Three Weeks Under Canvas: Kubb at Towyn Farm


So, as the title implies, we’re recently back from three weeks of camping. The late-evening photo above shows our trusty Conway Countryman trailer tent, with Carn Fadryn in the background. Long-suffering readers will know that this was the thirteen annual get together at Towyn Farm near the village of Tudweiliog on the north coast of the Llyn Peninsula (although, only our twelfth, because we skipped 2009 to go to Germany for my aunt’s birthday instead.)

This year we were a party of 17, at least when everybody was there. Different members of the group arrived and left at various times, some only there for the weekend, others staying for longer. We were late, the boys and I arriving early on the Sunday after an early-hours start. We should have been there on the Saturday, but muppetry on my part, including not being able to locate the pump for the tap (it was in the sink) and not remembering, until B reminded me as we were about set-off, that the number plate on the trailer needed to match the ones on our new (to us) car. TBH and A arrived later still, on the train, having stayed behind because A had her DofE Bronze expedition that weekend.

Anyway, once we were safely pitched up, we had the usual marvellous time. The mornings were often misty and damp, but the weather always improved by the afternoon and we spent our afternoons on the beach. In fact, we settled into a rhythm of a late and leisurely breakfast, a late lunch and a very late evening meal, usually followed by one final visit to the beach, in the gloaming, and a late retirement to bed. I’m not sure whether the prevailing weather dictated our behaviour or if it just fit in conveniently with our lazy inclinations.

After so many visits, we have a routine for the beach too, alternating swimming with games of tennis, cricket and some frisby throwing. I don’t have any photos, because I don’t like to take my camera to the beach. After all of the fresh water swimming we had been doing, the temperature of the Irish Sea came as something of a shock – it was freezing. But that didn’t prevent some of the kids from spending hours in there.

The game of Kubb has become part of our regular routine too. My brother bought us a set several years ago, and it has to be one of the best presents ever (and he excels at presents). I’ve never seen anyone else playing it and our games always seem to attract attention and questions wherever and whenever we play. (As does Andy’s enormous space-age trailer-tent).


It’s a good game for parties like ours, since up to twelve can play, in two teams. Essentially it involves knocking down wooden blocks by throwing wooden batons at them, which makes it sound rather dull, but it isn’t at all. When we play, it also involves a great deal of barracking, banter, gamesmanship and accusations of cheating and, in the case of the game in these photos, a fair deal of hubris too. The team on the right here, who had, in fairness, won once already, had been ahead in this game too, but are now on the point of losing.


You can find the rules here. Andy will be disappointed to find that ‘kubbs that right themselves due to the momentum of the impact are considered knocked down’ since that happened to him and, despite his quite correct insistence, we overruled him and let the offending kubb stay upright. Disappointed is probably the wrong word. Disgruntled, unsettled, indignant, might all be closer. Indignation is one of his strong suits, though, in truth, his bark is much worse than his bite. Once he knows the truth, we will never hear the end of it, that’s for sure.


During one of our late trips to the beach, I think on the same evening that I took this photo, we saw several seals popping above the surface briefly to watch us, watching them. I’ve seen seals along this coast before, but usually early in the mornings, and not by this relatively busy stretch of beach.

Three Weeks Under Canvas: Kubb at Towyn Farm

9 thoughts on “Three Weeks Under Canvas: Kubb at Towyn Farm

  1. Gamesmanship. I was recently trying to tell my son about Stephen Potter and his seminal work on the subject. I thought I had a copy, but as seems to be more and more the case when I go to search amongst my many hundreds of books I couldn’t find it. I ordered a second hand copy on-line. I started to re-read it after fifty years or so and found it much harder going than I seem to remember, but whatever, the original revelation of this being a subject in its own right remains so powerful. It has now perhaps been taken too far with quite vicious “sledging” in the world of cricket.

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      I found a review online – it was reissued in 2013. According to the reviewer it’s funny, with much use of cod footnotes. Sounds very interesting. I have to confess that I’d never heard of it before – apparently Stephen Potter coined the word ‘gamesmanship’.

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      muppetry (Britain, slang, derogatory) The behaviour of a muppet; foolish incompetence.
      It is a brilliant tradition – the core of the group is my old walking friends from our university days. Our kids have grown up together on this and other trips and have been visiting this campsite from avery early age, so that they feel completely at home here.
      The account of my muppetry is highly edited – spending ages trying to work out why the trailer’s electrics weren’t working (they were) is another example.
      More sunset images to follow soon.

  2. Looks a fun trip with a big group. One place in Wales I do recognise as I toured that peninsula on a rock climbing trip. Remember Porthdinllaen village and beach as a highlight and an ascent of Outside Edge route in the mountains nearby. Brilliant place.

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      TBH and I finally got around to visiting Porthdinllaen relatively recently – a lovely place. I have great affection for the Llyn Peninsula after all of our visits – we always seem to get some good weather too, along with plenty of wind.

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      We’ll know for next time. I’m missing our games of Kubb. (And the sunshine, the swimming, the company…etc etc.)

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