Hike and Bike

When we decided to come to Minehead I did a lot of looking at google maps to see if there were any biking trails and good walks. Staying on the coast of course you have the south west coastal path which runs for hundreds of miles.

Over the years I have done bits and pieces of it here and there. It’s so nice hiking by the sea, the sound, the smells and of course the views are fantastic. When the path turns inland you get the contrast of open fields and woods etc.

Yesterday I did a Seven mile hike, leaving the campsite and heading for the seafront and then turning right and walking along the seafront past the harbour and to the start of the coast path. You pass a loverly sculpture of some hands holding a map so you know you’re going the right way.

Start of the coast path

You also pass some old cottages which have stood there for years and years and have been battered by winter storms, high tides etc but are still standing after all these years. They don’t build them like this now that’s for sure. In between two of the cottages is a small little cottage which looks like it’s a pit building which it may have been at one stage but is now a small cottage.

Who lives in a house like that

My hike started off nice and level beside the sea and then soon reached a point where I was going up through the woods, and when I say up it was up and up some more. My legs were burning, my heart was thumping but I felt good. Must admit my hips and legs are a bit sore this morning after the just over seven miles and and just over 900 ft of climbing yesterday.

Another thing on my to do list while here was to hike to Dunster and hike up to the Conygar tower on the hill in Dunster. This was just over five miles and only just over 500ft of elevation but the sun was out and it was a beautiful day.

The Conygar tower was built in the 17th century, it’s a circular three story folly tower of red sandstone. Stands 18 metres tall and there is no evidence of it ever having a roof or floors.

Conygar Tower

The tower looked great in the sunlight and also made some great photos with the shadows and sunlight. I was up there all alone with this tower and nature, apart from the birds singing. You will see from the photos I like to take arty farty photos also.

Sunlight and shadows
Looking up from the middle inside

After dragging myself away and walking down into Dunster which is a loverly old village with just a few shops, cafes and of course a couple of pubs. The roads are narrow and at one point you have to navigate your way around a structure called the Yarn market. This building was built in 1609 when Dunster was a cloth trading place. The building is octagonal and when stood inside you can just imaging all the traders that would have traded in the building over all those years.

Sunlight coming through the window of the yarn market

A bike ride was also done this week to Watchet. About 16 miles and 800ft elevation. Again going along the coast as much as possible and then the back roads. And a couple of days later another bike ride up to Bossington hill and back down through the woods on the bridle paths. This ride also included a stop at St Michaels church, no not because I have gone all religious or that it’s named after me, not the saint bit. Just because I wanted to get a photo of the old steps that lead up to it through the cottages. It was built in the 15th century.

St Michaels church and steps

Now it was Nikki’s turn to come out with me, she’s not a biker or hiker. She has been away because of MiMi being back in hospital so Nikki has been staying at her flat and visiting her. She came back and I said we were having a day out.

Again I had been looking at google maps and discovered a beach I wanted to visit. Nikki was up for it so we headed out in the car to East Quantoxhead beach. You park in a little sleepy village, no pub in this one just a few old cottages, church and farm buildings and as it’s a proper old village a duck pond. You park on a bit of wasteland and there is a honesty box for your carpark money £1.50 for all day. I love things like that and hope it doesn’t get abused by peaple that think life is a free ride. The money goes towards maintaining the church.

While I was putting my boots on Nikki went and paid and then I heard her voice over the stone wall..I need another £3.50 Bloody hell I thought the church had fallen down and needed a complete rebuild so the parking fees had gone up. No on the other side of the wall was a little wooden structure with apples and bottles of apple and ginger drink, homemade by someone in the village so she had to have some. I think she thought it was wine.

It’s about a twenty minute to the beach from the carpark across the fields and then you get to the beach. It’s not a sandy beach but a beach with the most amazing rock formations and it’s also known to have a lot of fossils. Well there were two extra fossils today looking for others.

Rock formations

The little red dot at the end of that rock face is Nikki searching for fossils. And yes we did find some, not huge big fantastic ones but we did find some. I was just blown away with the rock formations with so many different kinds from the ones in the picture above to smooth rock and even some that looked like block paving. So many different kinds in such a small area.

Rusty old steps to the beach

After we left the beach we called into Watchet so Nikki could see it and I even treated her to lunch in the pub. All in all a great day out.

Dunster castle in the mist with the road highlighted by the sun

Minehead

Here we are at Minehead in Somerset. I can’t help thinking it was named after a German, it’s just the word Minehead. Every time I hear it said I hear it in a German accent.

Minehead is an old seaside town which has been added to over the years much like a lot of seaside towns. The old part is loverly with old cottages and thatched cottages on the hillside. Butlins came here in 1962 and brings in thousands of people to Minehead in the summer. The town part I don’t like, it’s to much bucket and spade brigade for me.

I would never come here in the summer, that’s when it fills up with lots of blokes wearing football shirts and mums shouting at the kids to come here. All heading for the amusement arcades to spend all their dole money then to the nearest pub to drink as much lager as they can before falling over while mum is still shouting for little Leroy to come back.

I nearly forgot. Happy new year to you all. I was planning on a dry January, no beer and no chocolate or crisps for a month. How did it go I hear you cry. I lasted three days before giving in, don’t know why I bother saying I am going to do it really. But I am getting off my arse and out on my bike and hiking after having a lazy can’t be bothered two months.

Minehead has a old railway station and the old steam trains are running in the summer months. At the moment all the carriages are parked up at the station waiting for the better weather and all them little Leroys.

All lined up
Old water tower

While here we had to go back to Barnstaple for the dentist and to see Mi Mi. The drive from here is not a good one and takes over an hour on some not so good roads at this time of year. Dentist robbed us of £360 pounds, why can’t I earn that sort of money for an hours work. I know why because I never went to school enough.

By the time we left the dentist and Mi Mi it was getting towards dusk and the country roads around Exmoor were looking nice. We saw a huge herd of deer, a couple of hawks and right next to us on a fence post as we drove past a barn owl .

After talking like we were drunk because of the anaesthetic from the dentist all the way home and spilling my drink of water where my mouth was not working like it should. All was well though by the time Nikki had cooked tea. There’s not a lot will get between me and my food.

The next day I went out on my bike up Bossington hill which has some great views overlooking Porlock bay although it was a bit murky due to the low cloud but at least it was a 15 mile bike ride done with a nice downhill section at 44 mph.

Bossington hill view

All around Minehead are little peaple made from scrap by a local guy who was unemployed. He started cleaning up Minehead to keep himself busy and then started making these little characters for the local businesses and they can be seen in so many places. Really brings a smile to faces when you spot them.

Happy peaple

Y M C A

We are here for a few weeks yet, so lots of exploring to do on foot and on bike and some trips out in the car planned. Lots of photo opportunities and maybe a pub or two. Maybe next year I can aim for 4 days of New Years resolutions before I give in. Stay safe everyone.

The train is leaving in March

Three times jabbed

Just before we left South molton I had to go and get my booster jab at the leisure centre. Nikki went to see her mum while I walked across to the leisure centre via the riverbank path. It was a shame Nikki could not get hers at the same time but she could not get booked in until a week later and hers was in Minehead.

The walk to the leisure centre could be taken by going through the town, not for me or along the riverbank. It’s not a long walk and you’re never far from the town but far enough for me. After passing under the old Barnstaple bridge through the subway with its graffiti which I must admit I quite liked as it was bright in an otherwise dull place. Better than just some scribble or tags as they’re called which look like a five year old found a can of spray paint and used it up.

Barnstaple graffiti

After you cross the old bridge you again walk along the riverbank for a short stretch to the leisure centre. Along the river bank are an assortment of old boats which have been there for years, never moved just slowly rotting away but some are more presentable than others.

One looks like it’s lived in and a bike business is run from it. There used to be a shop in the town that was piled high with old bikes of all shapes and sizes and an old guy called Gordy would do repairs outside the shop for anyone passing. He was well known in the town and used by many. The shop was sold a long time ago so it looks like Gordy moved on the boat and took a lot of his bikes with him.

Bikes with a view

The leisure centre was very well organised for the jabs and speaking to one of the helpers she said they had jabbed 3500 people the day before and were expecting to do more on the day I was there and were even staying open until midnight.

We spent the rest of the day with Nikki’s mum before heading back to South molton for our last night there before heading to Dulverton in Somerset. A site we have used before.

The reason we like Dulverton is because it’s a small quiet village, no road noise, a river runs beside it which you can hear gurgling at night and with the owls in the woods the other side of the river hooting it’s all very nice. Oh I nearly forgot to mention it has a couple of really nice pubs which you have to support while there. That’s the rules.

Cheers.

The woods on the riverbank opposite the campsite is where I do a lot of walking, I find it so peaceful up in the woods but it’s a hard uphill climb to to get there. Nikki prefers to walk around all the old streets. We also had a drive up to Minehead while here to get Nikki her third jab.

Another nice feature is the old church which I have taken many pictures of. One day last week the mist come in and the whole of Dulverton looked all gloom and when it got dark it only added to the atmosphere. So while Nikki was cooking tea in the warm I ventured out to take some photos. Heading for the church and hoping with the fog it was going to add to the atmosphere.

Dulverton church at night

The church did look nice in this sort of light and as I walked up through the town it was really quiet and with mist around it looked like something out of an old film set where in those days you get all the smog hanging around. I didn’t stay out long because I knew my tea was cooking but must admit I did struggle to walk past the pub looking in through the window with the log fire going and cosy atmosphere with a good selection of beers on tap. But I managed to get past.

Tomorrow we head off again to a site just on the outskirts of wellington for a couple of nights and then from there up to Minehead. I will keep you all posted as usual and as usual stay safe out there. We wish you all a happy new year.

The woods with sunlight hitting the moss on the trees.

So Busy

We have been so busy since getting down to Devon. We knew it would be busy with all our yearly catch-ups. Dentist, Doctors, camper mot, car mot, camper camera, booster jabs.

Off to the dentist for our check ups. We both failed and need two fillings each, old fillings starting to fall apart. There goes £400 that includes our checkups. Camper goes for mot / service, failed on brake pipes from front to back….it’s a long camper. Another £780. Car goes for mot and service and air con regassed. Another £420. Not that we need the air con at the moment but we will in the summer hopefully. Drive up to Taunton yesterday to get new rear view camera fitted. £822. Nikki has gone shopping today to get some beans to go on our toast.

So while the camper was in for its service and mot and it’s new brake pipes. Unlike most peaple when they drop off their motorhome for work they go home and wait for the call to come and pick it up. We can’t do that so we went out for breakfast and then on to westward ho to see how that had changed since we were last there two years ago.

The wind was howling straight off the sea and it was cold. I opted for a walk along the coast while Nikki could barely stand up so she went the other way to browse around the shops which were mostly closed.

Westward Ho

I wasn’t out for long and on my way back towards the town my phone went and it was Nikki who told me to look over my right shoulder and aim for the coffee shop where she was sheltering from the wind with a nice hot coffee. So in I went and a nice Hot chocolate aappeared in front of me.

We had plenty of time to kill so we drank our drinks slowly before heading back to Barnstaple to collect the camper. That was after hanging around for another couple of hours.

Weather beaten sign at westward ho

While I was out walking along the prom I was amazed how the little beach huts are still going after all these years of winter storms. Some of them look like they might not make it this year but others are so loved and cared for. And if you knew the prices of them you would not want it to blow away.

Beach huts at Westward Ho

It was nice to get the camper back and get back onto site. A couple of day later when we dropped the car off for its mot/ service we went and took Mi Mi out for lunch which she enjoyed, even though I ate mine and most of hers. It was the thought of having something different to eat other than beans on toast. Honest.

Another day when Nikki was out I walked into south molton on market day, they also have a sheep market which always makes me laugh when I hear the auctioneer selling off the sheep. How the hell they understand him I don’t know but they all get sold.

Ready for sale

So again that’s us up to date, we have had some loverly sunrises but cold days and the wind seems like it has been coming from the North forever. Booster jab for me next week and doctors for blood checks etc. Then we are off to Dulverton on the edge of Exmoor. Looking forward to that. The next time I post here will be in the new year and as we don’t do Xmas I wish you all happy holidays and happy new year. Stay safe.

Sun rise from our camper

Autumn

Before we left Cirencester the trees were well on their way to losing all their leaves. I love this time of year for the colours in the trees. I had one last walk down through the park and walked round the back of the church. The church dominates the town and is a large church, almost cathedral like. All the time we spent in Cirencester I had never been around the back, walked past it many times but never ventured round the back.

I love graveyards and this one was fantastic with so many old headstones in all shapes and sizes and at all sorts of angles. What I call a proper graveyard. And of course the trees were at their best in their autumnal colours.

Autumn in the graveyard
The church

That night we went out for one last time to our favourite pub in Cirencester The Toro lounge. They do the best burgers and a great pint of craft beer and a good glass of wine for Nikki. Nikki had got back that afternoon from visiting her sister and boys so I thought after her long hectic weekend and drive it would be nice to take her out rather than her get her apron on and start cooking tea. That’s my excuse anyway and I am sticking to it.

Our favourite pub

She didn’t complain about the idea and within half an hour of her getting home we were on our way down to the town. It was good to go in there again after missing out last year because of Covid.

We are now at South Molton at the site we have used many times. They have some new pitches which they were building last year when we were here so we opted to go on one of them and a good choice it was. We have no one around us and just look across the fields and trees, and the spell of good weather is also helping to make it all look so good.

We had a walk around the site just to stretch our legs after the drive and as we passed the clubhouse, well nearly got past it, I said to Nikki fancy a quick drink. I didn’t have to ask her twice so in we went. What a great surprise we saw some friends who use the campsite a lot in there so a few drinks later and a great catch up Nikki left to go and start the tea while I had one for the road and then wobbled home.

We have a quiet week this week with just visits to see Mi Mi, that’s Nikki’s mum. Then next week a very busy expensive week to include. Dentist check ups, Doctors check ups, camper mot and service, car mot and service and a new rear camera for the camper which means a trip to Taunton. So no more going out.

Yesterday I walked up through the woods on the site to get some cold crisp air in my lungs and check out the lakes. Sit in the sun under a tree and think about far off places in the sun without the cold crisp air.

A bench to ponder
The woods

So that’s where we are now. This morning it’s very frosty out there but the suns starting to come out. A chill out day is on the cards today. The last picture is of the church in Cirencester at night, it just looked so nice in the dark on the way home from the pub. Cheers.

Cirencester church

Winter trip has started

The last few days on site were not without incident. We were on duty and the emergency phone went about 7pm. Always a bit of a worry when that phone goes because you expect the worst. Nikki answered the phone and a voice on the other end said there’s a cow on site, if I had answered the phone I would have said there’s been a few all season. But Nikki being the professional she is got all the details and she rang the farmer while I put my coat on and went off in the direction of the cow. As I got there a bloke was standing looking at the cow, it’s dark at this time don’t forget. I told the bloke not to go near it as that’s what the farmer had said to us and he would be on his way.

The bloke staring at the cow told me he was a farmer and he was keeping it in this corner nice and calm. So that was good news a farmer on holiday comes to our site and a cow gets on site near him so he keeps it calm until the farmer of the cow arrives. The farmer arrived, checked some fencing and said I am going to drive him down this way and he will jump over this bit of low fence. If you ( that’s me) stand there and give it a push it will help. If you feel more comfortable have this and he hands me a bloody great big stick.

So there I am stood in the dark with my bright orange waterproof coat on shorts and my flip flops thinking if this cow stands on my foot it’s going to hurt and there’s going to be lots of paperwork to fill in. As it happened the cow went the other way and jumped over the fence.

The next couple of days the site closed and as the last person left I closed the gate behind them. We then started closing down the site. We left the site 5 days early as everything was done. We only went to a site in Chirk which we have been on before, about 50 miles away. We spent a couple of nights there before heading off to Cirencester. one of the highlights for me while being there was a loverly old American RV.

Love this old Chevy RV

I can’t believe we have been at Cirencester ten days already. We like Cirencester site as it’s the first site we started on. Although I don’t like towns, Cirencester is a nice old town with some loverly old buildings and pubs, a lot of different shops for Nikki to browse around, it’s not full of your usual high street shops, instead it has lots of small independent shops and the charity shops have a better selection of stuff because it’s a wealthy area. What I mean by that is the clothes in them smell nice and don’t smell of mould and wee like some charity shops.

It’s a loverly walk from the site through the Bathurst estate into town. With a stop at an old airstream caravan which is now a Tea and coffee stop and does the best sausage rolls you have ever had.

Autumn avenue in the Bathurst estate
The coffee stop in the Bathurst estate

While here we went to the pub for a bite to eat with friends and then a couple of days later some other friends came to see us for a couple of days so we had to go back to the pub again with them. The weather has been kind to us until today but it’s not cold. Nikki goes away for a few days from here tomorrow leaving me to look after myself so I might have to go back down the pub. It’s a hard life.

We have to keep remembering we don’t get paid again now until the end of March. Not so good as the rear view camera in the camper has packed up now so that’s going to be another £1000 to put right. Might have to be beans on toast for the last two months.

So that’s us up to date, we are here in Cirencester for another few days then off to south molton in Devon so we can go and see Nikki’s mum. From there we go to Dulverton, Minehead, cheddar, and then back into wales and head out to Pembrokeshire ready to start work. I will leave you with a couple more photos of some fungi I saw at the bike park before we left Snowdonia.

Don’t eat it
Pretty to look at but don’t touch

Chequered flag in sight

We have the chequered flag in sight. The end of the season is soon. As I write this we have nine days until the site closes, in nine days days time as the last one leaves I will close the gates and lock them. Not that we’re looking forward to the last day. To be honest it’s been a tough year with one thing or another and yes we will be glad to see the last caravan or motorhome leave the site.

We then have to close the site down for winter, board the toilet block up, drain down the service points, take all the signs in etc etc. We have two days off before we finish. We also have to pack our own motorhome up and the car ready for our journey to Cirencester at the end of the month which is where we will go for a break on the way down to Devon.

We have one more payday next Friday and then the next payday we will get will be the end of March. We will survive……I think. luckily we like beans on toast.

Our last couple of days off were spent having a couple of trips out and about in between the showers of rain. Then as it was time to go back to work the sun came out, but only briefly.

We went to Betws Y Coed to have a look around. It’s a very touristy town and in the summer is full of peaple from all over the globe and coaches block the roads up. A good reason to avoid in the main season.

As you walk up the Main Street there is a loverly old church which you can’t miss. I can imagine in the olden days this being one of a few buildings and a dirt road passing it with a few horse and carts passing by not like now it’s a main road and busy with cars.

Loverly old church

On the opposite side of the road to the church is a river and a fisherman was trying his luck in the swollen river. The river was in full flow after all the rain we have had but he had a good spot and was fly fishing. The loop around his head is not a halo it’s just as I took the picture I captured his fishing line as he was flicking it out into the river to hopefully catch himself some tea.

Fly fishing

Betws Y Coed has a small station which we went to look at as there was some old carriages turned into a cafe in one of the sidings. On the platform were some great sculptures of animals filled with bottle tops. All something to do with saving the planet but very well done. The rhinoceros was my favourite. I also loved this sign outside one of the tea rooms. Obviously someone didn’t like it in there.

A rare bottle top filled rino
Made me laugh

We were getting hungry by now and had spotted a pasty shop so made our way back towards the shop where we bought two pasties and a drink and wish we hadn’t. I can honestly say it was the worst pasty I have ever had in my life and if I wasn’t so hungry at the time I would have thrown it back into the shop. Maybe I should put a review on tripadvisor and then they can put a sign up outside their shop.

Then before we left this very expensive tourist trap we needed a comfort stop. Now where does the spend a penny saying come from because it needs to be updated. 30p for a pee in this little town. As we passed the river on the way to the car the waterfall was looking good but looking at all that water flowing over the rocks made me feel like I needed another wee, but I could not afford it so I took a quick photo and moved on.

On the way back we or should I say me being the driver decided to take a detour. I had found some mountain bike trails so wanted to see whereabouts they were so we took a very small single track road up through a beautiful valley. Up and up we went into the clouds and the view was fantastic with water cascading down the mountains in certain places and the valley floor way down below us. The picture below is about half way up the valley.

A welsh valley

A couple of days ago while out on site I spotted a loverly fungi. It looked like a alien spaceship had landed on the grass being about a foot across the top. I had to mow the grass but mowed all the grass around it as it just looked so good. It’s turning blacker by the day now but still looks good.

Alien Fungi

So that’s us up to date. This will be the last post from here in Snowdonia. We have loved the area even though we have not done everything on my to do list. We are looking forward to next season being by the sea again. But before that we have the winter to catch up with friends and family. Take care.

Llanidloes

The last few days we have been off work, yes again but don’t forget we worked between the last days off for eight days. And now it’s back to work tomorrow for another eight days.

This few days we planned to go away because it was Nikki’s big birthday although she would not own up to it and insisted that everyone had got it wrong by ten years. It was also our ten year anniversary, apparently that’s Tin. The camper also needed a run out.

We could not decide what to do or where to go. There was a campsite we wanted to go to but by the time we made up our minds it was fully booked so we needed another plan. I tried once more and the dates we wanted came up, well almost we could only get the Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday so I hit the book button and it was done.

Red kite touring park was the site we were heading for at Llanidloes in mid Wales. An adults only site with great views and only a short walk into town for a drink or two and a meal. We arrived at the site in glorious sunshine and pitched up with great views down the valley.

Misty morning view down the valley

The next day we walked into town which was about twenty minutes to see if we could book somewhere for a meal for Nikki’s birthday. Things weren’t looking good, all the pubs were closed Monday and Tuesdays and the ones that were open were not doing food. All the shops were closed or most of them. That was good news as Nikki could not go in them. Nikki’s birthday was on Wednesday the day before we set off back to base so we really didn’t want to go out then. We wanted to go out on the Tuesday. Eventually we found a pub that was open all day and did food. The Red Lion had good reviews so that’s where we ended up on the Wednesday evening. And a good time was had.

Back to our walk into town with all the closed shops. In the centre of town is an old market hall which is a loverly old building built in the early 17th century. Must have been the hub of activity in those days.

The old market hall

The campsite has some nice walks from it around some fishing lakes and up in the woods. I got up early one day and went for a walk around and found a load of dew covered cobwebs glistening in the morning sun and the fishing lake also looked so calm.

Dew covered cobweb

Early morning peace

About four miles from the campsite is Clynedog dam and reservoir and some old building left over from the lead mines. Nikki did not fancy a long walk so I went out on my bike to see the old lead mining buildings and the dam. Good excuse to get out on my bike and stretch my legs.

The lake surface covers an area of 615 acres about the size of 230 football pitches, and is 216 ft deep at its maximum depth. The dam itself is very impressive also.

Clynedog Dam

The old buildings left over from the lead mining days are at the bottom of the dam. They closed in 1884. The remains are of crushing houses, roasting ovens, not the Sunday roast versions, ore bins, smithy, and the mines managers house/ office. Must have been hard work and all that lead getting in your lungs and on your skin would have been bad.

Old lead mine buildings with dam in background.

That was our few days away which we really enjoyed. The weather was fantastic so we had a BBQ and chilled in the sun while having a nice cool drink, beer for me and wine for Nikki. We had a laugh in the pub as we always do and now we are back and I got out on my bike for a short ride. Back to work tomorrow.

The long walk home (from the pub )

Pastures new

We have just had six days off because our work rota has changed for the last two months. This means we work eight days and have six off. Only two months to go which also means we only have two more paydays then no income until next March.

We have been busy on our days off but more of that in a minute. The selection come out on Monday which means we know where we will be going next year to work.

We are going to be working on a site just outside of St David’s in Pembrokeshire South Wales. You can walk into St David’s in about half an hour from the site. St David’s has a cathedral which makes it a city and it’s the smallest city in Britain. A fifteen minute walk from site also takes you to whitesands bay which will be really nice. The surfboard will be loaded for next season as just down the road is Newgale which also has some good surf. Hope the managers aren’t expecting me to do any work. 😁

About 45 minutes drive from here is a farm shop called The Rhug estate which we have passed several times when out and about but never stopped at. Always one of those moments when we say we will do it another day. They have a big Bison outside and naturally do Bison meat which I wanted to try. The thought of a Bison burger on the BBQ got the taste buds going.

The Rhug estate Bison

The weather was great the day we went so we had planned to have a BBQ that evening after going to the farm shop. All their meat is farmed on the estate and everything they sell is organic etc. I went off hunting down the bison burgers and found them amongst the sausages and steak and chicken and all looking so nice. Next to the bison burgers were two fillets of bison steak. I nearly choked when I saw the price £67 a kilo, no wonder that bison is up on stilts out of reach of everyone.

We bought our food for the BBQ minus the bison fillets but I did get the bison burgers, Nikki chose some chutneys. There is also a farm walk which takes you past some of the animals and around the fields which we decided to do as it was a nice day and we had plenty of time. First we went past the turkey field where as we walked past a load of them come running out from the shed towards us. I am sure they were shouting save us save us. So I wished them merry Xmas and walked on.

Save us

The walk was about three miles in total, down some lanes and along side the river. We saw the bison in a field but they were too far away to get any pictures. At the price they demand I expect that’s why they were so far away and all the gates were locked. We sat by the river to chill out and the only thing we could hear was bird song, so peaceful. Occasionally a fish would jump out of the water to catch a fly.

So peaceful

As we got back to the car eight VW beach buggy’s rolled into the carpark, they were on a tour around wales. Being a big fan of VW’s I had to get some photos and have a chat with the owners. The funny thing was Nikki had seen them the day before when she went shopping at Porthmadog.

One of the buggys

After dragging myself away from the buggys we headed home for our BBQ and beer in the sun. The bison burgers were ok, not as good as a nice Aberdeen Angus beef burger but at least I had tried them and now I know not to save up for the fillets of Bison.

The next day was going to be a beach day as again the weather was looking good and the sea was so tempting to get in. The beach we chose was Criccieth beach. We found our spot in the beach and while Nikki chilled I went for a walk to the other end of the beach and back and to explore some rock pools. I can’t just sit on a beach for too long.

Empty beach

By the time I got back to Nikki she was having a paddle and I needed to get in the sea for a swim. Yes it was cold at first but once fully in you soon warmed up. I never found anything in the rock pools.

Rock pool

Yesterday we went to Caernarfon to have a look around. A lot of the town is within the castle walls with the castle at one end. It’s all by the sea and a loverly marina right next to it. You hear of walled gardens but a walled town is the first I have seen. Some loverly old streets within the walls and lots of little places to eat. Some bits a bit further out were looking a bit shabby and rundown. The castle looked very impressive and in a great position to see anyone coming by boat to attack.

Caernarfon castle

Today was a chill out day and it’s back to work tomorrow just as the rain has arrived. Our next time off we are going away in the camper to a campsite about and hour and half away from here. It’s Nikki’s birthday so we will go out to eat and drink in the small town nearby. Not every day though, I don’t want her to lose her skill of cooking.

Through the archway

Long time no see

With all the things that have been going on in the world the last eighteen months, Brexit and Covid has changed our lives here in the U.K. we have missed out on our winter trips and not been able to catch up with friends and family here in the U.K. even when we had the four winter months off. All the planets just didn’t line up. Covid has a lot to answer for.

So when we got a message from our friend Katie saying she wanted to come and see us we were very happy. We met Katie at one of the Hot Rod shows we used to go to. She parked next to us with her then husband and a little bundle called Jack, well he was quite a sizeable bundle to be honest, don’t know what she was feeding him on.

That was eleven years ago and over the years her life has changed and along came Tilly also. We have stayed in touch and nearly every year she would come down to Devon with her kids to see us and we would all have a great time.

She has always camped and the kids would help, I even nicknamed Jack Pegboy because he always wanted to do the pegs. We were always there to help with the tent also. I still don’t know how she got everything in the car or if she left anything at home.

We found her a campsite near us because the site we work on does not take tents and she booked it up for a three day break with the kids and her new husband to be Sean who just happens to like a beer and mountain biking so it was going to be a good break. It also coincided with our days off. I love it when a plan comes together.

The campsite is on the edge of lake Trawsfynydd and is run by a very laid back couple. They have a cottage to let, two small cabins and two tent fields. They only allow a small number of tents on each field so everyone has so much room. There’s a bench and a fire pit by each area and the views are fantastic.

View from campsite

Katie rang to say they had arrived so we give them time to set up and then went round to see them. It had been three years since we had seen them all so a good catch up was well overdue. Jack and Tilly had grown up so much since we last saw them. Jack was all excited because I was taking him and Sean to the bike park the next day and Nikki was going to go for a walk with Katie and Tilly.

The cottage to rent.

We had tea with them which Katie had made and the fire pit was going to keep the midges away. I forgot to say Katie makes the best chocolate brownies and has always made some for me when she comes to see us as she knows I quite like chocolate. Jack and Tilly are always extra nice to me when they come out so I say yes to them having one.

The next day we went round mid morning, loaded the bikes up etc and off we went to the bike park. The boys on their bikes and the girls went off for a walk to see the waterfall. I picked an easy bike trail for us as they had not been before. Sean loved it and Jack loved it even though he fell off three times but he got back up dusted himself down and carried on. Eight miles later we’re back at the car, Jack did really well considering he is only eleven and not really rode any bike parks before. The girls returned from their walk and they enjoyed that. Little Tilly did really well.

Home for a shower while Nikki and Tilly went off to Tesco to get some BBQ food as the forecast was good. Back to the campsite and get the BBQ fired up, we were all starving.

I often bike past the campsite that’s how I knew it was there and just past it on the edge of the lake is an old derelict boathouse which I always wondered how to get to it for some photos. While looking around the campsite I went round a corner and there it was just along from the cottage. So I had to walk up to it and get some photos. It’s well past its best date but still makes great photos.

Old boathouse

Back to the BBQ and another good evening. The next day was their last day so we stayed at home to catch up on things to do and they had a day to themselves before they came over to us in the evening and we all went to the pub for a beer and food. And then said our goodbyes. So good to catch up with them all.

Refurbed boat and old boathouse

Other news is I have just had my bike serviced and some new bits fitted that I had managed to wear out with my sort of riding. And this morning I went to the bike park at 6.30am and did 24 miles. 24 does not sound far but most of that was off road on narrow rocky tracks that only mountain goats would venture onto and some nice downhill sections. It was on a trail called the Beast and it was a very hard ride with lots of knarly bits. But I tamed the Beast.

Looking for the beast