If you drive up the Horseshoe Pass just outside Llangollen in North Wales and know where to turn off you will find the Blue Pool. These days it is also known as the Blue Lagoon and it is a popular swimming spot, but for experienced swimmers only! It is 40 feet deep and can be icy even in warm weather. When I knew it first, I was a child and there was none of that! Cars were rare and it was considered remote and dangerous! Therefore for me it was mysterious. We would travel from my home in the Black Country to the bliss of the open spaces of North Wales! If I was lucky early on Sunday morning, before church, we would drive up to see the Blue Pool. Sometimes it was misty, making it doubly dangerous and slightly sinister! No one swam in it then but I loved it! Nowhere in the world, and I’ve travelled a bit, have I seen water quite so blue as it is in memory! You can talk to me about copper sulphate levels and tell me the history of the slate mining that made it! But for me its seems primeval, beautiful and as old as time!
Cardigan, on the totally unspoiled West Wales coast, is the birthplace of the Welsh National Eisteddfod. With a population of 4,200, Aberteifi (its Welsh name meaning bridge over the Teifi) stands on the banks of the river Teifi where Ceredigion meets Pembrokeshire. Just outside Cardigan is St Dogmaels, an ancient and tranquil village nestling peacefully around a ruined Abbey at the mouth of the river Teifi. The monastery at St. Dogmaels was formally established as an abbey on September 10th 1120. It suffered in the dissolution of the monasteries and is now a picturesque ruin – well worth a visit. Near-by is Poppit Sands, one of west Wales’ premier blue flag beaches with acres of golden sands and where you can get lungfulls of bracing sea breezes. That is where the wonderful Pembrokeshire coastal path begins. But it is the river at St Dogmaels that I love best – fascinating in all lights, tidal so constantly changing, but with a wonderful calmness. Nowhere quite like it on a summer evening with clouds of swallows taking their nightly constitutional before settling to roost! Why don’t you take the lovely winding road across the mountains and visit the place for yourself.