“On the run into Rhos-on-sea I pass the most metal looking 70 year old runner I’ve ever seen, dressed in full black and full of piercings he jogs past with his grey hair trailing in the wind like some sort of fitness gandalf”
I’m here in Llandudno for a week long intensive driving course which I’ve got to get sorted so I can go on more adventures. I’m wishing I was up in the mountains already and on our numerous drives through the excruciating winding narrow streets of Conwy I catch constant glimpses of the snow capped mountains, and I eye them with the same hungry look the morbidly obese give a donut.
Unfortunately time is not on my side as I’m doing about 5-7 hours a day of driving. After a long driving session being told off by my instructors terrifying scouse accent, I don my head torch settle for a night time run to begin with over the pretty imposing Great Orme. As usual I’ll be the one weirdo running over sea cliffs in the dark. I’m still hearing his voice in my head telling me to turn left and right as I head towards the Orme.
Running up the winding and steepening path through the gardens I run under the pine trees of the gardens beneath the Great Orme and pause to listen to the almost horror film-esq soundscape of hooting owls and unseen wildlife shuffling and flapping agitated in the canopy above.
Leaving the trees of horror behind I run through the great and peer up at the darkened limestone cliffs as I start running up the steps looking down on the ski centre. Some voice in my head that sounds suspiciously like our mountaineering instructor raffa from Glenmore lodge tells me I should go straight up the side rather than both with the steps. So I do. Its not the worst going but I can imagine its not the chosen route of most. The view at the top in the dark with the lights of the town shining across the bay is impressive, everything looks tiny and insignificant, just how I like it. It’s pretty good thinking I’m the only person up here. Llandudno looks like it’s on fire….maybe the old people are rioting.
A few days later at the suggestion of my driving instructor I run over Little Orme. Well he didn’t tell me to run over it he suggested a relaxing walk but I’m no good at that so off I went.
The view of Llandudno and the Great Orme is pretty impressive from the trig point. I almost fall into what I can only assume to be an impressive set of mining works and after making my way down a slightly dodgy knife of land I run towards Rhos on Sea.
On the run into Rhos-on-sea I pass the most metal looking 70 year old runner I’ve ever seen, dressed in full black and full of piercings he jogs past with his grey hair trailing in the wind like some sort of fitness gandalf. What a legend. I hope I’m still this cool when I’m old.
I decide to wind down in Rhos On sea with a healthy pint of cider and then back to the hotel with a handy lift from a taxi driving Outlaw Biker. The sudden metal-ness of the end of my day abruptly comes to an end with a not so rousing rendition of ‘The Road To Amarillo’ swayed to by what must be the contents of at least five nursing homes.
A few days later I’ve finished my driving course and before I leave I decide to ‘relax’ I’m going to tackle the Great Orme in it’s entirety.
Somehow this time I’m not slowing down much on the steps to the top. There are a few moments where I have to stop and jog on the spot just to prevent my heart from exploding, and I’m kind of glad I’m not wearing a heart-rate monitor right now. The view at the top of the steps is totally worth me almost coughing up a lung though….I can see the clouds dumping rain in the distance…
I run past the quite creepy looking churchyard of St Tudno’s on the Great Orme which looks pretty stark about the blue of the sky and sea. Still what an amazing place to plant people.
Around the back of the Orme and towards the estuary, the views across to the snow capped mountains are amazing and the limestone pavements jut through the cliff edges like huge molars.
Just as I stop messing about stopping running and starting taking photos, as a final goodbye the weather turns full Welsh and the wind and rain come across in force. As usual mother nature is reminding me she can kill me any time and she’s let me off lightly plenty of times….
There’s great views of Gogarth on the way round before I loop back to the Orme Railway and in the wind and rain make my way back to a warm shower and sitting in the pub writing this blog. Later I stand by the sea because it’s my favorite place bar the mountains, hills, lakes and rivers. I’m probably as relaxed as I’ll ever get listening the white noise whisper of the night tide coming in. With about half a bottle of wine in me of course because I’ve totally earned it.