It’s half term at the moment, and so Ed and I decided to get out of the city and spend a couple of days in the mountains up in Cumbria. As October half term is split this year and Birmingham doesn’t share the holiday with London or a few other regions, we managed to find space in a couple of hostels. They’re usually booked up months in advance for the school holidays, so this was a bit of luck. We stayed at YHA Honister Hause for two nights and then YHA Helvellyn on our last night.
Ed and I have just got back from a camping holiday in France. This year we decided to visit the Alps, and because it’s a long drive we broke up our journey down by staying in the French Ardennes. We stayed in Monthermé which is quite close to the border with Belgium, in a campsite on the river Meuse.
On Friday evening Ed and I decided last minute to go hiking in Snowdonia. It’s always a bit of a gamble to book a hostel in advance because the weather is so unpredictable, but 24 hours out the forecast looked both clear and dry, and there was a room available at YHA Idwal.
This morning we got up before dawn and went for a walk around Llyn Idwal. It’s one of my favourite places in Snowdonia, and being up in the mountains for sunrise is something we both love. To my complete surprise and joy, we came across a herd of wild mountain ponies grazing the thin pickings of late autumn on our way up to the lake. The light wasn’t great and they were a little bit far from the main path, so I waited to take photos of them until the return leg of our walk.
After spending four nights in Brittany, we drove south to Jard-sur-Mer, learning a very important lesson on the way: don’t travel in France on a Saturday during the peak summer season. Next time we’ll plan our travel days for week days as the roads are much quieter.
In Jard-sur-Mer we stayed at Camping la Ventouse which we had chosen for the shady pitches and proximity to the beach. Our pitch was on the sand dunes on the edge of the campsite, and because tent camping isn’t as popular as caravan camping, we had a double pitch to ourselves which was lovely. The following pictures are a mix of film (Portra 400) and digital.
This August Ed and I spent ten days camping in France. The first half of our trip was spent in Brittany and then we drove south to Jard-sur-Mer in the Vendée. Two years ago we went on holiday to Brittany to make the most of travelling to Roscoff for a family wedding. It was a really lovely trip, so we wanted to go back again this year and stay for a little longer.
We didn’t book our travel or campsites until a few weeks before we travelled and by the end of July the ferries were really expensive so we took the Eurostar instead, and factored in a couple of extra days travelling across Normandy and northern France. In hindsight, we should have just booked sooner and taken the ferry. Once we’d included péage fees, fuel and the cost of a couple of budget hotels it wasn’t any cheaper. That said, I’ve no regrets. We wouldn’t ordinarily go on holiday to Normandy and we got to see some sights that we had both been looking forward to seeing. Next time though we’ll get the ferry if we’re going to western France. The following pictures are a mix of film and digital.
The road to South Wales from Birmingham winds its way through Abergavenny, and for a long time now I’ve been thinking that it would be fun to climb Sugar Loaf which is on the outskirts of the town. We pass it by on the way to and from the bigger peaks further west, and most recently drove through Abergavenny on the way home from Babcia’s funeral down in Carmarthen at the start of June. On Saturday with no weddings or races on the calendar, we finally made plans to drive down to Wales and walk up Sugar Loaf together. It’s very easy to skip the lower peaks in favour of the bigger climbs of Pen y Fan and Corn Du, but Sugar Loaf on the edge of the Black Mountains is a really beautiful climb, with really good views on a clear day.
I’ve just got a couple of rolls of film back from AG Photographic so thought I’d put together a collection of the film photos from our trip to Cornwall at the end of May. This year we camped down on the Lizard Peninsula at YHA Coverack for two nights and at YHA Penzance for three. Both of the campsites were good. We had our own private glade at Coverack (the downside was that the long grass was full of bugs and I got bitten alive). At Penzance I made friends with a lovely long haired cat who I took pity on because she was so desperate for attention and food. I ended up buying her sachets of food two nights in a row as she kept begging for food, but then was woken by her mewing outside our tent at 3am!
Over half term Ed and I spent a few days in the English Lake District, staying in Keswick and going walking on the fells. As it was the school holidays the towns and villages were really busy, but one morning we got up early and walked down to Derwentwater for sunrise to enjoy the lake before it got too crowded, and to take photos of the boats.
For our wedding anniversary this year we walked the Brecon Horseshoe. The weather wasn’t good so, although it didn’t rain, there was no view as we were up in the clouds the whole time. We walked the route anti-clockwise, but skipped out Fan-y-Big as we’d been up it in the spring. I’d love to go back when the weather is better and do the walk again in good conditions. It’s supposed to be really picturesque.