood 14th Pasha Kovalev, winner of Strictly Come Dancing 2014, returns to Rhyl Pavillion at 7.30pm tonight with his brand new show The Magic of Hollywood

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World Heritage Day Arfon Real Ale Trail

18th Visit Conwy Castle today and


celebrate its World Heritage status

Hop on the Real Ale bus

of over 30 years

in Caernarfon today and visit nine of the best real ale pubs, and one special

The Assassination of Katie Hopkins

microbrewery, without


worrying who’s driving. Hop

This new musical comedy opens at Theatr Clwyd tonight

on and off the bus between

and runs until 12th May. If you enjoyed Jerry Springer The

11am and 11pm sampling the

Opera then this is the show for you

best locally brewed Real Ales in great rural pubs! 21st

LIVE/WIRE the AC/DC Show North Wales Artist 14th & 15th

Organisers of Rock the Park Wrexham AKA Cyclone Events Proudly Present Live/Wire - The AC/DC Show playing LIVE in Wrexham at the Stiwt Theatre tonight

Local artist Gillian Benjamin will be with Afonwen all weekend. Gill paints in mainly acrylics and watercolours using local scenery of the North Wales coastline to inspire her

Welsh National Opera

A Spring Walk with the Kitchen Gardener 21st

17th – 21st

Join Mostyn Kitchen Gardens for a special guided spring walk

Welsh National Opera presents a feast of Italian operas from

and learn about the latest developments at Mostyn Kitchen

three of the greatest composers for its Spring season in

Garden. A light lunch is included using produce from the

Llandudno. The season, entitled Rabble Rousers, will feature

garden. Hosted by Almost Home Dog Rescue

a new production of Verdi’s La forza del destino alongside revivals of Puccini’s Tosca and Mozart’s Don Giovanni.

The Hungry Caterpillar 22nd RSPB Conwy is hosting story telling and activities for three to six year olds today at 11am. Come and enjoy a hungry caterpillar story and make a butterfly feeder. If it’s sunny we’ll be exploring the nature reserve for butterflies too! Wildlife Explorers £3, nonmembers £4, £2 accompanying non-member adults

A Midsummer Night’s Dream 24th – 28th This classic tale of young lovers and warring fairies is given a unique and irreverent twist at Theatr Clwyd. With original live music

NWM 2018 Page 13



Conwy Farmers’ Market 25th

Buy your fresh vegetables, local meats, cheeses, jams, pickles and lots more between 9am and 1pm at RSPB Conwy today

Camp Penrhyn - The Plant Hunters 28th & 29th

Pontio Comedy Club

Free range at Penrhyn Castle this weekend – fun for all ages with the gang from Wild Elements – nature trails, navigational


skills, marshmallow toasting and archery. Just a few of the

Little Wonder, the team behind the Machynlleth Comedy

activities that will be on offer to keep all intrepid explorers busy!

Festival, bring their monthly comedy club to Pontio Bangor tonight. Catch some of the UKs finest stand up stars at fantastic value on stage in the Studio

Hairspray 30th – 5th May Hairspray is a smash hit musical comedy based on the 1988

TONIC: Rhys Meirion 26th

film of the same name. Make sure you visit Venue Cymru to meet lead character Tracy Turnblad – and be prepared to dance the night away!

Join Rhys Meirion and Annette Bryn Parri at 2.30pm today at Galeri Caernarfon for an hour of song and piano.

Spring Fair 28th A spring fair is taking place in the grounds of Llandudno’s St David’s Hospice between 11am and 3pm today. Stalls will include homemade produce, crafts, cake stall, raffle, bric a brac, tombola and lots more. Café Dewi will be open for tea, coffee and cake. All in aid of St David’s Hospice. Adults £1 and children 50p entry

Stand up at the Seaside 28th Come and visit host Dave Rothnie and Menai Bridge’s finest Kiri Pritchard-McLean and Welsh comedy giant Noel James at The Station Pub in Colwyn Bay tonight for the biggest laugh in town

Page 14 NWM 2018

Are you organising or taking part in an event that should be covered in our what’s on listings? Then get in touch!

NWM 2018 Page 15


Page 16 NWM 2018

The big picture It’s spring everyone! And what better place to celebrate the changing of the seasons than Llandudno’s Happy Valley? Located on the side of the Great Orme, Happy Valley is home to a putting green, a café, the dry ski slope and the cable car base station – not to mention those spectacular views. Originally a quarry, Lord Mostyn gifted Happy Valley to the town of Llandudno in 1887 in order to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria. The area was then turned into formal gardens for the local people to enjoy – which they have been doing now for over 130 years. It is the perfect place in which to enjoy a springtime picnic, while soaking up a spot of history to boot. And, if you have ever wondered what the stone circle located at the foot of Happy Valley is, then wonder no more – it was constructed specifically for the 1896 National Eisteddfodd.

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History abounds in North Wales and, unfortunately, not all of it is pleasant. Nick Embrey takes a tour of the region’s most notorious cells.


LOCK AND KEY According to some rather rudimentary research and a little elementary maths on my part, it seems more than 20 medieval castles still tower over the North Wales coastline and stand guard over its rugged hinterland, each one a menacing symbol of power and might, relics of a dark age long ago when Anglo-Welsh tensions ran high. Many of the more isolated fortresses, scattered about the region like the discarded possessions of a careless giant will have provided much needed respite and safety to unwanted English nobles and Knights, much the same way that the Millennium Stadium’s ‘away’ changing room does for touring teams. Thankfully of course, we now live in more enlightened times, tensions have eased – save perhaps for those on the rugby field – and these ancient stone monoliths have been put to a more educational use. But despite exuding a perception of safety for those souls within,

ABOVE: Conwy Castle was constructed under the reign of King Edward I LEFT: Ruthin Gaol is the winner of the Hidden Gem Accolade 2018

many of these buildings came complete with ready-made dungeons, damp and dingy places of confinement whose heavy iron doors will have offered anything but sanctuary for their unwilling guests. Beyond the walls of these magnificent Welsh monoliths, towns of the region were just as quick to get on this bandwagon, losing no time constructing gaols galore and, as you might expect, history stalks the corridors of all of them. So with spring and summer in view, what better way to spend a day than with the family, taking a tour around a few of the area’s past penitentiaries.

NWM 2018 Page 19


Chirk offers plenty of activities above ground too, including guided walks, sporting events and art exhibitions

ABOVE: Visitors to Ruthin Gaol can experience just what life was like in a Victorian prison

be impressed with its provenance, not least because the tower’s name was first referred to in the 1569 survey. Castle curators are at pains to point out that the dungeon may not have actually seen any official use, but there is plenty of evidence to suggest it did and that is good enough for me. Being split over two levels, it is believed that any inmates housed on the upper tier would have been ‘higher status’ Walk along the dimly lit corridors of Beaumaris Gaol and immerse yourself in a little bit of history © Crown copyright (2010) Visit Wales, all rights reserved

prisoners, proof if it were needed that the British class system even leached into the underworld of the middle ages. In 1778 Thomas Pennant visited Chirk Castle and noted that, “the captives [on this floor]

What better place to start than historic Chirk Castle.

endured but a short and easy confinement; and even that

Standing talisman like and keeping watch over the

passes imperceptibly, amidst the good cheer and generous

Shropshire borders, the 13th Century structure is quite

liquors bestowed upon them by the kind warder.” My kind of

rightly regarded by the National Trust as a ‘magnificent


medieval fortress of the Welsh Marches.’ Still lived in to this day, visitors to the castle can expect fabulous award

Being careful to avoid inebriation from the ‘liquors’ doubtless

winning and manicured grounds and stunning views

still oozing like warm treacle from the walls of the upper

before even leaving the car park. Once inside the building,

dungeon, visitors will descend further down a dimly lit spiral

history lovers won’t want to hasten too quickly towards the

staircase to the subterranean chasm of the lower floor. Here

dungeons either, as Chirk offers plenty of other distractions

they will find a semi-circular room, hewn from the rock of

above ground including guided walks, sporting events and

the escarpment on which the castle stands. Although records

art exhibitions.

are inconclusive, some suggest the lower dungeon’s use as far back as 1422. Documents from that period show a request

Once you’ve had your fill of these, you’ll find the castle’s

made to provide the necessary transportation to convey 15

dungeon situated in the west wing, set over two floors

French prisoners by cart from the Tower of London to Adam’s

within Adam’s Tower. Admirers of all things aged will

Tower for a lengthy spot of ‘bird.’

Page 20 NWM 2018

Beaumaris Gaol provides a fascinating insight into the world of the prisoner during the 1800’s

Discover more This summer and autumn, visitors to Ruthin Gaol will be rewarded with a variety of different

And, while I have no problem believing the story, I should

activities to compliment the standard museum.

have thought the journey alone would have done for our Gallic

On Friday 1st June there will be a chance for

captives as they made their tortuously slow journey across

enthusiasts to learn more about Ruthin Gaol’s

the nation. So visitors will have to decide for themselves how

activities during WWII, while on 25th July the

likely it was that those road weary Frenchman arrived in good

museum will hold a ‘Captured on Camera’ event

enough condition to ever see out a sentence. Indeed, it might

where visitors can have their own ‘most wanted’

be something to muse while tucking into a sandwich or cream

poster taken. Throughout the long summer

tea at the castle’s café.

holidays, there is plenty to do at Ruthin for the children too, all centred around crafts and

The imposing figure of Conwy Castle is another must-see

workshops without any requirement to pre-book.

attraction for holidaymakers and locals alike. A bold and

Finally, late October and early November offers

brooding presence guarding the entrance to the walled town,

museum goers the chance to turn up in their own

this symbol of medieval might is an impossibility to ignore

Halloween costumes and enjoy a day out in the

as you enter the town. Constructed under the reign of King

perfect setting for a scary ghost story or two.

Edward I, its gigantic walls form a part of the UNESCO World Heritage site along with other historic castles in the area. Described by many as being the most magnificent of Edward

in Chirk. Noted in the literature as a gloomy dungeon at the

I’s Welsh fortresses, a walk around its ramparts opens

base of the tower, it looks for all the world like the type of

your eyes to just how well equipped it would have been in

place someone might be thrown from a height into and left

its heyday to offer safety while also bestowing on its regal

to perish, with little more for company than the foreboding

visitors a sense of gravitas.

presence of a raven or two and the haunting ghostly shrieks of a former felon.

Situated between the South-West and Bakehouse towers, Conwy’s Prison Tower looks to me to have offered its inmates

If you like your penal programme to be a little more interactive

less by way of spirited cheer than that so jovially described

though, why not pay a visit to Ruthin Gaol, winner of the

NWM 2018 Page 21


RIGHT: Chirk Castle’s dungeon is situated in the west wing

Hidden Gem Accolade 2018 for ‘attractions that deliver an outstanding and memorable experience for visitors.’ The only purpose-built Pentonville style prison that is open to the public as a heritage attraction, Ruthin Gaol is real gem of a place.

RIGHT: Ruthin Gaol is the only purpose-built Pentonville style prison that is open to the public

Visitors can experience just what life was like in a Victorian prison, including learning more about conditions, food and punishments. Focusing on an era when capital punishment was very much alive and well, Ruthin Gaol has a ‘condemned cell’ – a place that requires little by way of explanation. On this point, William Hughes holds the somewhat inglorious accolade of being the last man to be hanged there, something else the museum’s modern visitors will be informed about as they tour the prison. Bringing this ghoulish journey to a close is Beaumaris Gaol. Situated in the heart of this beautiful seaside town on the Isle of Anglesey, Beaumaris Gaol is full of sad memories and secrets providing a fascinating insight into the world of the prisoner


during the 1800’s. As with Ruthin a visit to this attraction affords

Beaumaris Gaol

you a glance at the condemned cell as well as the punishment

01248 810921

room. This particular gaol has a ghostly fable or two to tell, not least the tale of Richard Rowlands. Executed in 1862 – despite

Chirk Castle

a stout and staunch protestation of innocence – his ghost is

01691 777701

believed to have haunted the place, putting a curse on the nearby clock tower and ensuring that, to this day, it has never

Conwy Castle

kept the correct time.

01492 592358

In the end, whatever aspect of these fabulous attractions piques

Ruthin Gaol

your interest, there is a lot to do in the region for lovers of history,

01824 708281

castles or just a good old-fashioned ghost story. Better still, all of these attractions offer something else too. Chirk’s 800 year old walls envelope a host of other distractions besides the dungeon while Conwy, Ruthin and Beaumaris are all great towns in their own right to have a rummage around in long after your appetite for the macabre has been sated at the gaol or castle dungeon. Just keep your eyes peeled for ghostly figures as you go about your visit…n

Page 22 NWM 2018

Nick Embrey is a teacher from the borders who recently started blogging about the antics of his crazy brown Labrador called Dudley. You can follow them at

Ruthin Gaol

Plas Newydd

Explore the cells of this Victorian Pentonville style prison and learn about the prisoners who stayed here! Activities available for all ages.

Nantclwyd y Dre Explore Wales’ oldest timbered town house with its beautifully restored historic gardens, a hidden gem in the heart of Ruthin.

Open 26th March–30th September every day except Tuesday 10am–5pm Visit for prices and further visiting information

Visit this extraordinary Gothicised home of the ‘Ladies of Llangollen’ and enjoy its spectacular historic gardens.

Open 7th April–September Opening days and times vary please visit for opening information and prices

Open 30th March–30th September every day 10.30am–5pm Visit for prices and further visiting information

20 % off admission 20 % off admission 20 % off admission To Ruthin Gaol

To Plas Newydd

To Nantclwyd y Dre

Llangollen Single use only.

Single use only.

Single use only.

Visit our website for more information including upcoming events! Follow us on Facebook @heritagedenbighshire

NWM 2018 Page 23


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Not only is the market town of Mold surrounded by beautiful countryside, it has some interesting history to boot. Steve Goodier explains.

Mention of the town of Mold always brings thoughts of Moel

at the eating establishments after a day on the surrounding

Ffamau, Loggerheads Country Park and the lovely Clwydian

hills – just like I do. Modern day Mold is busy and bustling

Hills to my mind. I have spent many happy days climbing these

with plenty of shops, cafés, pubs, restaurants and fast food

summits and exploring Loggerheads’ many paths. The reason

outlets. The town’s climate is much influenced by the nearby

I always make the association between the town and these

Clwydian hills and summers are generally cool with winters

areas is that I travel through Mold on my journey to reach them

being mild. The lowest recorded temperature recorded in the

and often call in (dirty and tired) on my way back when I am

town was a chilly -18.7 degrees centigrade in December 1981!

usually to be found frequenting either the town’s McDonalds or Starbucks.

As well as a good selection of shops, Mold holds an interesting street market every Wednesday and Saturday and there

Mold (Yr Wyddgrug) is a classic Welsh market town located on

is a farmers market that takes place on the first and third

The River Alyn (the Afon Alun) which is a tributary of the River

Saturdays of each month.

Dee and rises at the southern end of the Clwydian Hills that form a natural barrier between Mold and its near neighbour,

Each September The Mold Food and Drink Festival is held on

Ruthin. When I was a child living in Liverpool my mum and dad

the edge of the town and November Fest began in 2012 and is

often brought my sister and me on a Sunday afternoon drive

a beer festival that promotes cider, real ale and wine. For 2018

to this area where we would stop at Ruthin to begin with then

The Food and Drink Festival will take place on September 15th

have a picnic at Loggerheads Country Park before finishing

and 16th and November Fest will be on the days of the 9th, 10th

with a coffee in a café at Mold before we drove home. Childhood

and 11th November.

recollections such as this stay with you, and an area’s attraction to you often stems from them.

Mold Railway Station shut in 1962 to passenger traffic but the town is well serviced by a good road network with the A494,

I can recall being on Mold High Street on sunny days and on

the A5119 and the A541 all giving access to the town.

snowy winter days and once had the surreal experience of

Mold has an interesting 15th century church, boasts a small

meeting, purely by chance, the ex-wife of an old friend with

museum and has a regional arts centre, Theatr Clwyd.

her children. She lived in the south of England and had come for a break to North Wales after a messy divorce and how fate

Historically the town developed around Mold Castle which was

had decreed we would both bump into each other in Mold is

of Motte and Bailey design and was probably built around 1140

one of life’s mysteries, but it was nice to see her all the same.

by Robert de Montalt who was of Norman descent. It was built

Mold is in Flintshire and is the administrative seat of

on a natural glacial mound (possibly the site of a former older

Flintshire County Council and was also the county town of

fort) and consisted of two Baileys plus a Motte. The castle saw

the old county of Clwyd from 1974 – 1996. The town has

much fighting and was besieged on numerous occasions and

a population of around 10,000 and these numbers are not

frequently changed hands in the 12th and 13th Centuries. The

normally swelled by an influx of tourists in the summer,

site of the castle was converted into a landscaped woodland in

but I am sure at weekends most times of the year there are

1790 and was purchased in 1870 for £400 by Mold Council after

plenty of walkers, climbers and mountain bikers stopping

which it was converted into a public park. The castle’s location

NWM 2018 Page 25


What to do

plan, the house is still very much a private residence that has


close to Mold and is an impressive looking structure. As well

Moel Ffamau is the highest mountain in the Clwydian Range

as the house there are pretty gardens and the owners also

of hills and it rises to 1,844ft. It is to be found east of Mold

offer corporate hospitality, facilities for private parties, team

and off the A494 road to Ruthin. The peak lies within The

building events and hope to cater for weddings in the future.

Moel Ffamau Country Park and there are several ways to the

The house was bought by the present owner, Cornelia Bayley,

top all along good paths and tracks. There are two car parks

in 1986 and she has been restoring it ever since. Plas Teg

off the A494 a lower forest car park and an upper one at

also has the reputation of being very haunted.

Bwlch Pen Barras where there is usually a snack hut. There

limited opening hours that are generally 2pm on Sundays and on Bank Holiday Mondays. The house is situated quite

is a charge for parking and you should choose a clear day for your ascent as the views in all directions are stunning. Wear


boots and sensible clothing as this is a high exposed summit

Coed Nercwys Forest is another gem of the Clwydian hill

where the weather can change quickly. Take along Ordnance

range. It is a lovely conifer woodland that is a great place to

Survey Map Explorer 265 The Clwydian Range and turn back

spot wildlife and is especially good for bird watching with

if the weather turns bad. If you make it to the summit, you’ll

buzzards, gold crest and coal tits being common visitors. Some

find the remains of an old tower on the top.

of the rarer things you may see are nightjars, long eared owls

and great crested newts. There is a Bronze Age burial cairn

to visit as well as old farmsteads, mine buildings and quarry workings. And of course there are plenty of opportunities to


just stretch your legs and go walking on the paths and trails.

Loggerheads Country Park has been attracting visitors

Most of the forest is relatively flat so the going is easy and

since the 1920s and its popularity draws in tourists from far

there is even a little lake to see – Llyn Ochyn. Coed Nercwys

afield. Set in a dramatic and wooded river valley (the Alyn

Forest covers about 322 acres so there is plenty to go at.

Valley) Loggerheads has great paths and tracks that pass by

dramatic cliffs and outcrops. For walkers, families and those who just want a picnic the area is superb and a sunny day


here really brings in the crowds. There are well marked trails

Theatr Clwyd is Mold’s regional arts centre and is set on top

and if you want to just head off on your own and explore the

of a hill overlooking the town. It is well signposted off the

paths you are free to do so. Once an important lead mining

A494 and is easy to get to. You can take in a play or show

area it’s hard to imagine it that way now. The car park is

from an ever-changing programme and there is also a cinema

located on the A494 Mold to Ruthin road facing the We Three

showing all the latest releases. As well as this there is a good

Loggerheads Inn and there is a charge for parking. The car

shop selling jewellery, glassware, ceramics and Welsh and

park has information on the area and a café.

English books and greeting cards. Theatr Clwyd has a bistro

that sources a lot of its produce locally and there is a bar too. For companies conference facilities are available. There is


plenty to do here and lots to entertain you both during the day

Plas Teg is one of the most important Jacobean houses in

and in the evenings.

Wales. Built by Sir John Trevor around 1610 on a cross hall

Page 26 NWM 2018

Where to stay

and surrounding area. For eating there is Chequers


Sunday lunch.

The Beaufort Park Hotel is an independently run AA

Restaurant which has a good menu and a very popular

three star graded hotel located a short distance from Mold and in an ideal location from which to explore the


area from. Rooms are twin or double en suite and modern

This luxury detached

and well presented and located on the first or ground

converted coach house

floor. There are also executive double rooms for a bit

is situated just one

of extra luxury and an executive suite with a double

mile from Mold, and

jacuzzi. The hotel has the Arches Bar and Coffee Lounge

it provides a very

for drinks or afternoon tea and the Orchard Restaurant

special holiday retreat

for evening meals and breakfasts etc.

indeed. Situated

within the 100 acre Pentrehobyn Estate,


the Coach House has

Pistyll Farm Country House offers bed and breakfast

completed a full programme of refurbishment and has

accommodation in a grade 11 listed building and also

many luxury and designer touches. It sleeps eight

has self catering cottages to rent. The farm is located

people but the stunning double height Grand Atrium, an

between Mold and the Clwydian Hills and makes a

impressive galleried room with a vaulted ceiling, creates

good place to stay and explore the area from. The Gothic

a wonderful feature lounge and is also ideal for hosting

style building forms part of the Pentrehobyn Estate

larger numbers of guests for special events such as

and is to be found in the pretty village of Nercwys.

birthday and wedding celebrations. Double doors from

Traditionally furnished bedrooms with local names such

here open into the large walled garden, a perfect retreat,

as Rhydtalog, Eryrys and Maeshafn range from double

and also ideal for a marquee if required.

to king size and offer good value for money. WE THREE LOGGERHEADS INN NORTHOP HALL COUNTRY HOUSE HOTEL

The We Three Loggerheads Inn is an historic coaching

Northop Hall County House Hotel is located a little

inn located facing Loggerheads Country Park between

north east of Mold near to the A55 expressway and due

Mold and Ruthin and right amongst the Clwydian Hills.

to its accessibility to the local road network it would

The inn is known affectionately by the nickname of ‘The

make a great place to stay for exploring Mold and the

Loggs’ and dates from The 17th century. Accommodation

surrounding area. Nestled in nine acres of woodland the

is limited to two rooms and a bed and breakfast stay is

beautiful 19th century mansion offers modern facilities

offered at a reasonable price. Eating in the evening is

against a Victorian backdrop. There are 38 bedrooms

no problem as the inn has a traditional bar and a hidden

offering something to suit all tastes and needs and

vaulted restaurant that is very popular.

many of the rooms have superb views over the grounds

can still be visited today but only the original earthwork

as they were quarrying for stone or filling in a gravel pit –

remains with much of the rest being lost to landscaping. The

accounts vary. The field where the cape was discovered was

site is now called Bryn y Belli (Bailey Hill) and is located off

named Bryn yr Ellyllon (the Fairy or Goblins Hill) and it had

the B5444.

been placed on the body of a person interred in a rough cist or stone lined grave. The skeleton was badly broken and

Two other historic things you will hear about if you spend

the cape crushed but once it was cleaned up it was found

any time in Mold are the Mold Cape and the Mold Riots. Let’s

to be 18 inches/458 mm wide and made to fit someone of

take a moment to look at these.

slight build. The Mold Cape is thought to be one of the best examples of prehistoric sheet gold working ever discovered.

The Mold Cape is a solid sheet gold cape dating from

Meanwhile the Mold Riots define the town’s role in the

somewhere between 1900 and 1600 BC. Thought to be part of

social history of the United Kingdom. During the 18th and

a ceremonial dress and possibly having religious connections,

19th centuries coal, lead and iron mining developed in

the Mold Cape was found in 1833 and today is housed in

the area and Mold became known as an industrial town

the British Museum in London. The Cape was discovered

with its products contributing much to the fast moving

by workmen as they unearthed a Bronze Age burial mound

industrial revolution.

NWM 2018 Page 27


Eating and drinking

Friction had developed between miners at The Leeswood Green


Colliery and the pit management which came to a head when an

A free house since 2012, the Crown is set rurally

English manager, John Young, banned the miners from speaking

a little distance from Mold. The restaurant offers

their native Welsh while underground and also cut their wages. This

a varied menu of traditional and special meals

resulted in two miners attacking him and being sentenced to jail.

prepared by a dedicated team of chefs.

A miners’ meeting was called and Young was attacked and

frogmarched to the Police Station at Pontblyddyn and his house was also attacked and his furniture hauled to the railway station in the


hope he could be gotten rid of forever.

A very friendly and hospitable location in Mold. Food is served for lunch or evening meals and the

As a result of this seven men were arrested and tried at Mold

menu has a fair few surprises on it as well as

Magistrates Court on the 2nd June 1869 with the ring leaders being

traditional pub fare.

sentenced to two months hard labour. A large crowd had gathered

outside the court and the Chief Constable of Flintshire had draughted in police from all over the county plus a detachment of soldiers of the


4th King’s Own Regiment from nearby Chester.

Located a little south of Mold in the village of Pontbyddyn, the Druid Inn is a traditional stone

As the two prisoners were taken from court the crowd reacted by

built inn offering open fires and excellent modern

hurling stones and missiles at their guards and without warning the

food with plenty of traditional pub fare too.

soldiers fired shots into the crowds killing four people and injuring

many more. The crowd dispersed and at the inquest that followed a verdict of Justifiable Homicide was returned. The Riot Act of 1715


had made it illegal for a crowd of twelve or more people to refuse

Located in Mold, Just Steak and Barbeque is a very

to disperse within an hour but should lawfully be read out to the

popular steakhouse with a reputation for serving

assembled public before any action is taken against them. This

good value and quality steaks and all things

apparently was not done on this occasion. However, the tragedy at

related. Usually very busy at weekends.

Mold led the authorities to rethink the way they dealt with public

01352 759225

disorder in the future and secured for Mold a place in the history of social reform in our lands.


So there you have it. Whether your reason for visiting or exploring

Located in a refurbished Grade II listed farmhouse

Mold is to do with the outdoor attractions of mighty Moel Ffamau

with a long history, Pen y Bont Farm is a traditional

and the surrounding Clwydian Hills or to sample some of the town’s

pub and serves a good varied menu of traditional

history, or maybe just to browse the shops and the markets and visit

favourites with one or two surprises.

one of the cafés, restaurants or pubs it has to offer, you can be sure

of a warm welcome and an interesting day or longer weekend if you choose to stay n .

Steve Goodier is a freelance outdoor writer that specialises in North Wales. He is the author of ten outdoor books and his latest ‘Ten Best Pub Walks in Snowdonia’ will be published later this year, followed by ‘Ten Best Waterfall and Lake Walks in Snowdonia’ ( He is married to Paula and has two grown up children.

Page 28 NWM 2018

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NWM 2018 Page 29


A river runs through it Old Colwyn adventurer Ash Dykes has announced that he’s embarking on another colossal world-first expedition this summer – walking the entire length of the Yangtze River over the course of a year.

Ash, who was our front cover star in August, has already got

Jianggendiru Glacier and will then traverse fertile wetlands,

two world firsts under his belt. In 2015 he hiked the length of

steep mountains, deep valleys and historic cities before

Madagascar, while a year earlier he became the first person to

reaching the point at which the river flows into the East

trek solo and unsupported across the length of Mongolia while

China Sea. This is one of the few remaining ‘firsts’ yet to

pulling a trailer weighing 120kg – which contained everything

be attempted.

that he needed to survive. The expedition is set to be one of the most interactive Ash is planning to set off for China in June and, should he

of its kind. Ash will have the capacity to capture, live

successfully complete this immense challenge, it will mark his

stream and share his entire journey via Navarino satellite

third world-first record.

communications, so that his online following can join him each step of the way. A film crew from China’s CCTV4 will also be

The Yangtze is the longest river to flow through a single

accompanying Ash on a portion of the expedition to film a two-

nation and stretches almost 4,000 miles from west to east

part documentary series that will air across Asia.

China, flowing through 11 provinces, diverse ecosystems and multiple major cities including Chongquing and Shanghai.

“I know China is going to push me to my physical and mental

Ash will set off from the source of the Yangtze in the Tibetan

limits, but I’ll be as prepared as possible to face the kinds

Plateau, which is the highest source of any major river.

of tests such a diverse and, in some places, uninhabitable

He’ll face sub-zero temperatures trekking through the

landscape will throw at me,” commented Ash. “I can’t wait to

Page 32 NWM 2018

“I love visiting remote places, learning from the locals and experiencing their way of life first-hand. We learn so much from other communities and cultures, so I want to share my journeys and stories with others and hopefully inspire them to travel, learn, and pursue their passions whilst protecting the world we live in”

share the journey with everyone watching back home, and

and Chinese cobras. Ash must remain constantly vigilant if

uncover the many wonders lying in the heart of China.”

he’s to protect himself from their very real threat.

In preparation for the expedition, Ash has been undertaking an intense fitness regime that involves body weight and

“I’m really going off the beaten track in China - but I’m really

calisthenic training to improve his strength, stamina and

excited to immerse myself in the country’s stunning interior,

agility. He often trains wearing an altitude mask and weighted

meet the locals and experience the wildlife as I trek through

vest to recreate the extreme conditions he’ll experience on

some of the world’s most stunning landscapes.”

the trek. Ash hopes that this next adventure in China will help him “It’s definitely a combination of fitness and mind-set that has

raise awareness of the county’s unique biodiversity, and also

pulled me through during the darkest days of my previous

uncover a side to China that Westerners rarely see. n

expeditions. When the going gets tough, you’ve got to have faith in your preparation and believe the training you put yourself through will now shine and enable you to push on.”

You can follow Ash as he prepares for and undertakes this record-breaking challenge on

Not only will the difficult terrain pose a risk, but so will

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and on

the native wildlife. China is home to numerous large and

dangerous species such as black bears, wolves, giant hornets,

NWM 2018 Page 33


ce n u o b COAST swingEDRAINTK


HP Threeways March 2018.pdf





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Meet Team

North Wales Aled Canter meets some of the North Walian athletes that will be representing Team Wales at the Commonwealth Games this month.

On the 4th April, Australia will welcome over 6,600 athletes and team officials from 70 Commonwealth nations and territories to the Gold Coast and event cities Brisbane, Cairns and Townsville. The largest sporting event to be staged in Australia this decade, the 2018 Commonwealth Games will feature the largest integrated sports programme in the history of the Games, comprising 18 sports and seven para-sports. Team Wales is entering over 200 athletes into 11 different sports – and North Wales is certainly well represented in the line up. Dylan Kerfoot Robson, a 21-year-old cyclist from St Asaph, is just one of the young athletes that will be representing our region this month. Dylan has been cycling since a young age, but he joined the competing Dylan Kerfoot Robson

side of the sport when he left Rydal Penrhos School in 2011. He attributes

NWM 2018 Page 35


Did you know? J Wales made its Commonwealth Games debut in Hamilton, Canada in 1930 and is only one of six nations to have taken part in every Games since that time. In 1958, Wales hosted its first and only Commonwealth Games to date.

J The Commonwealth Games are the only major sporting event where Wales takes part

ABOVE: AXxxxxxxxxxx

as a separate entity and for many athletes it is the only opportunity they have to represent

Hannah Powell


J Overall, Wales has won a total of 270 medals since the first Games with 57 gold, 86 silver, and 127 bronze, placing Wales tenth amongst

a lot of his success to the fact that he first took up the sport in

the all-time tally of medals.

North Wales.

J It wasn’t until 1938, in Sydney, that Wales

“North Wales is a great place to start cycling,” says Dylan. “It is

secured its first gold medal – which came in

a real treat to see the outstanding scenery which takes you out

athletics and boxing. The most gold medals

of the world. Plus our landscape, such as Snowdonia, provides a

scored by Wales in a single Games were 10, in

great challenge in which to train.”

Auckland 1990. Dylan got into cycling after admiring his father competing. “I

J Since the first Games in 1930, the Welsh Team has significantly grown. In 1938 only

watched my Dad take part in many cycling competitions, and it made me realise that this was the sport for me.”

22 Welsh athletes took part but this number has continually grown to 228 Welsh athletes

The next step for Dylan was to join the local cycling club.

competing in the 2014 Commonwealth

“They were always supportive and guided me the whole time,


meaning that I really enjoyed the bike rides within the club,” he explains. “Being selected for Team Wales is a huge honour for me. It hasn’t been an easy ride but it was worth it. I wouldn’t change it for the world.” Another sport being represented by North Wales in the Games is weightlifting. In fact, out of the 13-strong team, seven lifters are from North Wales. Gareth Evans, Olympian (2012) will be attending his third Commonwealth Games, and Bangor based Catrin Jones won the Commonwealth Youth Games a few years ago. For Harry Misangyi however, this will be his first Commonwealth Games. Harry, who is from the historic town of Conwy, started weightlifting at a young age at school. Harry got hooked on the sport after his teacher took a PE lesson in strength conditioning. “I picked up the sport easily and have become determined to

Page 36 NWM 2018

Harry Misangyi

“I enjoy weightlifting and doing competitions due to the results that I achieved from the sport,” she explains. “I also love the excitement of travelling and meeting new people

become one of the best at it,” says Harry. “I feel that this

as well.”

Commonwealth Games is a chance to prove myself to the world and win a medal at the same time. I’m also hoping to

Hannah has already competed in many weightlifting

impress the British Olympic committee in order to be chosen

events, but she has faced some hard times in the sport

to represent Team GB at Tokyo 2020.”

due to injury. But, thanks to a stint in a sports injury rehab clinic, she was able to make a fast recovery and is now on

Harry loves the competitive side of weightlifting, and is

track to make a great impression at the Games.

viewing this year’s Commonwealth Games as an opportunity of a lifetime.

“The Commonwealth Games is an amazing event and I can’t wait to be there,” she says. “To be good at

“Having the chance to visit a great country like Australia is an

weightlifting, it takes hard work, persistence and

opportunity that’s not open to many people,” he says. “I’ve met

dedication – but ultimately you must love the sport enough

a few athletes to gain a better understanding of the games,

to keep pushing through the barriers, jumping over

and what to expect. It’s been hard work getting to this point

the hurdles and getting back up when knocked down,

but I know that it’s one of the most rewarding things that I’ll

enjoying the process and celebrating the good times as

ever do.”

well as learning from the bad.”

This will also be the first Commonwealth Games for Hannah

Another North Walian competitor about to touch down in

Powell, a local business support officer from Bangor. Hannah

Australia is Holly Knowles. Holly, who trains at NW1 in

started to gain great interest in sports at secondary school,

Llandudno under coach Calum Stronach, first started out as

after admiring her uncle and father who use to compete in

a sprinter but she moved over to cross fit and weightlifting

competitions themselves in power lifting.

as she felt that the sports made her both fitter and stronger.

NWM 2018 Page 37


“I’m so excited and so proud that I get to represent not only Wales but my gym, my family and my friends,” said Holly, who taught herself the sport. “I love the fact that, if it doesn’t go your way the first time then, as long as you keep working at it, you will get the result you set out for.” Holly notably kept going on with the sport and never gave up, despite suffering from bronchiectasis. She also enjoys beating the weight lifting stereotype look. So, any advice for future competitors? “Just go for it - you never know what you’re capable of unless you try!” says Holly. “If you had have told me three years ago I’d be going to the Commonwealth Games I would have laughed – let alone in the sport of weightlifting. It is scary to try something new but honestly believe in yourself and you will achieve so much.” This is the largest weightlifting team that Wales has ever sent to the Commonwealth Games, and Holly, Hannah and Harry are all hoping to do their nation – and their region – proud. To date, the largest medal haul by Team Wales was at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, in which Wales won 36 medals – five of them gold. This made the 2014 Team Wales the Holly Knowles

most successful Welsh squad in sporting history – here’s hoping the 2018 team fare just as well. n

Aled Canter runs Pear Shaped Media, a company that works with camera and video editing. Aled has always had a massive interest in sport and, in 2012, he carried the Olympic flame over the Blue Bridge in Rhyl.

Page 38 NWM 2018

Mountain bikers on the Loop de Loop route, Clwydian Range


Images courtesy of Visit Wales. All rights reserved. © Crown copyright (2013)

NWM 2018 Page 39


The magic of

Page 40 NWM 2018

Let the sun shine in © Crown copyright (2018) Cadw, Welsh Government

Hurrah! It’s a glorious April in North Wales! And, says Stephen Gregory, there is no better place to enjoy a beautiful spring day that at Bryn Celli Ddu on Anglesey.

Sorry, if you’re reading this on a miserable

possible… to get out of the grey mountains and

drizzly typically Welsh day. April can be grim.

into the sunlight of Anglesey.

I used to be a tour guide in Caernarfon Castle,

© Crown copyright (2018) Cadw, Welsh Government

beginning the summer season in April, and

And of course there’s a lot more to Ynys Mon

the first few weeks were achingly cold.

than its famous sunshine.

I remember going round the battlements

For generations the island has attracted

with a group of serious, literary, shivering

historians – from amateurs to serious

Americans. They weren’t happy. They were

academics – to its wealth of ancient sites and

muttering quotes to one another. A whisper

ritual Druid circles. Even before you get to

of Browning, ‘Oh to be back in California, now

Britannia Bridge and cross the Menai Strait,

that April’s here…’ and a mumble of TS Eliot,

you can whet your appetite on the mainland…

‘April is the cruellest month…’

with a steep hike up to the marvellous Iron Age settlement of Tre Ceiri, not far from Trefor

But I say Hurrah, it’s April, and spring is here!

on the way to Pwllelli.

Did you know that the island of Anglesey is

From this iconic mountain hillfort, later used

reckoned to enjoy more hours of sunshine

by invading Roman armies, you can see miles

than anywhere else in the whole of the UK?

of coastline to Dinas Dinlle, and to Clynnog

Well, it’s true. In my dark damp cottage high

Fawr, and you can discover lesser known but

up in Snowdonia, I sometimes used to get so

just as prehistorically atmospheric dolmens

gloomy and claustrophobic that I would jump

– standing stones – hidden away near the

into my little old car and hurtle down to the

villages of Pontllyfni and Aberdesach.

coast at Caernarfon and along to Britannia

But on Anglesey itself, you could spend weeks

Bridge and across to Anglesey as quickly as

or months or even a deeply studious lifetime,

NWM 2018 Page 41


© Crown copyright (2018) Cadw, Welsh Government

But you should go there, to the uniquely fascinating and mysterious site known as Bryn Celli Ddu. You’ll find it near the village of Llandaniel Fab, a fab name for a place making from the settlements at the northern extremes of South Stack

it worth a visit in the first place. But seriously, go and visit

to the subject of my little piece this month…

the ancient site in its dark grove, in a spirit of mystery and anticipation and blissful, uninformed ignorance – you’ll enjoy

Yes, one of my favourite sunny places, on the sun-drenched

it more.

island of Anglesey? Funnily enough, it’s the 5,000 year-old burial chamber known as Bryn Celli Ddu, ‘the mound in the

What I mean is, Google spoils it. Wikipedia is a no-no. I first

dark grove’.

went to Bryn Celli Ddu 40 years ago, knowing nothing, and had one of the most thrilling and weirdly exciting afternoons

It doesn’t sound very sunny, does it? A tomb, explored by

of my life.

archaeologists over many recent years, and containing the bones of our long-dead ancestors. A mound in a dark

It was April, and I was 26 years old, and I found the mound

grove. Brrrr…

in a woodland grove. It was bright with wild daffodils. Yes,

Page 42 NWM 2018

they were fading and folding and falling face-down in the

humming, buzzing, powerful rock.

grass, but their brave brilliant yellow was a flame of summer sunlight…

And my favourite little gleaning of information about the site? For all the gloomy connotations of a tomb of bones in a dark

I trod gently around the woodland grove and found the

grove of trees, Bryn Celli Ddu has one special attribute, which

entrance to the tomb. A burial mound, I knew that much from

it shares with some of the most famous historic sites around

the guide book I’d been reading, and it said there had been

the world. Like the great pyramid at Giza and the temples

human bones discovered inside. I ducked into the tunnel,

of central America, and like Stonehenge, it has a special

bending double to go in.

alignment with the rays of the sun. At the midsummer solstice, the sun beams directly into the entrance and straight into the

5,000 years old. I fingered my way along the low passage,

tunnel and hits the stone pillar.

deeper and deeper. I paused for breath, tried to stand up and ease my aching neck, banged my head on a jutting rock. I

I like that. I like the idea of a tomb designed and constructed

saw stars. For a few seconds, all I could see in the darkness

specially to catch a gleam of the midsummer sun.

was a swarming of constellations erupting from inside my skull. When they’d fizzled and disappeared I fumbled my way

So go there this month, if you feel like fleeing the spattering

forward into the middle of the chamber.

raindrops of Snowdonia and seeking the sunshine on Anglesey. The daffodils may be fading at Bryn Celli Ddu, but

I gasped for breath and took hold of the pillar. In the very

the energy is there all year round. Bend and shuffle deep

centre of Bryn Celli Ddu there’s a smooth pillar of rock about

inside and lay your hands on its ancient pillar of rock.

six feet tall. I laid my hands on it. Feel its warmth. Marvel at the mystery. Don’t try to understand Go there. Into the darkness. Lay your hands on the pillar of

it. Feel it.

rock. Feel the energy. Turn and face back along the tunnel … imagine the shaft of There’s a buzz, a hum, a shudder of power. Some scientists

sunlight which will beam directly onto the spot where you’re

have said that the pillar is a fossilized tree-trunk. Others have

standing, exactly on midsummer’s day.

identified it as a rock called blueschist which was carried many miles and tamped into the earth as a totem, a symbol,

Yes, it’s a glorious springtime, in April, on sunny Anglesey!

to mark a burial site. More mystic explorers have declared it

Even inside a 5,000 year-old tomb! n

as energetic as a battery, a piece of rock which pulses with power. Who knows the identity of the great chieftain who was laid to rest there? Or perhaps it was used for generations, for centuries or even thousands of years, as a resting place for the men and women and children, even the prized animals, of the area’s most important families. Some of their bones have been found inside the mound, close to the mysterious pillar of

Stephen Gregory’s seventh novel, PLAGUE OF GULLS, which is set entirely within and around the medieval castle and town walls of Caernarfon, comes out this month. Check it out and order your copy by googling PS Publishing / Stephen Gregory, or email the author directly on

NWM 2018 Page 43

FOOD & DRINK INSIDE Food Festivals Chef Profile Recipes Wine Column

NWM 2018 Page 47


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Move On the

Roll up! Roll up! The Movable Feast is in Town! Prepare to be dazzled, amazed and delighted by a circus of food, music, entertainment and craft. Remember your childhood excitement when the circus

Our vibrant food and drink community

came to town. One day there was a blank green field and

Working with the vibrant North West Wales food

then, suddenly, it was alive with activity, the lights were

and drink community this is all about buying local.

lit, the music played, the smell of delicious food wafted

Producers, growers, farmers, artisans, all producing the

on the breeze and you knew that the circus was in town.

most delicious food and drink using where possible, all

Think food slam, think music festival, think activities,

local ingredients. From cheese to chocolate and craft

think craft fayre and roll it all into one amazing event

beer to gin this is a feast of a menu not to be missed.

– a pop up event – and you’ll have a good idea of what

Some producers are more familiar names such as the

you can expect from the Movable Feast.

Wild Horse Brewing Company, Dylan’s Restaurants and Baravelli’s Artisan Chocolatier in Conwy. Some are less

What is the Movable Feast?

well known and are relishing in the chance to present

The Movable Feast is a series of 12 events starting

their delicious local produce to their local markets for

this month and running throughout the summer into

the first time. Each food or drink stall will focus on an

mid-September. Presented by the North West Wales

individual company or producer each with their home in

Food Producer Group, each is at a key location across

North West Wales. Taste, sample, buy and watch some

North West Wales and each feast will feature a range

amazing cookery demonstrations. Each feast is a unique

of food and drink producers, a great programme of

one-off event with local flavour running throughout the

live entertainment and a craft area. This is truly a

calendar. Come to one or come to many, the experience

unique experience bringing together the best that

will never be quite the same at each, a performance

North West Wales has to offer.

given by the nest that North West Wales has to offer.

NWM 2018 Page 49


Roll up! Roll up! The Movable Feast is in Town! Prepare to be dazzled, amazed and delighted by a circus of food, music, entertainment and craft.

Further information Adult prices start at £3.50 per person for a one day ticket, children under 12 years can attend free of charge and there are concessions available. (Booking fee will apply). If you are local food or drink producer and would like more information about how you can be part of The Movable Feast email info@themovablefeast. org. For general information visit

“The whole project is about celebrating the wonderful food, drink and hospitality of North West Wales,” commented David Evans, owner of Dylan’s restaurants, who has long been passionate about local ingredients. “I’m very excited about the Movable Feast travelling around the region and welcoming local people and visitors alike to these fantastic pop up events. We can’t wait to get started!” Mark Baravelli, owner of Baravelli’s in Conwy is also delighted with the opportunity to be associated with fellow local producers. “We are passionate about our local community, our local customers and the chance to produce chocolate here in Conwy. Being part of the Movable Feast gives us the opportunity to share our passion for chocolate with a new local audience,” he said.

Music and entertainment The entertainment at each Movable Feast will be colourful and vibrant, featuring circus acts, live music, face painting and even a pom pom workshop. Each feast will feature a slightly different selection of entertainment and bands and, at the first event at Bodafon Fields in Llandudno this month, you will be able to catch Kiani Geldard and Connah

Page 50 NWM 2018

Dates of the Movable Feast 2018

Evans. And not to forget the children there will be a giant inflatable assault course together with a face painting artist. And should it all be a little too exuberant for you then why not take part in one of a series of pilates and yoga workshops? This is truly an experience that everyone can enjoy. Whatever your age there is sure to be something for you at the Movable Feast.

Celebrating local craft and artisans

J Saturday 28th April – Llandudno J Friday 11th May – Llangefni J Saturday 19th May – Llanberis J Friday 25th may – Bangor J Saturday 9th June – Menai Bridge J Saturday 23rd June – Criccieth J Saturday 7th July – Eirias Park J Saturday 14th July – Porthmadog J Friday 27th July – Benllech J Sunday 12th August – Conwy J Friday 24th August – Cemaes Bay J Saturday 29th September – Llanrwst

With such a rich heritage of local crafts this is the perfect showcase for a host of talented local craftsmen and women and the chance to engage with our crafting

biologist, a chef and a local artist to work with the children

community. North West Wales is home to such a diverse

on a range of activities. Some of the end results will be on

and eclectic crafting community and the Feast will see

show at the events where printed banners and artwork

many of them come together for the first time and to

from the children will be on display. The Movable Feast is

have the chance of presenting their works to the local

embedded in the local community and the school outreach

community. Come and see, learn and enjoy their talents at

programme is another unique feature of these events to

work and with the chance to purchase a momento or two

encourage and engage local school children. n

to take home with you.

Year of the Sea – school outreach The Feast will also be visiting local schools with their

The Movable Feast is very grateful for the support of the Welsh Government Food Division and the LEADER groups of Anglesey Gwynedd and Conwy for this year’s events.

Year of the Sea programme which will include a marine

NWM 2018 Page 51

EXECUTIVE DECISION Running five local hotel kitchens, not to mention 121 staff, is no mean feat. Nick Embrey went to meet Ian Gray, executive chef of the Giant Hospitality Group, to find out how he does it.

It takes a particular kind of person to succeed in the

calling altogether.

kitchen of a modern restaurant. Having lived with a

Originally down

trainee at one of Gordon Ramsay’s London establishments

to join the Royal

many moons ago, I can confirm that the guy worked hard,

Signals and

very hard indeed. Of course, the ability to graft and grind

awaiting a start

is not the only thing required, other traits are just as

date, the soon-to-

useful – like having great organisation, being comfortable

be soldier took a

with authority, possessing attention to detail and coping

short interim job

well under pressure. More significantly still, all of the

in a convalescent home in Rhos where he picked up a love

above, when viewed in isolation, could have been lifted

of cookery from the home’s chef, an ex Navy man by the

straight off an army recruitment poster.

name of Ken Napier. The rest, as they say, is history.

So when I discovered that Ian Gray, executive chef of the

Ian traded his Signals cap badge, instead signing up to

Giant Hospitality Group first pulled on his whites as a

the ACC in 1989 from where he learned his trade serving

trainee chef in the Army Catering Corps I was not in the

up culinary delights for Her Majesty’s armed forces,

least bit surprised. What did come as a surprise however

trousering four Golds at the prestigious Hotel Olympia

was the discovery that Ian very nearly missed his catering

catering competition along the way. In 1996 he left the

NWM 2018 Page 53


army in order to “better himself as a chef” – though his love and respect for the solid grounding it gave him was evident when we spoke. Life beyond the green machine quickly saw the former soldier land a job with RCI Timeshare in Kettering, Northamptonshire. Working with none other than Richard Branson and his Fly Virgin team, Ian maintained the theme of travel from his military days as he plied his trade in the company’s head office kitchen. His next career move was to join Compass Catering where, alongside 11 other chefs from the nationwide company, he was selected to help run cookery competitions and Salon Culinaires all over the country, a role that led to him working alongside Prue Leath and David Adlard on the judging panels of such events. But this Colwyn Bay boy could not stay away forever. Spotting a chance to “get a bit of passion back for à la carte and fine dining,” Ian returned to North Wales in 2013, first taking a post at the The Quay

the practical matter of “kicking things off” at Llandudno Bay

in Conwy before moving to Giant Hospitality in 2015.

Hotel – the group’s first venture – where a series of accolades arrived like herring gulls, including a “first Four Star from

Clearly undaunted by a challenge, Ian took his post as

Visit Wales and a Five Star for Food,” the latter of which Ian

executive chef of the group in February of that year and

clearly still holds dear to his heart as just recognition for the

set about helping to “build this hotel empire from the inside

hard work put in by his team.

of the Imperial foyer” in the absence of a more substantive office facility. Not one to shy away from a challenge, his

Building on the success, next came the Llandudno based trio

first task was to put in place a whole catering section with

of The Queens Hotel, The Belmont and Fentons, giving Ian

“structure, policy and rules,” before turning his attention to

the chance to take a hand off Llandudno Bay’s tiller to help develop her other siblings. Finally this summer, the group’s other North Walian enterprise, Caer Rhun Hall, opens after an extensive refit, all of which gives locals plenty of choice and a variety of ways to sample the fruits of Ian’s labour. Although his workload means he now grudgingly spends less of his working hours in the engine room, Ian’s new role gives him the opportunity to manage and oversee the success and ensure the quality of all five of the group’s Welsh businesses. As readers might expect, the quality of each one of them owes much to the bountiful supply of fantastic local produce in the region, and Ian is quick to promote his use of many local suppliers like Blas ar Fwyd as well as Williams’ of Flint for meat and both Mermaid’s in Llandudno and Conwy Mussels for seafood. And how might those fine local ingredients be put to use? At The Belmont, the carnivore is king and its concept restaurant, ‘The Grill at North Parade’ offers all things beeflike. Motivated personally by Ian’s belief that “you can’t get a decent steak anywhere,” the ‘North Parade’ prides itself

Page 54 NWM 2018

on the simplicity of getting a good steak done right. Just as importantly, it won’t cost the earth either, though patrons can be assured that a plate of food here “promises to be an amazing experience.” Summed up best perhaps by Ian, “if you like steak, you like a meat kind of thing, then the Belmont is the kind of place for that.” Fentons by contrast is the Group’s à la carte restaurant and has been serving up “good freshly cooked food from locally sourced ingredients” since opening last July. Changing the concept again and keeping things fresh, The Queens Hotel offers diners more of a “coach party feel.” Cutting

everything which is around you” including spa treatments,

quite the majestic figure, this wonderful Victorian building

fine dining, “very luxurious and stunning bridal rooms” and

stands boldly beside the grand old promenade for which

wonderful manicured gardens. Most telling of all, he envisages

Llandudno is famed and has provided warm and welcoming

Caer Rhun being the first of the five businesses to push for

hospitality to its guests for over 150 years. Whilst its majestic

“Rosettes and other rewards within the hotel sector” – beyond

white facades put the exterior on the map, the big selling

which he hopes others will follow.

point once inside is the Sunday roast. Under Ian’s watchful eye, the kitchen team have built up a reputation for the

Above all, what shines through strongest about Ian and the

quality and value of their dinners which “absolutely fly.”

restaurants he is responsible for is a desire to establish a unique concept within each business that ensures a fresh

After speaking to Ian, I came away with the distinct

and vibrant experience for each and every customer. Making

impression that Caer Rhun Hall will become – if it is not

this happen however is no easy task, and I suspect it is the

already – the centre piece within the group’s five North

trust and respect he places in all 121 kitchen team members

Wales ventures. Originally built in 1892, the building has

he manages – including several other restaurants beyond

a manor house feel and look to it that would be the envy

the region – that help to keep the operation not only running

of any hotelier in the region. With a major overhaul of the

smoothly but with a military precision. n

premises underway and a likely June re-launch, Ian’s excitement and enthusiasm for the future prospects of Caer Rhun are palpable, not least given the arrival of the Gorgeous restaurant concepts team who have been tasked with the job of establishing the tone and “country house vibe.” When all the development is completed, Ian sees the place as being “somewhere where you can pull the car up and enjoy

Nick Embrey is a teacher from the borders who recently started blogging about the antics of his crazy brown Labrador called Dudley. You can follow them at

NWM 2018 Page 55


Rhos Retro The picturesque village of Rhos-on-Sea may have an abundance of cafés but, as Emma Rayner Geldart of Café Rayner says, they all have something different to offer.

From home cooked food to homely décor, everything about Café Rayner has been designed to make you feel, well, at home. The welcome is warm and the food is good and, if the amount of regular customers are anything to go by, then this is certainly a winning combination. Emma has been running the café since 2013 when she moved to the premises with Tan Lan Bakery, eventually taking it over and rebranding as Café Rayner in September 2016. “When I moved here with Tan Lan, I didn’t really have any intention of starting a café,” explains Emma. “We needed bigger premises, so I moved the bakery here in order to grow the business. But, as I had all of this space at the front of house, I had to fill it with something – and tables and chairs seemed like the obvious answer.” Emma trawled eBay and reclamation yards and furnished the room with a collection of rustic tables, original school desks and comfy sofas – all of which have created that homely atmosphere.

Page 56 NWM 2018

“Once the room was furnished many of our regulars tended to stay and enjoy the cake that they had just bought while chatting to us, so to become a proper café seemed like a natural progression,” says Emma. Today Café Rayner specialises in breakfast and lunch dishes with fresh, local ingredients at the core of everything that they make. “We serve Welsh produce wherever physically possible. Tan Lan still supplies us with bread and cakes, although nowadays at Café Rayner we bake a lot of our own cakes here on site. Poyntons Butchers provides us with pies, Heartland supplies the coffee and Littler Chilled Foods have been providing us with sandwich ingredients for the last ten years. We also use local free range eggs and Welsh cheese.” But while the roots as a Welsh café stay firm, Café Rayner has created a new edge. “We are now serving a range of both vegetarian and vegan

dishes, and we are getting a lot of new customers because of this wider choice,” says Emma. “Today, for example, we have a vegan lentil and coconut curry on the menu alongside a Portobello mushroom burger. But we haven’t forgotten the meat eaters – we serve a hearty full Welsh breakfast all day, every day.” Local recipes feature high on the menu too, with both Anglesey eggs and Welsh rarebit proving popular. But don’t take Café Rayner’s menu to heart, because if they have the ingredients in stock to make your favourite dish, then Emma and her team will go out of their way to make it for you. “I believe in serving people what they want,” explains Emma. “Especially when it comes to families. If children just want to eat cucumber and yoghurt, then that’s what we’ll serve! We have a range of colouring books to help keep kids entertained, and we welcome breastfeeding mothers. I’ve even been known to hold a baby or two so that mums can finish their lunch in peace!” And it’s this friendly welcome that makes Café Rayner really stand out from the crowd. “We want to become a real hub for the community,” says Emma. “We are about to launch a book exchange facility and we have just started outside catering which is proving popular. And, when summer finally arrives, you can just pop in and grab yourself a picnic hamper for the beach.”

popping one of their gift vouchers into a card – especially since Emma tries to introduce something new onto the menu each week in order to keep it fresh. “I’ve just found my Nana’s recipe from 1955 for a traditional Christmas cake, so we’ll definitely be using that in December! However I’m just not sure what to do with the other recipes that I uncovered – I’d love to know whether the good people of North Wales would like to try devilled kidneys and rabbit casserole!” It’s a rare establishment indeed that would offer rabbit casserole on the same menu as a vegan curry – but it is this eclectic melting pot that makes Café Rayner what it is. “It’s the people that make the café though if I’m honest,” adds Emma. “I’m incredibly lucky with both my team and my customers. The fact that we all get on so well is just the best part – and it’s this that gives us our renowned atmosphere to compliment our good honest food.” n

Café Rayner 20 Colwyn Avenue, Rhos-on-Sea, LL28 4RB 01492 540247

Café Rayner also serves a traditional Welsh afternoon tea and, if you’re ever stuck for a present, then you could do worse than

NWM 2018 Page 57


Page 58 NWM 2018

Food for thought

One of the most noticeable things about winter is the silence. I say ‘noticeable’ but by virtue of not being there, it’s actually quite hard to notice it at all. It’s only when spring arrives that you realise that you’ve spent the past few months in the aural equivalent of an airless vacuum. Suddenly, there’s the birdsong filling the air; a chorus of good natured sparrows and blackbirds chirping away at what sounds like a tuneless but euphoric version of The Sound of Music. It is pure joy to stroll through the North Wales countryside at this time of year, if only to hear the birds calling happily out to each other, most likely all saying the same thing: ‘Thank God winter’s over! I was absolutely freezing!’ Then later, there’s the lovely lazy drone of a bee or two, and the sense of nature coming back to life is complete. Bees have a very special place in North Wales, especially in the Conwy area. There is a honey fair in Conwy every September 13th (a date set by royal decree since the time of Edward I, no less). That should give you an indication of how long honey has played a vital part in the local economy.

Cai Ross is co-owner and Maitre d’ of the award-

If you want to know more and want to buy some of the best honey you’ve ever

winning Paysanne Bistro

tasted, head over to the Bodnant Welsh Food Centre and pop into the Welsh

in Deganwy, which has

Honey shop. There you’ll find Pete Barrar, who knows everything there is to

been serving French

know about the subject.

country-style food to the fine people of North Wales

He very kindly let me try some of his mead, which you can also buy there

since 1988. He also writes

– it partners up tremendously well with a locally sourced cheeseboard. It’s

for Calibre Magazine, BBC

wonderfully light, compared to some of the heavier, sometimes sickly-sweet

Good Food, HeyUGuys.

dessert wines, and lightness, at this time of year is how I feel like eating.

com and The North Wales

The heavy stews and casseroles can wait until October. Here are a couple of

Weekly News

dishes to put some spring into your step.

NWM 2018 Page 59




T ESAN TAR M R A P & S ASPARAGU Serves 4 d: You will nee ff pastry u p of t 1 shee Plain flour ping cream 1 tbsp. whip mesan grated Par 50g freshly chives 1 packet of 3 eggs pepper und black ng 1/2 tsp. gro for drizzli l, oi in olive Extra-virg us 1 lb. asparag

ke a trick. it seems li sy ea ly b a indescrib This is so . It isn’t Serves 4 d: You will nee ble cream ou ny) d ls m 600 Honey (run ant Welsh n od B ls m 5 12 2 lemons The juice of

a large flour over nkle some ri p e and S . if n ˚F k 0 en to 18 pointed Preheat ov try. Take a om the as p fr e cm th 2 t t roll ou astry abou p e all the board and th d n in out cutt g e a line arou frame, with re with gently scor e tu tr ic n p a ce looks like epper the p it d so an ith e, g rk ed ke a fo borders w brush the gh. Then ta d an er, s ap g p eg g way throu of the in bakin . Beat one ay covered tr g in little holes ak b a . e pastry on at, let it cool it. Place th tes. After th u in m 10 r and bake fo rated eggs, the g up the two ix m and the m ea , g cr in e ’s cool chives, th ed p ntre so While that op ch down the ce a handful of ently push g enly d Parmesan, ev an re y tr the mixtu e the pas the hen spread pepper. Tak er T . ov it b a em t d layer th sticks ou an s u of ag h ar the frame e asp with a das dle. Take th d. Sprinkle re ve in the mid co is ture until it s. cheese mix out 20 min bake for ab d an l oi h the e oliv rt along wit over the ta lt sa a se ôn me Halen M Sprinkle so . es chiv remaining

Page 60 NWM 2018

p honey. Kee en add the th an at p a th u bring eam into n while yo Pour the cr ooden spoo w a drop it to a h t, it n w oi stirring it boiling p h ake as h it Once minutes. T to the boil. ng for a few ri it to ir e st av p le ee d dk juice an on m simmer an le e th eat, stir in it off the h so. minutes or 0 2 cool for ur tacles of yo four recep to for in e g re id tu ix t in the fr Pour the m em and pu read th tb lm or fi sh g with some choice, clin ve er S ! it That’s ss or two of 2-3 hours. haps, a gla er p d an ip in biccies to d . d ea m sh Wel

Don’t fancy cooking? 01492 582079 @PaysanneDeganwy

SUBSCRIBE to North Wales Magazine and get the most out of your wonderful region If you enjoyed this issue of North Wales Magazine then why not subscribe? Packed full of interesting features, what’s on listings, food & drink articles, columns, interviews, homes & interiors and days out, North Wales Magazine is the ONLY glossy monthly publication dedicated to the region. You can pick one up from a range of independent retailers throughout North Wales – but when they’ve gone, they’ve gone! For just £2.99 (or the price of a cup of coffee) you can guarantee to have your own issue delivered straight to your door every month. We have a range of payment methods designed to make your life as easy as possible. Choose from a monthly standing order of just £2.99, or you can pay £32.89 annually by cheque, credit or debit card or via online banking – whichever method suits you best. Either fill in the form below or email subscribe@ for further information. NORTH WALES

JULY 2017


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We manufacture traditional Welsh bedspreads, travelling rugs and tweeds on site and also stock ladies’ and gents’ pure wool knitwear and sheepskin rugs and accessories. Lots of new exciting stock coming in for Easter including summer styles. Shop open: Monday – Saturday Weaving: Mon – Fri (except Bank Holidays)

Trefriw Woollen Mills, Main Road Trefriw, Conwy Valley LL27 0NQ T: 01492 640462. W. Situated on the B5106, five miles north of Betws-y-Coed.

Page 62 NWM 2018

Raise your glass April’s here and it’s looking rosy for rosé wine

Rosé wine is often interpreted as the least serious of the

Here’s some examples suggested by Mark and Tim to

wine varieties, but Rosé is having its defining moment,

bring the sunshine a little earlier…

certainly as the weather warms up. J TREMENDOUS – Clairette Viura/Garnacha rosada – There’s simply no better time to turn to these brilliant

SPAIN £12.99 It’s spicy and aromatic, with notes of

blushes than this time of year and the wines of Provence

redcurrant and white pepper: refreshing, polished and

undoubtedly champion the subject. I think that the best

very likeable.

examples show zippy acidity, a generous bouquet of red

J WARWICK – Pinotage rosé – SOUTH AFRICA £12.99

berries, floral notes, refreshing fruit, and a varied light to

From salmon pink to blushing bride, perhaps? This

rich but not absent body.

wine is so on trend, you could march around drinking it in.

Great rosé wines come from vineyards all over the world

J VILLA WOLF – Pinot Noir rosé – GERMANY £11.99 A true

as near as Llangwstenin in Conwy and as far reaching as

rosé, made with a brief maceration before pressing to

New Zealand. Most people favour dry varieties, avoiding

extract colour. It is light and refreshing, with deliciously

anything overly sweet, but there is such variation from dry to naturally sweet rosé wines.

bright berry and fruit flavours and a clean, zippy finish. J RESERVE DE GASSAC - Grenache, Syrah and Carignan rosé – FRANCE £9.99 Lively, vivid pink, with some

Colour can vary greatly, deep Merlot and Cabernet wines

salmon hints. Attractive, intense with hints of

are rich and fruity, Grenache and Pinot Noir examples are

strawberry, full and round with touches of crushed red

delicately fruited with a moderate acidity. The term acidity shouldn’t be linked with vinegary wines, for it is what every wine maker aims to achieve to make a balanced wine.

fruit. J SANTA DIGNA – Cabernet Sauvignon rosé – CHILE £9.99 A deliciously refreshing rosé, full of fresh blackcurrant fruit with great character. Expertly made by Familia

The secret is to not overchill rosé wines, and in doing to you’ll be rewarded with a refreshing, full flavoured wine with a surprising depth and interest.

Torres. J ALBIA – Sangiovese/Merlot rosé – TUSCANY/ITALY £13.99 A lovely pale pink, it has classic rosé flavours of red fruits, with surprising length and a nice overall

When the sun comes out, there’s nothing better than pouring yourself a glass of sunshine, delicately blushed for

mineral quality. J THE PINK MOUSTACHE - Syrah/Cinsault rosé – SOUTH

any occasion be it for food matching or for an occasion.

AFRICA £14.99 A “light red”, involving three days of skin

Although we typically think of rosé wine as a summer

contact before maturation in barrels lasting five months.

drink, it actually works well all year round as an aperitif, not

Pale red and slightly cloudy in appearance, the nose

forgetting that there’s some splendid rosé sparkling wines

displays notes of boiled sweets and rose petal.

and Champagnes to be had also. n

J MASIA D’OR - Cava Rosado – SPAIN £12.99 A dusky pink sparkler with fruity aromas and the classic Cava toastiness. J RENE JOLLY – Pinot Noirs rosé – CHAMPAGNE-

Tim Watson runs The Grape to

ARDENNE £48 Its lively spiced red berry fruit flavours

Glass Wine Shop and Tasting

are carried upwards on tiny, pinprick bubbles - a sure

Room in Rhos-on-Sea which,

sign of quality.

as well as offering wine from far reaching lands, also stocks

Our verdict: Try them all and see for yourself, but a

locally produced beers, wines and spirits

particular favourite of ours is the Villa Wolf Pinot Noir rosé.

NWM 2018 Page 63



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ARE YOU fED UP Of lIVING WITh YOUR OlD CONSERVATORY? did you know that you can change the look and style of your existing conservatory without changing your foundations or walls? Here are 3 ways you can enjoy your conservatory upgrade! 1. Maybe your conservatory might become your new dining room 2. or maybe it makes that perfect kitchen extension you have always wanted 3. For some of us it just simply gives us that extra room that we can use all year round, maybe the reason we built it to start with.

...whatever the reason, you will be able to use your new room all year without feeling too hot or too cold

Your local Window and Conservatory Installer Call today for a free no obligation Quotation

tel: 01492 543 317 NWM 2018 Page 65


Page 66 NWM 2018

HOMES & INTERIORS INSIDE Conservatories property roundup interiors

NWM 2018 Page 67

Room for improvement When it comes to extending your home, a garden room or orangery is the easiest way to gain an extra room. Kate Hamilton reports.

Who says that a garden room has to be attached to the house? Conwy Valley have installed plenty of freestanding rooms too

A single story garden room can make a huge difference

Secondly, and this is perhaps the biggest attraction,

to your home – and to the way in which you live in it.

garden rooms can be supplied as a complete entity by a

Whether you want a playroom for the children, a home

range of specialist firms.

office, a dining room or just an additional space in which to relax, then a garden room certainly ticks all of

Over the past 30 years, Conwy Valley Windows has

the boxes.

supplied and installed a wide range of PVC-U windows and doors throughout North Wales. However, in recent

But such an extension has numerous other benefits too.

years, the company has become renowned for its

Firstly, provided that you haven’t already increased the

conservatories and garden rooms as they really make the

size of your home’s original footprint, then you are very

most of the North Walian scenery.

unlikely to need planning permission as it should fall within your permitted development rights. Do always

In fact, when local couple Gavin and Sim Baldwin

check to be on the safe side however!

bought their new house in Llandudno Junction, they

NWM 2018 Page 69


Snowdonia Windows is now able to replace your existing conservatory roof for a solid roof system

knew that a garden room would really make the most of their beautiful outlook. “It had taken a good few years and a fair number of house moves, but we figured we’d finally found our forever house,”

Snowdonia Windows is a leading installer of conservatories and orangeries

Sometimes freestanding furniture is a more practical solution

explains Gavin. “The trouble was, although it was almost perfect, it was just missing one thing – a second reception room.

right through to the windows, the doors, the plumbing, the electrics and even the flooring are all provided if that’s what

“While the downstairs portion of the house was a good size,

you want. Gavin and Sim found that the peace of mind that

with a family kitchen, reasonable dining area and nice cosy

such a service provided was immeasurable.

lounge, we lacked an additional reception room that would allow the five of us to spread out and do our own thing, on

“The finished garden room is now everything we had hoped

the days and evenings that required it,” he continues. “I also

it would be – and a great deal more,” adds Gavin. “It fits

wanted a room without a television that had views of the

seamlessly alongside the rest of the house and is a delight to

wonderful garden we loved so much.”

spend time in every day of the year.”

The Baldwins decided to invite Conwy Valley Windows round,

Of course, had the Baldwins opted to build something similar

plus a couple of other companies, to get an idea of what they

20 years ago, the result would probably have been very

could do.

different indeed – not to mention a great deal more expensive. Advances in materials and building methods now mean that

“Conwy Valley were great. Rather than telling us what we

homeowners have the option of a room that is integrated into

should do – build it here not there, make it like this not that

the rest of the house.

– Conwy Valley simply listened, advised when prudent to do so and then showed us how best to realise our dream,”

Solid roofs on these type of extensions are increasingly

says Gavin. “They provided excellent designs of what would

popular too. They look like expensive slate tiles but, in fact,

become our garden room, allowing for numerous changes

they’re a lightweight, manmade material.

to the specification and finish, and never once making us feel rushed or bamboozled. It was a genuinely enjoyable

Snowdonia Windows is another company that can offer its


customers beautifully bespoke designed orangeries and garden rooms.

Conwy Valley provides a one-stop shop for its garden rooms and conservatories. Everything from the initial designs and

Established since 1976 Snowdonia Windows is a leading

advice, the foundations, the bricks and mortar and the roof,

installer of high quality windows, doors, conservatories and

Page 70 NWM 2018

Conwy Valley Windows has been trading for 30 years

But, with the help of North West Heating’s latest electric heaters, you can now enjoy your conservatory 365 days of the year and, more importantly, on those days when it is too cold to orangeries. From its showrooms in Mold and Caernarfon, this

go outside.

three generation family-owned company is proud to offer the best possible service for homeowners living throughout North

“Having a conservatory fitted to your home provides an extra

Wales and surrounding areas.

room for you to relax or entertain, therefore, you should have the added benefit of being able to use this valuable space all

“Today’s orangeries are elegant extensions to a home with

year round,” David Lukeman, managing director of North West

light flooding down from the lantern roof and through tall

Heating Solutions.

windows,” explains Alan Wheatley of Snowdonia Windows. “They are more substantial than conservatories as they have

North West Heating Solutions’ energy efficient electric

side elevations constructed from traditional building materials,

radiators use advanced ceramic core technology. The special

so whether it’s a lounge, luxury kitchen or a child’s playroom, it

fireclay material at the heart of its system means that the

will become a stunning addition to your home.”

radiators heat up very quickly so you can be guaranteed a reliable heat source you can depend on.

But if you already have a traditional conservatory, but pine for something more substantial, then fear not as Snowdonia

“This advanced core is also much more slimline than its older

Windows is now able to replace your existing conservatory

relatives at just 20mm deep or 40mm for areas that need high

roof for a solid roof system.

heat output but have low wall space,” continues Lukeman. “This core has also been tested for its water resistance. A

“Here at our showroom we have an example on display of this

water-resistant core gives protection against the UK’s cold

new conservatory roof to show how easy it is to transform

damp climate.”

your existing conservatory into a room with a completely different look and feel,” adds Alan.

Each radiator has an individual, accurate, thermostatic control, giving you the benefit of all year-round comfort. With a range

Retrofitting an existing conservatory might also mean that

of custom sizes and being genuinely slim-line, these energy

you are unable to tap into your main central heating

efficient electric heaters are perfect to fit under even the

system, meaning that you will have to find an alternative

lowest windows and with a huge range of colours, they can

heating solution.

blend well with your existing décor to boot.

NWM 2018 Page 71


LEFT: Adding a garden room can really make the most of your outside space

FAR LEFT: Electric radiators from North West Heating mean that you can use your conservatory 365 days of the year

LEFT: Tiles, such as these porcelain ones from Global Tiles, provide a practical floor covering for your new room

Another major consideration when either building a new

your room and assist your choice in a tile perfect for your

garden room, or giving a new lease of life to an old conservatory,

preferences and aesthetic goals,” adds Abbie. “We aim to

is which floor covering to choose. Practicality should be your

provide excellent customer service and guarantee a stunning

main objective here, as your garden room or conservatory will

finish. Not only do we offer measures, supply and a fitting

likely be the main route between your house and the garden.

service but underfloor heating is also an option to guarantee

With that in mind, tiles are the obvious choice.

warm feet on a cold morning!”

“It is important to make sure the flooring in your room can

Which, after the winter we have had, is a vital consideration –

be easily cleaned, can sustain heat and is moisture resistant.

no matter what kind of extension you’re planning. n

In addition to this, you want it to look good!” explains Abbie Parrish from Global Tiles in Mochdre. “Porcelain tiles can


ensure you a beautiful, easy to upkeep room with style. Ranging

Conwy Valley Windows

in colours, shapes, textures and patterns, you can achieve it all

exactly how you want it.” Global Tiles Tiles can provide a natural stone look-a-like without the hassle

of a sealant, but also offer the same beauty and same resistance properties. A simple opus pattern can transform your room with

North West Heating Solutions

every tile varying in pattern and shades of colour, or why not

try a colourful patterned tile to really create a feature. Snowdonia Windows “Here at Global Design Studio/Global Tiles, we can measure

Page 72 NWM 2018





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Nant y Gamar, Llandudno

tiled from the hall,

This detached house is situated in a semi rural setting just

shower room, utility

on the outskirts of Llandudno on the hillside at Nant y Gamar.

and kitchen with

There are lovely views from the first floor of both the sea and

engineered oak to

Nant y Gamar itself. The property has been extended to create

the dining area and family room. The gardens are laid mostly

a modern kitchen/ dining area and superb family room. A

to lawn and are bordered by established trees and shrubs.

feature is the contemporary cast iron log burner, either side

There is also the benefit of a small orchard which has a

of which are double glazed bi-fold doors which open on to a

tenancy with Mostyn Estates which is payable annually. A

lovely sheltered patio area with a much enjoyed oak framed

summer house with electricity sits in a sheltered part of the

gazebo ideal for lounging and sun bathing. The property has

garden and may be suitable for those who work from home. It

been replastered throughout, rewired and replumbed. The

is on the market for £625,000 with Coast and Marina.

bathrooms and kitchen are new and the floors are porcelain


roundup 173 Marine Drive, Rhos-on-Sea This beautifully appointed, traditional semi detached property has been renovated

The Brindles, Upper Colwyn Bay

and modernised to a very high standard by

This four-bedroom detached home is situated in the

the present owners

sought after location of Pen Y Bryn Road in Upper

and enjoys views from

Colwyn Bay, close to local amenities and schools.

the rear over Rhos-

accommodation comprises a porch, hallway, a large lounge

on-Sea golf course and towards the mountains beyond and

with double aspect windows with views over the garden,

sea views from the first floor. Offering versatile and modern

French doors lead into a good size dining room and access

living within a well proportioned home, the accommodation

to a large kitchen, utility room, office and cloakroom.

affords entrance vestibule, reception hall, dining room, lounge,

the first floor there is a master bedroom with an en suite,

sitting room, breakfast kitchen, utility room and cloakroom.

a further three double bedrooms, two which enjoy far

To the first floor, there are four double bedrooms and shower

reaching sea views and a family bathroom.
Outside to

room. To the outside, there is ample driveway parking to the

the front there is a block paved driveway with off road

front and lawned gardens with shed and seating area to the

parking for five to six vehicles and access to a double

rear. This property has undergone a wealth of upgrading and

garage. The rear garden has a flagged patio area and is

modernisation by the present owners to include replacement

laid to lawn with borders containing mature shrubs and

windows and doors, full electrical re-wire and hard wired

The property is available to view with Fletcher &

internet connections, full central heating, new insulation and

and has an asking price of £350,000.

plastering throughout and underfloor heating. It is on the

market for £425,000 with Anthony Flint.

NWM 2018 Page 75


Holyrood Avenue, Old Colwyn This fabulous detached residence has been completely refurbished by the current vendors. The property is offered for sale in immaculate condition with a high specification and very stylish finish. The accommodation affords vestibule porch, entrance hall, family room with log burner, lounge with additional living area and log burner, play room, impressive open plan, fully fitted kitchen/diner complete

Externally there is ample off road parking to the front. To

with granite worktops, utility room with granite work tops

the rear is a fabulous garden with enclosed, secluded sun

and an annex/cinema room with separate shower room.

terrace, expansive lawned area and children’s play area.

To the first floor there is a luxurious master bedroom with

The exterior walls of the property have been re rendered

ample fitted wardrobes, dressing area and en suite four-

and externally insulated. The property is on the market

piece bathroom with built in television. There are four

with Beresford Adams for £495,000.

further double bedrooms and a family four-piece bathroom.

9 Gwel Y Castell, Llandudno Junction 
 This immaculately presented detached five-bedroom family home is situated in Llandudno Junction with easy access to the A55, schools and amenities. This property enjoys breathtaking and far reaching views to the mountains, Conwy Castle, town and the Great Orme. It was built in 2013 to a high specification incorporating energy saving solutions to include solar panels and a heat recovery ventilation system. The well planned accommodation comprises a hallway, cloakroom, lounge with French doors onto the garden, superb breakfast kitchen and dining room with high quality integrated appliances and French doors onto the garden, utility room with integral door into the garage. There is a beautifully landscaped rear garden with a variety of seating areas to enjoy the sun at different times of the day. The property is situated in a most convenient location close to Llandudno Junction and Deganwy, with a variety of local shops and schools (including the newly built primary school) and is on a bus route and main railway line. The property, which is available via Fletcher & Poole, has an asking price of £360,000.

Alice Court Guest House, Llandudno This four star traditional Edwardian Guest House is located in the heart of Llandudno, within level walking distance to the shops, promenade, pier and other amenities. Ready to walk into and start trading tomorrow with healthy forward bookings confirmed for the current season, Alice Court enjoys a balanced work lifestyle with six guest rooms, and offers excellent potential to increase the already healthy turnover. In brief the accommodation comprises of entrance hall, downstairs private WC and cloakroom, guest dining room, owner’s lounge, dining room and fitted kitchen to the ground floor. The first floor contains the owner’s accommodation with bedroom, bathroom and laundry room and three guest bedrooms (one is currently used as a study/office and store room). The second floor has two further guest bedrooms, bathroom and additional bedroom (currently utilised by the owners). One of the benefits of the Guest House is free on street parking outside and in the adjacent streets as well as two nearby pay and display car parks. It is on the market with Anthony Flint for £325,000.

Page 76 NWM 2018

Fires and Fireplaces The Fireplace Specialist You Can Trust...


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Unit 1, Falcon Estate, Eagles Farm Road, Mochdre Business Park, Mochdre, LL28 5HF Mon – Fri: 10.00 - 5.00 and Sat 10.00 - 4.00 Sunday CLOSED • Customer car park • Wheelchair friendly

ADLINGTON HOUSE Retirement Living Community Adlington House offers an outstanding selection of two and three bedroom retirement apartments for sale near Llandudno. ‘New’ package now available to help you move, ahead of your own house sale. Adlington House also offers: • A thriving bistro, comfortable communal lounges and gym • An on-site Care & Support Team

Find out more today: 01492 880 200 Adlington House, Abbey Road, Rhos-on-Sea, Conwy LL28 4PU All details correct at the time of press. Images are MHA representative only.




BESPOKE GRANITE & QUARTZ WORKTOPS WITH A *15 YEAR WARRANTY (subject to terms & conditions)

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01745 797 007 • • Page 60 NWM 2018


GHL Kitchens & Bathrooms Your Local Kitchen & Bathroom Fitters

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Call 07572 422996 today for your free, no obligation quote

Inside Out North Wales Magazine brings you the latest products from the world of interiors

Making a splash Make your bathroom truly stand out from the crowd with one of these beautiful washbasins. Ideal for an en suite bathroom or cloakroom, these unique basins are manufactured by specialised potters and hand decorated by artisans. They are available to buy from the Stoneworkz showroom in Denbigh or via its website.

Paving the way A completely new range for 2018, Mahina concrete paving will give any garden a modern and refined feel with its stylish textured finish. It features a contemporary fleck to replicate granite, allowing you to create a truly unique look. Available in two shades of grey – light and dark – this strong and durable paving comes in two sized pavers. To complement the look, pair with Bradstone’s Panache matching walling and edging to give your patio the finished appearance.

On the tiles La Maison Bahya, a custom handmade cement tile company based in Paris has now launched its services in the UK. Already well established in France, La Maison Bahya brings a unique proposition to UK interior enthusiasts with bespoke, tailor-made capabilities. Bahya has a core collection of 20 original patterns, the patterns of each tiles can be customised with one of the 72 Bahya shades, giving a unique interior decorating style. All of the tiles are handmade in the workshop in Morocco and the artisans use the best quality pigments and materials ensuring the tiles are durable.

NWM 2018 Page 79


Bird song It’s not just your home that needs a facelift this spring, spare a thought for your feathered friends too. This charming bird house will provide garden birds with a home to be proud of. Its vintage style distressed look and design using natural materials is sure to blend beautifully in any garden. It is available for just £14.00 from Modern Country Style Interiors.

Take a seat The Maggie accent chair from Lovely Sofas has short, shaped wooden legs and traditional cushion piping. But its sweeping flared arms throw in a dash of glamour, making this an ever-so-elegant choice for everywhere from airy reception rooms to decadent boudoirs…

Double trouble Whether you’re looking for a comfy new bed that won’t take too much valuable floor space, or just a way to easily convert your home office into a spare room, this wall bed from Furl is the perfect solution. Made to complement wardrobes and other bedroom furniture, Vertico 60 has a deeper cabinet which offers internal display shelving and a huge cupboard within the bed for pillows, duvets and pyjamas. This ultimate space saving unit costs £1,690.

Picture perfect British Ceramic Tile and Laura Ashley have once again collaborated, combining their design skills to launch a new collection of glass splashbacks. Featuring a considered palette of colours and designs, the new splashbacks have been introduced to tone with the Laura Ashley Kitchen Collection, paints, tiles and home accessories, and provide retailers with an easy solution to create a premium kitchen with minimal added cost. The collection also offers splashbacks featuring four statement prints, each available in two tonal colour options: Mr Jones, Wicker, Lisette and Oriental Garden. Selected from Laura Ashley’s archive and Home collection the prints have been reproduced on glass to create a focal point in the kitchen no matter what the style.

Page 80 NWM 2018











4 Aberhod Cove, Cayley Promenade Rhos On Sea LL28 4EP

Regent House Conway Road, Tal y Bont LL32 8SF



* New Build Three Bedroom Town House * Situated Close To The Amenities Of Rhos on Sea * Enjoys Stunning Panoramic Sea & Coastline Views

* Four Bedroom Mid Terrace Cottage Enjoying Far Reaching Countryside & Mountain Views * Deceptively Spacious & Beautifully Presented Accommodation Reference Number: FP5466C

Reference Number: RP1657

EPC Rating: TBC

EPC Band C

Laburnum Lodge Sychnant Pass Road, Conwy LL32 8NS

The Oaks, 11 Lansdowne Road Colwyn Bay LL29 7YD



Substantial Four Bedroom Semi-Detached House Situated Just Outside The Castle Walls * Benefits From Contemporary New Kitchen & Bathrooms

* Beautifully Presented Four Bedroom Detached Home * Large Corner Plot In A Sought After Location Overlooking Rydal Penrhos Playing Fields * Planning Permission Granted For A Further Two Bedrooms & Ensuite


Reference Number: FP5356C

Page 81 NWM 2017

EPC Rating “E”

Reference Number: RP1599

EPC Band E

Spanish conference for V4B Group employees

New cocktail academy launches Snowdonia Distillery, which is best known for its Forager’s Gin, has launched the Snowdonia Distillery Cocktail Academy. The new academy aims to inspire, train and

Employees at Wrexham based firm V4B Group were

nurture new talent in North Wales. “As a distillery we

whisked away to Spain last month for a company

have invested heavily in establishing the region’s first

conference in Benidorm. In total 45 members of staff,

professional cocktail bar training centre,” commented

from three companies within the group, attended the

founder Chris Marshall. “We have seen that North Wales

three-day event at the Helios Hotel. The conference

has become a far greater tourist destination, following

included a management meeting, staff briefing and

better and more diverse attractions, improved transport

team-building, bringing together group directors,

links, and the likes of Lonely Planet naming the area

managers and employees to discuss company results,

one of the best in the World. Despite greater interest in

exchange good practice and plan future strategies.

North Wales as a foodie hot-spot, with a host of great food

It was also a way to round off the group’s 25th

and drink producers in the area, Snowdonia Distillery

anniversary celebration year and a way to thank

recognised that mixology and cocktail making was falling

staff for their continued work. “The decision to take

behind the trend.” So, in order to address the situation,

more than 45 employees overseas for our annual

the Snowdonia Distillery’s Cocktail Academy was set up

conference was not taken lightly but the trip was my

to inspire local venues and mixologists to create cocktails

way of saying thank you for their hard work over the

and cocktail bars to rival those found in any major global

years and brings the V4B Group’s 25th anniversary to

city. “We strongly believe that our professional mixology

a close, commented group director Richard Boreham.

courses should be open to all, which is why our Cocktail

“Last May when V4B Group celebrated 25 years with

Academy will offer one full scholarship per year to an

its clients, suppliers and funders, all the team in the

individual bartender (from the local area), offering them full

group acted as fantastic ambassadors for the V4B

access to all our courses and specialist workshops, as well

Group. The conference generated some fantastic ideas

as a twelve-month mentoring scheme,” adds Marshall.

and we are all looking forward to the next 25 years.”

The V4B Group comprises car leasing business V4B, leasing and fleet management company FleetSauce and business loans company V4B Professions.

Page 82 NWM 2018

Soughton Hall unveils refurbishment plans Luxury wedding

venue Soughton Hall has unveiled £70,000 plans to transform a Victorian lodge house into a brides haven. The derelict Grade II listed house at the top of the hall’s grand driveway is going to undergo a massive makeover as part of an ambitious refurbishment scheme led by managing director James Ramsbottom. According to owners Elle R Leisure, original features in the quaint Tudor-Gothic style building will also be preserved. Since taking over in 2016, Elle R Leisure has spent around £400,000 on transforming the historic 15-bedroom property. “The

World’s fastest zip line just got faster

lodge house was built in the 1860s by architect John Douglas when the Hall was still in the ownership of the Bankes family,” said James. “So it has been an integral part of the estate for 150 years. We were lucky enough to be able to purchase it from one of the Bankes family and now we are keen to use it to enhance the firstclass facility we are able to offer to brides and grooms looking for the most special of places to get married.”

Riders are now capable of reaching speeds of up to 125mph on the all-new Velocity 2 which launched on 29th can achieve 0 - 60mph in just 10 seconds! The longer

North Wales makes history

landing zone and significant investment in the braking

Huge A surge in tourism for North

mechanism means that Velocity riders can arrive up

Wales could be kick-started with a

to 70% faster which is even more exciting and enables

bid to capitalise on the discovery of

operation in more extreme wind conditions. Zip World

America by Prince Madoc. According

has also doubled the capacity at Velocity - meaning

to Welsh folklore, the Prince sailed

that four riders can now fly through the rugged Welsh

from Rhos-on-Sea in 1170, on a

scenery together. “Velocity 2 is the fastest zip line in the

ship built in Abergele, and ended up in Mobile Bay in

world and it’s right here in North Wales, the adventure

Alabama – three centuries before Columbus crossed

capital of Europe,” commented Sean Taylor, co-founder at

the Atlantic. Now Colwyn BID, the business enterprise

Zip World. “The brand new experience features custom

tasked with bringing more visitors to the area, has

made technology developed by our world class team, to

thrown its support behind promoting the story of the

increase speed, accessibility and comfort for our riders

voyages of Prince Madoc and his brother Rhiryd – who

and spectators alike.” The new development offers a

sailed the Atlantic at least four times. “We are fully

completely different experience for riders from kit up to

supportive of the idea to promote the story of Prince

landing as they soar through the air at speed, 500 feet

Madoc in Rhos-on-Sea,” said BID project manager Anna

above the lake in Penrhyn Quarry, Bethesda. For children

Openshaw. “We need to tap into this tale to attract

aged 10 and upward, prices start from £75 per person.

visitors from far and wide. It’s a unique selling point for

the area and something that should be marketed much

March. With a steeper decline (now 20 degrees), riders

more than it currently is. There is an opportunity here to bring in more tourists, and that can only benefit our businesses.”

NWM 2018 Page 83

Page 84 NWM 2018

Luke Edwards gets behind the wheel of the newly released Audi RS4.

The Audi RS4 Avant has become an icon in its own right since

seconds. The twin oval exhausts, to cope with this output, are

it launched with the B5 back in late 1999. It has always been

huge, yet beautifully understated.

the go-to car for celebrities who want the perfect companion for a winter skiing trip. I know Jay Kay from Jamiroquai,

The third generation (B8) Audi RS4 (which the 2018 version

a keen petrol head and car collector, has been a long-term

replaces) was powered by a 4.2 litre naturally aspirated V8

fan of the RS4. It has ample usable space due to its estate

engine, so some people may be sad that this B9 version is a

configuration, all-wheel drive via Quattro and enough power

V6 bi-turbo. However we have to remind ourselves that the

to make it so versatile.

original B5 RS4 was a 2.7-litre V6 bi-turbo so Audi have just returned the model to its grass roots. However, this new RS4

We have to remember that the original RS4 Avant was

has an 8-speed tiptronic box whereas the original had a six

the successor to the Porsche / Quattro GmbH joint venture

speed manual.

developed Audi RS2 Avant, a car which I know is becoming a serious collector’s item.

When I was a child, an estate car was always the family transport and a nostalgia factor is definitely there. For the family

Audi have realised the RS badge is their unique selling point

on a budget a 32.1 mpg fuel bill will also not break the bank. Oh,

and since the inception of Audi Sport, the focus has firmly

by the way, if you were wondering “Avant” is Audi’s name for

been on building great RS models. This was highlighted at the

an estate car. The RS4 is pretty light and nimble for its size at

press conference, when the Head of Press and PR in the UK

1715kg without a driver.

for Audi announced the waiting list for their new Audi TTRS was a year. Production simply cannot keep up with demand.

Servicing inspections arrive at 19,000 miles or two years, and

Back to the RS4, this is the brand new fourth generation

there’s a three year or 60,000 vehicle warranty, three years

2018 version called the B9. It drives like an Audi – smooth,

on paint and twelve years rust perforation guarantee which is

responsive – a reliable sword for swiping through the rush

pretty good as often it’s ten.

hour commute, yet perfect for a weekend blast out. Powered by a V6 engine, with bi-turbo exhaust turbocharger, it puts

To sum up, the RS4 Avant is for the family man who still wants

out 450ps and 600nm of torque. 0-62mph arrives in 4.1

a comfortable all-rounder; something that drives like a powerful saloon car, is safe on all road conditions and with practical space for those little adventures. It’s predicted by CAP Gold Book to have the best residual value and lowest running costs in its class; plus Audis age so well – they still look sophisticated 10 years down the line – which cannot be said for some modern cars. The Audi RS4 begins at £62,175 OTR. n

Freelance motoring journalist Luke Edwards is a member of the British Guild of Motoring Writers and is a motoring specialist for BBC local radio. He can be found as a competitor in the occasional Hill Climb competition too – but in his car rather than on his feet. You can follow Luke Edwards’ Motoring on Twitter @exhaustnotesuk

NWM 2018 Page 85

] SIXTH FORM SPORTS SCHOLARSHIP ASSESSMENT DAY Monday 7 May Boys & Girls • 2 ½ - 18 • GCSE, A-level & BTEC Day, weekly and flexi boarding places available • Cricket, Golf, Hockey, Netball, Rugby & Tennis scholarships for talented individuals Stunning location on the North Wales coast • Pwllycrochan Avenue, Colwyn Bay, Conwy, LL29 7BT To book contact or call 01492 530155

Learning by heart Most months, if not weeks, newspapers carry stories on Britain’s obesity crisis. The Times recently reported that: “Public Health England told brands from Tesco to McDonald’s to cut calories in sandwiches and ready meals by 20%”. It reiterated the view that reducing children’s exposure to junk food advertising and ending promotional deals on unhealthy products are the two most important measures to fight child obesity. I certainly support the importance of a healthy lifestyle amongst our young people and have no doubt that consuming less fast food would be beneficial. However, I fear we are at risk of demonising food, calories,

Tackling this obesity crisis doesn’t have to be about banning foods and limiting calorie intake. Eating well can be a solution to the nation’s physical as well as mental health if we approach it in a more creative way

eating and drinking in general. Children are growing, physically, and leading busy, active lives full of sport and exercise; energy output requires energy input. I don’t mind admitting that at my school we used to offer a piece of fruit to our pupils at break;

break and with their teachers. Food and nutrition has become

after all it was the healthy thing to do. However, a catering

part of our educational offering. They seem to have more

consultant we employed noted a piece of water melon, for

energy, are even more motivated and certainly have a spring

example, had virtually no calorific content and for my pupils

in their step as they walk around the campus. It’s also fuelling

about to play hockey or rugby for an hour before lunch was

conversations – “did you try the x or y” – and we are broadening

of no use. Worse still it was probably damaging their ability to

their horizons just as we do in the classroom, on the stage or on

perform in their sporting pursuits – my pupils for much of the

the astro.

day were potentially hungry and hungry pupils can’t exercise effectively nor can they learn properly.

Tackling this obesity crisis doesn’t have to be about banning foods and limiting calorie intake. Eating well can be a solution

We have now adopted a different approach to food and our

to the nation’s physical as well as mental health if we approach

catering. We have employed the brilliant Holroyd Howe who

it in a more creative way; I had no idea just how many of my

believes in the key principles of: “glorious ingredients, balanced

pupils would like kale – nor, I suspect, did they! A healthy

nutrition, making food fun, inspiring creativity and exceptional

diet combined with exercise helps to keep our brains sharp.

hospitality”. I’m very proud to say that my pupils are eating

Research suggests that regular exercise improves cognitive

more than ever before! They are, however, eating the most

function and good eating fuels the exercise. As a school we have

wonderful array of dishes – including salads, fruits, desserts

started to think differently about food and our pupils are better

and smoothies. We have abandoned the “either or” philosophy.

for it. I hope that everyone from the government to food outlets

Pupils can self serve themselves as much as they want and

might do likewise. Enjoying food more not less is the solution to

it’s terrific to see our pupils trays with various sliced fruits,

the nation’s obesity. n

salads with all manner of dressings, a dessert and a smoothie in addition to their main course.

Simon Smith is the headmaster of Rydal Our vegetarian and vegan options are just as appealing as the

Penrhos in Colwyn Bay. He is married

meat or fish dishes; we have all become a bit more flexitarian.

with two teenage children and has a

The pupils, and their teachers, are now excited about their food.

passion for rugby

They talk about food over the table, they discuss the menus at

NWM 2018 Page 87


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Three places to visit in April Marl Hall Woods, Llandudno Junction

Getting back

This ancient semi-natural

to Nature

woodland is managed by Coed Cadw/Woodland Trust and is a good place to see the early Spring wild flowers, including Bluebells. There are huge, mature Oak, Ash,

There’s plenty of wildlife across the region in April, says Julian Hughes, if you know where to look.

Wych Elm and Yew trees, as well as Beech trees planted in the 1960s. The protected area extends to limestone

Turning the woods blue

grassland above the woods.

Woodlands across North Wales will be turning blue this

Credit: Michael Maggs

month, as Bluebells flower; an extensive spread is a good

Cemlyn, near Tregele

indicator that you’re in an ancient woodland. Bronze Age people in North Wales used their

A natural lagoon on the

gummy sap to attach feathers to arrows, a process known as fletching – and the source of the

north coast of Anglesey,

English surname. But not all Bluebells are native. Many found in gardens and at roadsides are

separated from the sea by a

Spanish Bluebells, which hybridise with the British flowers.

wide shingle ridge, is home to a huge colony of terns,

Flowers go cuckoo

sleek seabirds that visit

One of the first plants to flourish in marshy areas is the Cuckoo

from West Africa from April

Flower, named because it flowers in mid-April, around the time that

to July. The shaggy-crested Sandwich Terns are the

Cuckoos would traditionally return from Africa. Sadly, most lowland wetlands in North Wales no longer host the birds, but you can see the clusters of pale pink flowers everywhere from nature reserves

Credit: Phil Sellens

only ones to nest in Wales, and the site is wardened

to roadside ditches. The flowers are the food plant of Orange Tip butterflies, which fly on

by North Wales Wildlife

sunny days through April.

Trust to ensure they remain undisturbed while nesting. Credit: : Pete Spaans

Arrivals from the south

Great Orme, Llandudno

A southerly

There is plenty to enjoy on

windflow will

the huge limestone headland

open the doors

in Spring. The coastal cliffs

migration of birds from

Here is the newts

While frog and toad spawn is obvious, you’d have to look much harder to find the eggs of newts, which are laid individually and wrapped in the leaves of pond plants. Three newt species live here, with two of these (Smooth Newt and Palmate Newt) widespread in North Wales. Look in a pond and you might spot a Smooth Newt, the males with a wavy crest along the back, an orange belly and spotted throat. The best way to see one is to find a nature reserve that runs pond-dipping sessions. You’ll discover all sorts of wildlife in there.

are topped by colourful

to a mass Credit: Alan Williams

Thrift and Spring Squill, as seabirds such as Kittiwakes

western Africa to Europe. Through the

and Guillemots return to the

month, Willow Warblers, Sedge Warblers

narrow ledges to prepare

and Whitethroats will flood in, but for

for the nesting season. The

many people it will be the first Swallows

limestone pavement towards

that will truly signal the return of Spring.

the northern tip holds some

The average first arrival date at Bardsey

special plants, and is a

Bird & Field Observatory is 3rd April, but

magnet for passage migrant

later in the month their twittering calls

birds such as Wheatears, and

will be noticed around the barns and

occasional rarer species such

outhouses in which they’ll nest.

as Dotterel.

Julian Hughes grew up in North Wales, which instilled a lifelong love of nature. He lives near Llandudno, manages the RSPB’s Conwy nature reserve, and writes about the region’s wildlife.

NWM 2018 Page 89



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The confessions of a modern day Magpie Tatty Divine’s Bohemian Rhapsody This month has seen Tatty achieve one of her personal vintage goals. For I have found the most perfect example of a 1920’s piano/opera shawl. Heavy black silk, hand embellished with the finest ivory silk thread of flora & fauna, all framed within a foot long tasselled fringe. I have been lusting after such an item, since I very first set eyes on one – a long, long time ago. Twice previously I have been within inches of owning one, once outbid at auction and the other snatched before my eyes at an antique fair. Let me tell you it wouldn’t happen these days, Tatty has evolved into a Tigress when something special is within her grasp… Grrrrr. An antique opera shawl is a Bohemian girl’s style staple. Often photographed worn to a society Cotswold wedding or draped over a well worn chesterfield, gracing the pages of a glossy magazine when featuring an interview with the likes of the bohemian goddess Pearl Lowe. In the ever-changing world of interior design, the one look that remains constant and forever envogue is Boho-Chic. A non-conformist theatrical collective of faded chintz, glorious fabrics, Indian rugs and misaligned oil paintings with the faint whiff of damp Irish Wolfhound and a Jo Malone four wick candle. The bohemian look has become my signature style and I lean towards it when buying decorative antiques, textiles and furniture, mainly due to the fact that I only

Dates FOR YO


RY Vintag e and A n tiques Lla Fair Every W ndudno Tow n Hall ednesd ay & S at 28th April Flea M arket Llandu dno 12th & Town Hall 26th A pril Y Gano lfan, Po rthm 1st, 2nd and 7th adog April

buy what I love. This transpires to be a winning formula as a recent upsurge in sales all point towards this particular interiors market. On a very recent buying trip I purchased a fabulous pair of merlot red chenille drapes with a bright floral border. Never hung and in immaculate condition they really were a rare find.

Tatty constantly requires new stock and would love to hear from you if you have any interesting antiques, furniture or quality vintage/textiles. Please call 07940 730421 or visit the French Polishing Emporium on Abergele Road in Colwyn Bay

Needless to say they sold immediately. The avant-garde, eclectic look is one that can be easily replicated with a little free flowing, fun loving imagination. A flea market is an excellent starting

Ali Hough is a specialist vintage

point, but you’ll have to be up early to beat me and grab yourself

dealer with a passion for decorative

a bargain!

antiques and a flair for interiors, based in Old Colwyn, North Wales

Your bohemian girl, Tatty x

NWM 2018 Page 91


weddingplanner So, you’ve just heard those magical words, Will you marry me? But what next…

You’re on cloud nine and no one can wipe the

Once you’ve made your decision on the type

huge smile off your face right now. You might

of ceremony you wish to go for, you can then

Get planning!

have already dug out a wedding folder you’ve

choose your venue.

Caer Rhun Hall Wedding

been hiding from your partner, which outlines


every single detail of your big day. However,

If you’re having a religious ceremony, you’ll

Sunday 8th April

don’t despair if you don’t have one of those

need to look at the logistics between the

12 – 4pm

folders (the vast majority of us don’t unless

church and the wedding reception venue. How

you’re super organised or you’re a wedding

long does it take to drive between the two and

Venue Cymru Wedding

planner). The golden rule I tell all the couples

what is the maximum capacity for each, so you


I work with is, remember during the lead up

know how many guests to invite?

Sunday 15th April

to your wedding day, and on the day itself, it’s your day and it should be done your way.

11am – 4pm

If you’re having a civil ceremony and wedding reception all at the same venue, what is the

Eriviat Hall Wedding

maximum number of people you can invite,

Showcase Open Evening

after the ceremony where can your guests

Thursday 19th April

First things first, have you both decided

relax if the room needs to be turned around

5 – 8pm

whether you want a civil ceremony or a

for your wedding breakfast?

So, where do you start?

religious ceremony? The difference being,

Caer Rhun Hall Wedding

a civil ceremony is being married in the

There are plenty of other questions to ask

Showcase Evening

eyes of the law and the religious ceremony

when it comes to choosing your wedding

Thursday 26th April

is being married in the eyes of the faith you

venue which we will cover in next month’s

5.30 – 8pm

follow. Your faith will also determine what

edition but first make sure you visit a variety

ceremony you will have if you’re planning a

of venues, so you have enough information to

Rossett Hall Hotel

same sex marriage. Some faiths will not allow

compare different venues and options. To help

Wedding Showcase Day

a religious ceremony, so you will need to book

you along your way we’ve scoured wedding

Sunday 29th April

a civil ceremony.

venues throughout North Wales to bring you

11am – 3pm

the dates of their wedding fayres… n For couples who are having a religious ceremony you will also need to check with the church you’re planning to marry in,

Caroline Roberts runs Events by Caroline Louise, an

whether you need to book a local registrar.

event management company that specialises in wedding

If this is the case, make sure you book both

planning. She also owns Bella, the Prosecco Van and

at the same time to avoid a change of date or

provides happiness in a glass! For more information

time further down the line, which could be

please visit

costly especially if you’ve sent out save the dates or your invites.

NWM 2018 Page 93

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The Last Word Across 9 Photograph taken at very short range (5-2) 10 Kind of illusion (7) 11 Relating to sound reproduction (5) 12 Holy Communion (9) 13 Dog with wavy silky hair (6,7) 20 Leg joint (4) 21 Graded (5) 22 Wife of one’s uncle (4) 23 Reflection (13) 32 Doctor (9) 33 Cost (5) 34 Typical (7) 35 Petite (3-4) Down 1 Fragment (5) 2 Black magic (6) 3 Make over (6) 4 Become visible (6) 5 Steel boot reinforcement (6) 6 Filter (6) 7 Operational (6) 8 Vigorous attack (5) 13 Sarcastic doubter of sincerity and merit (5) 14 Unsoiled (5) 15 Strange and mysterious (5) 16 Organisation (3-2) 17 Per --- ad astra (R A F motto) (5) 18 Resident of e.g. Basra (5) 19 Russian revolutionary leader (5) 24 One-fifth of the atmosphere (6) 25 Ethnic (6) 26 Posted (6) 27 Yearner (6) 28 Warning (3-3) 29 Source (6) 30 Atomize (5) 31 Conical tent (5)

NWM 2018 Page 95

Down: 1 Scrap, 2 Voodoo, 3 Rework, 4 Appear, 5 Toecap, 6 Strain, 7 Active, 8 Blitz, 13 Cynic, 14 Clean, 15 Eerie, 16 Set-up, 17 Ardua, 18 Iraqi, 19 Lenin, 24 Oxygen, 25 Tribal, 26 Mailed, 27 Longer, 28 Tip-off, 29 Origin, 30 Spray, 31 Tepee. cross: 9 Close-up, 10 Optical, 11 Audio, 12 Eucharist, 13 Cocker spaniel, 20 Knee, 21 Rated, 22 Aunt, 23 Contemplation, 32 Physician, 33 Price, 34 Average, 35 Elf-like.

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Win An Afternoon Tea to remember! First planted in 2012, Gwinllan Conwy vineyard has grown each year to over two acres with 2,000 vines. It has recently expanded to include a restaurant area and is offering one lucky winner to join them for an Afternoon Tea for Two. Gwinllan Conwy’s afternoon teas are homemade using only local produce and where better to enjoy it than with a view of the Snowdonia National Park – oh, and with a glass or two of local vino!

To Enter To be in with a chance of winning this fabulous prize, simply send your name and address to by Wednesday 18th April – making sure that you put Afternoon Tea in the subject line. Good luck! GWINLLAN CONWY VINEYARD, Y GWINWYDD, LLANGWSTENIN, CONWY, LL31 9JF 01492 545 596

DATA PROTECTION NOTICE: North Wales Magazine may contact you occasionally with details of relevant offers. Your details will not be passed on to third parties, expect to the provider of this competition.

NWM 2018 Page 97




While everyone remembers Russell Grant from his Breakfast TV appearances in the 1980’s, most people don’t realise that Russell was the first astrologer in over 300 years to present a horoscope forecast to a member of the Royal Family (HRH Queen Mother). Now dubbed the “Royal Astrologer” Russell has appeared on numerous television shows, including Strictly Come Dancing. He divides his time between London and his North Wales home near Portmeirion.

April’s horoscopes brought to you by Russell Grant ARIES (March 21st-April 20th) A brilliant idea at Easter is worth developing. You’re tired of making money for others. Launching your own business will allow you to set your own hours and follow your instincts. If you’ve been thinking of changing your luck, the New Moon on the 16th is an ideal time to do so. On the 30th, the Full Moon is great for making a long term investment.

LIBRA (September 24th-October 23rd) Working with a partner will be productive in the days surrounding Easter. Be open to trying cutting edge techniques, even if you’ve been steeped in an old tradition. A handsome bonus could come your way on the 30th, thanks to an enriching Full Moon. Use some of this money for some beautiful furnishings or artwork.

TAURUS (April 21st-May 21st) Easter will be a relaxing time. Take this opportunity to enjoy the company of your nearest and dearest. Although you enjoy dressing up, you don’t especially want to be working hard to serve others. On the 16th, the New Moon allows you to let go of a period of struggle. Instead of dwelling on the past, you’ll make a fresh start.

SCORPIO (October 24th-November 22nd) An unusual work opportunity will be made on or around Easter. Take this opportunity to gain some experience in an entirely different field. The more varied your skill set, the easier it will be to land the well paid assignments you want. A personal project will come to fruition on the 30th, thanks to an empowering Full Moon.

GEMINI (May 22nd-June 21st) Attending an Easter party will be lots more fun than you expect. You’ll meet an interesting person who excites your interest in a hobby or sport. Let your new friend take you to a cultural event or game; you’ll have a wonderful time together. On the 30th, the Full Moon will bring relief from a persistent health problem.

SAGITTARIUS (November 23rd-December 21st) Pour your energy into creative projects during Easter. Putting an innovative spin on traditional forms will attract lots of favourable publicity. The New Moon on the 16th is ideal for going on a first date or going on a second honeymoon. Whether you are single or attached, mid-April will be one of those most romantic times of the entire year.

CANCER (June 22nd-July 23rd) You’ll attract wonderful publicity on or around Easter, when word spreads of your leadership ability. Your willingness to accept a thankless job is greatly appreciated. Thanks to you, an organisation that was on the verge of falling apart has been salvaged. A romantic relationship will burst into flower on the 30th, thanks to a passionate Full Moon.

CAPRICORN (December 22nd-January 20th) The days surrounding Easter find you more ambitious than ever. This is a good time to make plans for professional success. A collaboration comes to a successful conclusion on the 30th, when the Full Moon cultivates a celebratory atmosphere. Make sure to attend a big wrap party. It’s important to keep in touch with the people who have encouraged you.

LEO (July 24th-August 23rd) Easter ushers in an opportunity to travel, study or write. Being able to visit a country that has deep spiritual meaning will be inspiring. If you aren’t able to get away, sign up for an advanced course of learning or begin work on an article. The Full Moon on the 30th is good for wrapping up a property matter.

AQUARIUS (January 21st-February 19th) The 1st brings exciting news about a family or community matter. This Easter, you’ll be able to break away from a confining routine and enjoy a greater measure of freedom. On the 16th, the New Moon urges you to speak up for your beliefs. The Full Moon on the 30th will bring a promotion or award for a job well done.

VIRGO (August 24th-September 23rd) News of an inheritance, legal settlement or insurance refund will reach your ears on or around Easter. This is a great time to upgrade your technical equipment. The New Moon on the 16th finds you making inroads to a close relationship. By forgiving a past mistake, you’ll forge a strong bond that is virtually unbreakable.

PISCES (February 20th-March 20th) April begins on an upbeat note, when a job offer could arrive. This will be a wonderful opportunity to increase your income and expand your technical skills. The New Moon on the 16th will give you a chance to do work that is personally meaningful. A bold risk will pay off around the 30th, when the Full Moon brings a successful resolution of a legal matter.

Page 98 NWM 2018


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Page 100 NWM 2018

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April 2018  
April 2018