August 2018
  • Day8

    Castle & Cake perfection.

    August 18, 2018 in the United Kingdom ⋅ 🌬 16 °C

    What to do - dodgy forecast & a day to kill. Initial plans of going to Barafundel Bay seemed wildly optimistic especially when once we'd finished packing & headed off we were rewarded with rain. On the hoof planning opted for the fall back option of Pembroke Castle - surely a good option in the rain. Directions plugged into the phone & we set off. 5 or so miles from Pembroke, we were greeted with signs indicating the bridge across was a toll. Contemplated whether to stick with the plan or just head off. Parked up & realised that heading off from here would basically mean going back the way we came & starting the journey again. The toll was only 75p so we pushed on. So glad we did. Parking was cheap, castle was cheap (certainly compared to Warwick - seriously £27) We tagged onto a guided group which in terms of entertainment & knowledge was superb. The guide, Gareth, was a retired history teacher & he ckearly loved his new job. In terms of staying dry it wasn't so good but it was worth it to find out all the ingenious ways there were for killing people - kids must love this guy. The 75 min tour lasted 95 mins & we could've listened to his stories far longer. Had a little explore of some of the unique features on our own & then set off in search of food. Didn't have to look far - the cake shop was a suitable candidate. Never have I seen so many cake options. Both had soup to leave space, but hearty doesn't begin to describe the offerings so take away cake it had to be (ginger & lime drizzle; blackberry & apple) Back to the car to head off to Newport. Checked in & a slightly less successful tea for Liz - the burger was just too big for her tiny mouth. Major frustration. At least there was some tasty cake to look forward to.Read more

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  • Day7

    Waterfalls & rivers of chocolate.

    August 17, 2018 in the United Kingdom ⋅ 🌬 16 °C

    Struggled to get going. When eventually movement happened we decided to have a little look at the local waterfall. Though not Iguazu it was still impressive enough for a back garden sort of situation.Followed the rather muddy path down across some stepping stones & wound up at the beach. Pondered our nwxt move - initial plans had been to go to the 'Old Sailor' pub that had been closed on Monday, but greyness meant that some of the attraction had gone - sitting outside wasn't so appealing. Equally unappealing was the menu prices. Decided to go to the co-op & get some sarnies & have them on our beach. Nicer view, quieter - assuming the stroppy detectorist had gone and cheaper - all good. Sarnies in - settled down to watch some mean stone skimming, a kayak safari disappear into a cave and a poor dog unwillingly be dragged onto a boat - wasn't hp. By now it was clear that there was unlikely to be any brightening up so what to do. The chocolate factory was calling Liz. In particular the chocolate river - which it transpires, unsurpringly, was rather oversold. The tour of the factory, however was not. The tour guide, Colin, was very entertaining & informative. Free samples help Liz along & then she was let loose in the shop. Ouch!Read more

  • Day6

    A little further afield.

    August 16, 2018 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    Nice bright morning, postive weather forecast. First port of call was Strumble Head & the lighthouse. Part coastal walk, part literary inspiration. Again no prizes for guessing which goes with whom. Unsurpringly, though it did surprise, on this exposed peninsula it was rather blowy, to the point that while it was sunny it was also a little chilly. Disappointingly we couldn't go upto the lighthouse, though the gate was open. Lots of warnings etc. The walk was suitably dramatic - clifftops & purple heather with crashing waves. The chill cut short the walk a little along with hunger pangs. Headed upto St Dogmaels - good chippy - and then onto Poppit Sands. Chips on the beach except the wind hadn't really died down so finding a sheltered spot was fairly important otherwise we'd have had flying chips.
    Bit of a hike to find a patch of unpopulated dunes. Enjoyed watching various badly trained dogs ignoring their owners. Couldn't quiet brave the winds & take a dip - paddle had to do - going soft. Ice cream / balckberries before heading back & realising fully that my body can't deal with really fatty foods. Upto bed to try & sleep it off. Just about managed it before sunset.
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  • Day5

    Division of labour.

    August 15, 2018 in the United Kingdom ⋅ 🌧 17 °C

    Forecasts of drabness & latterly rain didn't encourage extensive outdoor plans. That said it was dry in the morning so strike while the iron is hot. Liz felt otherwise preferring to do some writing. Fair enough. A cycle over the Preseli Hills to the Gwaun Valley should do the trick for me. The track up to the main road wasn't particularly bike friendly - not that it's car friendly really. Some hefty hills & great views. The Gwaun Valley was gentle enough following the river but once that ended back over the hills. This time you knew it was bad because they'd used switchbacks. Only a couple so it was fairly short - or so you would think. Clearly the road architects either got bored & thought sod this let's just go to the top or they ran out of money & had to use as little tarmac as possible because the switchbacks weren't even close to the end. Great views of Newport & our neck of the woods from the top. Back in time for lunch except there was little in apart from Welsh cakes. Headed to Lower Fishguard & the quay to try a cafe. Pretty limited options - salads (cheese, ham, crab or lobster) sarnies (crab or lobster) Off to the co-op to stock up - not on Welsh cakes. By now the rains had come & boy did they come. More writing for Liz.Read more

  • Day4

    Pollen problems.

    August 14, 2018 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

    Similar plan to yesterday but a right turn at our beach as opposed to left. Headed to Newport & opening hours of eating establishments had been checked prior to departure. A far less undulating route was the bonus, however for some reason the fields full of grass wasn't so good for the hayfever. Dope myself up when back at basecamp but for now snotty & bleary eyed. Half way point at a deserted beach accesible only by the footpath. On leaving there was a possible dolphin sighting (not by me obviously) Pushed onto Newport stopping only for multiple blackberry scrumpings and for a tiny vole. Posed momentarily but by the time the camera was out he'd scarpered. Gentle descent to the marine end of town - kayaking, sailing & water skiing all going on. Would there be food going on. The waterside cafe of choice was serving - as you'd expect in August. Stifling inside, so outside in the cloud. Nice crab sarnies & chicken dippers. Walked a little further along the path - estuary views and questionable views of the remains of a Norman fort or was it just a mound? Back through town scrutinising the ludicrously priced & poncy menus. Instead headed into a second hand book store (wonder whose idea that was?) Picked up a couple of bargains & headed back. Sun was trying but just not hard enough. By the time we were back it was a little brighter - a little time in the garden. Miraculously no Welsh cakes consumed - can't last.Read more

  • Day3

    Closed in August - How dare they!

    August 13, 2018 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

    The forecast wasn't too bad so the planned hike around Dinas Head got the go ahead. That said there was much debate about atire - Shorts? Boots? Waterproof? Couldn't decide - whatever would be wrong. Rather like yesterday the cloud cover looked set in for the day so a case of make the best of it. The walk to Cwm yr Eglwys was fairly straight forward - high tide so little beach to speak of so pushed on safe in the knowledge that the headland hike may be hard work but at the end was a pub lunch. While the sun wasn't around it was still quite warm & this was the serious part of the walk - seal spotting. Well for those of us with remotely decent eyesight - so just Liz. Spotted one around half way much to her delight. Celebratory banana. Once past the half way cairn it was downhill all the way & eventually the Old Sailor pub came into view along with the beach at Pwllgwaelod. The closer we got the more it became apparent that all the benches outside were vacant - in August... Now it had been quiet on the walk & the weather wasn't great but... Bad feeling. Got there to find it was closed on Mondays. IN AUGUST. Wouldn't get that in Cornwall. At least it was a flat walk back to Cwm yr Eglwys. Plenty of blackberries & an ice cream by the beach. And the sun made an appearance. By the time we were back the cloud had well & truly been burned off. Little bit of late lunch, relax & down to the local beach for a swim. Bit of a battle getting in. Refreshing or something like that...Read more

  • Day2

    The sun smiles when the reds win.

    August 12, 2018 in the United Kingdom ⋅ 🌧 19 °C

    Woke up to bad dreams about work (Ofsted) & rain. Not looking good but since Jurgen's finest were playing today, a chunk of the day would be inside watching the mighty reds at which point rain wouldn't be the end of the world. Liverpool loosing - that might be. On the verge of a snotty call to the letting agents when the shower wouldn't co-operate - Liz sorted it & hopefully a one off. Spent the morning reading & having a quick dash down to the beach when the rain eased. And then dashing back when it didn't. Located a couple of suitable venues for the match that showed football & also served food. Headed in only to discover that the chosen boozer wasn't in fact serving - no chef - for 3 weeks. The landlord didn't seem too happy. We had prime specs - do we give them up for sustenance or do we have a sunday lunch of crisps. No choice. Great views of 4 fine goals. Happy days - top of the league after 1 game - hopefully the same after 38 games. To be fair to the landlord he pointed us in the right direction for a sunday lunch post match. Opted instead to have a snack of 'G's' favourite - some Welsh cakes. Can see his point - their 'beltin' boyo. By now the sun had made an appearance - the world is a better place when Liverpool win. Down to the beach - a mear 1 min walk downhill - couldn't really be much closer. Soaked up some rays & took a little (slippery) walk along the coastal path. Need boots really.Read more

  • Day1

    A rather damp arrival.

    August 11, 2018 in the United Kingdom ⋅ 🌧 17 °C

    Set off in the finest Merseyside sunshine safe in the knowledge that such a state of affairs was unlikely to last much beyond the border. The car was well laden down - uncertain weather forecasts necessitates a broad range of clothing. Opted for the tunnel rather than the chaos of the M6 or the robbery of the Mersey Gateway. Stocked up at Wrexham & pushed on to the A road nightmare that would be stuck behind endless bastard boxes (caravans) Thankfully that didn't really hit us until Aberystwyth along with the rain. A couple of detours along country lanes but the start of the season commentaries and the occasional apple kept me alert. The turn off to the cottage was a bit of a double take - the clue was in the satnav instruction - turn right onto alley. Hmmm. Alley was a little generous. Eventually wound up in a farm courtyard & our cottage was a former stable. Unpacked the bikes and then the car - damp work in the rain. Settled in & braved the rain to head to Fishguard & the local supermarket (ish) Pizza & fruit for tea. Early night - 5 hours of driving behind slow arses can be a little draining.Read more