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

Monday April 17th 2017 - Part 1 - A llama trek in the Berwyn Mountains

After some more overnight rain it was another dull and grey morning but at least it was fine, and as long as it stayed that way until lunch time I would be happy; I'd booked a llama trek for 10.30am and I was really looking forward to it so I didn't want it to be cancelled due to wet weather.

Berwyn Mountain Llamas is based in the next village along from where I was camping, although the llamas actually live right up in the hills, and when I phoned to book the trek I was given the directions to get there. The route involved driving up a steep and winding lane which was little more than a farm track not much wider than the van and as I got higher up I was just hoping I wouldn't meet something coming the other way as there were no passing places anywhere. But Sod's Law decreed that sure enough, on one of the steeper sections of the track, I came face to face with a car coming down. There was no way I could reverse so the elderly driver of the other car backed up several yards and tucked his vehicle in beside the gateway to a cottage to give me room to get past - and that's when I encountered the most obnoxious and verbally aggressive woman I've ever met.

As I inched the van slowly past the other car this woman, who was standing just inside the cottage gate, started frantically waving her arms at me to get me to stop, and when I wound the window down she started shouting at me - and believe me, there's no way I can possibly convey in type just how verbally aggressive she really was.

"I'm looking for Berwyn Mountain Llamas"
"Well these are the directions I was given" (holding up the paper I'd written them on)
"THAT DOESN'T MATTER, THIS IS A PRIVATE LANE!!"  (So I'm now thinking I must somehow have taken a wrong turning off the road below)

Then she turned her attention to the other driver and pointing several times down the lane shouted at him "GO! GO ON, GO! GO!!" at which he set off and she turned her attention back to me.

"So am I on the right lane for the llamas?"
"So which way do I go from there?"
"I'm sorry if I've driven up somewhere I shouldn't have but this is the way I was told to come, and there's no way I can reverse all the way back down again from here"

So she opened the double gates to allow me to turn the van round and I set off back down the lane. Not far from the end there was a short grass verge with just enough room to park the van under the trees; I didn't like the thought of leaving the dogs there but I couldn't take them with me and I figured out that if it was a private lane there'd be no-one going past anyway so they should be okay. So I set off walking back up the lane but by this time it had gone 10.30 and I was late; I had no idea how far I had to go once I got past that awful woman's cottage and I couldn't ring the lady with the llamas as I had no phone signal so I just had to keep walking and hope she didn't think I was messing her about.

A distance past the awful woman's cottage was a hairpin bend with another cottage set back off the lane; hopefully that was the llama place but no, there was no-one around and no sign of any llamas. On I went, round another hairpin bend with the lane getting rougher the higher I got, then eventually it levelled out and in the distance Carol, the llama lady, appeared through the trees leading two llamas. Thinking that I may have got the van stuck on one of the bad bends she had come down to find me - and I was so relieved to see her that I could have cried. 

When I told her about my encounter with the awful woman she was appalled; it seems I'm not the first person to have been shouted at by the woman but my experience was by far the worst. Carol had no idea who the elderly couple in the other car could have been though as there were only two other cottages up that lane and she knew both residents, so maybe they had just lost their way. She also said that the lane is only private above and beyond the awful woman's cottage so she has no right to make people go back if they have a genuine reason for access.

Once I'd recovered from my long walk up the lane I changed into my wellies, leaving my trainers in the back of Carol's car at the very end of the lane, and we set off on our trek. I was leading Kubera, the bigger of the two llamas; he was lovely, very calm and easy to lead though he did like to snatch a mouthful of grass or tree foliage every now and again. 

The trek took me up and diagonally across several fields and though I normally have a good sense of direction I didn't have a clue where I was other than that it was somewhere up in the Berwyn mountains. Every so often Carol would stop and point out several things of interest - fields divided by low stone walls which followed an ancient grid pattern, a badger sett in a hollow, the song of a willow warbler in a nearby tree - and the higher we climbed the better the views became. It's just a shame that it was such a grey day - with blue sky and sunshine I could have got some really lovely photos.

Halfway through the trek we had swapped llamas so I could have the chance of leading Eddie. Close to the highest point there was a large timber picnic shelter with a couple of benches so we stopped there for a few minutes to admire the view. The descent across that particular field was quite steep and as Eddie was a bit stronger than Kubera Carol said she didn't want me to reach the bottom faster than I wanted to go so we swapped llamas again.

The final part of the trek took me through a wooded area and along a gently sloping path which soon levelled out and eventually joined the lane close to where Carol's car was parked. Eddie and Kubera were led into their paddock, their headcollars were removed and they were free to do whatever it is llamas like to do; my llama trek was over.

Carol offered me a lift back down the lane to the van but I said I would walk back as I wanted to take a photo of the cottage on the bend, so she left me with the advice that if I ever go back to do another llama trek and the awful woman tries to stop me driving up the lane I should just ignore her and drive straight past - that's fine by me, I wouldn't fancy being shouted at a second time!

Finally back at the van I found both dogs were absolutely fine. They were curled up asleep so they mustn't have missed me too much but as they'd been on their own for longer than I'd intended I took them for a walk down to the end of the lane and back before setting off for the second part of my day. There was a place just outside Llangollen which I'd never been to before and though it was a grey day I wanted to check out the photo opportunities - if it was as nice as other people had told me it was then it may be worth a return visit some other time.


  1. I've been to Wales but never that part. Looks like I missed a special place. Again your wonderful pictures illustrates what a wonderful place and certainly what a great time you had.


  2. Ignoring the encounter with the horrible woman the llama trek itself was really enjoyable. For just one person the price works out expensive but I would certainly do it again sometime in much nicer weather.

  3. The llama trek sounds wonderful and something I would enjoy for sure. Unfortunately I have been on far too many of those lanes that are just dirt tracks just wide enough for one vehicle and they petrify me. That woman has no right to shout at you or anyone else like that. I'm glad you were able to put the incident out of mind so you could enjoy the trek.

    You've reminded me of a holiday we had in Cumbria one time, we called in a cafe called the Llama Karma Kafe and they also have a B & B called the Llamas Pyjamas :) I could only photograph the llamas through the cafe window and it was teeming with rain at the time! I think they do the llama treks, do look online about it. I still have a souvenir pen from the place :)

    1. What a coincidence you mentioned it. I drove past the Llama Karma Place only yesterday, Eileen. On the A66. It's the kind of name you never forget. Made me smile.

  4. The llama trek was done at quite a leisurely pace with several stops to admire the scenery so it was just the thing to wind down after my encounter with that awful woman.

    The Llama Karma Kafe and the Llamas Pyjamas sound great - what brilliant names! I really must check that one out when I get time :)

  5. Here's a link Eunice :)


  6. Thanks Eileen :)

    I'm just writing the last few sentences of the next post, hopefully I can get the final one wrapped up tonight as I'm away again in the morning and I don't want to leave this unfinished. Then maybe I might just have time to check out your link :)

  7. That looks like fun. What lovely llamas! Shame about the horrible woman.

  8. The llamas were adorable and really well behaved, unfortunately the horrible woman wasn't lovely, she was vile. I could just about understand an elderly person being maybe a bit grumpy for whatever reason but she was beyond that - and she wasn't that old either, probably only late forties. I dread to think what she'll be like when she does get older!


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