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 April 15th 2017 - Bala, a chapel, and a cow stampede

After waking briefly a couple of times during the night and hearing the rain hammering on the top of the tent I didn't hold out much hope for a nice day, but when I woke properly that morning I was happy to see sunshine and big patches of blue sky - hopefully it would turn out to be a nice day after all.

My first stop of the day, mid morning, was at a small car boot sale on a bit of waste ground near the Rhug organic farm. With only a dozen or so stalls it didn't take long to look round so I was soon on my way to Bala to look for something I wanted to get a photo of.  As I drove along the A5 I passed a sign not far from the junction with the A494 and seeing it made me think of a conversation I'd had with my partner several years ago. We had just turned onto the  A494 and the conversation went like this -

Him- "Where's Glastonbury?" 
Me - "In Somerset, it's where they have that big music festival in summer. Why?"
Him - Well I've just seen a sign for it"
Me - Don't be daft, you can't have, we're in North Wales and it's nowhere near Somerset"
Him - I'm telling you, I just saw a sign for Glastonbury"
Me - Rubbish! You must be seeing things!"
Him - "Okay then, I'll drive back this way and show you if you don't believe me"

So we went back that way later on and sure enough there was the sign, however it didn't say Glastonbury but Glassblobbery - his eye had obviously caught a fleeting glimpse of the word as we drove past and his brain had turned it into something else. Of course, I had to have the last word - "See, I told you it wasn't Glastonbury!". We'd laughed about that conversation a few times since then and even now, several years later, that sign still makes me smile.

When I finally got to Bala I drove straight through the town and parked in the leisure centre car park, then walked the short distance back to have a look round the shops. When I reached the White Lion Royal Hotel I was surprised to see that the two large lion statues standing outside, which had always been completely white, had recently had a makeover and were now sporting golden manes which made them well worth a quick photo.

From the shops I headed back to the van then walked along the footpath at the north end of the lake; my blogging friend Eileen had recently walked along there and taken a photo of a sign which was so unusual I wanted to see it for myself. Following Eileen's directions it was easy enough to find and I have to agree with her - it's the best 'clean up' sign I've ever seen, and all credit to the local school kids who designed it.

My next quest was to find a certain place on the east side of the lake where my partner and I had stopped for a picnic near the water's edge one year. It was a nice little place but we'd never gone back and when I tried to find it three years ago I'd failed, however having recently studied a satellite view of the lake on Google Maps I'd sussed out where it was and realised that on my previous search I hadn't gone far enough down the road on that side of the lake.

With the name of the place - Llangower - firmly in my mind I followed the road around the lake and I recognised it as soon as I got there. There was a car park (free as the ticket machine was out of order) just off the road and a station platform where trains from the Bala Lake Railway stopped; I had to cross the railway line to get to the lakeside but once I was over there everything became familiar. By this time there were a few dark clouds hovering above and it looked like it might rain, but a strong wind soon moved them along and it stayed nice and sunny for my walk along the shore

I could only go so far before I came to a fence which ran through the trees on my right and went straight out into the water so I had to turn away from the lakeside - and that's when I encountered what must be the worst stile I've ever had to negotiate. It looked simple enough, and for anyone with long legs it would have been, but I'm less than 5ft tall and the wire fastened along the top of it made it really difficult to get over - the fact that it was on a slope didn't help either. Also there was a lift-up 'gate' contraption on one side to allow dogs to go through, so holding the dog lead in one hand, climbing over, and lifting up the heavy 'gate' with the other hand wasn't the easiest of tasks. I can only assume that whoever built that didn't have short legs or a dog!

A notice on the stile said that the land to the right was private (it was a camp site) and members of the public had to keep to the foreshore; I would have done that anyway in my quest for some nice photos so it was no big deal. I walked for several minutes until a thicket of trees growing almost down to the water meant that I risked getting wet feet if I tried to go round them, so not wanting to trespass in the camp site I made that my turn around point.

After negotiating the stupid stile a second time I finally arrived back at the railway line in time to see the train puffing its way towards the platform. Narrow guage steam locomotive 'Alice' was built in 1902 and used at Dinorwic quarry until about 1960, when she was then gradually dismantled to be used for spare parts. Work started on her restoration in 1987 and she was rebuilt in the style of a quarry locomotive; she returned to steam in 1994 and was finally moved to Bala Lake Railway in 2003.

With one more shot of the lakeside I returned to the van and headed back towards Bala, but I stopped briefly just before I reached the end of the road; there was a good view over the end of the lake to the town itself and I didn't want to miss getting a shot of it as I didn't know when I would go that way again.

It was almost coffee and cake time by then but for that I would have to park up back in Bala, so as there was nowhere else I particularly wanted to go to just then I decided to return to the camp site and have coffee and cake in the tent. There was a B road to my right, signposted to Llandrillo, the next village to where I was staying; I'd never been along there before so I found it to be quite an interesting route and it meant I got back to the camp site without having to go all the way back along the A494 and the A5.

By the time I'd had my coffee and cake the sun had disappeared and the sky was full of thick grey cloud; it was still only 3.45 though so in spite of the grey sky I decided to go and have a look at a little old chapel which was a mile or so along the road. I had to park in a lay-by and walk a good distance down a dirt track to get to it so I was rather disappointed to find that not only was it closed and only open at certain times, it was also classed as 'historic' and I would have had to pay to go in by getting a ticket from Rhug historic chapel all the way back along the A5. So I had to be happy with just wandering round the outside of it - and no, my photos aren't crooked, the chapel is on a very steep slope. It's a shame I couldn't go in as it looked quite a sweet little place.

As I wandered round the back of the chapel a loud rustling came from somewhere in the trees on the other side of the wall, then seemingly out of nowhere a long line of cows came galloping down and along the slope. It must have been either milking time or their feed time but as I hadn't heard anyone calling them they must have instinctively known when to go home. They were certainly in a hurry, and although cows don't scare me I was glad I wasn't on their side of the wall just then.

Those were to be my last photos of the day; with the sky looking decidedly more iffy by the minute I returned to the tent and spent the rest of the late afternoon and the evening watching a couple of dvds. I'd just got back from taking the dogs for their pre-bedtime walk when it started raining, though I didn't mind that too much - at least I'd had some sunshine during the day, I'd found a place I'd been looking for and I'd got some good photos too so I was happy with that.