For our recreation we often walked up Prestatyn Mountain. This was an easy climb. I remember that we always paused about half way up where there was a large cave out of which ran a small stream. On occasions when we felt rather brave my sister and I would walk into the cave for some way, but never far enough to lose sight of the light of the cave mouth behind us. When we felt rather more energetic we would walk over the mountain and continue through Gwaenysgor as far as The Gop. This was supposed to contain a burial chamber. We walked round it on many occasions and searched behind every bush but we never found an opening which could be the way in to the chamber. Now I realise that burial chambers were always sealed off and turfed over, but young children do not know these kind of things! A longer journey was to take the bus to Dyserth and climb Dyserth Mountain (y-foel). The views from the top were always worth seeing.
I have many happy memories of frequent visits to Rhuddlan Castle. This was my first introduction to the castles of North Wales. In later years I visited most of the North Wales castles with my grandmother (she was very patient with an enthusiastic young boy). In order to visit some of them (e.g. Denbigh) we had to catch the bus into Rhyl and then another bus from Rhyl to the town where the castle was located. For others, we had to catch the bus to Prestatyn Station and then go by train, or train and bus, to reach the castle of our (my) choice.
When British Railways introduced the “runabout” ticket, we made good use of them. For 15s for an adult and 7s 6d for a child we could travel wherever and whenever we liked for a week in an area from Prestatyn to Holyhead and Pwlhelli (via Caernarvon), including the line from Llandudno Junction to Blaeneau Festiniog. I think this must have been one of the reasons that I got so interested in timetables as I wanted us to get value for money out of our tickets! Remember that, in those days, all the trains were steam trains. The Conway (as it then was) Valley line included a long tunnel just before it arrived at Blaeneau Festiniog. This tunnel is 2miles 206yards long. It was the eighth longest bore in Britain. The highest point of the track is about 440yards from the Blaenau end of the tunnel – 790ft above sea level. At the previous station the guard used to walk along the platform reminding passengers to close the carriage windows as the tunnel filled with smoke as the train went through. Although there were smoke vents in the tunnel they were not able to remove all the smoke generated by the engine.
Less dramatic were the frequent visits to the Ffrith beach. The holiday camp next door was requisitioned during the war for use by the army. There was, however, access to the beach with its intriguing sand hills. Sometimes we went