The best thing about memories…? Making new ones.

The best thing about memories…? Making new ones.

The view in this photograph has not changed in nearly 53 years.

I used to swim in this bay, with my Dad, every morning of our breaks and holidays, before 8 a.m. come rain or shine. One morning we had to swim on the other side of the jetty as the sea was rough, it was raining hard and the small bay was sheltered. The raindrops were like icy needles, and getting into the sea, a welcome relief…we swam, laughing and splashing in the cold waves, the rain running down our faces mingling with the salt on our skin; then out, racing for the towels, shoved out of the rain under the rocks, and my dad, heedless of the rain and the chill, rubbing me so hard with a towel ( yellow with coloured fishes all over it), to dry me, until I glowed , then racing for the car, towels under our wet cossies and heading back up the hill to my Mum and Nan, and a hearty breakfast.

What has this to do with running… well, on Friday I ran. A run with a difference; I ran back, through time and back through memories, to those moments; and having run, ran on again, to where the run began. I am lucky, very lucky. I have fulfilled a dream; a dream where I run by the ocean, along a beach, shingled and sandy, the white foam breaking gently in a bubbled softness over the shore. I have read posts on here, and looked longingly at photographs of runs like this and wished I could do that!

We have sold the tin-tent; (our camper van, for those who are, luckily, unfamiliar with my rambles) and have bought a very modest little holiday home overlooking Cardigan Bay at Criccieth. And on Friday… I got to run…for the first time… by the sea…and it was wonderful.

Setting out early Friday, the excitement welling up inside me was almost unbearable. I knew the area; the highways and the byways, years spent there as a child, with my family, and later as a teenager, long, long, always hot summers, ( :)) just me and my Nan…and then with my then to-be husband and later with him and our own children…but running a route there, well that is different.

Out into the morning, and a pale sky, dove-grey streaked, stretching empty and limitless to the infinity of the horizon. My feet echoing on the narrow, slightly uneven pavement as I headed down towards the town and the crossing for the shore. Silent sleepers, oblivious and unaware in their white-painted houses, of the importance, for me anyway, of the day. Glancing to the left of me, the view over the couple of fields and grassy mounds between me and a stony beach was breathtaking. I made the small railway crossing in good time. I had no music, no podcast, and just wanted to soak up the sight, the sound, the scent, the very essence of the place. Over the little crossing, past the crossing cottage, (the inhabitant, required, no longer, to manually open the gates at whatever times the train might deem to arrive).

No one in sight as I rounded the corner and set off along the Esplanade…past a new and smart restaurant, located in what had been the Beach Café; ice creams, ginger beer, candy floss, and coffee. The shop end of this originally named establishment, held a veritable treasure trove for every small person; a plethora of buckets, spades, flippers, and beach balls; sand shoes, sunglasses and lilos. Now, made over and modern, the huge glass windows blankly gazing on the tireless sea, over an outside decked sitting area, awaiting the outdoor tables of summer, festooned with strings of lanterns.

Running across the esplanade, past the empty car parking spaces, an early morning dog walker, coming up the ramp from the beach called a good morning, I do not know who was more startled, but his smile was welcome. Running along the front, my breathing was good, my pace even and light, and I suddenly realised, that my thoughts were outweighing my running. I was not even thinking about it. I felt relaxed and happy as I headed towards the Castle and not even the thought of Castle Hill marred that feeling. Along past the shuttered B & Bs, the restaurant overlooking the bay and up past the RNLI station…the original lifeboat long since replaced by a bright, buoyant and bouncy saver of souls… up towards the Castle. Past Cadwalder’s Ice Cream parlour, shuttered and silent, waiting for the spring and summer visitors, clamouring for sweet delights. The hill was steeper than I remember, but that is just my age, up, slowly and steadily with short, light steps, past the most amazing Fish and Chip shop in the world, the Castle bakery, still closed and cold and without the tantalising smell of fresh baked bread, and a brief stop at the gate to the Castle, before turning back down the hill towards the shore.

I always have this temptation when going downhill to fling my arms out and race down willy-nilly, like I did when I was small… far too sensible now… sadly, but fortunately. Gentle measured pace and over the patch of green above the jetty and down onto the beach. No longer a need to get wet crossing the clear water coming from the hill, thick beams placed side by side, mean dry feet, as I headed towards the edge of the sea.

Running on the beach was not quite as I expected… it was much harder, and as the tide was not far out, the shingle was slippery and tricky. I need to ask ju-ju- for tips and aliboo70 , because, as do many of our friends on the forum, they run on beaches and probably have advice for me :) So not the run I expected; a vision of me, a runner gliding through the edge of the waves, with an easy motion, head held high, running free, with the smooth flowing steps of confidence. More… a slow but steady, (as ever), stumble, trying not to lose my balance, or turn an ankle… an inelegant ballerina, teetering, light-footed across the seascape.

Looking ahead towards the purple cloud-tipped hills across the bay, a chill breeze whipped salt spray into my face and my eyes watered as I ran for the ramp back up to the Esplanade… Still going strong, I felt this was one of my best runs ever, since coming off the IC… my legs felt strong, and despite the wind, my intention of walking back up the hill and home vanished like a sea mist… and yes, I ran up the hill. Cars were now heading towards the town, a post van and a lorry, builders unloading blue Welsh slate from a van, ready to repair a roof… another cheery wave…and up the hill at a good pace now and home.

Turning to catch my breath, my heart was full; memories of my lovely childhood and my parents and my Nan… days of sunshine, swimming, sand, sea and laughter…days which, our daughter and her family will enjoy, and sometimes, wonderfully, will be shared with us. My mind drifted, not surprisingly, to our new small granddaughter, who I hope, if it is her wish, may, one day, run along this same shore, and think of her Grammy, with love.

PS

Apologies to those newbies who do not know me yet, I run and I ramble… it’s what I do…:)

Skip

Featured Content

Join the NHS Couch to 5K community

Couch to 5K has been designed to get you off the couch and running 5km in just 9 weeks

Start today!

Featured by HealthUnlocked

80 Replies

oldestnewest
  • Great post Floss, you should write books you would be good at it! For a moment there I was running with you and taking in the views, mind you I was getting puffed up that hill! I'm glad it brought those memories back, such lovely reminiscences. 😊

  • Ha ha! The hill was steeper than I remember, but my next planned run will take me up the other side of it and then I can tootle down towards the sea again!

    It was a super run Frank and very special , thank you x

  • aah Floss that's a lovely post! i didn't realise you had such a connection to the area where you have your new home, i think its lovely to be somewhere that such great memories from :) As for the beach, shingle! eek ! i would be with you and your technique- and a steady clamber trying not to fall. My beach runs have been on nice firm sand which is a lot easier! :)

    Many more happy time to come in your special place :) xxx

  • Thanks Ali.. it is a really special place for me :)

    I am going to wait until the tide is out and choose a fine dry morning and try again along the beach!

    Luckily, only me there that morning, i must have looked quite a sight!

    We shall be there again in a few days :)

  • Sounds a good plan!

    Lovely to have the place to yourself!

    Not long to wait then,is it a long drive from your home?😊

  • I ran on a beach for the first time too this morning, Oldfloss! It was fun but hard work! Lost my balance a few times and got chased by waves! X

  • That sound lovely... Maybe when the weather gets warmer, i shall do a Chariots of Fire, type run through the waves !

  • What a wonderful report. I could see your memories and was with you as you ran, reading that! I like to think the the morning dogwalker was one of my friends, who lives in Cricieth and walks his spaniels on the beach daily.

    And yes, the amazing chip shop. Well worth the wait at busy times! Yum.

    What a run - not just covering miles, but years too. Memories, hopes and dreams all intermingled, just like the sea, sand and shingle. And Oldfloss, weaving her spell at the point where they all meet.

    (I love reading your posts. Can you tell?!)

  • I can, thank you... :)

    I shall watch out for your friend, this chap was the only person I saw! He had a black Labrador :)

    It was such a special run, I don't think I imagined quite the effect it would have on me, and there was a kind of magic, funnily enough... the years dropping away and yet, a whole new adventure starting :) x

    Th chip shop! Yes, queues outside down the pavement... it used to open on Sunday evenings, after the hymn singing on the green by the bay.. I don't think that happens now though...:)

  • You run and you ramble, and we love it! I don't know the area but still I was there with you.

    🏃‍♀️🏃‍♀️🏃‍♀️🏃‍♀️🏃‍♀️🏃‍♀️ - that's a whole crowd of us with you!

  • Thank you, it is still a very pretty and unspoiled place. I found it quite evocative, so much was still exactly the same as all those years ago... :)

    I always take my chums with me, I love it xxx

  • Ah Floss...worth the wait. Reading your posts is like sinking into a good book and letting the words paint pictures in your head.

    I could feel the burn of that yellow towel and picture you and your Dad racing for the car. Memories are just the best but even better shared!

    Thanks for taking us all along. I'm feeling invigorated and hopeful again😊😊😊

  • Hey you! How are you doing ?

    That towel, we kept it for so many years .... I loved it, it was worn threadbare eventually:) It was a very special run x

    Stay bright McFitty , you are going to be back on track, and running with us very soon... xx

  • Lovely words and lovely memories Oldfloss. Sounds wonderful! Thank you, as ever, for sharing😊x

  • Welcome :)

    We are so lucky aren't we? To be able to run and be part of the whole wonderful experience :)

  • There should be a love button... What a wonderfully descriptive post...

  • Thanks Mother Pip... It was a very special and evocative run for me x

  • Beautiful!

  • Thank you, it was :)

  • Oh how I have missed my weekly dose of Oldfloss Ramble. Always makes me smile and appreciate why we run. Thank you for taking us to the beach and down memory lane. I was there with you and your dad.

    I've tried running on the beach, with the same result as you :-) I'm sure it is not us, but the sand not being firm enough...

    It sounds like you are fully back in motion after your long stay on the IC. I am so glad for you.

  • Hi you.... I have missed writing them too, thanks Iben. Too many days on the IC have meant working back to running well has been a bit difficult!

    But, hopefully back on track, and so lucky to find such a special place to continue running. The beach was difficult and I did have a giggle to myself as I trotted along..but I shall wait until the tide is out and have another try on the sand :)

    Hope all good with you x

  • Good thinking - running when the tide is out. Must make it easier.

    I a good, thank you, struggling a bit to maintain the weight loss I achieved last year, but still running further and just a bit faster - and soon (2½ weeks) I'll give my first half marathon a go! Can you believe it? Exactly one year after I started C25K. I'm telling you, it is a magic programme!

  • Lovely post, Floss! With lovely memories and a vision of you as an active little girl. You were even running in an area I know as my sister has a caravan in N. Wales. You'll probably be spending more time there now you have a holiday home - so plenty of time to practise on shingle beaches.

  • I shall, thank you :)

    I will be spending time at home with small one and Little Mum, but hopefully many days exploring the old haunts and hidden place of the LLeyn... and the opportunity for new run routes.. well ... endless ! x

  • What a beautiful post - I don't need to run this morning - I've just been on yours! :) x

  • Glad you enjoyed it :)

    Just off now for my run this morning... you can tag along if you like :)

  • Oh that's lovely floss! I can just picture it. I would love to be able to run along a beach one day. Great memories for you 😊😊

  • Then you will run along a beach:)

    It may take time, but making our dreams come true is within the grasp if us all.

    Thank you, it was a morning to treasure. :)

  • Gulp , I am welling up here !

    What an absolutely beautiful post , I was there with you .

    I am so looking forward to reading more of your running adventures , and I am so happy that you have achieved one of your life time dreams .

    Who knows in years to come , maybe your little one will be sharing her running experiences with her wonderful Grammy ?

    Have a lovely day Floss :-) xxx

  • You too Pops... As ever, you were tucked in my heart, as I ran :)

    It was very very special and very emotional, I count my blessings every single day x

  • What a wonderful report, you took me with you on that run Floss & I could see & feel everything you did. What great memories you have & running down hill with arms outstretched is what I, as a child used to do too. Sounds a lovely run . Xx

  • It was, thank you. Special on so many levels. Not least of all, probably the best I have felt since leaving the IC after the dreaded lurgy :)

  • I still run downhill with my arms spread wide now and then. Why not? The inner child is still there.

  • Sounds like a plan!!!! Why not indeed.... :)

    PS

    I shall take it steady and maybe do it on my field runs..just in case the Inner Child takes a tumble xxx:)

  • Sounds and looks so beautiful. I look forward to hearing about your little granddaughter running along that beach with you too. Making the next batch of memories ..... 😀

  • Thank you... I am really looking forward to seeing her there... so many places to share with her and for Little Mum, a real return to her childhood too :) x

  • Lovely post, I was taken back to my childhood holidays spent near there, though mine never involved the early morning swim! X

  • Tee hee.. I have always been a bit loopy...it is beautiful all around that area isn't it?x

  • Oh, Floss, that's marvellous! Happy memories, and many more happy runs :)

  • Thanks you xxx Hoping for a couple more over the next weekend ! :)x

  • A truly beautiful post, filled with such vivid memories it gave me a lump in my throat, and tears in my eyes. I could hear the bubbly foam breaking on the shore, smell the fish and chips,I felt like I grew up with you, swam with you, and eventually ran with you :) ! Just wonderful Oldfloss thanQ...xx

  • Thank you for coming with me... it is lovely to share special time with friends x

  • What a lovely post, you've made me all tearful ...

    I totally get how it must have felt to do this wonderful run in a place that holds so much emotion for you, a way of connecting your older self to your younger self - as a little girl, if someone had shown you a flash-forward of yourself as a more - ahem - mature lady running around your favourite haunts you may have said "don't be daft!" Yet, there you were doing it and loving every minute of it just as you did when you were little.

    On a lesser scale, we're hoping to move from suburbia to the country later this year (house is on the market now!) - a total lifestyle change for us is coming up - and my aim is to be able to run the country lanes and footpaths WHEN I want as currently I am restricted to my working schedule and consequently my energy levels. Have already checked out a 10k in the area in September that I am now attempting to train for to give me something to aim for both in terms of house-moving and running.

    Well done for the beautiful and motivational writing - and for achieving a dream!

  • You are right, I would never have believed it! I have been lucky enough to run in places where I have walked and explored but never thought in a million years I would be running there.. :)

    You move sounds wonderful.. hold that dream.. you will get there x

  • That was so beautiful to read - it brought back lots of memories of childhood holidays. Thanks for sharing it x

  • Thank you.. it was a real trip through time for me.. I felt like a child again...:)x

  • What a terrific post Oldfloss! Its been a little while since you took us on your last ramble but so well worth the wait!

    I feel as though I was with you throughout, such descriptive writing. And such a wonderful run!

    You are a star in so many ways. I wish you much happy memory making in you new abode x

  • It has been a while... injuries and the small one have taken up a lot of time... but I really enjoyed this and wanted to share this with my chums on here...I love taking you with me xxx Thank youx

  • Oh floss what a beautiful post. Sitting here with a cup of tea I was with you, every step.

    What a magical run it was, all those lovely memories 😊 and it sounds as if you're back on great form too 🤗 the IC days a distant memory.

    You describe everything so wonderfully it is always such a joy to read your posts. Thank you 😊 xxx

  • It was fantastic thank you.. I think I shall enjoy lots of runs there, but none will be quite as special as that first one.. and feeling fit.. well.. what a bonus :) x

  • Oh how lovely 🙂 I must go down to the sea again ... 😀

  • I know.. it makes you feel like that.. and the view the other way was pretty amazing too, over the Bay towards Harlech :)

  • I recognised the photo - or at least I hoped it was Criccieth. We had a mass family holiday at the Lodge at the very mad Talhenbont Hall there years ago and it is good to know that Criccieth is still essentially the same.

    We still talk about the Gerald of Wales cartoon we first saw at the Castle.

    I do not envy you running on the pebbles/shingle though.

  • It is... just the same... so many parts of the LLeyn are exactly the same! Criccieth is still unspoiled really... I am so happy to be there .. :) Yep.. the run was.. errr different :)

  • It all sounds lovely... I'm heading to Wales on Sunday can will be in Caernafon for a week...May make a public appearance at the local parkrun at Penrhyn.

  • Wonderful... it is a bit far for me from Criccieth and I want to do my first Park Run at home... but I may do Penrhyn Castle run in the future !

    Enjoy xx

  • AWw Floss, that was lovely! Gave me proper chills reading that! Runs like that (almost!) make it worth have a bit of time out on the couch don't they? Enjoy your new home!

  • They do make it all worth it.... knowing we did the right thing staying on the IC, so we are fit to run again :) xx

    Thank you x

  • Such a lovely read Floss, what a special run that was...and the first of many more to come. Thank you for sharing your treasured memories, it does us all good to look back to our own childhood and remember the love we shared with our families.😊

    What a great move buying that holiday home...hope you enjoy making new memories there. xxx😊

  • Thank you..it was a special run and sometimes, as you say, ot does us good to count our blessings, and the memories we have of happy times.. and happy ones to come :)

  • I was giving you a shoe-in to a bit of Masefield 😀

  • .. and when you did.. i was already finishing it.. and making up some of my own words to replace his xx :)

  • What a beautiful post.... and a gorgeous picture.... Yes shingle will be very tough underfoot!! I have to say I have run mostly on sand.... Depending on how wet it is it varies from being OK to really hard if its sinky/ dry. I vary HOW i run. I do half a mile normal and half a mile on my toes ( which is slower) and I have found that works for me!! I am not sure that is any help at all, but I am so excited for you and your new holiday home which will bring exciting new adventures :)

  • Thanks you... I am going to time it so I do have a run on sand!

    I shall try to perfect a shingle shuffle and a stony stumble.. but it will be terrific fun!

    Thanks for the tips I shall try the toe running !

    Yes, I am excited too, we head back there tomorrow and I have already planned two new routes! x :)

  • Thank you for sharing your life and loves!! As always you have conjured up an amazing picture. Hope you have many, many happy runs and happy days in your second home :-)

  • Thanks you x.. It makes it sound grand, it isn't really.. but it is a dream come true...

  • This is an amazing post! Than you so, so much!

  • Welcome... it is what I do, and what I love... I run and I ramble... the two go together :) x

  • Wow what a wonderful picture you paint, you are a talented wordsmith my love. I felt as I was there too, could even smell the sea air. Many you have many long and lovely runs around the bay xx

  • Thank you... not often I get called by my official title :) I hope to enjoy many runs there and many more rambles too :)

  • Lovely post, feel a bit emotional now. What wonderful memories of your dad. xx

  • Thanks.. my Dad, well he was one in a million... and I have wonderful memories of him :)

  • Yes, I feel blessed to have had one of life's good dads.

  • So much more than a run report. 😀

    Sounds fabulous.

  • It was.. thanks x

  • I loved reading your post, on so many levels! Started me off thinking about my childhood holidays too. It was such an uplifting piece of writing!

  • Thank you xx

  • What a lovely post Oldfloss! Thank you for taking us on your run through time and sharing special memories - just beautiful......

  • Thanks Sue.. you know me, I love to take my friends with me...:)

    We are back at Criccieth again, some bits to be done here and it is a tad bleak and grey this morning... hope tomorrow will be better. I have a new route planned!

    Hope you are feeling back on form too! xxx

  • Lovely

    Xx

You may also like...