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!
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.
Here are some photos and a short film from our holiday in Cornwall over the May half term. The photos are a mix of film and digital, as always, and I’ve added locations as captions. I’d like to recommmend a visit to Potager Garden Café if you have the time and are in the area. It’s a lovely little cafe, tucked away in the deepest Cornish countryside and they have a really good cake menu with lots of vegan options. We stayed near St Austell on the Roseland Heritage Coast, but made a daytrip down to the south taking in Lizard Point and Cadgwith, stopping in at Potager on the way home. The short film at the bottom of this post was filmed at our favourite beach on the Roseland Heritage Coast; Hemmick near Boswinger.
Just before I turned 30, Ed and I spent a few days in the Scottish Highlands. We got the sleeper train up from London, hired a car in Inverness and stayed at SYHA Ratagan. It was a lovely way to end the summer and celebrate the last days of my twenties. On my thirtieth birthday, I woke up on the sleeper heading south with Ed passing me his card and whispering “happy birthday” to me quietly so as not to wake the other people in our carriage. It was low-key but absolutely perfect. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate a birthday than spending time with Ed outdoors in a beautiful place like the Scottish Highlands. I can’t wait to go back there again, perhaps for a bit longer and out of midge season!
Up until this holiday, I hadn’t been to France since Ed and I spent a week by the ocean near Bordeaux for our honeymoon in 2010. I love France, but it’s quite expensive to visit as most self-catering places are for large groups. We like to be self-catered as it’s just easier that way since we’re both vegan. We went back this year for Ed’s cousin’s wedding in Roscoff, and stayed a few extra days camping down on the Quiberon peninsula. Our campsite was really good, though the emplacements could have done with a little shade. The whole peninsula is very exposed, with very little forest cover, so I guess it was to be expected. Next time we’ll take a tarp and some extra poles and rope to make sure we can have some shade by our tent.
The first few days of our trip to Brittany were spent in Roscoff and Saint-Pol-de-Léon for the wedding, and then we carried on further south in Brittany, enjoying the heatwave that made it feel like we were down in the South-West. On the last two evenings, we went to watch the sunset on the coast further up the peninsula from our campsite and filmed some footage together which I made into a short mood film. The first evening it was calm, and there were lots of children playing on the sand and surfers out on the water, but the second evening was much more wild and savage; a good reminder of why that stretch of coastline was named La Côte Sauvage. The footage was shot on a Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera with a vintage Zuiko 28mm F2.8 lens. I kept the setup simple with just the camera, a tripod and a USB battery pack as we were camping and I didn’t want to overcomplicate things.
Here are some photographs I took during a very short trip to the Czech Republic in July. The reason for the trip was that a school friend of ours was getting married in the Czech countryside outside Prague but it was during term-time (Ed is a teacher) so we couldn’t make a longer trip of it. We flew out on the Thursday evening, spent Friday walking around Prague, Saturday with friends at the wedding in a little village called Chodeč (I was taking pictures for them), and then Sunday back in Prague before we had to fly home.
I visited Prague in 1992 with my parents when we lived out in Germany. I was only 6 at the time, and so didn’t fully take in the details, but it was obviously a vastly different experience visiting in 2016. I was pleased to see that carpet puppets and traditional marionettes are still a popular tourist product as they were when I was a child.
I wish we could have spent longer there as there was so much to see, but we still managed to pack in a lot of walking and see all the major sights in Prague itself. One day I’d love to go back and visit Karlovy Vary too. I’m a big fan of Wes Anderson and love his film ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ which was inspired by visits to European cities and towns such as Karlovy Vary. I love how bright and colourful the town is!
The photos are a mix of film (Portra 400, Noritsu scanned, Fujicolor C200, self scanned) and digital. If you’d like to know more about each of the photos, they’re hosted over on Flickr and I’ve geotagged them / added information about film and scanning in the tags.