A Tale of the ‘Scarce’ Orange Butterfly…

On Friday, my sister-in-law, Charlotte, came over to stay. So yesterday, together with my wife, Jude, we all went out for a short walk along the Wales Coast Path. After about 30 minutes of walking, I’d got slightly ahead and was called back, as both said they had seen a “very small, bright orange butterfly, with black edges”. It flew off before I could get even a sight of it and, more crucially, before anyone could get a picture. Upon returning to the house, I got out my book and both said it looked just like the Scarce Copper. This is interesting as they are not known to frequent these shores, preferring mainland Europe.

To ‘set the scene’ further, this is what a Scarce Copper looks like and you would think it would be unmistakeable, other than for a Large Copper, which looks very similar, but is slightly larger and is also not usually found in Britain.

Given the prospect of maybe ‘discovering’ one of the first Scarce Coppers ever seen in the UK (perhaps in recent times), I set out today to visit the same location in the hope of getting a picture… The weather was breezy and many clouds were about, so I wasn’t hopeful.

But no, I did spot something flutter up. It was small, a little too brown (from my point of view) to be a Scarce Copper, but there was a flash of colour… Even though I thought I saw exactly where it landed, it had disappeared completely. After another 30 minutes or so of waiting and searching, I gave up. 😌

However, on the way to the location, I had paused to take some very poor photos of a Speckled Wood and a dragonfly. So on my return I was looking out for them to get some better pictures – which I did. And, as well as a rather strange looking spider (any suggestions anyone?) and a still loaded blackberry bush, I got some decent images… (But read on…)

Once I got home I was sorting out the pictures and, you should be aware that, I’m in the habit of taking a photo from far away before getting as close as possible to the subject. I took this picture:

Now I thought this must be a precursor to the dragonfly above, but no, and don’t ask me where this came from but, upon zooming in, look what I found:

It’s hard to tell, but I think this is a Small Copper. Now, of course, this may not be what my wife and Charlotte saw yesterday. So the jury is still out. Perhaps another visit is required tomorrow…? πŸ€”

Moel Hebog Walk, Snowdonia National Park, North Wales

I don’t have tick lists as such, but one of my goals is to walk up to the top of all of the mountains that we can see from our house. Moel Hebog is the one which is more or less in the centre of the banner picture at the top of my site and is 782m or 2,566ft high. I’m surprised it’s taken my this long to do it, but on Sunday, with the heatwave still going strong, I set off from the car park between Nantmor and the Aberglaslyn bridge. After 2 minutes, I realised that I was heading in the wrong direction, but I was glad in a way as otherwise I wouldn’t have captured the two butterflies in pics 1 and 2 below. πŸ˜€

The route follows the east side of the river (or afon) Glaslyn to the quaint little village of Beddgelert (which was packed with tourists) before heading almost directly up to the summit. From the top, with my binoculars, I could just about make out our house through the heat haze, but the views in all directions were fantastic. Not only that but, while I sat and ate my lunch, I was treated to a fly past by a red kite and several Wall Browns living up to their names on the dry stone wall leading up to the summit cairn.

On my return, I’d hoped to see one of the Welsh Highland Railway steam trains passing by, but I had to be content with a shot of one in the Beddgelert station. (See pic 31).

Isle of Tiree, Inner Hebrides, Scotland

Knowing that we would have a long, 8 hour drive to Jodie and Alex’s wedding, Jude and I decided to extend our stay in Scotland with a trip to two of the islands in the Inner Hebrides – Tiree and Coll.

Known as the Sunshine Isle, for having the most sunshine in all of the UK (I’m told), Tiree is noted for its stunning beaches (see also the detailed map below). In the few days that we were there we tried our best to get around them all and below are some of my best pics. I hope you enjoy.

Jodie and Alex’s Wedding

Almost exactly 5 years ago now, I posted pictures of Hannah and Mike’s wedding. Well, after a 2 year delay, due to you-know-what, it was the turn of her sister, Hannah, to marry Alex.

The wedding was held at the Loch Melfort Hotel, which is around 20 miles south of Oban, on the west coast of Scotland. The happy couple were blessed with glorious sunshine all day and the actual ceremony took place in what can only be described as a magnificent setting, right by the side of the loch. Inevitably many kilts were in evidence and a piper played… I hope this video and the gallery below gives you a feel for the atmosphere on their very special day.

(Suggestion: For the optimum “Scottish” experience, after viewing the video, allow the music to loop around while you view the gallery of photos). 😊

Ynys Llanddwyn,Ynys MΓ΄n, Cymru (aka Llanddwyn Island, Anglesey, Wales)

One thing you notice when you come to Wales is that all the road and most shop signs are written in both Welsh and English. So it only seems right that I should do my best to follow suit here. (Though why I didn’t write many of my other post titles in French or German or Italian I’m not sure… Perhaps I did sometimes. πŸ€”)

Anyhow, it was only last week that I realised I’d not posted these pictures of our trip to the aforementioned Ynys Llanddwyn (island), which lies off the southern edge of Anglesey. It’s not really an island so much as an isthmus which is cut off at high tide.

So the following gallery harks back to 23rd March 2022, when Jude and I went for a drive around to one of our favourite places. And, my apologies for yet more beaches, but I shall be returning to the mountains very soon I’m sure…

Some (approximate) pronunciation notes:

  • The letter ‘w’ in Welsh is frequently pronounced ‘oo’ as in ‘look’ (more or less like a double u sound), but at other times like a ‘w’ as in water.
  • A double d, ‘dd’, is pronounced ‘th’ as in ‘the’.
  • A ‘u’ is pronounced like an ‘i’, sometimes short, like ‘tin’ and sometimes long, as in ‘been’.
  • The ‘y’ is perhaps the most confusing, (to non-Welsh speakers that is), as it is sometimes pronounced like ‘uh’ as in ‘cut’, but at other times like an ‘i’ as in ‘bin’ and others like ‘ee’ as in ‘been’.
  • There is no English equivalent to the double L. ‘Ll’, is best described by putting your tongue to the top of your mouth and blowing out!

Hence Cymru = Cumree, Ynys = Unis, Llanddwyn = Llan-th-oo-in. (Hope this helps!)

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… 😊

Wales Coast Path Walk, Ynys to Criccieth

Every since I walked south along the Wales Coast Path from our house, I’ve been itching to do the same, heading north. So, on Thursday, despite strong overnight winds, which promised to continue all morning and grey skies, I set off. As you will see from the gallery, the weather was changeable to say the least. I had everything from bright sunshine to hailstones, with typical April showers in between, but it was very enjoyable nonetheless.

I wasn’t expecting to take so many photos, given the overcast skies, but I think you’ll agree there was plenty of variety along the walk. For example, I was just bemoaning to myself, how dull the middle ‘road’ section was, through the villages of Penrhyndeudraeth and Minffordd when, firstly, a Ffestiniog Railway steam train came along and stopped in Minfordd station and then I was treated to an impromptu “One Man and His Dog” performance as a farmer sent his dog off to round up some stray lambs and sheep.

Snowdon Walk, Snowdonia National Park, North Wales

The sun has continued to shine here in North Wales and, indeed, across the rest of the UK I believe. So yesterday it was the perfect day to take on Wales’ highest peak at 1,085m or 3,560ft. I decided to do it via the Watkin Path, so called because it was created by Sir Edward Watkin and was Britain’s first designated footpath. It was opened by the then Prime Minister, William Gladstone, in 1892 and there is a plaque on a large rock to commemorate the occasion. (See pic 8).

Snowdon (or Yr Wyddfa in Welsh) is reputed to be Britain’s most walked mountain and you can see why when, on a fine day like yesterday, the hoards ascend (some via the train to the top) and queue very politely to capture that all important summit photo. I’ve been to the very top before, on a much quieter day thankfully, so I was content to take pictures from just below the summit cairn.

To make the walk into a loop, I descended via the South Ridge or Bwlch Main, which I thought would be quite precipitous, but in the event was just a bit rocky underfoot. The path eventually turned to the left to meet up again with the Watkin Path, just below Gladstone’s rock and just above the Waterfalls, where many people were having picnics or taking advantage of the “fairy pools” below.