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

Tuesday June 14th 2016 - Going home means leaving Anglesey twice

After the previous day having been so dull and grey I woke that morning to brilliant sunshine which was rapidly turning the tent into an oven. After the first dog walk of the day the tent door and the fly screen were rolled up to let some air through then breakfast was made and consumed al fresco. With nothing to rush home for I took my time clearing things away and packing up the van, then with only the tent left to take down I took a photo to remind myself where I'd been pitched then took the dogs for a walk down to the beach and back.

It was well after mid day by the time the tent and peg box were safely stowed in the van and I was ready for leaving, but dismantling my home in the hot sunshine had been thirsty work so I chilled out for a while with a can of Coke from the coolbox before finally driving away from my pitch for the last time.

Across on the mainland the sunshine deserted me and grey clouds started gathering, however on the spur of the moment I decided to make a stop at Conwy marina. It had been a few years since I was last there so it would be nice to spend a short while wandering round. Nothing had changed since my last visit, and after walking right round to the beach overlooking the estuary and back I returned to the van to continue my journey homewards - except I didn't.

Now I don't know what suddenly made me think of it, but as I put the dogs back in the van I realised I'd not packed my hook-up cable - I'd left it lying on the grass back on my pitch at the camp site. Now had this been a small relatively cheap item I probably wouldn't have bothered but the cable is a substantial piece of kit and would cost almost £40 to replace, so there was nothing for it but to go back to the site and retrieve it. Thank goodness I hadn't gone any further than Conwy marina!

There was just over twenty six miles between Conwy and the camp site and the drive back to Anglesey was done in record time though it wasn't particularly enjoyable as it had started to rain, but back on the island there was brilliant sunshine - if I hadn't got work the following morning I would have been tempted to stay another night. Back at the camp site the cable was exactly where I'd left it, snaking along the grass near my pitch, so I rolled it up, stashed it in the van and set off for home once more.  

My second stop was at Pensarn beach near Abergele - by then my lunch time can of Coke had long since worn off, it was 5.30pm and I was feeling quite peckish. The cafes at either end of the car park were both closed but the one in the amusement place was open so I got a coffee and cheeseburger from there - the burger was nowhere near as good as the ones from Pete's Burger Bar at Penrhos but it was okay-ish and would stave off any hunger until I got home.

The rest of my journey was done with no further stops but it wan't very pleasant as the further north I got the harder it rained - the windscreen wipers were going at full belt but at times it was difficult to see through the torrential rain and the spray being thrown up from other vehicles. The wet weather lasted until I was about three miles past the Manchester airport turn-off then all at once it stopped - it was as if someone had drawn a line across the sky with wet weather on one side and dry on the other. Things got brighter from that point and when I finally reached home it was a lovely sunny evening. 

After what seemed like a long day and an equally long drive I didn't really feel like getting all my stuff out of the van so I just took out what I immediately needed, took the dogs for a short walk then spent the rest of the evening relaxing, and vowing to make sure that at the end of any future holidays I do not leave my hook-up cable lying on the grass - next time I may not be close enough to go back and get it!

Monday June 13th 2016 - Evening at Red Wharf Bay

Well unfortunately my wish for a day of sunshine didn't come true as I woke that morning to a sky full of grey cloud. The previous night's mist had gone and it was still warm but the cloud stayed around all day, and apart from walking into the village for a mooch round the shops which I've mooched round dozens of times before I didn't go anywhere - my 'big day out' would have to wait until a future Anglesey holiday.

It was early evening before the sky started to clear and the sun finally came out and by that time it was far too late to go anywhere, but I didn't want to end my last full day with no photos so I made the short drive down to Red Wharf Bay. The tide was out and there was a slight haze lingering over the far side of the bay but I managed to get a handful of shots of some of the boats beached on the sand before the sun went down behind the hills.

Back at the tent I made a brew and watched an hour of tv before taking Sophie and Poppie for their last bedtime walk of the holiday. I had to keep reminding myself that the following day we had to pack up and go home; time had had no meaning over the last nine days and the holiday seemed to have passed so slowly that I felt like I'd been away for a month. With my brain totally switched off from my normal home life I was in danger of forgetting to go back to work and that would never do!

Sunday June 12th 2016 - Penrhos, Trearddur & the White Arch

I woke that morning to the sound of rain on the top of the tent but as it always sounds worse than it actually is I hoped it wasn't that bad. Looking out of the tent window it seemed to be just a fine intermittent drizzle but when I took the dogs out for their first walk I realised it was a bit more than that, and by the time we got back to the tent all three of us were rather damp. 

The wet day meant that the big car boot sale over on the Anglesey show ground wouldn't be on, but by mid morning I'd had enough of being in the tent and decided to go over there anyway in the hope that the middle of the island would be dry. It wasn't, it was just as wet as back at the camp site and the car boot sale definitely wasn't on so I carried on straight up the A5 to the Stermat store at Valley. I can often find things there when I've not been able to get them anywhere else, and this time the place came up trumps - I found the plastic tablecloth I'd spent so long looking for! Except it wasn't actually a tablecloth, it was a shower curtain. In a two-tone blue and white mosaic tile pattern (blue would match my other camping accessories) it was larger than I needed but I could cut it to size and probably get two tablecloths out of the one curtain - and at only £4.19 it was far cheaper than buying a proper thick plastic tablecloth. Added to that was the 5-metre 2-way extension cable I found for the same price (cheaper even than Asda) and I came out of Stermat a very happy bunny indeed.

My next stop was on the outskirts of Holyhead to pay an impromptu visit to my camping friends Louise and Derek. It had been twelve months since I last saw them so we settled in for a good chat and before I knew it a couple of hours had passed. It was great to catch up on all our news but I was getting hungry and Pete's Burger Bar was calling me, so I said my goodbyes and drove back down to Penrhos coastal park for my usual cheeseburger. While I'd been in Louise and Derek's the rain had stopped and by the time I'd eaten my burger the sky was clearing and the sun was shining; there was still some low cloud over the seaward side of the bay but things were looking good in the other direction so I decided to take a chance and head that way.

Driving back to the outskirts of Holyhead I picked up the road to Trearddur Bay; going along the coast road the late afternoon weather got better and better and I stopped a few times to take photos of the views near Trearddur. As it was turning out to be so nice I thought I may as well take advantage of it if I could, go down to Rhoscolyn and try to find the White Arch on the coast and which I missed last year. 

It was 6pm when I parked up at Rhoscolyn beach; I had quite a long walk ahead of me and I didn't want to lose any sunshine now it had arrived so I set off at quite a brisk pace, which didn't slacken even going up the steep hill to the coastguard look-out. Having walked that part of the Anglesey Coastal Path last year while I was searching for Tyger's memorial stone I knew where I was going so it didn't take me as long to get there as it had then - and I even met a couple of friends in the form of two white goats which were wandering along the cliff top. 

Information I'd been given told me that the White Arch was in the vicinity of Tyger's memorial so it was just a matter of going from the stone to the cliff edge and walking along until I found it. I located it within minutes, and though a big part of it was in shade it was still worth taking a few photos. It was actually possible to walk out onto the top of it but with two lively little dogs I didn't even consider it, even though they were on the lead.

When I'd taken all the photos I wanted I went back to spend a few minutes at Tyger's memorial, and just like last year I picked a small posy of wild flowers to leave there. I don't know if anyone looks after the stone - a ranger or maybe one of the locals - but I noticed that the paint was fading from the inscription and it needed re-doing. Maybe next time I'm on Anglesey I'll take a small pot of black paint and an artist's brush and re-do it myself if it still needs it - it would be a shame if it faded completely.

It was gone 7pm by the time I set off to walk back to the van but the weather was still good and it was a lovely evening, though with time getting on I didn't linger. The sunshine and blue sky had spread right across the island so the drive back to the camp site was very pleasant, though after that long walk the three of us were glad to get into the tent and relax for a while.

It was much later on when I got quite a surprise; stepping out of the tent to take Sophie and Poppie for their bedtime walk I found the site covered in a mist so thick I couldn't even see the other side of the field. After the day had turned out so nice where on earth had that come from?? It must have arrived fairly quickly as I hadn't got back to the tent until gone 8.30pm and the sun was still shining then. 

Now even though I'm used to walking round the empty site on my own at night, and the mist didn't particularly bother me, something felt not quite right but it took a while before I realised what it was - there was no birdsong. Even quite late at night there would always be a bird or two twittering away in a tree somewhere but this time there was nothing - not a sound anywhere, just an eerie silence all round me and the blanket of mist swallowing up everything I would normally see. I wasn't scared - there was nothing really to be scared of - but I was certainly glad when we got back to the tent.

As I got into bed later on had my fingers metaphorically crossed that the current mist meant that the following day would be a good one. It was my final full day and I still hadn't had my planned 'big day out' so a few hours of wall-to-wall sunshine would be nice - well, I could live in hope, though with the current weird weather anything could happen.

Saturday June 11th 2016 - Part 2 - Caernarfon

Leaving Port Dinorwic behind I drove a few miles further south to Caernarfon, the intention being to park near the castle, have a quick look round the shops, then take a few photos around the harbour, but when I got there I found the parking fee to be £4 for all day - now that would be fine if I was going to stay all day but it was already gone 4pm and I didn't need much more than an hour, so I negotiated the town's one-way system and found my way round to the far side of the harbour where I was able to park for free at the roadside overlooking the straits.

Parking on that side of the harbour meant that I wasn't far from the golf club so on the spur of the moment I decided to pay a surprise visit to my cousin David who works there. I'd last seen him at a family funeral a couple of years ago, and though he knows I regularly camp on Anglesey he certainly wasn't expecting to turn round from serving a member at the bar and see me standing at the other side of it. He poured me a glass of Coke and we managed to have a good chat even though he had to break off a few times to serve various members. I left when he started to get busy, and as I got back outside I had to smile to myself; the dress code stated 'Smart casual is the order of the day in all areas of the clubhouse at all times' and there I was in cycling shorts, t-shirt and beach sandals with my hair tied up in a scruffy ponytail - not exactly the right sort of image for a golf club!

Back at the harbour I spent quite some time wandering round taking photos; at one point I managed to find a way to get right down to the water's edge and was rewarded with the sight of an oystercatcher pecking about among the seaweed. Back up on the lane I crossed the swing bridge to the far side and walked along the harbourside as far as I could before I found my way blocked by a tall metal fence. A bank of ominous dark grey cloud was gathering just inland and it looked like the heavens were about to open so I didn't linger too long, and with another half dozen shots taken I made my way back to the van.

With the sky looking so dark and the time getting on it wasn't worth going anywhere else so I just set off back to Anglesey and the camp site. The sky was actually much clearer when I got back to the tent and the bed time dog walk just before the light faded was quite pleasant; it was a shame I hadn't had sunshine for my afternoon off the island but I'd still got some decent photos, and there would be plenty of future opportunities to go to Port Dinorwic and Caernarfon again in much better weather.

Saturday June 11th 2016 - Part 1 - Port Dinorwic

After some heavy overnight rain the morning arrived fine but very grey and miserable with pockets of mist hanging low over the bay, although it was still very warm. It didn't bode well for a day out off the island and by lunch time it still showed no sign of clearing up, but as I needed to get a new camera card from somewhere I decided to go anyway, though not to where I'd originally planned. 

My first stop was Bangor where I eventually found a PC World store and got what I wanted, then I drove a few miles south to the little village of Port Dinorwic on the Menai Straits. I'd been there a few years ago in much nicer weather, and though there was nothing there the harbour was quite attractive and worth a few photos. As I parked up by the village green, which overlooked the straits, I could see that nothing had changed about that part of the village, but it was a different story round by the little harbour. 

Where the old dark harbour buildings and boat sheds had once been there was now a smart-looking row of harbour-side houses and a pleasant cafe with a small outside eating area and a few tables right beside the harbour wall. Round the corner was an Italian bistro, a hair salon, a beautician and a physiotherapy practice, and just up the hill at the far side of the harbour was a new hotel with apartments and a landscaped garden; with a very pleasant green area overlooking the outer harbour it looked like this place had undergone some regeneration in the few years since my last visit.

By the time I'd finished wandering round and photographing things it was time for a mid afternoon break so I thought I may as well try the cafe, and I have to say that the coffee and cake I had were very nice and not overpriced either. Walking back to the van afterwards I thought it was a shame that the day was still so cloudy and grey as I could have got some really nice photos round the regenerated harbour, but at least I've now got an excuse to make a return visit another time.

Friday June 10th 2016 - Castle Gardens, Beaumaris

After several overnight showers the morning arrived grey, damp and drizzly, not the sort of morning to be going out anywhere with the camera. It was well after lunch time when the drizzle finally stopped and the sky started to brighten; it wasn't worth going out to anywhere special but as I was still on the hunt for a cheap plastic tablecloth I decided to drive into Beaumaris to see if I could find anything there. I was out of luck though, even the kitchenware shop didn't have what I wanted - it seemed like I would have to either buy a good quality thick one from somewhere, which wouldn't exactly be cheap, or look for one on ebay when I got home.

While I'd been looking round the shops the sun had decided to put in an appearance, so on my way back to the van I called in at Castle Gardens for a look round. Now although this garden is less than a hundred yards from Beaumaris castle it has nothing whatsoever to do with it even though the name suggests otherwise; it's a small private informal walled garden divided into different areas and with plants for sale and a couple of friendly black cats mooching about, and visitors are welcome to go in and wander round even if they don't buy anything. 

With a few photos taken and no plans to go anywhere else I drove back to the camp site and spent the rest of the afternoon and evening relaxing with my book and also planning my 'big day out' if the weather turned out exceptionally good. I still had another three full days of the holiday left so I was keeping my fingers crossed that at least one of those days would be nice enough for what I had planned.

Thursday June 9th 2016 - Aberffraw & Llyn Cefni

The morning started off dull and grey and hadn't really improved by lunch time; it had put paid to my plans for that day so having got fed up of pottering about in and around the tent I decided to go over to Asda in Llangefni as I needed to get some supplies, then I'd see if the weather was any better over the far side of the island. 

From Llangefni I drove over to Aberffraw; I hadn't been there for a while and even if it was dull I could still take the dogs for a good walk along the river estuary and out to the beach. By the time I got there things were starting to brighten up and although the sky was still grey patches of blue were beginning to show and the sun was trying its best to get through. Leaving the van in the parking area I crossed the hump-back bridge and wandered a little way down the far side of the river as I'd never been down there before, then I crossed back and walked down the riverside beach to the proper beach at the end. 

The tide was coming in and as the water was fairly shallow near the beach and the waves were gentle ones I decided to take Poppie in for a dip. Although she didn't quite go in deep enough to swim she did have a good paddle around for several minutes before deciding she'd had enough; Sophie was her usual self and stayed on the edge of the waves just getting her feet wet. After fifteen minutes or so I set off back along the river to the van; I could have walked to the far end of the beach to see if there was anything worth photographing but thought I'd leave it for another time and sunnier weather.

From the parking area I drove through the village and out to the next bay where the church in the sea was. It was five years since my previous visit there, and though I didn't think anything would have changed I thought it would be worth taking a look. It was exactly the same as before, and though I was tempted to walk across the causeway to the island I decided against it as (a) I'd been before and (b) the sea was coming in and I could have been stranded for several hours.

By the time I got back to the van it was turning out to be quite a nice afternoon so I drove back to Llangefni, parked up at Asda and went for a walk through The Dingle nature reserve. This was another place I'd been to a few years ago though this time, instead of wandering round the boardwalk through the trees, I stayed on the main path and went right up to Llyn Cefni reservoir which I hadn't seen before.

A signpost not far from the beginning of the path told me that Llyn Cefni was a mile-and-a-half away but as I walked along I began to think someone had got their distances wrong as it seemed to be much further than that. Leaving The Dingle behind I went through some lovely peaceful countryside where I could hear nothing but the sound of various birds and eventually I saw the reservoir dam up ahead. 

There didn't seem to be anything special about the reservoir when I got there, it was just a huge expanse of water surrounded by areas of  pine forest, but I could see more water up ahead and hearing voices I decided to follow the path a bit further. The voices turned out to be four teenage lads who were taking it in turns to jump off the bank into the water, and just after I passed them I came to the second reservoir which was much smaller and looked nicer than the first one, with groups of swans swimming around. With time getting on and not wanting to overstay the allotted two hours on the car park at Asda I made that my turn round point, and with a handful of shots taken I headed back towards The Dingle and eventually the van. 

It was 7pm when I finally got back to the tent and with no intention of going out again I made myself a meal and settled in for the rest of the evening. It was a shame that the day had started off as dull as it was but it had come nice in the end and I'd managed to get some photos. And having now been to Llyn Cefni I may very well go back another time when it's earlier in the day and the sky is much more blue - it would be worth a second visit even if there is nothing there.