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

Saturday June 7th 2014 - A thunderstorm, a dog under the table and visitors

After another stay-on-site-and-chill day I woke just after 6am that morning to the sound of torrential rain on the tent and the rumble of thunder in the distance. It didn't stay in the distance though; it came nearer to the camp site and got gradually louder until the rumbles had turned to cracks and bangs accompanied by flashes of lightning. Not being unduly bothered by it I just stayed in bed reading and before long it had rumbled away again, though the heavy rain continued for quite some time. 

When I finally got up I found that although Sugar was still fast asleep in the dog bed over the other side of the tent there was no Sophie; she was curled up under the small table at the side of my bed. I've known since I first got her that she doesn't like fireworks, and now seeing her under the table told me that she doesn't like loud thunderstorms either. The poor little thing must have been terrified, so when she came out I gave her a big cuddle, and with the thunder finally gone she was quite happy to go back to her own bed.

The rain lasted most of the morning and when it did finally stop I took the dogs for a walk into the village to get a few supplies. By early afternoon the sun had come out but I didn't bother going anywhere as I was having visitors later on so I just whiled away an hour or so sitting in reception chatting to Dave, the relief warden. My visitors, Louise and Derek, arrived later in the afternoon on their way back home to Holyhead from somewhere on the mainland; this was the first time they'd actually come to see me while I was on the island and they were quite impressed with my 'home from home'. After I'd made a brew we settled in for a good chinwag and it was well over an hour later when they finally left; the rest of my day was spent reading and watching a bit of tv, followed by a dog walk just before the daylight faded. After all the rain that morning the rest of the day and evening had been quite nice so I was keeping my fingers crossed that the following day would be nice enough to go out with the camera again.

Thursday June 5th 2014 - Revisiting Llanddwyn Island - twice in an hour

After the lovely sunshine of Tuesday the weather on Wednesday had gone back to grey cloud so I'd had another chill-out day and stayed in and around the tent. With no other campers around I had virtually the whole site to myself so it was lovely and peaceful. The sun had returned now though so it was time to go out with the camera again, my mission this time to return to Llanddwyn Island and see if it looked any nicer in the sunshine than it did on the grey day when I'd gone there a month ago.

Arriving at the barrier at the top of the lane leading down to Newborough beach I paid my £3 to gain access and drove down to the car park, finding a nice shady spot to leave the van. Although the day was sunny a very cool wind made sure that it wasn't too warm, so in the shade and with the windows open a snatch I knew the dogs would be okay while I went to explore. A brisk mile long walk through the forest and along the beach got me to the island; the view back across the beach towards Snowdonia looked good and I'd just got one shot when my camera batteries died - and realisation dawned. Not only had I forgotten to put my spares in my pocket, I'd also forgotten to put them in the van - they were still in the battery charger back at the tent!

With no means of taking any more photos there was no point in actually going onto the island so I had no choice but to walk the mile back to the van. My first thought was to drive back to the camp site and return to Llanddwyn the following day, however the current glorious weather was just too good to miss and there was no guarantee that the following day would be the same, so I drove up to the nearby village, bought a couple of packs of cheap batteries, then drove back down to the car park - it cost me another £3 to get access through the barrier but it would have cost far more in fuel to drive all the way back across the island then return to Llanddwyn another day. 

And so for the second time in an hour I walked the mile from the car park to the island, and as I wandered round and explored I was glad I'd made the decision to return. On my previous visit I'd been distinctly underwhelmed and unimpressed, no doubt because of the grey cloudy weather, but now, with the clear blue sky and sunshine, the island looked completely different. I was glad I'd just got two packs of batteries for the camera, it looked like I was going to need them.

The first two photos I took were exact replicas of the ones in the book - I had to scramble half way up a steep rocky outcrop to get the second one but it was worth the climb when I was rewarded with a great view looking across to the Snowdonia mountains on the mainland. With no-one else around and nothing but the sound of the sea and the gulls as they wheeled and swooped overhead the peace and tranquility of this place was almost tangible, and with the many lovely photo opportunities the island offered I was glad I'd made the effort to return.

After well over an hour spent wandering round I snapped the last photo of the ruins of St. Dwynwen's Church then made my way back across the island, and for the fourth time that afternoon took the mile long walk between there and the car park. Back at the van I gave the dogs a drink then took them on the beach for a while before heading back across Anglesey to the camp site, and the rest of the late afternoon and evening were spent relaxing in the tent.

Looking through my photos later on I was glad I'd given Llanddwyn Island the benefit of the doubt and gone back in the good weather. I'd got some lovely shots even if I had walked a total of just over five miles in the process, so it had been well worth going back. And as there were some parts of the island I still hadn't fully explored a third visit would certainly be on the cards in the not too distant future.

Tuesday June 3rd 2014 - Part 2 - Parys Mountain

Leaving Moelfre behind I headed north along the A5025 towards Amlwch, then a couple of miles before the town itself turned off onto the 'B' road which took me uphill to Parys Mountain. I'd driven past the mountain a few years previously and at the time I'd thought it looked like a rather huge blot on the country landscape, but as it was featured in the photography book my quest now was to find an old windmill on top of the mountain and photograph it according to the book. 

A rough-surfaced and rather pot-holed car park just off the road gave me somewhere to leave the van, and though I would have liked to take the dogs with me I didn't think it would be a good idea given that the terrain I would be exploring was very rough with many steep drops, so I left them with a couple of chew sticks each to keep them occupied while I was away.

From the car park a wide footpath went to both left and right and not knowing exactly whereabouts the windmill was I decided to take the left hand side and work my way round in a clockwise direction. The path narrowed after a while, winding up and round the mountain through a rough terrain of grass, rocks and loose stones, and as I climbed I was glad I was wearing my trainers - beach sandals on ground such as this just wouldn't do. Eventually the old windmill came into view and the path widened out again - another few minutes and I was at the highest point of the mountain. I was quite surprised to find that the inside of the windmill was accessible on two levels, and though there was nothing to see in there the view from outside it was good - I could see for miles across the Anglesey countryside, with the Snowdonia mountains in one direction and Point Lynas lighthouse in the distance in front of me.

Continuing in a clockwise direction I wound my way down the far side of the mountain; there were many paths going in various directions and all offering the chance to explore the mountain at length, but I didn't want to be away from the dogs for too long so I took what looked to be the most direct route back to the car park. As I got further down and round I came to the huge open cast area which reminded me of a strange lunar landscape, or maybe something from Lord Of The Rings - and it wouldn't have surprised me to see Doctor Who's Tardis landing somewhere nearby.

Further round from the open cast section I came across a large lake and several smaller lakes and ponds with hawthorn bushes and clumps of buttercups and other flowers dotted here and there. With much more greenery around the area it didn't look quite as desolate as the open cast section and it was hard to believe that all this was part way up a mountain.

With my final few photos taken I continued my downward route and eventually arrived back at the car park. The dogs were asleep in the back of the van but they soon woke up when I opened the door, and after a quick drink and a couple of circuits of the car park we set off back to the camp site, where I spent the rest of the day and evening relaxing with my book. Thinking back to my walk round Parys Mountain I had to admit that I was surprised and somewhat amazed by the area; far from being a blot on the countryside as I'd previously thought, in its own way and with the blue sky and sunshine it was strangely beautiful. I knew I hadn't explored as much of it as I could have done so that would be one place I would certainly go back to in the future.

Tuesday June 3rd 2014 - Part 1 - Mooching round Moelfre

Monday had been another cloudy day and as it was also my birthday I'd treated it as one of my chill-out days. The morning had been spent in and around the tent and I'd got chatting to the couple in the camper van who were in the process of packing up. They had two lovely little Jack Russell dogs, Ted and Katy, and a very placid cat called Guinness, and being the sucker I am for cats and small dogs I just had to take a couple of photos of all three of them before they left the site.

In the afternoon I'd taken Sophie and Sugar for a walk along the path which skirts the cliff at the bottom of the site, only going about a mile from the site and just as far as the small headland with the abandoned partially built cottage, although when I got there I was quite surprised to find that it was no longer abandoned. The rectangular four-walled shell which had stood open to the elements for many many years had finally found someone to love it and it now sported an extension at one end and a smart grey-tiled roof. Looking at the deep tyre tracks in the ground and the mini digger parked at the side it was obvious that the work was recent - maybe next time I go that way it will all have been completed and the cottage will finally have residents.

The evening had been spent watching tv and indulging in a couple of glasses of cherry Lambrini and the miniature cake supplied by my son and daughter-in-law, plus a large handful of chocolates from the box given to me by another family member. Okay, so I pigged out a bit, but having a birthday is as good an excuse as any to do it.

So Tuesday morning arrived and with it came the sunshine, meaning that this would be one of my days out. While walking the dogs the previous day I'd noticed an orange object in the distance across the water and a large crane causing a blot on the landscape at Moelfre, so after a chill-out morning, and curious to know what was going on, I loaded Sophie and Sugar in the van and drove over there. It turned out to be the construction of a new lifeboat station; the old building had been demolished to make way for the new one and the orange object was the lifeboat anchored just offshore.

Having satisfied my curiosity I walked along the cliff path to the end and back, which meant making a detour because of the building works, then walked back through the village, stopping to take a few photos here and there. Moelfre is such a small place that it's impossible not to repeat any photos already taken, but it's so pretty that on such a nice sunny day it was worth taking a few more.

Back at the van I gave the dogs a much needed drink then set off on the second part of my afternoon - a visit to one of the very few places on the island where I had not yet been. To be honest it was a place I'd never really thought about going to but I was following the photography book and wanted to get my own version of the two photos in there - it would be interesting to see if I could find the exact locations for both. 

Sunday June 1st 2014 - Back to Anglesey

A bright sunny morning at 7am saw me leaving home for my second camp on Anglesey, this time for the best part of ten days. The roads were very quiet so the driving was easy and very pleasant with blue sky and sunshine all the way; that was until I got as far as Conwy where, just like four weeks previously, some stupid weather god had drawn a line across the sky and coloured the part over Anglesey in a very depressing grey. However, spending well over a week on the island meant that I could afford to lose a day or two to cloud so I wasn't unduly bothered - knowing Anglesey as I do I was sure the sunshine wouldn't be far away.

When I finally arrived at the camp site there was no sign of the warden so using my 12-month barrier pass I drove straight through and headed for my usual small field. At first I didn't think I would get a space as the field was occupied by several tents and a camper van but I was in luck - right down at the bottom end was a fairly large vacant space with an unused hook-up point nearby. That would do for me so I parked the van, fished out the tent and set about building my home. By the time I'd got the tent securely pegged and everything set out inside it all the other occupants of the field, apart from the camper van, had packed up and gone, so unless a gang of fun-loving party-goers arrived (which was highly unlikely) it looked like I would have a nice quiet few days.

With the dogs taken for a walk round the site and my site fees paid at reception I returned to the tent and spent the rest of the day and evening relaxing with my latest book and watching a bit of tv. This holiday was, for once, intended to be more of a chill-out time, and though I would be out and about with the camera on some of the days a fair few of them would be spent doing absolutely nothing other than walking the dogs. And although normally I prefer to keep busy and doing nothing isn't really my thing, this time I was actually looking forward to it.