Thousands of people have been killed in the conflict in Syria.
Every night 8 million children go to bed hungry.
Sky TV have just put up there subscription cost.
With all this going on, it seemed time to escape to the countryside.
With a goal of getting out, 3 weekends out of 4, the month started with a trip to Cadair Idris.
Considered a right of passage among the walking group, its located close to the village of Corris, so we stayed once again at Corris hostel.
It’s quit a hard walk, and the first few miles were similar to Ben Nevis (just with fewer Scottish people, and more idiots letting dogs off leads and spending an hour trying to catch them again :).
I recently did a walk to crinkle crags in the lake district, and strangely, this was just like it.
A sort of horse shoe, but the mountain at the “front” wasn’t actually the peak. It was the 1 off to the right.
Literally translated its means Chair of Idris, and its the 2nd most popular welsh mountain after Snowdon.
Weather was fantastic, so we stopped next to Lyn cau lake to have lunch.
I was introduced to a new member of the group called Monika. She works in the UK, and is originally from the Czech republic.
I’d heard of her antics walking all day then sleeping overnight next to a tree, before continuing. Pretty drastic stuff. I gave her my orange bivvi bag, in case she ends up in that predicament again !.
Took the opportunity to try to talk people into joining the book group I’m in, but there weren’t any takers.
A gruelling (well for me, anyway) walk along the tops, and we’re standing on Craig cau overlooking the lake we just had lunch next too.
To my friends who think hill walking is dull and boring, take a look at this photo and imagine what it would have been like seeing it in real life.
We reach the top.
Its a popular mountain and loads of other people were there.
Strangely, a large number of mountain bikes. No, I mean mountain bikes in a location like this, aren’t unusual. In this case, the bikes were “riderless” and nobody was anywhere near them. A sort of surreal moment.
I’m still getting my fitness back, but I was pleased with my progress on the mountain. So pleased, that I ate many of the chocolates and sweets routinely distributed at moments like that.
We wander back. We walk past a perfectly good tea/coffee shop and continue on to Gwesty Minffordd.
This place set a new standard in poor customer service. You might think with the profit margin on £2 for a can of coke a smile would be in order. Instead, sighs and rolling eyes.
My favourite part was where Aidan queried the price of something and pointed at a sign on the wall, showing the item cheaper. At this the “proprietor” removed it from the wall, said that’s a mistake and demanded the higher price.
Realising he’d upset us (and probably being terrified of trip advisor) he came outside where we were sitting and tried to befriend us. My friends at the walking group are some of the nicest people that I know. Between us we couldn’t find the will to talk to him.
I see small business’s in countryside areas struggling almost every weekend and when I see places run like this it convinces me, for some of them its their own fault.
Put simply, if it was a baking hot day, and the drinks were free, I wouldn’t go back there (but I’d be delighted if trading standards did :).
End of the day, we head back to Corris hostel.
Corris hostel has been on a financial downward spiral, ever since Sue started seeing Aled, and is now up for sale.
Aled lives in Corris and luckily, was able to give us the heads up that temporarily the pub had no food, as the chefs had left.
This kind of thing doesn’t sound like a problem, but its in a hamlet and if you turn up without knowing, your only option is sending a taxi for a take away pizza !.
Pie and Chips on the way home, then we get showered and changed and spend a fab evening in the Slaters Arms (drinks in the evening are as much a part of the hill walking life, as waterproofs and walking boots).
The picture above, isn’t actually taken in the Slaters arms nor do I know any of the people pictured (I got it off the internet, I didn’t want to re-use the pictures I have, again and again).
The next day we do a short walk to a Slate mine. Its disused now, but interesting and peaceful for a Sunday walk.
On the way we vist the “Little Italy garden“.
Its moments like this that I’m glad of the internet.
Over 20 years, the owner of this house and garden, constructed miniatures of various buildings in Italy.
Sadly, he passed away 4 years ago, and the model buildings are starting to deteriorate. They won’t last forever, but they’ve been photographed and catalogued on the internet, so 100 years from now, people will still be able to read about them and they won’t be forgotten.
We finish our wander and head home. Stop off at Bala lake for some coffee. We’ve already decided to try Sea kayaking this year, but we were impressed with the price of lake kayaking and sailing lessons.
Back to work, and loads going on.
At lunchtime, I met up with Dan at the Driving range near to the office.
I go there sometimes, as its quiet and you can always get a seat outside.
On this occasion, Dan had bought a club and was having a go at “driving”.
He is actually in this picture, but it was taken with an IPhone in poor light, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.
While buying a drink in the Drivetime bar, I noticed a video of a song by Snap (a song I enjoyed immensely in my youth).
For no particular reason, I’ve decided to put it up here.
On the Friday, we take delivery of the server cabinets for our new building.
They’re delivered on a container truck, and are so big and heavy, that we need a JCB forklift to get them down.
The cabinets are moved into the building 1 at a time and put into position.
Pretty exciting stuff, and special for me. Up to this point, its all been paperwork and planning. At this point, I’m dealing in tangibles and it feels a lot more real now.
Still early days for the IT move project, but I’ll post more photos as things happen.
The following weekend and its adventure time again.
You may have read last years misadventure to Llangollen.
I pedal down to Wrexham and meet up with Brian. We visit Sue’s house, and have lunch in the Garden while Brian does some routine maintenance on Sue’s new bike (which is superb).
I was slightly upset that she didn’t ask me to help with the maintenance, but then I remember that I’m lazy so everything was ok.
In the following section, there aren’t many photo’s of us actually cycling. Truth is its hard to ride (especially when exhausted) and use a camera at the same time.
I’m less fit than I was this time last year, but focused, determined and being egged on by Sue and Brian, we get to the top
I pedalled all the way this time (I found that use of gears and correct adjustment of saddle etc can transform the cycling experience). That said, there were a few times when I just had to get off and push the bike up the hill.
This particular spot probably has the best views over Llangollen. I took the photo in a hurry, and didn’t actually look at it until I was at the bottom of hill. Bugger.
This picture of the 3 of us at the top of the hill.
Sue heads home (to rejoin us in the evening for a tour of Llangollen’s superb pubs) and Brian and I head down the hill.
The camp-site is at the bottom of the hill, I pay my £8 and then setup my tent.
Once again, the zephros 2 tent, mountain equipment xero sleeping bag, thermarest sleeping mat, jumper, waterproof jacket, lock & tools for bike, torch and penknife all fit into a 25 litre rucksack (which I’ve carried on my back all day).
I have a pannier rack now, just dont have any panniers yet, so next year I’ll be all set.
With the tent up and bike locked to a tree, Brian heads of to arrange his accommodation for the night, and I wander into town.
First stop, something to eat.
Camping is great fun, but when travelling light, it makes more sense to buy stuff from bakeries and chippy’s rather than carry food, a stove, plates, cups, knives and forks and all the rest.
The chippy in Llangollen is excelent, so I went straight there. I was delighted a few weeks ago, when someone left a comment on my blog about Easter in Llangollen:
Just wanted to thank you for the mention in your blog. I hope you enjoyed your meals and look forward to your returning. If you have a group with you please let me know in advance so i can cater for your evening meal in our cafe if required – many thanks and happy travels. Mark SeajayS (owner/partner)
Thats Seajays chippy in Llangollen high street where I bought a chip muffin for £2. A bargain.
Although its not at the top of anyone’s nutritional list, I’d been pedalling all day and it was just what I needed (they have a bistro next to the chippy where they serve salad and healthier options).
From here, I wandered around and had a look in the Watkin and Williams hardware shop (which has just about anything you could ever need. If you’re camping and realise you dont have a tin opener, some tent pegs, literaly anything, this is the place to go).
I also had a look in the pro-adventure shop. This trip was on a budget, but I like looking in outdoor shops, and they have some cool stuff in there.
From there, a pint in Bensons and then met Brian, Sue and Aled at the Wynnstay arms (they have a really big beer garden there). It was a beautiful evening and the place was alive.
Finish off the evening at the Sun pub (which I keep mistakenly calling the Star).
Brian has made friends there previously, so we hang out with them.
One minute there’s a handful of us having a chat, the next minute the pub is practically full (a few minutes after the photo above was taken there were double that number of people in the bar)
The band, Body Meta arrive on on stage and pick up the beat.
As a seasoned pub goer, there is nothing that brings a pub to life like live music.
So exciting, that even though I’m exhausted I stay up drinking and singing until 1am.
Everyone heads for home, and I walk back up the hill to my tent with melancholia. My adventure is almost over.
I slept straight through the night and woke up at 8am.
I might have slept in, but luckily the guy in the pitch next to mine was car camping and had decided to leave early.
Having problems with the boot of his car, he slammed it down hard at least 20 times, before he was satisfied that it was shut properly. This helped me to wake up. There aren’t many campers as considerate as him.
On my own, I decide not to cycle back home, instead Ill push the bike along the Canal and enjoy the morning. I stopped at 1 point, to take this picture.
After this, I arrived at Ruabon train station, and 25 minutes later I’m pushing my bike across Chester railway station (with its perfectly bland bridge, resplendent with its 1.1 million pound upgrade !).
Like so often on a Sunday afternoon, I put the hot water on, which takes an hour, which give me enough time to have 2 pints in the mill hotel.
My adventure complete, the end of another brilliant weekend.