Clwb Golff Brenhinol Dewi Sant (Royal St David’s Golf Club), Harlech, North Wales

I’ve mentioned a few times before that the main reason I don’t post as often these days is due to joining the above golf club when I came back to the UK and therefore playing a lot more golf than I did in Switzerland. Well, the weather has been glorious for the past week, so I thought it was about time I took my camera down to the club to show you why I’m so distracted…

Yesterday there was a regular “Monthly Stableford” competition and, although I didn’t play very well, I did manage to capture a few photos (if not birdies), including one of an orchid while searching for my lost ball! (Every cloud has a silver lining! 😊)

With thanks to my playing partners, Roy, John and Barry for putting up with me wandering off to take these pictures!

Please note that if you page through the gallery, each image has a caption, which explains each hole.

Isles of Scilly, St Agnes & Gugh (Part 2 of 5)

As mentioned in my post yesterday, we stayed on the island of St Agnes, which is not much more than a mile (1.5km) long and around 0.75 miles (1.2km) wide, though that’s 1.25 miles (2km) if you include Gugh, which is attached via a sand bar at low tide. (See map). However, to walk all around the coastline of both it’s around 5 miles (or 8.5 km). There is a resident population of less than 100 people – mainly involved in tourism, agriculture and the production of the most delicious ice cream (fortunately for us, at Troytown Farm! πŸ˜‹)

The gallery below is a rather random selection of photos taken over the 12 days that we were there.

Snowdonia Tour, Day 3 (of 4), Betws-y-Coed to the Pen-y-Gwryd Hotel, North Wales

After a hearty breakfast at the Glan Aber Hotel, we set off on what would be the most climbing of any of the days, at nearly 4,000ft (or 1,200m). Our route was initially along yet another section of the Snowdonia Slate Trail, alongside of the Afon Llugwy (river) and past the Swallow Falls. From there we wandered through the woods and across the moor to Capel Curig. That’s where we parted from the Slate Trail and the ‘serious’ climbing started, up to Y Foel Goch (@ 2,640ft or 805m) and, from there, slightly down to the Miner’s track.

Eager to ‘bag’ Glyder Fach (@3,262ft or 994m), Dave, Pete and I carried on to the top, leaving Tim and Liam to meander down to the Pen-y-Gwryd Hotel. The summit was a mass of random boulders, which took some navigating to get onto the actual top but, with Dave’s ‘perfectly safe’ assistance, we managed it. (See pics 29P and 30). We scrambled back down and returned to the Miner’s track to reach the hotel in good time for dinner. πŸ˜‹

The Pen-y-Gwryd hotel has quite a history, it’s famous for being the training headquarters of the first successful Everest expedition in 1953. Several well known climbers and celebrities have signed their names on one of the ceilings, including Sir Edmund Hilary, George Mallory, Alan Hinkes, Don Willans and Sir Roger Bannister. The Beatles once visited the hotel, but they were not deemed famous enough (at the time no doubt) to be invited to sign the ceiling!
For more information on this rather amazing place, please click or touch here.

With thanks to Pete for the use of some of his photos (suitably watermarked) and the ‘loan’ of his camera to take the summit selfie, (pic 30).

Cadair Idris (descent) Walk, North Wales

Nearly 3 weeks ago now, we had a gloriously blue sky day forecast. So I decided to walk up to the top of Cadair Idris (which was a first for me). At 893m, or 2930ft, it’s the highest mountain in southern Snowdonia.

After parking near the Minffordd Hotel, I took the very steep Minffordd path to the top and had some amazing views of Llyn Cau and Cadair Idris itself. And I would have had some equally amazing photos to show you but, about half way round, as I started my descent from Mynydd Moel, I discovered that there was no SD card in the camera! (Doh! πŸ˜–) Thankfully I had my mobile phone with me and had already taken a panoramic photo from the summit (see pic 1), so I started to use that on the descent.

On the way down, I noticed a row of people with cameras. (See pics 8 & 9). I assumed they were twitchers looking for a rare bird, but they were obviously looking for a much faster ‘bird’, as there were some jets doing practice circuits along the valley and they came roaring through about 3 or 4 times. I managed to capture one reasonable photo, (pic 10), but I decided to take a video to give you a better flavour for what was happening. However, I suggest you turn down the volume for the video added at the end, as it’s rather loud!

If we ever get a blue sky day again (and I’m free of golf) I plan to return and take some photos of the ascent!

Footnote: For some reason I couldn’t transfer my photos to my laptop, so I downloaded the images and video using the Jetpack app on my phone (hence there’s no watermark nor image texts and the panorama pics are a bit wonky!) and I added this text on my laptop. πŸ˜€

Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland

While we were in Northumberland, Jude and I went for a day trip to Edinburgh on the train. Our main aim was to see the Royal Yacht, Britannia, but our appointment wasn’t until the afternoon. So with drizzle in the air, we opted for a wander around the Scottish National Gallery (at least one part of which is free to enter btw).

I’m always amazed by the skill of any artist, but some of the paintings (shown below) just blew me away – particularly the level of detail on some of the larger works. You’ve got to love the look on the dog’s face in the last image.

Note: For the best ‘gallery’ experience, please click on the first (or any) image and page through… (The title of each piece and artist is noted underneath each image, though I’m afraid WP doesn’t like to include capitals and apostrophe’s, etc).

Holy Island of Lindisfarne Walk, Northumberland, England

Jude and I spent last week on holiday in Northumberland. We went for a number of walks along the fabulous beaches along the coast and this was the first, around (most of) the island of Lindisfarne or Holy Island – so called because, in 635AD, St Aidan travelled there from Iona to set up a monastery.

The island is cut off from the mainland twice a day due to the tides, so you have to time your arrival and departure carefully. Luckily we were able cross around 10am and drive back again before 5:30pm. Just enough time to make the most of the glorious sunshine! 😊

The Dee Way, Part 1, Day 4 (of 5), Corwen to Llangollen, N. Wales

Day 4 started brightly enough, but with snow or sleet forecast for later and almost 15.5 miles to cover, I cheated a little and took the easier road option for the first section. I soon arrived in Carrog where the information board told me that Paul McCartney’s brother, Mike, was married in the local church in 1968. Presumably Sir Paul was there, but it didn’t say. (See pics 10 – 12).

After that it was up into the hills and the deep snow, which was well over a foot deep in places. (See pics 17 and 20). Back down on the road I came upon a signpost indicating it was only half a mile to the Sun Inn. The pub wasn’t marked on the map and, as it was (last) Saturday, I hoped it would be open. Sure enough it was and I enjoyed a spot of lunch before setting off in the sleet…

The last section followed the canal towpath from the Horseshoe Falls (much prettier in sunshine) all the way into Llangollen.

The Dee Way, Part 1, Day 3 (of 5), Llandderfel to Corwen, N. Wales

The forecast for day 3 was good from 10am, so I delayed my start until around 9:30am. It proved to be a good move as the sun soon made an appearance, if only briefly here and there. It also meant that I arrived at the Llew Glas or Blue Lion Inn in Llandrillo at exactly the right time for some “Splendid” refreshment. 😊

However, after yet more overnight snow, I decided to avoid the high level option suggested in the book and I followed the lower level, riverside alternative from Llandrillo to Corwen. This at least gave me the opportunity, at a ford, to wet my feet in the river Dee itself, which somehow seemed appropriate.

Along this and previous legs, I became very popular with quite a few flocks of sheep. Normally they soon run away, but they obviously thought I was going to feed them something. It happened so many times, I decided to take a video. I’ve posted it below, after the usual gallery, for you to enjoy!

Sheep and lambs hoping for food…

The Dee Way, Part 1, Day 1 (of 5), Source to Llanuwchllyn, N. Wales

First, a little background… Some months ago now, Jude and I were browsing the second hand books in the local, Harlech gallery and I came across a Kittiwake publication called The Dee Way. It describes a walk from either Prestatyn or Hoylake, which straddle the Dee estuary, to the source of the river Dee, or Afon Dyfrdwy, to give it its proper Welsh name. The route can be split into ten ‘doable’ sections, averaging around 12 to 14 miles per day (depending upon which start point you choose).

I like to do things differently, so I decided to do the walk from the source to Hoylake, which any golfers out there will know, is the home of the Royal Liverpool Golf Club, where The Open will be held this year. I think of it as my little pilgrimage. 😊 However, ten days in a row is a bit too much for me to tackle at once, so I’ve divided it into two, with the first ‘half’ going from the source to Chirk and I’ll do the second part later in the year.

I booked the accommodation about 3 or 4 weeks ago, so when the forecast was for snow and sleet, I did think twice, but decided to go ahead anyway. As you will see in the coming days, there were challenges… Not least of these was on Day 1 where, almost as soon as Jude had dropped me off, I came across some very slippery looking stepping stones (see pic 2). Not wishing to start my journey with wet feet (or worse), I took a short detour over a bridge. From there I followed a good forest track and I looked and looked for the turn off to the source, but no path was to be seen. (See pics 7 and 8). The book warns that the trek to the source shouldn’t be tackled in bad visibility, so I turned around (at the blue arrow on the detailed map in pic 36) and so began my journey east. Along the way, with no signs and again no obvious path, I had to rely upon my mobile OS map GPS to get across the lumpy, tussocky field in pic 15.

The snow soon dissipated though as I approached Llanuwchllyn (meaning the church above the lake), which is indeed where you will find St Deiniol’s church (see pics 26 to 28) and is the terminus of the Bala Lake (narrow gauge) Railway. (See pics 32 and 33).

Sneak preview of Day 2: The weather gets worse…!!

Gwydyr Forest Walk from Betws-y-Coed, Conwy, N. Wales

My good friend, Liam, decided to take a short break in the Snowdonia National Park and, last week, we met up to do a short walk (of approx. 4 miles) around the Gwydyr Forest, starting from Betws-y-Coed. As you will see from the route map and photo gallery, it was a circular walk, taking in the very tip of Llyn (lake) y Parc, lots of forest paths and several waterfalls.

I hope you enjoy your virtual visit to this small, but very beautiful, part of North Wales.

Technical note: I’d noticed that my photos were appearing quite small on the screen. I think this is because I was shrinking them to around 350kb, to save space and allow them to be loaded quickly. So this time, I’ve shrunk them to around 1Mb in the hope that the gallery ‘experience’ is much better. Please let me know if you have difficulty loading or seeing them and I’ll revert to the smaller format.