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 August 13th 2016 - Part 1 - An ancient castle, a derelict ship, and meeting a blogging friend

A sunny morning at 7.30am saw me leaving home for a weekend at Manorafon Farm camp site in Abergele. Gwrych Castle, just up the lane from the camp site, was in the very slow process of being restored and the Trust involved were holding an open weekend for visitors to look round and see the work done so far; as I'd unofficially explored the ruin three years ago before any restoration work started (I'd sneaked in through a gap in the security fencing) I couldn't pass up the opportunity of seeing it properly, and it was a great excuse to have a camping weekend at Manorafon.

My usual route to Abergele would have taken me straight down the A55 but my pitch at Manorafon wouldn't be available until 1pm, and as I've been following a very interesting coastal walking blog I decided to use part of the morning to look for some of the recently mentioned places just off the A548 coast road. My first stop was at Flint Castle, situated on a grassy mound between the edge of the small town and the River Dee estuary; constructed in the late 13th century it was the first of a series of castles built during King Edward 1's campaign to conquer Wales, though most of it was demolished in the mid 17th century.

There was no entrance fee to the castle and even though it wasn't yet 9am the gates were already open; it was also dog friendly so I was able to wander round quite freely with Sophie and Poppie. Unfortunately the sun decided to play hide and seek just then and dark grey clouds loomed ominously over the estuary, but by waiting for breaks in the cloud I managed to get several good shots of various parts of the castle.

The next stop on my agenda was to be Greenfield Dock, a tidal creek with a handful of small fishing boats, but finding it proved to be impossible. It wasn't shown on the map book, and though I expected to see a sign somewhere along the main road saying 'Greenfield Dock' I drove right through Greenfield village without seeing anything. I was almost tempted to turn round and go back, and maybe ask someone if necessary, but I still had somewhere else to go so finding Greenfield Dock would have to wait until another day.

My third quest was to find the old Duke of Lancaster ship, lying abandoned and derelict on the estuary at Llanerch-y-Mor. Originally a passenger ship sailing to and from Ireland it was taken out of service in 1979 and beached at Llanerch-y-Mor to start a new life as a 'fun ship', but many legal wranglings over the years led to its eventual closure and it has stood abandoned and unloved ever since. As I approached Llanerch-y-Mor village I could see the top of the ship ahead and to my right and a bit further along I came to a large car park set back off the road; the ship had to be fairly close to there so I pulled in and found I was in luck - going through a gate in the corner of the car park, under the railway bridge and following the path took me straight to it.

Much of the outside of the ship was covered in rust, though an attempt had been made at sometime to brighten it up with specially commissioned spray painted 'artwork' though to be honest I thought the pictures were horrible and the whole thing just looked a mess. Unfortunately various metal fences, locked steel gates and copious amounts of barbed wire threaded over and through the nearby hedges stopped me from getting as close as I wanted to so I had to be content with taking my photos from the path. 

To see the other side of the ship I had to go right back along the path to the main road, cross a bridge then down along the path on the far side of the stream. In the sunshine, and with not as much graffiti on that side, the ship did look marginally better - with the rust cleaned off and a decent paint job it could have looked quite smart. Taking the last of my photos I left the ship to rust in peace and returned to the van - it was 10.15am by then and I'd arranged to meet my blogging friend Eileen no later than eleven o' clock. We were meeting for the first time and I didn't want to be late so the fourth place I'd intended going to would have to wait.

It was a few minutes before eleven when I pulled up outside Eileen's house; she came out to greet me then took me indoors to introduce me to her husband Martyn and adorable little dog Annie. I'd been pre-warned that Annie likes to mug people by sniffing out whatever food or treats they may have in their pockets or bags so I'd gone prepared with a dog chew in each pocket but rather disappointingly I didn't get mugged, though I still gave Annie the chews.

It had previously been suggested that it might be nice to take all three dogs for a walk in the park not far from Manorafon so after coffee and a chat we set off in convoy to Abergele. I'd driven past that particular park many times on previous stays at Manorafon but this was the first time I'd actually been in there; with lots of open space the dogs were able to run and explore off the lead and we walked a full circuit of the park before returning to the car park. It was 1pm by then and just the right time for me to book in at the camp site so I said goodbye to Eileen, Martyn and Annie and set off on the short drive to Manorafon, ready for the next part of my day.


  1. What an historic atmosphere Tigermouse. I would think it was awesome to see it close by. I thoroughly enjoyed reading of your time away and most certainly loved the photo's.

    1. The ship is bigger than it looks on the photos Yvonne. I did take some shots of the paintings on the side but they were really ugly and horrible so I didn't want to put them on here. To be honest, viewed from nearer the back of the ship, I thought they gave it rather a sinister air so in a way I was glad that I couldn't get closer to it.

  2. I remember seeing that ship on Ruth's blog - it's quite bizarre! It's always nice to meet blogging friends.

    1. It was seeing the ship on Ruth's blog which prompted me to go and find it. It's a shame that it's been left there just rusting away - if it can't be used as it is I'm surprised that the owner(s) haven't had it dismantled and sold for scrap before now.

  3. Annie was very quiet after having been stung by a wasp two days previously so it did seem as though she was on her best behaviour. Thank you for the treats, she did enjoy them as we enjoyed meeting you for the first time.

    I had never heard of Greenfield docks before and felt sure it might have been the nearby Mostyn docks you were meaning but now I realise I was wrong.

    There used to be a large Sunday market next to the "fun ship" and that was probably the same large car park you parked in. It's a shame the ship has been left to rust.

    Our tour of the Pentre Mawr park was enjoyable as the dogs stretched their legs and also got to know each other. Sophie and Poppie are lovely little dogs.

  4. The car park I went in was just the other side of the stream from the 'fun ship' one where the market used to be. It's a nice, well laid out, tree-shaded place and there's an Abakhan fabric shop there, also a wool shop, information centre and children's playground; I think there may be a cafe there too. The 'fun ship' car park, which is really just waste ground, still has some of the old market stalls there and a large sign saying 'Fun ship cafe open', but there's nothing there.

    I showed a friend the photos I took of Annie, when she saw the first one she said 'Oh, she's got a little halo on her head'. My friend loves dogs and said Annie looks really sweet and I have to agree - she's adorable :)

  5. I sometimes wonder how you manage to pack quite so much into each day :)

  6. I wonder that myself sometimes too - and that was only half the day! :)

  7. I enjoyed virtually following your around on your delightful morning. That was an amazing castle. I kept seeing creatures in it. The side profile of the part with the tower reminded me of a dog, which got me wondering if the sphinx could be a top of an even larger structure. You're right, the paintings on the ship don't fit. They were boorish, but then what I do know about art. It's always fun to meet blogging friends in person. I've met two so far. Hope we get to read about the rest of your weekend.

  8. I'm writing about the second part of the day right now, the rest of the weekend will come soon.

    One of the pictures on the side of the ship was the 'three wise monkeys' done in black - it's huge and almost as tall as the ship's side. Whoever painted that one must have used very tall ladders to do it. :)


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