I joined a real-ale-themed tour of North Wales recently for Guardian Travel.
It was a trip around the hidden-gem rural pubs and microbreweries [pictured above] often overlooked by the stampede down the A55 towards Anglesey.
Based around Caernarfon, it highlighted the rise of community pubs at a time when our traditional village hostelries are struggling to survive.
There has been an explosion of local microbreweries and craft-ale pubs in recent years with The Albion Ale House in Conwy one of my favourites.
Here’s a preview of the article.
As the afternoon gave way to dusk, I was nursing a pint of Clogwyn Gold from the Conwy Brewery at The George in Carneddi, near Bangor, currently the Gwynedd a Mon branch of CAMRA’s Community Pub of the Year.
It was a tiny, no-frills bar with cheese rolls on the bar, beers stains on the carpet and a queue of people for the pool table but, an early Saturday evening in spring, it was bustling with a mix of regulars and ale-trail day trippers.
Landlord Dewi Sion says: “I still believe that serving a proper pint of local ale in a proper pub can create a place where a community comes together.”
Two more published articles — to add to a busy autumn for commissions.
Both articles were for the online travel site, LoveExploring.com.
The first looked at Portmeirion, North Wales, which marked the 50th anniversary of the cult TV series, The Prisoner, in September.
Here’s a sample:
The programme epitomised the counter-culture vibe of the late 1960s and Portmeirion village provided the perfect canvas for the psychedelic storyline. One memorable scene, involving a giant chess game with human pieces, is now regularly recreated in the central piazza.
Secondly, an article about Oslo [pictured] — my new favourite European city — offered suggestions for a perfect weekend and explored Oslo’s hipster district. No, really.
It also features the Noble Peace Prize Centre [pictured above] in time for the speech at Oslo City Hall by the 2016 winner, the President of Colombia Juan Manuel Santos.
Try a taster here:
Grünerløkka, east of the city centre, is Oslo’s hipster central. The former industrial district has all the coolest vintage clothes shops and galleries. Check out the fashion-conscious locals over a microbrewed beer at the Grünerløkka Brygghus, or at the coffee-guru café run by Tim Wendelboe.