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

Friday June 5th 2015 - The story of brave Tyger

I woke that morning to a distinct change in the weather; the sunshine of the last couple of days had gone, to be replaced by a very grey and overcast sky. There was no point even thinking about photography on such a dull day so I spent the morning pottering about round the tent and watching a couple of quiz programmes on tv, but by lunch time I was beginning to get bored - I needed to go out, so I decided to drive into Beaumaris.

One of my quests this week was to find and photograph something which was featured in the 'How To Photograph Angelesey' book which I bought four years ago but I couldn't remember the directions to it and unfortunately I'd forgotten to bring the book from home, so a quick look at another copy in the Beaumaris shop I bought it from would give me the information I needed. By the time I got to the little town it was raining so as I didn't intend to be very long I only paid for half an hour in the car park and left the dogs in the van while I went on my mission.

I found the book easily and got the information I needed then had a look to see if there were any other books about the island which would be of interest to me - and flicking through one of them I came across the story of brave Tyger. It said that in 1819 a Liverpool-bound ketch, sailing through a thick mist, struck the rocks off the coast near Rhoscolyn and sank. Only Tyger, the captain's retriever, seemed to sense the direction of the shore and with the ship's boy clinging to his collar he swam half a mile to safety then swam back to aid the captain and the other two crewmen. Thanks to Tyger they all reached the shore, but Tyger himself was so exhausted by the ordeal that he died on the beach in his master's arms. The courageous dog was buried on the nearby clifftop and a memorial stone placed on his grave.

Of all the times I've been to Anglesey I'd never heard about Tyger before reading that, and I thought it was such a lovely, but sad, story that at the earliest opportunity I would go to Rhoscolyn and try to find that memorial stone. I'd been to Rhoscolyn a couple of times in the last five years but only to the beach and the village, so the search for Tyger's grave on the clifftop would probably give me some new scenery to photograph.

With the half hour in the car park almost up I returned to the van and drove back to the camp site; the rain had stopped and it was brightening up, and by the time I'd had a brew the sun was out so I took the dogs for a walk down to the beach and back. The rest of the afternoon and evening were spent reading, doing crosswords and watching tv, and when I went to bed that night it was with plans to visit Tyger's grave firmly in my mind.

Thursday June 4th 2015 - Part 2 - Aberdaron, Abersoch & Llanbedrog

The small village of Aberdaron was split into two by a stream which ran between the houses, past the car park and out across the beach to the sea.  A stone hump-back bridge carried the road through the village and in the square at the end was an ice cream parlour, a couple of small cafes, a pub, a hotel, and two or three small gift shops. A path from the far end of the car park took me directly onto the beach but there was nothing particularly interesting along there so with just one shot taken looking back the other way I headed back into the village itself.

A short alleyway took me between two gift shops and out onto the short promenade; close by was the front of the hotel with its terrace overlooking the beach, and beyond it a small quaint-looking chapel with a little garden at the front. At the far end of the promenade was a small garden area with pleasant seating and lots of brightly coloured alpine-type plants, and which overlooked the end of the stream.  It took less than an hour to look round everywhere and when I'd seen all I wanted to see I returned to the van and set off for Abersoch, my next port of call.

As I'd been to Abersoch four years previously I knew where I was going when I got there; just up the hill out of the village was a private car park with a very reasonable parking fee so that's where I headed, but when I got there I found the kiosk was closed. A note on the door said 'Please DO NOT pay any money to anyone if the shed door is closed' - it was just gone 4pm by then so maybe whoever manned the kiosk had gone home for tea. Judging by the number of cars there the place itself must still be open and presumably it was now free of charge so I parked up, took the dogs and went for a wander.

With the tide out I knew there would be nothing of interest along the beach so I stuck to the harbour and the riverside, getting several nice shots of the various boats beached on the sand. Within half an hour I'd seen everything of interest so I made my way back to the van with fingers crossed that the car park kiosk guy hadn't returned in my absence and slapped a penalty ticket on my windscreen. He hadn't, so after giving the dogs a drink I set off for Llanbedrog, the next place on my itinerary.

Llanbedrog village itself is set off the A499 and away from the coast, with the beach being just round the headland from the northern end of Abersoch beach. Access is via a narrow lane off the main road - if you blink you miss the turning - though you can only drive so far down. The lane ends actually on the beach, and with a high stone wall on one side and a deep ditch on the other there is no turning space so cars have to be left in the car park near the top. 

A stream running down the ditch flowed out across the beach and right at the end of the lane, almost on the beach itself, was a small cafe/bistro with an outside terrace. There was nothing along the beach other than a long row of brightly coloured beach huts, and as I walked along I was struck by how much of the sand below the high water mark was covered in embedded seaweed. Now normally I don't mind the smell of fresh seaweed but this was more of a rotting fish type of a smell and although it wasn't very strong it wasn't very nice either - how anyone can spend any length of time there with that smell is beyond me but obviously people do.

With the horrible smell, very little to see, and the surrounding trees cutting out a lot of the late afternoon sunlight, I called it a day after just ten minutes and returned to the van. My original intention was to make a stop at Pwllheli, another few miles along the coast, but time was getting on and I had a long drive back to the camp site so I continued past the town and right up the A499 heading back towards Caernarfon, where I picked up the A487 to the A55 and Britannia Bridge.

It was gone 7pm when I finally arrived back at the tent; it had been a long day with a lot of driving so with a sandwich and a brew made I sat down to relax for the rest of the evening. By the time ten o' clock arrived I was more than ready for sleep so after a quick final dog walk I settled into bed, and I don't think I got through even half a chapter of my book before my eyes closed.

Thursday June 4th 2015 - Part 1 - Trefor, Porth Dinllaen & Whistling Sands

Another sunny morning arrived and after the first dog walk of the day I made some breakfast then sat down with the map book to plan where I was going later on. This was to be my 'big day out' when I went off the island and explored further afield, travelling down the Lleyn peninsula in search of different, and possibly never previously visited, places to photograph. With breakfast finished I tidied everything away, settled Sophie and Poppie in the van and replenished their water supply, then set off on my voyage of discovery.

Across on the mainland I bypassed Caernarfon and headed south west down the A499, making my first stop at the little village of Trefor. I knew from a couple of previous visits that there was nothing much there other than a little beach and harbour but it was an attractive enough little place, and with a backdrop of the nearby hills it was worth another few photos.

From Trefor I turned onto the B4417 and headed for somewhere marked on the map book as Morfa Nefyn, which was a place I hadn't previously been to. Nefyn itself was quite a large spread out village with the B road being the main route through it and I fully expected to see a sign for Morfa Nefyn somewhere but there was nothing; I did however see a sign for 'beach' pointing down a long straight lane so that's the way I went - and ended up in a golf course car park.

With no other signs around I was totally at a loss, in fact I wasn't sure if I should even be in that car park, but a nearby board said that the clubhouse restaurant was open to the public so I assumed I would be okay parking there. As I stood wondering which way to go a couple who had obviously just finished a round of golf came to their nearby car so I asked them where the beach was and was told to follow the gravel track across the golf course and a fifteen minute walk would take me straight to it. So off I went, and almost at the end of the track I saw a beach just beyond a short, steeply sloping tarmac lane on the right.

The lane took me down behind a row of cottages and when I emerged onto the sand I discovered a tiny little hamlet with the cottages, a couple of houses set in a small courtyard, and a pub restaurant with an outside dining area, all set within just a few feet of the beach. I didn't know if this was actually Morfa Nevyn or somewhere else but it was such a quaint, unexpected and out-of-the-way little place and I was glad I'd found it. After spending some time wandering about taking photos I found a footpath leading round the headland at the end of the beach so I decided to follow it as far as the house I could see in the distance.

With a couple of shots taken from near the house I retraced my steps to the beach, then instead of going back up the lane to the golf course I walked along the sand, round a small headland and past another handful of cottages towards the far end of the bay. I was just hoping that there would be a way from there back to the car park otherwise I would have a long walk back the other way; I needn't have worried, as a concrete slope took me from the beach up to a tarmac lane which in turn brought me out at the beginning of the long lane leading to the golf course.

Just up the lane was a cafe with a few tables outside, and as my breakfast had long since worn off it was a good opportunity to stop for coffee and cake before returning to the van. It was also a chance to find out the name of the quaint little seaside hamlet I'd discovered, and on asking one of the young waitresses I was told that while the whole of the beach was known as Morfa Nevyn the hamlet itself was Porth Dinllaen. So I'd found Morfa Nefyn without realising it, and the delightful little hamlet had been an unexpected and lovely little bonus.

Back on the road I continued along the B4417 heading for Aberdaron, another place I hadn't yet been to, but before I got anywhere near it I saw a sign for Whistling Sands. This is a beach where the sand makes 'whistling' noises as you walk on it - I'd seen it featured on a tv nature programme quite some time ago but had forgotten all about it until I saw the sign. I just had to check this one out so I veered off down the lane in the direction of the sign, eventually ending up in a National Trust car park just a short walk from the beach itself, though unfortunately dogs weren't allowed down there so I had to make my visit fairly brief. The sand does indeed make a noise, though it's really more of a squeak than a whistle, and with just a couple of shots taken I made my way back to the van.

The remainder of the drive to Aberdaron passed with no further stops and driving through the village I found a large car park which was another National Trust one. That would do for me, so taking advantage of my membership yet again I parked up for free, gave the dogs a drink then set out to see what delights Aberdaron had to offer.