/ Tremadog Camping Alternatives

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David Kay - on 21 Feb 2019

I’m looking a campsite near Tremadog for a climbing club meet. I’ve been in contact with the new owners of Eric’s Cafe & Campsite and it sounds like they are going a little up market - designated camping plots and breakfast included in the price. I don’t know the price yet but I’m guessing that it’ll be a little more than we are looking for.

So, any suitable alternatives nearby that could be recommended? Ideally looking for a relaxed site with good basic facilities. Walking distance to a watering hole is always a bonus.

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jon on 21 Feb 2019
In reply to David Kay:

Not the answer you're looking for, but that campsite is so convenient and well kept I really wouldn't consider anywhere else! It also saves you the hassle of chivvying folk up to get up and drive to the crag. See what the price is first...

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kevin stephens - on 21 Feb 2019
In reply to David Kay:

So you want to spend less on a convenient campsite with breakfast and car parking thrown in supporting a business which is committed to climbers to leave cash to buy more beer at the pub? In case you hadn’t noticed Tremadoc is in a prime holiday area . Most of other sites will be more expensive and more regimented. Cough up!

Post edited at 18:45
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David Kay - on 11 Mar 2019
In reply to kevin stephens:

I would hold off making assumptions regarding the campsite until you have the full details of the provision that they are offering - if on the other hand you do know all the details I would be interested in hearing the reasoning behind your claims.

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Mike Todd on 01 Apr 2019
In reply to David Kay:

I would like to add to this, that I too have been in touch with the new owners regarding a club booking and have the facts.  They are asking £17 per person, per night including breakfast (only one car parking space per tent).  There is no option not to include breakfast in the price but will offer meal vouchers instead for those not wanting it.  Also groups need to be in the café before 0830 if you all want to eat together.  The full price needs to be paid up front when booking which is a problem if the forecast drives you elsewhere.  You can of course, just show up and hope for a space.  

Not quite the Eric experience but can appreciate the need for them to turn a profit. 

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L Hadfer Campsite on 17 Apr 2019
In reply to David Kay:

Just to correct the 'facts' that are actually incorrect and add to this....

The price David is referring to was/is a group deal to book the whole camping field for a private event and was private correspondence/dependent on the total numbers attending. David has also omitted the fact that the price was for a bank holiday weekend so (just as any other campsite around here) would be slightly more expensive. They would also have exclusive use of the social area/barn with 6 undercover picnic benches and firepit in the social area for their group.

Taking off the price of the breakfast/drinks (which was offered to be delivered to the under cover seating area/benches in the barn in the mornings) and the cost of a prime parking spot it would have worked out as approx £7.50 per person (bank holiday weekend too!) Unfortunately this was declined and now reverts to the pitches/prices we have available via the website booking.

With regard to eating in the café as a group we feel that is fair to ask you to come in before opening to the public as otherwise we lose custom/have no seating to offer the public if there is a large group e.g 20. Of course you are free to come in as individuals after cafe has opened to public but may have to wait/may delay the start to your day if we are busy.

Regarding car parking we have nearly doubled the amount of public car park space by reorganising the car park to leave additional space for campers too. However as everyone knows when busy parking is a premium here so if more than one car per pitch then it eats into the public spaces available. In short sharing cars/pitches/tents results in lower prices (as low as £6 after cost of breakfast taken off) and is better for everyone concerned - including the environment)

With regard to pitches Eric was actually running an unlicenced/illegal site for most of the year so we have had to gain the relevant permissions and that has also resulted in being properly licenced that dictated number/allocation of pitches/spacing etc. If we had not gone through this process then the majority of the campsite facility would have been lost.

Hope this helps clarify the above.

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Alex Riley on 17 Apr 2019
In reply to Hadfer Campsite:

Eric sticking it to the man ;)

Gareth, can you clarify about the parking opening times? Are all the carparks at Eric's to be closed outside of opening hours, if so have you considered the knock on effect this will have on the lay-bys/side of the road immediately next to the campsite?

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L Hadfer Campsite on 18 Apr 2019
In reply to Alex Riley:

With regard to parking/car park the pay and display car park is open until late/dusk when most climbing has ceased. 

Our licence only permits campervans on the designated area of the campsite for overnight stays therefore we have to secure the car parks to prevent unauthorised use/possible revocation of our licence due to breach of conditions.

This activity may also be more prevalent this year as I understand the council are seeking a bye law to prevent overnight parking/campervanning on the local beach.

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Alex Riley on 18 Apr 2019
In reply to Hadfer Campsite:

Great, thanks for clarifying

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robhorton - on 18 Apr 2019
In reply to David Kay:

Tyddyn Llwyn holiday park has quite a nice tent area and was reasonably priced but I don't know if they would be keen on a club group and it's far less convenient than Eric's.

It's a shame "Eric's" is no longer the informal "turn up and pay in the morning" setup it was, but I suspect that's just a sign of the times.

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Monkeysee - on 18 Apr 2019
In reply to Hadfer Campsite:

Next year they are making a by law about outdoor activities,  also a walking tax for your feet ! 

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L Hadfer Campsite on 18 Apr 2019
In reply to Monkeysee:

It does seem that way!! - however this has come about apparently due to a few of those staying on the beach emptying waste/excrement into the dunes from vans

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Heike - on 18 Apr 2019
In reply to David Kay:

Wow, I just checked. Two nights camping on a tent plot for a family of three (which would apply to me, hubby and son) this weekend would be 82 pounds. Mindboggling. And who wants breakfast anyways when camping. I love to make my tea and breakfast on the wee stove and enjoy it in the fresh air - that is the whole point of camping IMHO.

Post edited at 14:53
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Monkeysee - on 18 Apr 2019
In reply to Heike:

No way it's 80 quid for 2 and a littleun?¿

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Heike - on 18 Apr 2019
In reply to Monkeysee:

Yeah, that's what it says on their website. 

Oh and strangely enough it is more expensive for tents than camper vans. It is 72-80 pounds for a van, but 82 for a tent (for three people).

Post edited at 15:44
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L Hadfer Campsite on 20 Apr 2019
In reply to Heike:

As previous/above if the per person cost is worked out it comes in well under £14 per person/per night including breakfast and under £8 once cost of breakfast taken into account. Last year's prices were £6 off peak/£8 peak(e.g bank holidays)

We use also use local produce where possible in the café e.g eggs, bacon, sausage etc. so supporting local business, reducing waste, food miles and energy usage.

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L Hadfer Campsite on 20 Apr 2019
In reply to robhorton:

Unfortunately the 'informal' arrangement does not meet with licence requirements of providing basic information as to who is on site. However booking online prior to arriving solves this and as long as here at a reasonable hour then effectively the same???

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Danbow73 - on 21 Apr 2019
In reply to Hadfer Campsite:

so just to clarify can you stay without paying the extra for breakfast? I Normally visit the cafe for breakfast at least once but everyday is slightly excessive even for me! 

in terms of the pitching/licensing is this a general requirement? Theres plenty of campsites that operate on an informal basis and just wondered how they got round the requirement.

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L Hadfer Campsite on 22 Apr 2019
In reply to Danbow73:

Many 'inormal' campsites for tents operate the 28 day per year rule for land and therefore can get around the stricter licencing requirements for pitches/distances but should not be operating for more than 28 days per year. These sites will also more than likely have no liability insurance - especially if they are operating in excess of the 28 days.

Where there are mixed sites campervans/caravans/tents etc. then risk increases because of proximity to  petrol/gas cannisters etc. etc. and permission/licence is required.

With regard to breakfast everyday it can be anything off the breakfast menu for/up to equivalent price or a food voucher for a visit during the day or even sandwiches to take with you?

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Danbow73 - on 22 Apr 2019
In reply to Hadfer Campsite:

Interesting regarding the licensing requirements, I guess it would be hard for any council to actually prove the 28 day thing and I wonder if half of they actually care. More campsites mean more visitors and more money into the area I guess

Thanks for the clarification, I suspect the need to book and the additional cost per night (even if it does include breakfast etc) will sadly result in me visiting less but I wish you all the best in the new direction for the business.

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robhorton - on 23 Apr 2019
In reply to Hadfer Campsite:

What do you regard as a "reasonable hour"?

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dunnyg - on 23 Apr 2019

Hi, I understand you want to get people in the cafe but I would be way more likely to stay if there was an option without breakfast/meal vouchers etc.. Good luck either way. 

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duchessofmalfi - on 23 Apr 2019

Compulsory eating in the cafe is business madness especially in this instance - you'll want to reconsider this...

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Will Hunt - on 23 Apr 2019

Compulsory grub is a stickler for me.

And being able to arrive and pitch with no notice and sort out payment in the morning is essential. I recently had to try and find somewhere I could do this in Northumberland and I couldn't find any campsite that actually advertised this arrangement on their website. Maybe in practice it was possible but you had to get this info through word of mouth. And it's not nice to commit to driving up after dinner on a Friday night if you might find nowhere to stay when you arrive.

It depends what the campsite wants to offer. From what I've heard it's going more upmarket and expensive which is putting climbers off staying there. I might have completely misjudged this but I'd have thought that the location of Eric's wasn't suitable for attracting the local Porthmadog tourist trade and that you really needed to keep the business from the climbers/bikers. When you purchase Eric's I'd have thought that a good portion of the sale price was down to getting the goodwill of the existing customers and buying into Eric's "brand" (if it can be called such a thing). Glamping yurts and a more "holiday park" style provision seem like just the sort of thing that will push the climbers away?

Whether or not the campsite agrees that this is a fair representation of what they're offering is irrelevant if it isn't the impression that climbers are getting of the new place through word of mouth.

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spidermonkey09 - on 23 Apr 2019
In reply to Hadfer Campsite:

> Unfortunately the 'informal' arrangement does not meet with licence requirements of providing basic information as to who is on site. However booking online prior to arriving solves this and as long as here at a reasonable hour then effectively the same???

Interested in this comment in particular. Does this mean that any campsite where this is possible (Nant Peris, Pembroke, numerous others across the country) are in breach of their license and therefore illegal?

More generally, good luck with the business, whichever model you opt for.

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Simon Caldwell - on 23 Apr 2019
In reply to spidermonkey09:

There must be some sort of misunderstanding somewhere. Pretty much all the sites that I use don't even accept bookings, just turn up and pay; and with most of the rest, bookings are optional (and I rarely do unless it's likely to be full). And with the vast majority, my details are never taken anyway.

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kirsten on 23 Apr 2019
In reply to Simon Caldwell:

So, only 6 tent pitches and 4 camper van pitches.

£54 for two nights in June ?

Why not just charge for camping and let people make their own mind up about eating in the cafe. If the food is good and good value, they will come anyway. 

Given the lack of availability showing on your booking site,  I guess you will do quite well and I wish you luck, but climbers (and bikers) are going to have to go somewhere else.  I wonder what Eric would make of it all. 

Post edited at 14:49
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Danbow73 - on 23 Apr 2019
In reply to kirsten

Just looked, £18 for one night mid week in may! the website also still says that you need 50p's for the shower. You'd of thought they'd throw that in when the price has tripled.

Guess Erics isn't a climber friendly campsite anymore :'(

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L Hadfer Campsite on 24 Apr 2019
In reply to spidermonkey09:

If they are a properly licenced site then yes though not illegal - just not complying with the licence conditions - which would though in turn possibly invalidate any public insurance they have.

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stubbed on 24 Apr 2019
In reply to Danbow73:

Not sure I agree. You are saying that it is not climber-friendly to be more expensive. Are all climbers poor? Do none of them want breakfast provided?

I don't think you can generalise really, and if the website is showing lack of availability then maybe it's not true?

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Will Hunt - on 24 Apr 2019
In reply to David Kay:

Wow. I hadn't looked at the website before but it looks like there are 6 pitches for tents. Surely a field that size must be able to accomodate more than 6 tent pitches and still be compliant with the licence? Or has a lot of the room been turned over to the glamping. The prices are phenomenal and with so little space available it's hard to credit that it would ever be possible to just turn up and camp, and who'd want to at £18 per night (breakfast or no breakfast)?

If that's the way that the business wants to go then it's entirely up to them, but to claim that they still hold an appeal to the climber's market is pretty churlish.

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spidermonkey09 - on 24 Apr 2019
In reply to Hadfer Campsite:

Again, general interest here. When you say properly licensed, is it possible to run a campsite without this license?

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Andy Hardy on 24 Apr 2019
In reply to Will Hunt:

> Compulsory grub is a stickler for me.

Me too. What on earth is that all about?

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Tyler - on 24 Apr 2019
In reply to Will Hunt:

> Wow. I hadn't looked at the website before but it looks like there are 6 pitches for tents. Surely a field that size must be able to accomodate more than 6 tent pitches and still be compliant with the licence? 

Maybe you should suggest to the owner that if he turned over all that empty camping ground which is obviously sittingsthere doing  tents nothing he'd make more money, you could help him understand his license conditions while you're about it.

> If that's the way that the business wants to go then it's entirely up to them, but to claim that they still hold an appeal to the climber's market is pretty churlish.

Yeah, what possible appeal could there be to climbers? That enormous crag with all those *** routes on blocks the early morning sun.

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willworkforfoodjnr - on 24 Apr 2019
In reply to David Kay:

I know for a fact this will stop us visiting - most of my mates can't afford £18 a night. Pity, it was one of the last places left people could have an affordable weekend

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beeaanno - on 24 Apr 2019
In reply to Tyler:

Im sure glamping at £160 is appealing to climbers looking for a quick weekend in North Wales......

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baron - on 24 Apr 2019
In reply to Will Hunt:

> Wow. I hadn't looked at the website before but it looks like there are 6 pitches for tents. Surely a field that size must be able to accomodate more than 6 tent pitches and still be compliant with the licence? Or has a lot of the room been turned over to the glamping. The prices are phenomenal and with so little space available it's hard to credit that it would ever be possible to just turn up and camp, and who'd want to at £18 per night (breakfast or no breakfast)?

> If that's the way that the business wants to go then it's entirely up to them, but to claim that they still hold an appeal to the climber's market is pretty churlish.

I copied this from the Gwynedd council website

SPACING
3. Every unit should be not less than 6 metres from any other unit in separate family occupation and not less than 3 metres should be permitted between units in any circumstances.
4. Vehicles and other ancillary equipment should be permitted within the 6 meters space between units in separate family occupation but, in order to restrict the spread of fire, there should always be 3 metres clear space within the 6 metres separation.
5. Emergency vehicles should be able to secure access at all times to within 90 metres of any unit on the site.

I wonder how many campsites actually adhere to these rules?

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jon on 24 Apr 2019
In reply to Andy Hardy:

A little bit of trivia... when Eric took over the campsite in the 70s he had his helper, JC, go round the tents first thing in the morning with a tray of mugs of tea, collecting camping fees. It cost 50p per person and included the tea. So in a way Eric started it

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Danbow73 - on 24 Apr 2019
In reply to stubbed:

It's not just the price, it's also the lack of space for tents (only 6) the compulsory food and the having to book. I've never been to Erics when there wasn't space to camp even on super busy bank holidays but now for example I couldn't go the upcoming may bank holiday weekend as it's full.

I know they've improved the facilities somewhat but it's also value for money issue. The facilities aren't fantastic for £18 quid a night especially as you have to pay on top of this to take a shower. It's the same issue as to why I won't stay at the campsite in Nant Perris where the facilities are a bit grim and the grass is frequently uncut meaning everything gets soaked in the morning - I'd rather stay at Dolgam in Capel and drive if I'm wanting to climb over in llanberis 

On the availability front it's only really the weekends that are full currently and that's not particularly hard as there is only 6 pitches and they'll always be some people with the money to pay the high rates at  peak times.

Plenty of climbers I know wouldn't be able to afford this (I can't with the amount I climb over the summer) and even with breakfast included I don't see how tripling the price is justified unless you were trying to go more 'upmarket' as the OP suggested.

It is a business at the end of the day and the new owners are obviously  welcome to take it in whatever direction they choose but tripling the price while claiming that it's a good deal and climber friendly doesn't sit right with me, particularly given the history and the way Eric ran it for years

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Danbow73 - on 24 Apr 2019
In reply to baron:

Not many of the ones I camp at in North wales!

With the limited resources of councils these days how many actually enforce/ care?

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Simon Caldwell - on 24 Apr 2019
In reply to Tyler:

> Yeah, what possible appeal could there be to climbers? That enormous crag with all those *** routes on blocks the early morning sun.

Most climbers will choose to camp somewhere a lot cheaper and then drive to the crag, parking on whatever vaguely feasible verge they can find.

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Tyler - on 24 Apr 2019
In reply to Simon Caldwell:

And then complain about bad parking and wonder why climbers aren't as welcome in places as they think they should be.

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Simon Caldwell - on 24 Apr 2019
In reply to Tyler:

Not saying it's right, but like it or not, that's what happens

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George_Surf - on 24 Apr 2019
In reply to David Kay:

its good to be able to see your routes from your tent! i would say that for some reason, parking underneath bwlch y moch seems to have gone crazy this year? i dont know if its because of the parking costs/ car park closure but it used to be that there were 2 or 3 cars in the obvious off road parking, last week there were 4 cars in the bay, and there must have been 5 cars nose to tail on the grass verge. I think everyone needs to be careful; im not sure why this seems to be a thing now when its never been an issue before.

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teh_mark on 24 Apr 2019
In reply to David Kay:

After paying £18 for one night for one person (even if it does include breakfast that many people seemingly don't want), it's a bit of a piss-take to then have to pay for a shower.

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Gustavo - on 24 Apr 2019
In reply to teh_mark:

Agreed.

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Monkeysee - on 25 Apr 2019
In reply to stubbed:

> Not sure I agree. You are saying that it is not climber-friendly to be more expensive. Are all climbers poor? Do none of them want breakfast provided?

> so let's price out those who can't afford it and the younger new generation of climbers that struggle to just get to tremadog!  Get rid of all the riff raff I say ! 

Also all those who don't like fried breakfast scumbags! 

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Hadfer on 25 Apr 2019

Seems this is generating quite a bit of discussion and thought I'd leave it a while to see comments and try and answer a few in one post.

Agree with trying to find campsites/availability so hence can book online/on way down and is totally transparent/no danger of a wasted trip/guaranteed a spot.

We kept it 'as is' last year at £6 per person to see the custom throughout the year - and truth is hardly anyone came at all (regular cancellations last minute too) and definitely not enough to sustain an income/ongoing business. With regard to 'bikers' - can count on one hand the amount that came and only had 2 families that brought 'little ones'. We listened to customers who did come/feedback too as to what people wanted/suggestions e.g. breakfast included/WiFi/seating/sheltered area.

As with any business we had choices to make based on the evidence of a years trade and as a result we have had to diversify to try and get an income all year round from offering a range of 'products' i.e. the glamping. So everything is still available and prices comparable to other campsites around here/previous for the 'actual' camping - especially if sharing a pitch - see above. e.g. two sharing @ £27 works out at £7.50 each once breakfast taken into account, less if three to a pitch etc. etc.

By us providing breakfast (or vouchers) reduces waste/energy/food miles and more importantly supports local businesses where we get our supplies from e.g. bacon, sausages, eggs, coffee etc. etc. but appreciate this is not for everyone.

With regard to number of camping pitches/van spaces this was driven by licence/spacing (as pointed out above in the regulations). In deciding the numbers/split we used the odd occasion when we actually had a few on site (though many were non climbers on these occasions) to split spaces between vans/tents/spare capacity for glamping tents and currently reclaiming/draining remaining land for further space.

Private/group events/site hire are by arrangement and dependent on numbers/separate to the booking system.

We are also working with the BMC to introduce a discount code when booking online for BMC members and if 'free' showers is something that could be provided then we can look at that too and have already provided free WiFI/Tea for those staying during the week.

There was reference to parking too above and have created more parking spaces by organising car park and many thanks to those that do choose to park as 25% of your fee goes to charities - Aberglaslyn Mountain Rescue, Air Ambulance Wales and the BMC conservation fund.

 

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nuts and bolts on 26 Apr 2019
In reply to Hadfer:

I have been watching this thread with a lot of interest as I have been wondering how the change in ownership would affect "Eric's", which for so many years has been a climbing institution and a visit been very much a part of the climbing year. 

Firstly can I applaud you on your charitable donations from the parking fees. This will definitely make me feel much happier to pay the fees (although so far this year, on the two Tremadog visits I have made I have found the spaces below Bulch y Moch empty).

Secondly I am also glad that you source locally and this of itself should be a recommendation to eat at the cafe. 

The negatives have largely been covered and I think you may benefit from rethinking the compulsory breakfast thing. Surely this should be offered as an option (with marketing to point out how good a deal it is) because if you dictate to people that they have to do it your way or not at all then there is usually a push back. 

I have yet to get a chance to eat in the cafe - and I am very hopeful that it is excellent, my only slight concern is that chips have been taken off the menu (a minor point, but one of the staples of many climbers diet!)

The night closure of the parking is another potential issue. I have in the past come off the crag by head torch and would be distressed if I found my car locked in til morning.

Finally what is the present and future status of the bunk house?

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spenser - on 26 Apr 2019
In reply to nuts and bolts:

I can attest to the Welsh cakes being excellent, the cafe side of the business is definitely in good hands!

Having never camped there and no need to camp there (access to club huts close by) I won't say anything on the subject of the camping as I don't feel well informed.

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Deadeye - on 01 May 2019
In reply to Mike Todd:

Given the campsite's response, that's a shameful distortion of the actual situation.

How many of those moaning about the changes have actually stayed there in the last 12 months? It was empty the 2 times I went - both on fine weekends.

I'm just grateful someone was willing to take it on, and look forward to supporting them 

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willworkforfoodjnr - on 01 May 2019
In reply to David Kay:

What is the situation with the camping barn now? 

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Simon Caldwell - on 01 May 2019
In reply to Deadeye:

> It was empty the 2 times I went - both on fine weekends.

We enquired about staying there earlier this year, but it was closed pending the licence being granted.

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Jim Hamilton - on 01 May 2019
In reply to Hadfer:

> There was reference to parking too above and have created more parking spaces by organising car park and many thanks to those that do choose to park as 25% of your fee goes to charities - Aberglaslyn Mountain Rescue, Air Ambulance Wales and the BMC conservation fund.

What is the car park fee now, I couldn't see it on the website? 

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L Hadfer Campsite on 07 May 2019
In reply to Simon Caldwell:

Whilst carrying out work over the winter we had to close the site temporarily which overran into April so could not open as early as planned for camping and there was also a month delay in the licence for vans so apologies for any inconvenience.

With regards to parking it is only £2.00 of which 25% goes to charity. If climbers find themselves running a bit late/dark then let us know if you can and would of course not lock you in!! 

Eric still runs the barns at the moment but from what we have seen it is just used by a few groups of university students over the winter months and saw minimal/only a handful of climbers/walkers/others staying during the rest of the year.

Many thanks for the support above and thanks to all the campers this weekend who were positive of the new undercover social/firepit area and the early breakfast to get out on their way quickly and hassle free.

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