Category Archives: Places

Summer Holiday…

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Think of a beautiful island…

The language could have been a barrier had it not been that the road signs also bore English translation and most of the people we met also spoke in our mother tongue—

A five hour journey had brought us to our destination with its spectacular scenery — mountains, forests, moorland, lakes, beaches, verdant countryside —

Lush—!

With the Snowdonia National Park just a stone’s throw (or little car journey—) away, last week was spent exploring a charming and characterful region of North Wales, courtesy of our hosts—

Tuesday 23rd August…

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Each day was blessed with blue skies and sunshine and on day one we were driven through the little towns of Denbigh and Betws-Y-Coed to the vast lake, Llyn Brenig, where we strolled its banks and shingled shoreline and enjoyed a hearty picnic lunch before travelling on through the Dee Valley to the beautiful market town of Llangollen, then up to the heather-clad moors and down the famous Horseshoe Pass, taking in the breathtakingly majestic views — A visit to the 17th Century Rug Chapel with its magnificent decor and back, via Ruthin, to our accommodation where the pool offered us welcome relief from the warmth of the afternoon sunshine — An evening meal taken al fresco brought the close to a lovely day—

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Wednesday 24th August…

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An early start the next morning and we were given a guided tour of Snowdonia — With my camera at the ready, I soon realised that no amount of clicking could truly capture the beauty of the stunning landscape; the lofty grandeur of the mountains with their rivulets of falling water was an awesome sight and had me overawed at the wonders of Nature — On, then, to Criccieth beach via Caernarfon and Porthmadog and another lunchtime feast which had been prepared for us was relished as we sat looking out to sea— (and watching the antics in the road-side parking bays as a young Mum blocked the last available space for some time by cunningly manoeuvering her toddler’s buggy into it — It transpired that the whole exercise had been to ‘save’ the space for her friend who pulled her vehicle into it half-an-hour or so later — 😉 )  A quick stop at the supermarket for provisions on our way back to our home-for-the-week where the patio doubled up as our open-air dining room for a barbequed meal as dusk fell —

Criccieth

Thursday 25th August…

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Last year we spent a few pleasant days in Chester on our way to Scotland. The charming atmosphere of the City had us hoping to return one day — little did we know at the time that an opportunity would arise this year for us to do just that— Today, a trip down that Memory Lane had been scheduled into the agenda! First stop had to be the unforgettable Albion Inn with its respectful theme dedicated to all those who served in the 1914 – 18 World War — Unfortunately it was closed when we got there (which just means we shall have to go back again another day!) so we took the shortcut through the gateway to the Roman Gardens and then down to The Groves to sit on the promenade at the side of the River Dee. From here we walked a part of the City Walls, pausing now and again to observe the hustle and bustle in the streets below or to take photos of the grand Tudor-styled buildings with their whitewashed walls, glossy black beams and leaded light windows — Stepping down to the boardwalk of The Rows, we gazed at the displays in the shop windows and then found our way to Chester’s Cathedral. A moment there to just sit quietly and reflect before once again strolling the streets and alleys where we were tempted by a Restaurant’s invitation to lunch — Another well filled day in kind weather so no matter that heavy showers of rain fell that evening—

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Friday 26th August…

Denbigh castle

With our companions otherwise engaged today, we did some sightseeing on our own— The first challenge was to find our way out of the maze of lanes in the middle of which our tranquil holiday destination lay— Eventually we hit the main road (—well—it was  a ‘B’ road but actually had road markings so — ;)) and spent some time around the main towns in the district — Denbigh, Mold and Ruthin— The local pub, renowned for its cuisine, was the arranged venue for our evening meal and an easy stroll across a couple of fields had us soon ensconsed in its cosiness and well-satisfying our appetites—

The Golden Lion

Saturday 27th August…

A Denbighshire lane

Sometimes it’s just nice to appreciate what’s right on the doorstep, so to speak, and today we decided to further pursue the puzzle of the maze of lanes on foot — At leisurely pace, we strolled alongside the flora and fauna of the hedgerows, aware of the freshness of air in this part of the country, the peace and quiet, the only sounds being that of birdsong— An invitation to join our friends for a home-cooked meal that evening was the finale to a wonderful, relaxed holiday in this corner of our beautiful island—

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Sunday 28th August…

New Severn Bridge

—-and homeward bound—- It’s always a bit sad to say “Goodbye” but the journey back to Somerset through the Wye Valley, across the gateway to England (the ‘new’ bridge across the Severn Estuary) was a picturesque outing in itself, perfectly rounding off a week of meeting new people, making new friends and discovering a new area of this green and pleasant land—

With a big ‘Thank you’ to those who made it that way— xx

… from Scottish Gnomes to Cornish Mermaids …

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With the tour of Scotland and its tales of Gnomes all played out, the next highlight of this season was enjoyed last week with a repeat of last Summer’s Camping Trip on the west coast of Cornwall.

If the Campsite seemed busier than last year, it may have been that the BBC’s recent broadcast of the series ‘Poldark’, much of which was filmed along this stretch of rugged coastline, has attracted people to the area with its miles of headland walks, mine shafts and spectacular scenery.

Last Wednesday, our group of twelve (plus three dogs) pitched six tents along the back wall of The Paddock at Trevaylor Campsite in Botallack under blue skies and oodles of sunshine — conditions which remained with us for the next four days. The Gazebo once again served us well as our social hub —- a sort of lounge / reading room / games parlour / bar —– (and operations bunker for the poring over O/S maps and planning the routes for the next days’ missions—-)

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On Thursday morning, we followed countryside lanes and footpath trails across heathland and fields to the nearby village of St. Just —- Any deviation from the planned route simply added to the enjoyment of the exercise as surprises such as this came into view:

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St. Just itself offered us a variety of little shops to browse (and a pub in the central Square [well; it would be rude to pass by and not stop for a drink—!])

Back then to Botallack and an evening meal at The Queens’ Arms —

Hmmm — a bit of a chilly night ahead —– Brrrrrrrrr!

Friday had some of the Camp resolving to pop into Penzance for warmer PJs and maybe a blanket or two —- so, after a ‘breakfast party’ in one tent,

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the comfort-seekers headed off to the shops while our four-legged companions preferred to soak up the sunshine in the daytime’s pleasantly rising temperature —-

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Such a lazy morning warranted them taking a walk to The Queens Arms’ delightful beer garden in the afternoon with a group of their two-legged friends on the ends of the leads—–

Saturday —- and The Tinners Arms at Zennor was chosen for our lunchtime rendezvous and here, as well as relishing delicious meals, we learnt about the legend of the Mermaid of this village:

She bursts out of the ocean,
with a rainbow spray of sea,
and perched upon a rock,
where no human eyes could see.

She listened to the beauty,
the singing from the church,
she wallowed in it’s harmony,
as upon the rock she perched.

One voice stood-out from many,
it’s beauty charmed her, in some way,
and for the first time ever,
she went up the beach that day.

Young Matthew Trewella,
sang with his heart and soul,
and without this man beside her,
her future, could never be whole.

She lured him to the sea that night,
for he never did return,
he stayed there with his new love,
but please don’t show concern.

Though five hundred years have passed,
since that unusual day,
his voice is heared between the waves,
least that’s what the locals say.

Andrew A Hide.
6-6-2002

‘Farewell’ to Scotland …

Day 13 — Wednesday 1st July:

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With bags packed and loaded into the boot — it was time to say ‘Good bye’ to Tigh Mor —-

Our journey took us eastwards to Northumberland where we followed the coast road through Seahouses to Beadnell. Here we stopped for coffee and a rest on the warm sands of the beach in glorious sunshine; it was also an opportune time to paddle in the North Sea —-

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On then to the A1, by-passing Newcastle where the clouds thickened, lightening flashed, thunder sounded and rain lashed for a little while until clearer skies reigned again as we approached Hawes for another two-night stay  —

The Wensleydale Pantry was, once again, our choice of venue for an evening meal having served us so well on our ‘upward’ journey a week ago —-

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Day 14 — Thursday 2nd July 2015:

Wensleydale cheese shop

A short stroll through Hawes took us to the Wensleydale Cheese Factory and Shop this morning — Here we bought truckles of cheese to bring home and learnt that the Wallace and Gromitt animated stories used this particular cheese in their tales as it was the only brand (‘Wensleydale’) which could be said with a smile! 🙂

Reeth ice cream parlour

Our last chance to further explore Yorkshire, then had us heading to Reeth where we lingered over cornets in the Ice Cream Parlour and back to our accommodation across high moorland before taking our usual table at the Wensleydale Pantry —-

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Day 15 — Friday 3rd July 2015:

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We left our respective guest houses, Loxley House and Ebor House, early this morning having thanked our hosts for looking after us so well.

The destination today was back to Chester — but, as road signs for Liverpool started to appear, we were a little bemused as to the reason for the direction of the Sat Nav’s route —-

All became clear as we were parked near a lovely Marina with a sign nearby ‘To Crosby Beach’—- We followed the walkway and stepped onto a wide expanse of sand; there, dotted along the beach, were male figures gazing out to sea —- As it was approaching the time of high tide, many of the cast-iron statues were waist to neck high in the water but, nonetheless, it was a surprising sight to find on an English beach! A plaque told us that the artist, Antony Gormley, had modelled them on himself and they were pile-driven into the sands in 2005. The plan was they that they were to be transferred to the USA the following year but public outcry prevented this from happening — so the hundred figures are here to stay—-

crosby beach statues

A pretty little tea shop in Port Sunlight was the next stop

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before checking in once again at The Albion Inn in Chester — It was lovely to be back in the familiar surroundings and another couple known to our friends joined us all for an evening meal there —OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Day 16 — Saturday 4th July:

The penultimate day of our holiday —

A quick trip to the city’s bustling indoor market to buy some Cheshire cheese and then we spent a relaxing day around Chester.

Fresh oatcakes with a filling of melted Brie, chunks of ham and cranberry sauce were on the Menu this evening — Mmmmmm!

Day 17 — Sunday 5th July:

Our suitcase lids squ-e-e-zed down so that they would zip up, catches snapped shut and the car boot once again packed, we were ready for our homeward journey —

Hugs and vows of “We’ll meet again—” to our Landlady and staff at the Albion and we were ready for the off —- Leominster’s ‘OK Diner’ and Tintern’s Railway Station were highlighted in the Sat Nav’s memory as comfort stops we’d like to make on the journey—-

Of course, those who had the first word on this Holiday Blog, made sure they’d also have the last—-

As we settled into the car and fastened our seat belts, it was noticed that Milly-Molly-Mandy (sweet-as-sugar-candy!) had a slight bulge around her middle—

Seconds later, Baby Chester was safely delivered ———— 😉

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The End —– xx

Gnomeless…

Day 12 — Tuesday 30th June 2015:

Gnomes

A trip to Callendar and its souvenir shops today — where I needed to apply a great deal of will power —-

Nestling inside the doorway of an antique shop, were two figures — ‘£20 the pair’ said the sign —- it was love at first sight!

“Just buy them!” said my companions.

“I can’t, though —- how will we fit them into the car for the journey home when the boot will already be filled with our bags and baggage?”

“We’ll find a way — ” was the congenial reply.

However, my concern had to be about the comfort of those who had kindly brought us on this holiday so, “No, it’s a ridiculous idea of mine — they have to stay here —” was my considered reaction —–

—-so Hamish and Daisy, two three-foot-high Gnomes who would have looked just dandy on my patio, were left gazing after us as I reluctantly left the premises —

Somehow, the visit to a Woollen Mill and purchases of Scottish Shortbread as souvenirs didn’t compensate but —- I consoled myself that the tors of Somerset might have had these two Scots serenading me with this, had I taken them from their homeland:

 

(P.S. — the Gnome photo doesn’t exactly replicate those who stole my heart — but you get the picture—- ;))

 

Glencoe…

Day 11 — Monday 29th June:

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Today’s trip took us to the bleak and desolate, yet strikingly beautiful, area of Glencoe —- Refreshments were taken at the Mountain Centre where we watched cyclists preparing for their challenging exercise across moorland and mountain tracks in the damp, misty air —-

We were mindful that, apart from the season, the landscape would not have changed since a February night in 1692 when, at a time of political unrest, thirty-eight people of the Macdonalds clan were murdered by those to whom they had shown hospitality and welcomed into their homes —–

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massacre_of_Glencoe

 

Our drive then took us through Ballachullsh, Connell, Taymuile, Dallmally to Inverary where we stopped to stroll around this little harbour town—-

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We couldn’t come to Scotland without at least getting a glimpse of Loch Lomond so our route then took us through Arrochar and past its ‘bonny banks’——

Old Pier, Balloch, Loch Lomond

Another ‘big day out’ so back to Tigh Mor through Balloch, Aberfoyle and the Duke’s Pass for an evening’s relaxation—-

Around Falkirk…

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Day 10 — Sunday 28th June 2015:

A trip today to the very heart of Scotland — Falkirk sits midway between Edinburgh and Glasgow —

Our first stop was to view an amazing feat of engineering — The Falkirk Wheel.

The pamphlet told me it is ‘the World’s first rotating boatlift and eye-catching working sculpture which links the Forth and Clyde Canal with the Union Canal.’

Watching this huge and powerful piece of equipment gently transferring narrow boats and barges from the upper to the lower canal and vice versa was a truly awesome sight —

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Helix Park, home to the Kelpies, was a short drive away so this was the next attraction we visited —-

The Kelpies stand 30 metres tall and, towering over the Forth and Clyde Canal, are the largest equine sculptures in the world —-

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In somber mood—

Day 9 — Saturday 27th June 2015:

The mist over the mountains which greeted us from our window view this morning seemed to reflect the cloud which hung over us following the shocking news from Tunisia last evening —

We breakfasted in somber mood as our thoughts were of all those affected by the terrorist attack on a beach in Sousse yesterday  —

On the surface, we spent a pleasant day, our friends taking the pre-arranged boat trip from Helensburgh around the Isle of Bute while my husband and I strolled the four-mile walk around Loch Achray but the feelings in our hearts were of those whose holiday had been marred; thoughts of lives lost or forever devastated by yesterday’s events —

Train Trip from Criaglachin to Mallaig…

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Day 8 — Friday 26th June 2015:

Clutching our bargain-priced, pre-ordered tickets, we made our way to Criaglachin railway station after breakfast. There was a slight kerfuffle when one of us in the Ladies’ loo heard a rapping on the door announcing that the train had arrived but all was well as she hurriedly joined the group before its departure—–

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Three hours of breathtaking scenery of Lochs, glens, hills and mountains lay ahead as the rhythmic clickety-clack of wheels on tracks journeyed through Upper Tyndrum, the Bridge of Orchy, Rannock, Corrour, Tulloch, Roy Bridge, Spean Bridge (with sights of Ben Nevis), Fort William, Banavie, Corpach, Loch Eil, over the magnificent Glenfinnan Aquaduct, Lochailort, Beasdale, Arisaig and Morar until the trip terminated at Mallaig—

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Here, we had time to wander to the harbour, watched the fishermen dispatch their hauls of fish and seafarers repair their boats, visited the gift shops and enjoyed a seafood lunch in the harbourside restaurant—

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Time then to take our seats on the train for the return journey, feasting our eyes on the majestic Scottish views on the other side of the track—–

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Meeting the Midges…

marmiteSkin so soft

Day 7 — Thursday 25th June 2015:

Well — the Scottish Midges were out in force but our friends told us about an invisible suit of armour proven to thwart attack —-

“Just smother yourselves in Avon’s ‘Skin-so-Soft’ and eat Marmite” was the advice—

It worked!

We spent the day around the Tigh Mor complex where the facilities included an indoor swimming pool, gymnasium, games room, restaurant, reading room and lounge areas, outdoor chess and wonderful grounds leading to the Loch —-

Another handy hint I’d been given when I was packing my suitcase before leaving home and was lamenting the fact that I’d been advised to pack trousers yet I prefer to wear dresses and skirts was, “Good luck with the midges and the cold, then—-!” The following six days had me thankful to have been guided in this direction —– 😉

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“…and I’ll be in Scotland afore ye….”

Day 6 — Wednesday 24th June 2015:

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—and, having thanked our hosts at Loxley House for their hospitality, we set off for Tigh Mor in the Trossachs—

A quick stop at Fairfield Clothing in Sedburgh where fleece jackets and accessories in every style and colour are made on the premises and on to Stirling for the provisions we would need to self-cater for the week —

Having admired the changing scenery after we had crossed the Scottish border, it seemed we were at our destination in no time and, as we turned a bend, Tigh Mor came into sight—–

—–it was just like a Fairy Tale castle!

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We checked in at Reception and went to our apartment; all tartan and comfy is the only way I can describe it —-

Thank goodness for photos when words fail me—–

 

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