Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

BAY WATCHING; HYWEL TREWYN Bumps in to Some Familiar Faces during an Overnight Stay on the Welsh Coast

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

BAY WATCHING; HYWEL TREWYN Bumps in to Some Familiar Faces during an Overnight Stay on the Welsh Coast

Article excerpt


'NOT many people know he was educated at Aberystwyth University," said Christine Hamilton to the butcher outside his shop in Aberdyfi while extolling her husband Neil's virtues.

You must know the Hamiltons. She's the self confessed battleaxe and former I'm A Celebrity contestant; he's the former Tory MP now a Ukip member of the Welsh Assembly.

Deciding against having a debate with the infamous couple, we ducked instead into the nearby Dovey Inn for a quiet pint.

We had come to the small resort of Aberdyfi in Gwynedd to relax and unwind far from the madding crowd, including the Hamiltons, having booked to spend one night only (because they were full) at the Penhelig Arms hotel which had received its first AA Rosette for its food.

While the Dovey Inn may be described as the town's hub, the Penhelig, also owned by Cardiff-based brewers SA Brain, is more of a boutique hotel, boasting a restaurant a snug bar and stunning views across the Dyfi estuary.

We were warmly welcomed in Welsh by the staff at Penhelig and shown to our Jones room suite, named after one of four shipbuilders who built 45 ships during the town's heyday between 1840-80 in the harbour nearby. The name Penhelig probably originates from the Welsh word 'helyg' meaning willow.

The tastefully appointed suite was spacious. As well as a comfortable bed, en-suite bathroom and walk-in shower, there were tea-making facilities, plenty of wardrobes, drawers and a TV.

After unpacking, we took our tea and coffee outside while marvelling at the views over the water to the sand dunes of Borth and further on to Aberystwyth before going for a short walk along the promenade to Aberdyfi.

While Aber means "mouth of" (a river normally), Dyfi means either deep river or a river of deep pools.

On the way, we checked out the old Literary Institute on the river front for any local news.

It was established in perpetuity as "a non-sectarian, non-political place of recreation, education and social intercourse including reading rooms, writing rooms, library, billiard rooms and concert rooms".

Then it was on towards the harbour where we came across the Time and Tide bell mounted beneath the jetty in homage to the ancient legend about the lost kingdom of Cantre'r Gwaelod, now submerged beneath Bae Aberteifi (Cardigan Bay). It is said that its bells can still be heard ringing beneath the water.

Today, the bell is rung by the action of the water at high tide.

Aberdyfi was once a favoured place for great meetings and gatherings for the Welsh princes and rulers. Today, many people visit to take in the scenery and to enjoy the sailing, rowing, fishing, golfing and walking.

We decided to aim for Pen-y-Bryn (Top of the hill) - known locally as the Band Stand - an obvious viewpoint overlooking the village offering a panoramic view of Dyffryn Dyfi and the activities on the beach below. …

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