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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

Saturday June 9th 2012 - Penrhyn Castle

I woke that morning to the third wet day in a row, and began to wonder what this country had done to deserve all this rain; this was summer for heaven's sake, we should be having wall-to-wall sunshine, not this wet stuff! I had wakened to rain on Thursday and apart from a couple of short periods when it had stopped just long enough for me to take Sophie and Sugar for a quick walk it had rained all day. As photography was out of the question I had driven over to a campsite near Rhosneigr to visit a UKCS member who was camping there with her two kids, and had spent a very pleasant couple of hours having a brew and a chat before driving straight back to Benllech. On Friday the wind had returned to accompany the rain, and though maybe it wasn't quite as bad as the previous Sunday it was bad enough and I'd spent most of the day in the awning reading or watching tv, though by the time I took the dogs for their late night walk the wind had dropped considerably.

By the time Saturday lunch time had been and gone I was feeling thoroughly bored and fed up; I needed to get out and go somewhere, but where? Eventually I hit on the idea of going over to Penrhyn Castle near Bangor - I'd picked up a leaflet about it from reception a few days previously and it looked quite interesting, also it was a National Trust property so I would be able to make use of my membership again. So with that decided I put the dogs in the back of the van, disconnected the awning and set off to see if I could at least get some photos that day. By the time I'd got across Britannia bridge and onto the mainland the constant heavy drizzle had stopped, and although it was still very grey when I reached the castle it wasn't quite as dark as over on the island. Unfortunately dogs weren't allowed in the castle or the immediate grounds so I took them for a walk round the car park area first before settling them back in the van with their window open - with a cool breeze blowing and no sun there would be no danger of them cooking while I was away.

The castle itself isn't a castle at all in the true sense of the word, it's a stately home built to look like a castle, but that's just a technicality and didn't make the place any less fascinating; I don't normally 'do' stately homes but this one just had to be an exception. The internal stone architecture was very impressive and all the rooms were very opulently furnished, including hand painted Chinese wallpaper in one of the bedrooms and a one-ton slate bed built especially for Queen Victoria. There were plenty of knowledgeable staff on hand to impart information and answer any questions, and though the leaflet I had said that taking photos wasn't allowed I managed to take several sneaky ones when the various staff members weren't looking, though I had to take them without using the flash and hope they came out okay.

When I was sure that I'd seen all there was to see in the main part of the castle - I looked in some rooms twice as they were so fascinating - I made my way through the Victorian kitchen to the railway museum section outside where there were several steam locos on display, then took a walk over to the Victorian walled garden and wandered round there for a while. It was a nicely laid out garden with well-trimmed hedges, a couple of small lilly ponds and various trees and shrubs, and I could imagine it would look really nice on a sunny day. By the time I was heading back towards the castle the were some faint patches of blue sky appearing through the clouds but they weren't really enough to make a difference to either the day or my photos.

Back at the van I released Sophie and Sugar and took them for a good walk round the vicinity of the car park, then after giving them a drink I set off back for Anglesey and the camp site. Penrhyn Castle had been extremely interesting and well worth the visit, and I would certainly make a return visit sometime in the future and hopefully in better weather. Arriving back at my pitch I connected the awning to the van, made a brew and prepared to settle in for the evening; the rain seemed to be holding off once it had stopped and it was still fine when I took the dogs for their last walk of the day. The following day was the last full day of my holiday so I really hoped that the sun would return and it would turn out to be a good one.

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