About Me

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Hi! I'm Eunice and I live in Bolton, Lancashire, with my two dogs Sophie and Sugar and an assortment of cats - well it used to be Sophie and Sugar, now it's Sophie and Poppie. I first began camping back in 1997 when my then partner took me to Anglesey for my birthday weekend. We slept in the back of the car - a hatchback - using the cushions off the settee at home as a mattress, and cooked and brewed up on a single burner camping stove. The site was good, the views were great, the weather fantastic and I was completely hooked. Following that weekend we got a two-man tent and some proper accessories and returned to Anglesey two weeks later, then over time we progressed to a three-man tent followed by an old trailer tent, then a new trailer tent, a campervan and finally a caravan. When my partner decided that the grass was greener on the other side of the street - literally - in April 2009 and I suddenly found myself alone after fifteen years, I decided there was no way I was going to give up camping and caravanning if I could cope on my own. This blog is the story of my travels, trials and tribulations since becoming a solo camper - I hope you like it

Sunday April 8th 2012 - A walk through the woods

I woke quite early that morning to a grey sky dotted with even greyer clouds and raindrops on the van windows. If the weather wasn't brilliant then there was no rush to go out, so as Sunday is often my 'breakfast in bed' day I decided to take the dogs for a short walk down the lane then make my breakfast and allow myself the luxury of going back to bed with it. It was 11am when I finally got up properly, and though the sky was still grey at least the drizzly rain of earlier on had stopped. After chatting to various members of the group I spent some time pottering about round the awning while I thought about somewhere to go and finally decided to take a walk through the woods beyond the castle. A couple of the group members had told me that if I followed the path and kept going up I would come out on top of the hillside where I could cross the fields and pick up the lane which came back down and emerged behind the camp site, so that's what I thought I would do - except it didn't work out like that.

With the dogs running off the lead I walked up the lane past the castle and continued on along the path where the woodland started. At one point I caught up with Diane and her dog Bruno and Billy with his kids but I didn't stay with them as they were walking a lot slower than me and they weren't going as far. It was just after that where I went wrong, although I didn't realise it at the time. I continued to follow the path I was on and walked for quite a distance, and although it did go uphill in several places I didn't seem to be getting anywhere near the top - there was certainly no sign of any fields anywhere. I did however find a couple of caves set back in the side of the hill so scrambling up through the undergrowth I went to take a look. They were both fairly big caves and seemed to go quite a way back, but without a torch I wasn't being daft enough to venture any further than the entrance - I never knew what might drop on my head from a dizzy height! - so I just took a couple of photos and made my way back down to the path.

I'd gone quite a distance further on when the path levelled out and started going downwards with the woodland becoming less dense, and I knew then that somehow I'd missed my intended route and there was no way I would reach the top of the hill by continuing. Going back to find the right path wasn't an option by then though as I had come too far, so I abandoned my original plan and continued onwards - I had to come out somewhere eventually. Rounding a bend I came across a big gap in the trees with a great view of the fields, the coastline and the hills beyond - it was worth taking a photo but it would have looked so much better on a sunny day.

A bit further on the path went downwards again and through the trees I could see the A547 just below me, which I knew would take me back to the camp site, however I ended up with a second change of plan. Not far from the end of the path I met another dog walker going the other way, and as dog walkers often do we stopped to exchange pleasantries. She was a local lady and when mentioned where I had come from and was going back to she suggested that instead of walking back along the road I crossed over it and took the lane leading past a static caravan site, which would take me under the A55 and bring me out at the entrance to another site where there was a nice bistro/coffee bar, and I could then walk back along the beach. That sounded like a really good idea and after having walked so far I was more than ready for a coffee so I thanked her for her suggestion and putting the dogs on the lead I made my way down to the road.

The lane down to the beach wasn't all that long and as I emerged from the underpass under the A55 I was quite pleasantly surprised. The caravan site was appropriately called The Beach and in front of me was a wide parking area with an island in the middle which was set with shrubs and various plants - on a sunny day it would have looked very attractive. Beyond the parking area was the promenade and beach and to my left was the site reception, the Beachcomber Bar and Tides cafe/bistro which also looked very pleasant.

Tying the dogs to a railing just outside the door I went inside to see what was on offer - looking at the menu I did think about treating myself to a proper meal but then my eye was caught by some delicious-looking carrot cake so I opted for a piece of that with a milky coffee instead, and after placing my order I went back outside to sit at a table near the dogs. The cake, when it arrived, was served with whipped cream and it was every bit as good as it looked; the coffee was pretty good too, and having turned into something of a 'coffee and cake connoisseur' over the last couple of years I was quite impressed. It was while I was finishing my coffee that I noticed the way the dogs were sitting - it's not often I can get a photo of them both looking in the same direction at the same time but this time they were so I grabbed the opportunity and got several shots of the two of them. I also got some of Sophie on her own, she's more photogenic than Sugar and photos of her always come out well, though on the first one she looked like she'd been abandoned - she only needed a little bowl and a card saying 'homeless and hungry' and someone would have given her a home!

With my coffee finished I unhitched the two of them from the rail and crossed the parking area onto the promenade. The tide had only recently gone out leaving the sand very wet, and as I didn't want the dogs to get too dirty I kept off the beach itself and stayed on the promenade for the walk back. There was nothing particularly exciting about the promenade, it was just a long stretch of concrete with the beach wall on one side and the railway line on the other, with another large static caravan site sprawled out further along, but it made a pleasant enough walk and the dogs were able to run off the lead until I got to the road which took me over the railway line and back into Abergele itself. From the top of that road it was only another few minutes to the camp site and once I got back to the awning I decided to spend some time relaxing before I did anything else.

It was much later on when I heard voices and the crackling of wood burning and poking my head through the awning door I could see that Dragon had got another camp fire going so I decided to go across and join the gang. Now normally the minute I pick up my jacket the dogs are up and waiting to go out but this time they didn't even raise their heads from their bed - they must have been really tired out from their long walk earlier on. I spent a very pleasant hour or so in the company of the others but then the long walk began to take its toll on me and I was more than ready for my bed, so saying goodnight I went back to the awning and clipped the leads on the dogs for their pre-bedtime walk. I only went down to the end of the lane and back, that was far enough, then settling them back on their bed I turned off the light and retreated to my own where it wasn't long before I was asleep.

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