Bangor Bowling – a road trip to North Wales
Earlier in the summer, a bunch of us decided out of London for the weekend and get up to North Wales via Liverpool – offering the opportunity to enjoy the sun (at that point still a novelty) from a spatial position not shrouded in smog, as well as skate the most rugged spots we could get our hands on. We succeeded pretty well when it came to achieving both of those goals…
A lengthy drive got us to New Bird, which was doubling up as a giant tanning bed at the time. Earlier arrivals Harry and Laurie were feeling the effects of both the sun and the sweet caress that is body slamming on concrete, but the rest of us had the strange energy that comes from being cooped up in a vehicle for five hours with the promise of a skate spot at the end. A bunch of Liverpool heads were out after work, there was plenty of warm beer (a running theme for the weekend) to go around and the session that went down came perilously close to putting the lot of us out of action for the weekend.
While the Italian contingent headed out on the town in Liverpool (we left them bemusedly staring down a cataclysmically pissed bloke waving his fists at them in the manner of a 19th century gentleman boxer) the rest of us drove over to our pal Rob’s, where his beaut of a backyard pool sat overlooked by the local cemetery for added gothic vibes. This thing is gnarly and, while skating it first thing in the morning may not have been my wisest decision, it definitely woke me up. The transition to vert ratio definitely puts this in the pool category even if it is purpose built, with slams to flat an absolute guarantee. Filippo and Andrea made it over from Liverpool to report in their lack of success with the opposite sex and, after a morning’s session in the garden followed by a trip up into the hills to hide from the heat of the day at a local diving spot, we bombed some fairly hairy country lanes back into town and headed out to Bangor.
This place comes as something of a surprise – a rugged pool style bowl juxtaposed against the backdrop of a sleepy, idyllic North Wales coastal village with the Bay behind it. You’ll most likely recognise it from one of Jasper Clough’s annihilation sessions, often captured in conjunction with footage at Rob’s. Alongside the expected Welsh and English contingents Italian, Japanese and South African skaters could be found on the platform, making for the kind of international session that Bangor rarely plays host to; and a heavy one it was too, the stoke was running high for this one.
After BBQing various products, all of which most likely ended up with a garnish of midges due to the prevalence of those little fucks, the exhaustion set in and we crashed out in the hope of feeling vaguely capable of skating the next day at Del Galrog, AKA the legendary Welsh Wallows. After a winding journey through the strikingly scenic foothills of Snowdonia, we reached the end of the path to find the iconic spot drenched in sun. This place is even crustier than it looks, leaving it beyond the reach of most of our crew’s road wearied legs, but perfect blues and the proximity of a dam to dive into meant that being incapable of a skate wasn’t really a problem. Filippo and Andrea got stuck into the banks, the rest of us got stuck into soaking up UV rays and I don’t think I’m wrong in saying that everyone left in a slightly more zen state of mind than when we left Upminster train station on the Friday morning. The road goes on forever…
Cheers to Rob for the hospitality, to the North Wales crew for the hype and hillbomb hook ups and to the New Bird crew for keeping the DIY flame burning!
Featuring Andrea Munari, Filippo Baronello, Russ Longmire, Luke Fletcher, Junpei, me, Dave Maddocks and Evan Binge.
Music: King Tubby ‘Dub Fever’, from the album Dub Fever.