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 July 18th 2017 - A final fling - Parys Mountain

I woke early that morning to more glorious weather; it was much too good to waste and as I was going home that day I wanted to make the most of every minute so at 6.30am the dogs and I were down on the beach. Walking along as far as the small flat headland which formed part of St. David's caravan site it was lovely to have the beach all to ourselves. With no-one around I took the opportunity to have a look round part of the site; I'd once thought about staying there as an alternative to my usual camp site as it's situated by the same beach but it seems that dogs aren't allowed on the camping field so that idea was soon scrapped. 

The little headland was absolutely full of rabbits - big ones, baby ones, groups and individuals just mooching about and nibbling on the grass, though when they saw us they ran off in all directions. Now if there's a collective term for a group of rabbits I had no idea what it is so I invented one right then - a 'scattering', because that's exactly what they did. Thank goodness Sophie and Poppie were on the lead, they would have had a field day otherwise.

Back at the van I sorted out some breakfast then packed away all the smaller camping items, leaving the rest of the stuff for later, and by 9am I was on the road heading to Parys mountain - I hadn't managed to get there earlier in the holiday and in such good weather the photo opportunities were far too good to miss. Leaving the van in the car park I set off on the main path to the left, working my way round and up the mountain until I got to the old windmill at the top. 

The inside of the windmill was accessible on two levels although when I'd been in there two years ago there was nothing there, however the 'ground floor' level now had clear plastic window panes, a timber floor and ceiling and information boards in frames round the walls - it looked like someone was finally making a feature out of the old building.

From the windmill I worked my way gradually round the mountain; with many paths to choose from I could have spent hours exploring them all but mindful that I had to go home sometime that day I kept to the ones I'd taken on my previous visit as I knew where they would lead to. Eventually I came to the freshwater lake and the path from there led me past the old precipitation ponds; a short walk down the hill from there took me back to the car park, and of all the time I'd been walking round I hadn't seen another person - I'd had the mountain completely to myself.

I was back at the camp site for 11.30 and after a much-needed chilled can of Coke I set about packing up the rest of my stuff. By 1pm everything was done and after a quick scout round the pitch for any stray tent pegs I was ready to hit the road. It was a good journey back with sunshine all the way and no delays and I was home for 3.30pm - in spite of a couple of dodgy days weather-wise it had been a good holiday, and as I downloaded my photos later on I was already making plans for my next visit to Anglesey.

Monday July 17th 2017 - Part 2 - Cemlyn Bay

From Rhoscolyn I drove over to Penrhos coastal park; it had been so unusual for Pete's Burger Bar to be absent from there the previous day that I wondered if maybe he'd had to give up his pitch for some reason, however all was well when I got there - the van was in its usual place so I parked overlooking the bay, ordered a cheeseburger and a coffee and chilled out in the van for a while.

My next stop was Cemlyn Bay on the north side of the island; I'd only previously been there twice and hadn't stayed long on either occasion as there's nothing there other than a wildlife lagoon, but another post on Ruth's blog had prompted me to consider having a look at the far end of the bay. From the car park the stony shingle beach to the west was backed by the lagoon for most of its length; the top of the beach, where it was easiest to walk, had been roped off to protect various nesting birds so I had to walk further down where the deep shingle and shifting stones made the going quite hard.

At the end of the beach the outflow from the lagoon formed a short river which cut through the deep shingle and joined the sea; a flat ground level concrete bridge with no handrails spanned the river and on the other side on the right was a rocky promontory with what looked like a couple of derelict cottages surrounded by an overgrown garden and a high stone wall. There was another, much higher, wall on the left - a long, ugly, white-turning-to-grey concrete and brick monstrosity partly built into the back of the lagoon; whatever was behind it was certainly hidden from view. 

At the far end of the bridge a sandy slope took me up onto a lane and a rough-surfaced parking area; intrigued by the old cottages I tried to find a way in but the stone wall went most of the way round and there was no way I could climb it. I did however find a gap of a few feet where the wall had fallen down; three strands of barbed wire were fastened across the gap but there was enough 'give' in the middle strand for me and the dogs to get through, and judging by the track worn through the long grass I wasn't the first person to do that.

The main cottage was covered in so much ivy and other foliage that I had absolutely no chance of actually getting inside, and the other two cottages were just completely derelict shells, but at least I'd satisfied my curiosity and with just a couple of snaps taken I fought my way back through the jungle and out through the barbed wire. On the rocks behind the cottages I got a couple of snaps of the bay then made my way across the bridge and headed back to the van.

This time I managed to walk as close to the top of the beach as I could so I could get some shots looking over the lagoon, but other than a few seagulls on the water I couldn't see any birds in evidence anywhere. By then it was 6.30pm and the late afternoon sun was starting to take on its early evening glow; I'd seen everything I wanted to see so it was time to be heading back to base.

Finally back at the site I made myself a brew and settled in for the rest of the evening. It had been a good day in more ways than one - I'd spruced up Tyger's memorial stone, had one of Pete's delicious cheeseburgers, seen somewhere new and got lots of photos so now it was time to relax for a while.

**Since getting back home I've found out the ugly high wall at the end of the lagoon actually surrounds the house and gardens originally belonging to Captain Vivian Hewitt, the aviation pioneer. In 1912, at the age of 24, Captain Hewitt achieved the feat of flying 75 miles from Rhyl across the Irish Sea to Ireland, the first man ever to do so. He landed in Phoenix Park, Dublin, and his achievement was celebrated both in Ireland and in Rhyl, but the sinking of the Titanic less than two weeks previously overshadowed his success and his flight probably didn't get the recognition it deserved. 

After WW1 Captain Hewitt gave up flying and went to live at Bryn Aber, the house at Cemlyn where he established the lagoon and its surrounding land as a bird sanctuary. The now derelict cottages were part of his estate which was left to his housekeeper and her two sons when he died in 1965 at the age of 77. In 1971 the lagoon and surrounding land were bought by the National Trust who now manage it jointly with the North Wales Wildlife Trust.

Monday July 17th - Part 1 - Rhoscolyn & Tyger's memorial

Another glorious morning arrived and when I took the dogs out for their first walk I took the camera with me. Several changes had been made to the site since I was there last year, including cutting back or down many of the trees and high bushes separating the individual fields, which gave views of the sea to those areas which previously didn't have any and also gave the site in general a more open look. I must admit that after camping there for twenty years I'd got used to it as it was and when I'd arrived this time I wasn't sure I liked the changes, but they'd grown on me over the last few days and when I stood on the edge of the headland field and looked across the main body of the site I had to concede that it did look much better.

My main mission for that day was to do a bit of remedial work on Tyger's memorial stone at Rhoscolyn; I didn't know if anyone locally looked after it but I'd noticed last year that the inscription was fading, so unless someone else had already done it I was going to repaint the lettering, hence the previous day's purchase of paint and brushes.

When I got to the car park at Rhoscolyn beach I was quite surprised to find it was now a pay-and-display place; it had always been free, indeed it was free when I went there last year, but now there was a ticket machine and a large board displaying the prices. Hoping that two hours would be enough I stuck the relevant ticket in the front windscreen, gathered my things together and set off with the dogs. It was a very pleasant, if rather hot, walk but I kept up a steady pace and with only a couple of very brief photography stops it didn't take too long to get to the stone.

There were plenty of sheep mooching about round the cliff top, although the dogs didn't bother about them and they didn't seem to be bothered about the dogs, but where you get sheep you also get sheep poo and I had to remove several lumps of it before I could kneel on the grass at Tyger's stone. 

Painting the inscription was easier than I'd thought it would be and the day was so hot that by the time I finished the last number the paint was almost dry so the whole lot got a second coat. With hindsight I should maybe have used a finer brush as the lettering looked a bit thicker in some places than it should have been, but with a posy of wild flowers at the base it did look better than before.

With mission accomplished I wandered a bit further along the cliff top in search of the Black Arch. After I'd found the White Arch last year I was informed later that the Black Arch wasn't far from it - this was true as I hadn't gone far from Tyger's memorial when I found it, and though it wasn't as impressive as the White Arch it was still worthy of a couple of photos.

Mindful of the time and not wanting to overstay my time on the car park ticket I didn't linger too long before I set off back. From up near the coastguard look-out I got a great view over to the mainland; the hills of the Llyn peninsula rose up out of a sea level mist which obscured the coastline, and in the foreground the rocky Gull's Islands stood out in dark contrast to the surrounding blue - that was one view which, to me, was definitely worth a shot.

With a handful of shots taken on my approach to the beach I got back to the car park with just five minutes to spare. I would have liked to stay and explore the far end of the beach but it was the last full day of the holiday and there was somewhere else I wanted to go to. I could always explore Rhoscolyn beach another time; my main mission had been accomplished and it was now time to head off for the next part of my day.