Following a visit to Flamborough, and an investigation of the coastline and the limestone caves to be found at sea level round Flamborough Head, Charlie then goes on to Bridlington, which was soon left behind – unless you like fish and chips! Charlie then makes his way inland to the Wolds proper, and with a lot of walking eventually crosses all five major Wolds. A lot of his route was unsurfaced or footpaths, just the sort of stuff he revelled in. I know this area of the Wolds very well, and one thing you can absolutely rely on seeing, are the large numbers of hares charging about the fields, especially in the Spring.
After visiting Bangor and crossing the Telford suspension bridge, there was a ‘terrific row’ about taking the Nant Ffrancon route to the eastwards of Bangor. The Nant Ffrancon Pass is in fact the route of the main A5 road to Holyhead, and has a good gradient, although mist appears to have been the main objection on this day. So in the event – having crossed the Nant Ffrancon Pass – as the mist had cleared by lunchtime, they decided to attempt the climb of Glyder Fawr, which is located on the far side of the Pass summit but were defeated by the mist close to where the summit undoubtedly lay.
Digs in Beddgelert ended the day, and a visit to Gelert’s Grave (which Charlie also visited at Easter) which records the famous story of the loyal hunting hound killed because it was thought to have killed a baby, when in fact the blood on its coat came from the attacker, whose body was only found later.
He set off on the road to Hayburn Wyke and then took a track which led him to the cliffs and quite possibly presented him with a view similar to this one.
Despite getting a bit lost towards the end of the day and ending up in Scalby for a second time this doesn’t seem to have dented Charlie’s enthusiasm for the area in any way at all – declaring himself to have “obtained a beautiful impression of the district.”
The white marble church at Bodelwyddan is world famous, and standing beside the main road along the North Wales coast, can never be missed. This find of theirs was found with the assistance of an Anfielder, a member of the Anfield Bicycle Club, claimed to be one of the oldest cycling clubs in the UK. The church is well worth a visit.
We note the day ends with a session of shouting at the echo rock, which I can confirm from my own youth is very effective, it lies near the road on the route over the Sychnant Pass (one of my Father’s favourite walks during our annual pilgrimage to Llandudno).
Admitting he was strapped for cash, and quite unable to afford a traditional touring holiday, Charlie’s parents came to the rescue, and suggested he base himself in Scarborough at their holiday ‘digs’. The price to be paid however, was to be accompanied all the way there and back by his Dad on a two stroke motorcycle. (For the record, Charlie’s younger brother Norman, and their Mother, must have travelled to Scarborough by train, as they appear in the narrative later, plus Norman also obviously has a motor bike licence.) This arrangement was very humorous in that his Dad had all sorts of problems en route, as you will read. Charlie’s artistic skills are much to the fore by 1924, and we are getting more and more illustrations woven into the text of his Journals.
As they passed through York I thought it was just too much to resist this fine shot of the Minster.
The level of excitement is rising in Charlie as he meets up with two chums to commence their Bolton Wakes Week tour to North Wales. Typically their planning to include absolutely everything in North Wales soon falls into disarray, they never had a chance of completing their mapped out route. There was too much planning!
The first night’s accommodation in Chester, where the bedroom was accessed by crawling through a 2 foot high doorway, would not be allowed now, hardly surprising, but at least the ghost did not disturb them. The CTC handbook was a very helpful publication when it came to locating convenient bed and breakfast establishments, likewise for catering requirements, but I don’t suppose the printers had come across a 2 foot high doorway before.
You may recall that at the close of Charlie’s journal for yesterday he was worried that they may have over-reached themselves in this establishment – The Alexandria Hotel. It was a real luxury to find a jug of hot water outside the bedroom door at 7am, and a good breakfast didn’t reduce the foreboding! But in the end it all seems to have turned out well.
The journal doesn’t tell us, but one suspects they had a very good tailwind because of the rapid progress made on the homeward journey. All it needed to be was the prevailing wind direction. Charlie’s new friend Tom Idle was obviously a keen photographer, and despite stopping for photo opportunities, and a long conversation with Tom agreeing to see much more of each other, Charlie was still home for 5pm, a time which must have amazed his parents.
What lovely memories come flooding back with this picture of Atherton House. I remember the flagged hall leading from the door at the side to the kitchen and lots of oak panelling in a room at the back which I always recall as a library. Then there was the little orchard with a low wall around which gave me hours of fun and the stream with the little bridge where we could play ‘pooh sticks’ to our hearts content. I think I always dreamed of living there myself one day. On arrival we were always enthusiastically greeted by the dogs, Blackie and Tiny (a black labrador and dachshund, respectively).
A significant aspect of the Charlie Chadwick archive are the 4,000-5,000 colour transparencies that are currently stored in David’s loft. We have been pondering how best to deal with these and finally we concluded that probably it would be worth our while to invest in a Slide Scanner.
Fortunately a friend had passed on some back copies of PhotoPlus, one of which contained a review of scanners and in the end I was happy to go with their recommendation of the Canon CS5600F Film Scanner. Even better when I was able to pick this up for just £102 from dabs.com. Although there was a small delay getting the order fulfilled – even though you can virtually see the main Dabs warehouse from David’s house – it was recently delivered and although I haven’t yet seen it in operation David seems to be getting the hang of it. The first slide to be scanned is one of Atherton House.
Many of the slides are in poor condition and many of the mounts are rather dirty so it remains to be seen how many of them will be useful to us. The other thing, of course, is that the transparencies come from a different part of Charlie’s life (i.e. post-war) as opposed to his writing and drawing (predominantly from the twenties) so in many ways it seems unlikely that they will be suitable to illustrate Charlie’s stories.
A very typical day for North Wales. Plenty of rain, lots of rivers masquerading as roads, or is it the other way round? Plenty of uphill walking as well. They also had the experience of staying in a really posh hotel in Whitchurch which should have cleared them out of funds, but thanks to the CTC badge, it didn’t.
It also seems clear that one of the two Manchester DA riders that Charlie seems to have spent the previous day with – and who seems to be such a keen photographer today – is none other than Tom Idle. Although Charlie doesn’t actually mention him by name it seems clear from this and other evidence that this was their first meeting. Tom became Charlie’s very best friend for quite a few years, and it was only Tom’s marriage that finally cut the link many years later.