It was David’s birthday on Monday! To celebrate the day, he wanted to visit a nature reserve to test out his new telephoto lens. So we got up early on a bright August morning and headed up the motorway to … Continue reading
2020 has been a disappointing year for so many, David and myself included. For my birthday this year we should have been holidaying in a loch-side cabin in Scotland’s Trossach’s National Park, but due to Covid-19 restrictions, we made the best of a difficult situation and spent the day at Formby Point. No trip to the beach is complete without an excitable Border Collie in tow. We may not have seen any red squirrels in the woods but we certainly made the most of our time at the beach, even seeing a few mermaid purses. Here’s a few pictures from our trip.
How have you been coping in 2020? Have any holiday plans changed/cancelled?
Thanks for reading, and keep well,
It’s taken me a while to write this blog. Feeling under the weather and a bit blue with all this rain and dreary weather we have been having this November has really knocked my inspiration.
This year, for my birthday I booked two nights away to a gorgeous renovated mansion house, Plas Y Coed, part of the Penrhyn estate.
My plans were for a few days of wild swimming in gorgeous Snowdonia. I had plumbed for Llyn Geirionydd to be my birthday swim of 2019. On the day we drove the two hours from Liverpool towards the llyn, on narrow tracks through the Gwydir Forest. We arrived at free parking and toilets. The car park wasn’t easy to find!
Between 1850 and 1919 Llyn Geirionydd was part of a lead and zinc mining area. Reputedly the home of 6th century poet Taliesin, the llyn now has been restored for modern day visitors to enjoy.
After having lunch, we donned our heavy rucksacks, (you can’t believe the amount of equipment I have to bring for a swim!) and headed towards the llyn-side. Llyn Geirionydd wasn’t as picturesque as I had hoped but I experienced a wonderful walk around the llyn, met many curious onlookers and enjoyed a chilling swim.
The swim itself was much colder than I had expected. The temperature of the water really made me gasp! I’d prepared myself for future (high altitude swims) but not this one. Over the few days away in Snowdonia, Llyn Geirionydd was the swim that made me complain the most! :p
Plas Y Coed, after falling into disrepair has been given a new lease of life following extensive renovations. This grade II listed building was built between 1863 and 1878. Originally built for the home of the Penrhyn estate manager, Captain Pennant Lloyd. It has now been developed into 12 apartments. We booked a cosy and warm one bedroom apartment through airbnb.
Have you holidayed in Snowdonia? Where did you stay?
Thanks for reading,
I can’t quite believe it’s that time of year again. As December comes to a close and 2019 draws ever closer, it’s time to look back at 2018. And what a year 2018 has been! David and I have been on a wonderful adventure together. Below find 12 random pictures that highlight what a fantastic year 2018 has been!
The year began with a seven mile walk at Gisburn Forest, in the Forest of Bowland, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It certainly blew the cobwebs away and set the tone for the rest of the year ahead.
Desperate to get out and catch as much winter sun as we could, David and I embarked on a 10 mile circular walk of my much loved Derwentwater in the Lake District.
The highly anticipated exhibition of China’s First Emperor and the Terracotta Warriors opened at Liverpool’s World Museum. I visited in March with David and then again in September with mum.
I was over the moon when I completed my first 500 miles in the #walk1000miles challenge. I only had another 500 to complete, which I accomplished in July!
With the weather hotting up David and I took yet another trip to The Lake District. This time we walked towards Bleaberry Tarn for a blissfully warm wild swim.
June for me is undoubtedly all about The Wildlife Trust’s 30 Days Wild! This year was extra special as I managed to blog every day. We spent a wonderful month visiting many new nature reserves and even managed to squeeze in a short break to The Lake District, where we waked alpacas along Derwentwater.
The highlight of July was having my friend from California, USA come to stay with us for a few days. As requested, we visited the Lake District for what turned out to be a rather soggy hike around Rannerdale Knotts.
We took a trip down to see Dippy the Diplodocus at Birmingham Museums. This free exhibition was a little bit different from our other days out this year.
A wild swim dream came true this month when David and I took a short break to the Highlands of Scotland. I managed to bag three swims! It has whetted my appetite to visit again in future.
As a birthday treat I, along with David and my mum took a visit to Liverpool’s newly opened Cat Cafe. We seemed to be a magnet for naughty, hungry kitties.
The Lake District has played a heavy part in 2018. Imagine my happiness when we discovered that Riley could manage the two hours travel up to Cumbria. (He suffers badly with car sickness). Our first visit with Riley tagging along was to the serene Rydal Water and Grasmere.
December is all about the excitement of Christmas. My favourite picture from December is undoubtedly Riley with Santa Paws.
Let’s hope 2019 will be another kind year!
I wish you all good health and happiness for the new year ahead!
Thanks for your continued support,
It’s taken me ages to write about my birthday swim!
The public vote this year very much focused on the Lake District. I decided to leave the Langdale Angle Tarn (the clear winner) for next year and chose another tarn in the Langdale Valley, Loughrigg for my birthday swim!
We left home early in the morning and after a two hour drive we headed towards parking alongside Loughrigg Tarn. Due to it being early, we managed to get free parking in a lay-by beside the tarn. From there we followed a bridleway towards the Loughrigg Tarn.
It was a cold, crisp autumn day. Loughrigg Tarn proved popular with dog walkers, photographers and families alike. This is due to the – access for all – Miles Without Stiles easy, low level walk around the tarn.
After taking in the views David and I walked around the tarn looking for good entrance points. These were were few and far between. I found the entrances uninviting or littered with obstructions. Loughrigg Tarn wasn’t my favourite swim of the year, though I did manage a good 10 minutes in the water once I got in!
The water I found was murky and I didn’t like my feet sinking up to my shins in sediment as I walked into the tarn! Maybe I chose a bad entrance to access the water? But I was trying to find a more secluded spot so I would not be watched by an audience. Perhaps I should start rating my swims? The views were gorgeous, the swim less so.
Have you visited Loughrigg Tarn? Swam there? Let me know your thoughts.
Thanks for reading,
‘…is never wasted,’ so quoted Sigmund Freud. Being an ailurophile (I had to look the word up), or a lover of cats, I wholly agree!
For an early birthday celebration, I decided to treat my mum and David to coffee and cake at the recently opened Cat Cafe in Bold Street, Liverpool. I pre-booked our hourly session at the cafe, at £12 per person. This includes unlimited drinks while cakes and pastries were an additional cost.
Our time slot was 10 o’ clock, and even at this time the cafe seemed busy with parties coming and going. To keep the resident cats safe, there are three doors which patrons have to go through. After being booked in, a pass to note down any additional spends given and the dos and the don’ts listed, we were admitted.
The Liverpool branch is on three floors. We perused the decor and the many hiding places for the cats before pondering where to sit. On the first floor there were lots of comfy looking sofas but David chose the ground floor part of the cafe as this was where most of the cat action was happening!
We took our seats close to the kitchen. The choice of table seemed lucrative as I had not long sat down when Rose, a long-haired tortoiseshell came over and made a bee-line for my lap. She happily sat and suckled me for 10 minutes.
We ordered hot drinks and a selection of cakes. Mum had a toasted teacake, I a scone with cream and jam and David chose the cake of the day, which was a large slice of chocolate-orange cake.
Many of the cats as you can imagine were curled up asleep. All was quiet until the food was served and from a towering cat bed two cats emerged. Dobby the Sphynx and Sebastian the Siamese! The hairless Dobby sported a black jumper with orange bobbles to keep him warm while Sebastian cheekily tried his luck pawing at our selection of cakes. It was funny interacting with the cats who all seemed friendly.
We took many photographs and spent a full hour with the cats of Liverpool’s Cat Cafe. I am happy to report we all enjoyed ourselves and would definitely visit again, even if we were scratched and bitten for milk and food! :p
Have you visited a cat cafe? If so what were your impressions?
Thanks for reading,
For my 42nd birthday next week I want to go for a swim, but I am having trouble choosing the right one. So I need your help in making the decision. Below, find a selection of four swims, two from Snowdonia and two from the Lake District. Which one would you prefer?
I attempted to swim in Llyn Padarn for last years birthday but found that it got busy later on in the day. If I was to go back again this year I would go much earlier. Perhaps see the sunrise?
What better than to revisit the place where my wild swimming bug was born. Another one for an early start as the area gets busy. Do you know of any easy walks nearby? We’ve walked the circumference of Idwal and Ogwen in the past.
The Lake District:
A perfect autumnal walk to Todd Crag would be a good accompaniment to a dip in iconic Windermere.
Angle Tarn (Langdale)
I first saw this swim/walk on swimmingthelakes, I didn’t know there was more than one Angle Tarn! This tarn is not far from Stickle Tarn which we visited in June. It has a similar look to Stickle.
Which swim would you like to see me do next?
It is with many thanks to Louise at Ramblings of a Roachling, for informing me of the future dates for #photoanhour on Instagram. I knew there was one planned for when we came back from holidaying in Scotland. So on Saturday 22nd September I logged onto Instagram and noticed other Instagramers posting about #photoanhour. I decided to join in. So here’s what I got up to during my 12 hours of day!
Photo an Hour – 22nd September 2018
8am to 9am:
My Saturday began like any other day, with coffee and granola. However my day could so easily have begun at 6.30am when we were rudely woken up by headbutts from Artie wanting us to get up!!
9am to 10am:
This Saturday we went shopping at Asda for our weekly shop. We haven’t been here for a while, as we have been ordering a delivery online most weeks. It was a shock to the system to be honest! We had become used to our food being delivered every week!
10am to 11am:
Since we missed Artie’s 4th birthday, as we were away in Scotland, we decided to buy him a present of a new scratch post. The other one he had had since he was a kitten and was looking sadly worse for wear!
11am to 12pm:
We took a visit to #purplecarrot for organic Discovery Apples. 😁 As soon as I knew they had them in stock, I was round there at the soonest opportunity! You all know by now my penchant for Discovery Apples! 😀
12pm to 1pm:
We popped in for a visit to David’s family and received cuddles from their Newfoundland Bennie. 😁
1pm to 2pm:
On our way home, we stopped off at Lister Drive Fisheries and bought some finch food for our aviary.
2pm to 3pm:
Lunch was with a cup of tea and sampling the Discovery Apples I had bought from #purplecarrot. I love the cat ornament David’s mum gave us from her recent holiday.
3pm to 4pm:
I had a date with Henry! A quick clean of the house was much needed!
4pm to 5pm:
I took to chopping lots of vegetables, ready to be roasted for the evening’s dinner. 😊 We were making roasted vegetable parcels. Always a hit in our house!
5pm to 6pm:
While the vegetables were roasting, I set the table. I like a nice, romantically lit dining room.
6pm to 7pm:
Dinner of scrumptious roasted vegetable parcels with salad was mmm… tasty!😁
7pm to 8pm:
I spent the remainder of the evening catching up with composing blog posts.
How did you spend your Saturday?
Phew! What a year!
I think 2017 has been a wonderful year for David and I! What an adventure 2017 has truly been! I will think back at all the wonderful places and sights we have seen and feel blessed we were able to share them together! Here’s my twelve pictures that sum up our 2017!
2017 started with an eight mile walk around Coniston. We took a detour to visit Banishead Quarry.
Not everything was plain sailing in 2017. We suffered five deaths in our aviary. Poor Tarn, a Blue Faced Parrot Finch was one of the hardest to bare.
I treated mum to a special birthday afternoon tea at Liverpool’s Jam restaurant.
Riley enjoyed many walks with David and I in 2017. None more so than at the beach!
I embarked on my first wild swim of the season! Crummock Water, was choppy, chilly but exhilarating!
July was a fun filled month. We went wildlife spotting at Mere Sand’s Wood, took a visit to Birmingham’s Big Sleuth and had a two nights stay in the Lakes. A ten mile walk around Beda Fell and Angle Tarn Pikes was exhausting!
Following in much the same vein as July, August seen many more days out. Partaking in my my first Welsh wild swim was simply outstanding!
The dawn of autumn saw David and I head towards Morecambe and Leighton Moss RSPB Nature Reserve in search of more wildlife.
I surprised myself by completing the #walk1000miles challenge some two months earlier than expected. I completed on the 8th October 2017. 1000 miles + has been walked to date!
December is again undoubtedly all about Christmas. This year David and I played host to family for Christmas dinner. I have to admit it’s been a very tiring month! Here’s to a more relaxing start to 2018!
I wish you all good health and happiness for the new year ahead! Let’s make 2018 a year to remember!
Thanks for your continued support,
It’s taken me a while to get round to writing about our most recent day out. As a treat for my birthday David and I planned another walk. My intention was to take a stroll around the Vivian Quarry overlooking Llyn Peris and then embark on another Welsh wild swim at Padarn. However it was only the walk we achieved, I couldn’t find a suitable, peaceful site to swim from at Padarn.
After an early start, we arrived at the car park for the Llanberis Lake Railway around 10am. Parking was a very reasonable £4 for all day. From here there are a number of walking trails you can take around Padarn Country Park. After a quick pit-stop, David and I headed towards the Vivian Trail which would take us past old barracks towards a viewpoint overlooking the Vivian Quarry and Llyn Peris.
The Vivian Quarry is part of the larger Dinorwic Quarry which was the second largest slate mine in it’s time. It has now become the back drop to the Dinorwic Hydroelectric Power Station. Tours of this engineering feat can be booked from here.
Our walk took us through woodland, the path creeping steadily upwards past disused quarry buildings and old barrack houses where the quarry-men would live in spartan conditions.
We spent a good four hours walking the path and taking pictures. I definitely see another visit to the area in future as there are many more paths yet to be explored. We returned to the car and went looking for a suitable place in which to have a birthday swim at Llyn Padarn.
Unfortunately all the beaches were full with canoeists so I forgoed a swim, until next time!
Have you visited Llanberis? What are your memories of the area?
Thanks for reading,