THE REAL MANCH­ESTER BY THE SEA

Carve - - CONTENTS - WORDS & PHOTOS BY PAUL GILL

The Gill is a Bri­tish surf­ing in­sti­tu­tion. He's been on a jolly from the South Wales home­land to the hard to score North.

Eilir Davies-hughes and Ur­gent Davies-hughes. Broth­ers in arms en­joy­ing some qual­ity fam­ily tube time.

This is a place where the rich go, or any­one who hasn't been bap­tised. Hol­i­days, hol­i­days of the Range Rover kind, Real house­wives of Cheshire, foot­ballers wives and hus­bands of some­one else's wives. Power­boats, speed­boats, sail­boats. Jet ski shops, stylish shops, latte shops, surf shops and the odd surf spot. First came But­lins, Bez New­ton with his beach bum boys, boards and beach bar­be­cues. Now it's Wake­stock, WAGS, wannabes and the wealthy who stay at 'the War­ren'. Para­dox­i­cally the most up­mar­ket car­a­van site this side of Es­sex. If your pock­ets are deep enough, why not join in on their Fri­day night club house quiz: 'Who doesn't want to be a Mil­lion­aire'.

You'd never ex­pect such im­prob­a­ble mix of English in­com­ers trans­ported like a clot right into into the heart of the most Welsh place on Earth, (bar­ring Patag­o­nia) to work. The funny thing is, that it does. Once upon a time in the north of Wales they used to burn the English hol­i­day homes down. Nowa­days the Welsh build them up again, nur­tur­ing and pan­der­ing to their ev­ery need. In­deed it's not un­usual to see mixed mar­riages be­ing per­formed at the lo­cal chapels in Wenglais (a cross be­tween Welsh and English di­alects).

Since the pass­ing of Owain Glyn­dwr these

Eilir wish­ing his par­ents had brought him up prop­erly as a goofy­foot.

pre­vi­ously po­larised peo­ples have in­te­grated seam­lessly, form­ing a thriv­ing sym­bi­otic re­la­tion­ship in a town called Aber­soch.

Jon Jones (no re­la­tion to Florence or Tom) the ex-head of Gwynedd Coun­cil, farmer / landowner of one of the loveli­est swathes of the North Wales coast has trav­elled the world and re­turned to his na­tive home, now wel­com­ing tourists to visit his camp site on Ci­lan-head, and ex­pe­ri­ence the beauty of what he'd been sit­ting on all his life.

He said, "What I haven't seen in these fields over the years, you could fit on postage stamp." Usu­ally prop­ping up the bar at his lo­cal pub, The Ris­ing Sun, Jon holds court, rem­i­nisc­ing and re­call­ing an end­less string of funny tales, softly spo­ken in Welsh or English on any day but a Thurs­day. That's when he cooks for his wife, 'gourmet', so he tells me. "She does the other six nights." Old habits die hard here, where the moun­tains of the Llyn Penin­su­lar tum­ble idyllically down onto to the sands around the edges of the clean, green Ir­ish Sea.

If only Ire­land wasn't in the way, surfers say in South Wales. Well give a thought for these poor sods who have one of the world's small­est swell win­dows, bar­ring the minia­ture Manx ma­rine stained glass win­dow cen­tre. There are no waves in the Isle of Man.

Mirac­u­lously some swells do get through, and as they say up there, "ev­ery 'Gog' has is day" (a col­lo­quial term of which North Waleians like to be called). By the way, you, don't want to go up­set­ting them with any bad pro­nun­ci­a­tion of their towns e.g. Pwll­heli. They're all trained up in the an­cient Welsh fight­ing art of 'Llap Goch',

'OLD HABITS DIE HARD HERE, WHERE THE MOUN­TAINS OF THE LLÝN PENIN­SU­LAR TUM­BLE IDYLLICALLY DOWN ONTO TO THE SANDS AROUND THE EDGES OF THE CLEAN, GREEN IR­ISH SEA.'

prac­ticed by ri­val surf shop own­ers. Spout, from West­coast, the grand mas­ter; Phil Woods at Aber­soch Wa­ter­sports is only a sev­enth dan while Johnny at Of­faxis ref­er­ees.

Lo­cal surf­ing lev­els are also pretty high, you tend to won­der how they got so good? I heard that their se­cret is that they all get free night prac­tice on those per­fect ma­chine like waves up in the moun­tains at Surf Snow­do­nia. Andy Ain­scough SS'S MD turned up on 'the day' with his less buoy­ant board, to try out some nov­elty salt wa­ter surf­ing. He saw the cam­eras then promptly dis­ap­peared back­hand into the bar­rel and would not come out; say­ing he was on a long 'busi­ness' lunch and not to put any shots of him on so­cial me­dia, he didn't men­tion Carve, ha!

Hell's Mouth, the re­gional clas­sic has be­come the main hub of surf­ing north of Aberys­t­wyth. It has qual­ity as you can see and does get crowded on week­ends with surfers com­ing from all over North Wales and the great ur­ban sprawls of Eng­land's old in­dus­trial north­west. It's just an

'FOR MOST IT ON, WE IT'S STILL US DOWN HAVE TO SOUTH LEAVE CATCH­ING IT GOOD UP A GAM­BLE TO CATCH CLAS­SIC WAVES ON OUR DOORSTEPS IN HOPE OF NORTH, AND AT THAT.'

Ur­gent-davies-hughes pig hunt­ing be­low sea level.

hour and a half from the bor­der, along the newly up­graded A55 road artery. How­ever get­ting there from any­where south of the Snow­do­nia moun­tain bar­rier is very time con­sum­ing and ar­du­ous due to the com­plete lack of dual car­riage­way or mo­tor­way be­tween North and South Wales. 150 Miles can take a min­i­mum of five hours, it is a glo­ri­ously scenic drive, un­less your stuck be­hind an end­less string of trac­tors be­tween ev­ery vil­lage!

For most us down south to catch it on, we have to leave clas­sic waves on our doorsteps in hope of catch­ing it good up North, and it's still a gam­ble at that. If you want a guar­an­teed bang for your petrol buck, then the wave pool is a much bet­ter bet. For­tu­nately this time luck was on our side as you can tell by the pics. If you aren't to both­ered about catch­ing clas­sic Porth Neigwl, then take a trip any­way with fam­ily or friends and just en­joy all that North Wales has on of­fer. You won't be dis­ap­pointed.

ABOVE

Urien see­ing what it feels like to surf fore­hand.

LEFT

The Dragon spits.

BE­LOW

Lloyd wish­ing he could speak Welsh to break the ice.

ABOVE

Bar­rel chested Guts putting one of his mini mals through its paces.

LEFT

You wait all day to get stuck be­hind one trac­tor, then two come along at once.

BE­LOW

Phil Woods, Llap Goch kick to the lip.

RIGHT

The green dragon hunt­ing for a vic­tim.

BE­LOW

Lloyd Cole with his happy face on.

BE­LOW RIGHT

Lloyd get­ting into this Llap Goch kick­ing lark. TOP LEFT

Lly­wellyn 'Sponge' Wil­liams, slot­ted back­hand in a green Ir­ish Sea wrap.

BOT­TOM LEFT

Eilir will de­velop a back prob­lem if he keeps this up much longer.

BE­LOW

Guts gets into the scream­ing cor­ner sauna.

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