Ever since I first visited Llandudno with work five years ago, I’d been dying to climb the Great Orme, the enormous chunk of limestone to the west of the seaside town. And having decided to base myself in Llandudno during my north Wales road trip, I was determined this was the year I would finally summit the mini-mountain.
The only issue I had was I arrived in Llandudno quite late in the day, and by the time I’d checked in to my seaside B&B, it was gone 4pm. Undeterred, I set off along the lengthy promenade, passing the many hotels and B&Bs that line the seafront and eventually made it to the pier.
From the pier, I turned to the left and began snaking my way up the very steep hill. There’s a tram that will take you to the top of the Great Orme, but that seemed to defeat the purpose of scaling the 207m-high rock. So I headed up on foot, seemingly the only person silly enough to do so at that time of day.
Midway up the hill, I stopped and turned around, where I enjoyed superb views over Llandudno and the bay below (above). As I got higher up the hill, I soon left the town behind and I knew I was in the Welsh countryside when I began to see more sheep than people.
I continued on to the tram station close to the top of the hill, where the odd person was still milling around. Then passing it, I began to cut across the grass, the rock’s summit now tantalisingly close.
To my left, across the road, were the Great Orme Bronze Age Mines, which my Dad had suggested I visit while I was there. Dating back some 3,500 years, the underground copper mines are thought to be the world’s largest known complex of prehistoric mines. But, sadly, it being teatime by now, the mines were closed.
Nevertheless, I carried on over the grass and began my final ascent to the summit. While I may have been the sole human on this part of the rock, I wasn’t alone as there were tons of rabbits hopping around, along with a fair few sheep grazing on the rock’s grassy surface. The closer I got to the summit, the windier it became and the wind was incredibly strong by the time I reached the top.
Not wanting to get blown off my feet, I hastily scrambled up the rocks to the summit stone. And then made a beeline back to less windy climes, where I stopped to admire the views, before making my way down the mini-mountain to a very welcome (and well-deserved) fish supper.
I’m really glad I finally made it to the top of the Great Orme and achieved my longstanding goal. I’m just a little saddened I didn’t have enough time to properly explore the huge headland and tour the ancient copper mines. There’s always next time…