North West Coast of Coll Walk, Inner Hebrides, ScotlandοΏΌ

You only need to take one look at the map (at the end of the gallery below) to see that this was going to be an outstanding walk, taking in, as it does, almost all the beaches along the north coast of Coll. The only drawback was that the return to where I parked the car was along the road.

The four people in pic 13 were the only other walkers that I saw all day. It’s a very quiet and beautiful island and well worth a visit should you get the chance. πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ˜Š

West Coast of Coll Walk, Inner Hebrides, Scotland

After 3 days on the Isle of Tiree we decamped (literally) to the adjacent island of Coll. Accommodation was in short supply, so we slept for 2 nights ‘under canvas’, at the lovely Garden House campsite, before spending 4 nights at the fabulous Coll Hotel*.

The campsite is surrounded by an RSPB reserve, where you will almost certainly hear, if never see, the elusive and endangered corncrake. We were treated to an all night chorus by at least two of them (& a cuckoo) on our first night there. If you’ve never heard the call of a corncrake, please listen to this recording on Wiki and you’ll get a feel for our experience. The campsite does provide free ear plugs!

Positioned as it was at the western end of the island, it was a no-brainer for me to do an 8 mile / 13km circuit along the coastal path to the far tip of the island, before returning across country to Crossapol Bay. One of my targets was to ‘bag’ what must be one of the lowest trig points in the whole of Scotland, if not the UK, at Calgary Point, which stands at the magnificent height of 59ft or 18 metres. (See pic 13).

*Note that I shamelessly give the Coll Hotel a plug (indeed 2 now) as it’s owned and run by some family member’s of my cousin, Ron. πŸ‘πŸ‘ 😊

Common Blue butterfly

It seems a lifetime since I posted some pictures of butterflies. But there was great excitement (at least on on my part) in the garden this afternoon when a blue butterfly fluttered by and came to rest. I dashed in and grabbed my camera and, thankfully, managed to get a couple of reasonable shots from above and below to help to identify it. I was hoping for something exotic, but it appears to be ‘just’ a Common Blue male (Polymmatus icarus). Gone are the days I’m afraid when these posts will be filled with several species. 😌

And, yes, our grass does need cutting!

South West Coast Path Walk, Day 4 of 4, Porthtowan to Gwithian, Cornwall, England

Although Day 4 was perhaps the shortest, at around 11.5 miles or 19km, it certainly had more ascent and descent, as you will see from the pics below.

The logistics of this event were a little more complex than usual, but I’ll not bore you with the details. Suffice it to say that it would be very remiss of me not to mention a few people who supported us during our walk. So a very big THANKYOU to:

  • My wife, Jude, for ferrying me to the start and back from the finish, not to mention helping with our car in the middle.
  • Tim’s wife, Hayley, for similarly providing a taxi service for the boys to the start on Day 1 and for us all on days 3 and 4. And to both Tim and Hayley for accommodating us in their wonderful home, which included a fabulous celebratory meal at the end.
  • Three and a half year old London and her mom, Tiffany, for the welcome banner as we arrived back at Tim’s, (see pic 36). London was an endless source of fun and games. I shall forever be known to her as Grandpa Pig (of Peppa Pig fame), while Dave is “The Naughty Boy”, for not coming down from his bedroom when told.
  • And, lastly, to Pete, Liam, Tim and Dave for their excellent company over the 4 days. It never ceases to amaze me how we fill the days talking about anything and everything, most of which is absolute rubbish! πŸ˜‰

I hope you enjoyed our little walk.

Cheers! 🍻

South West Coast Path Walk, Day 1 of 4, Trevone to Trenance, Cornwall, England

Long-standing followers may recall that some friends and I often take on a multi-day walk. I think I originally mentioned it in June 2015 when we did the first (or last) 50 miles of the 640 mile long South West Coast Path, from Minehead to Croyde. Then, just before the COVID lockdown started, in March 2020 Pete and I did the last (or first) 65 miles or so, from Poole to Abbotsbury. With restrictions easing across the UK, we were all itching to take on another challenge and, since one of our merry band (Tim) now lives very near to the coast path in Cornwall, we chose to do another 50 mile section from Trevone to Gwithian.

Day 1 was around 12.5 miles or 20km long, finishing at the rather grandly named Bedruthan Hotel and Spa, where only Dave and I took advantage of the heated and not-so-heated outside swimming pools. As you will see from the gallery below, it was a mostly sunny day, with lots (and lots) of coves and beaches. πŸ–

Day 2, from Trenance to Holywell Bay, tomorrow… 😊

Garnedd-goch from Cwm Pennant, Snowdonia National Park, N. Wales

After scouring the Ordnance Survey app. for possible routes, I came across this one, which I believe was in the Trail magazine in September 2021. It only gave the route to the top of Mynydd Graig Goch so, to save retracing my steps, I descended firstly east then south before turning east again to reach the road back to the car park at the end of the valley.

Cwm Pennant is an amazingly peaceful little valley, the end of which is reached via a single track road and by opening (& closing obviously) 3 farm gates. This is sheep country and no mistake!

Spring has definitely arrived in North Wales…

There was great excitement here yesterday (on my part anyway) when Jude announced that she had seen a butterfly while pottering around her vegetable garden. No sooner had she uttered the words and I turned around and there it was. (See pic 1). And, later, while admiring all her hard work, I spotted another…

I think the walking season may have just begun. 😊

Coedydd Maentwrog National Nature Reserve and Ffestiniog Mountain Railway Walk, Gwynedd, North Wales

If you like nature and/or steam railways, this is a post for you. 😊 Please read on…

Many people, in the UK at least, will be aware of the narrow gauge railways which were once used to ferry slate from the mines and quarries in North Wales to Porthmadog for onward shipment around the world. Some of those historic steam trains are now being used by the Ffestiniog and Welsh Mountain Railways to take holidaymakers from Porthmadog to either Caernarfon or the old mines themselves at Blaenau Ffestiniog. However, not many, including me before I went on this walk, will know that the area is also noted for some of the last Atlantic oak woods in Europe.

The Coedydd Maentwrog Nature Reserve is described as one of Wales’s “rainforests” and, like all rainforests, is considered of global importance. Conditions here are perfect for the growth of 200 (yes, that’s two hundred) species of mosses and liverworts and 120 sorts of lichen. (Who knew that there were that many on the planet, let alone in one small wood in the corner of North Wales and how do the experts distinguish the difference? πŸ€”) In addition the woods are home to over 286 different kinds of small moth and the area is the UK stronghold of the rare Lesser Horseshoe bat.
(The numbers are truly amazing, don’t you think?!)

In the gallery below, I’ve captured a few images of some moss and lichen as well as some flowers but I’ll leave you to work out what sort they might be. πŸ€”

As for the route, Judith and I set off from the car park next to Llyn (lake) Mair and walked up a path which runs, for the most part, alongside the railway track, until we reached Dduallt station, where the track does a complete 360 degree loop. We waited there until the next train arrived and we watched the happy, waving passengers go by! (We were just like The Railway Children!! 😊)

We walked back the same way and, on the way, as a special treat for you steam train enthusiasts, I took a video of one of the trains passing by. πŸš‚ Note that the first two carriages are two of the first ever (and possibly last remaining) fixed wheel carriages built in the UK. At the time, the engineers were worried about the carriages toppling over on the narrow gauge. So, firstly, the carriages are very short (so that they could go around the bends – it was only later that bogies were added at either end to allow the carriages to be longer and the wheels to ‘turn’ independently) and secondly, the passengers sit with their backs in the centre facing directly outwards, (to keep the centre of gravity over the centre of the tracks). You live and learn. I hope you enjoy!

Footnote: All of these images were captured on 11th October 2021.