On the move again

Again, we have run out of room so the continuation of our adventures can be found on :-

http://www.moreadrovers2.wordpress.com

Our travels (Post early retirement) started with http://www.thereadrovers.wordpress.com and continued with http://www.morereadrovers.wordpress.com and then to this one, http://www.morereadrovers1.wordpress.com.

Enjoy your travels.

Advertisements

Wales

IMG_6618Friday 22 June

After leaving Hardwick Hall we hit one of the notorious traffic jams on England’s motorways but fortunately are soon able to head off cross country towards Stoke and the slow roads to our hotel, Lake Vrynwy in North Wales, narrowly being missed by a board that flew off a passing van somewhere near the Wales border.

IMG_6578Our Sat Nav seemed to have a mind of it’s own in getting us to the hotel via a single track road for part of the way.

Saturday 23 June

IMG_6561After a restful night in our somewhat antiquated room but with a fabulous evening sunset view breakfast is a traditional Welsh with again stunning views over the lake.

fullsizeoutput_3f08We set off in bright sunshine on a drive to Barmouth where we had been many years ago on a rail excursion from Hertfordshire.

It was quite busy today with beachgoers and walkers a plenty enjoying the summer sun but we did find a small area that was not crowded and this time we probably spent less time there than anticipated as parking was a bit difficult and we wanted to go on to some new places.

IMG_6550

Harlech Castle

Harlech was just up the coast road and surprisingly, parking was not a problem. The cafe at the castle was a find and can be recommended as can the beer they sell in the castle shop as takeaways.

Sadly, no sight though of any male voice choirs singing “Men of Harlech”, that very Welsh song I used to sing with The Harmony Men in Jersey.

IMG_6559

Ffestiniog Railway engine

Our route back to the hotel passed nearby the Ffestiniog Railway at Tan-y-Bwlch station where, having heard the sound of a train approaching from a distance we wait for some photographs of the little Ffestiniog train which is quite full but disgorges a good number of passengers who probably are there to take the next train back to Porthmadoc.

And to think that 45+ years ago this was just a fledgling tourist attraction which we travelled on during our honeymoon. Look at it now.

Sunday 24 June

Start off after another substantial Welsh breakfast with a view to driving around Lake Vrynwy with a stop at a picnic area where we see some wood carvings stuck onto rock – maybe something from the village submerged back in the 1880s – and some wonderful trees and views.

fullsizeoutput_3efb

Excuse the reflection of the bottle!

We have some time before the England’s next World Cup football game so make a detour over a very narrow and windy road to the town of Bala for a coffee over some long and steep hills.

Just before a long drag down from the pass we find a young girl stranded in her car half on the road and half in the ditch with the car at an angle of about 30 degrees.

fullsizeoutput_3ef8

Bala coffee stop

Fortunately several bikers had just arrived on the scene and with their muscle and the moving of a couple of boulders to make a ramp she was soon on her way, probably somewhat embarrassed but at least her car was intact and the recovery vehicles weren’t needed.

(We passed her again – quite coincidentally – on our return from Bala and she reversed up this time, one lucky lady)

Onwards to Bala, a bustling little town for a coffee & cake – our lunch – at Y Cyfnod, before heading back a different way to the hotel to watch England’s 6-1 hammering of Panama.

A drive around the southern part of the lake after the football, stopping off at several vantage points to view the large trees, the large picnic tables and the river running into the lake under a bridge – all very photogenic in the wall to wall sunshine .

We had been recommended to this hotel some years ago by a friend whose son was married at the hotel which had been chosen, amongst other reasons for the view and I must say, I could never tire of seeing this view from the hotel on a clear day – we were so lucky with the weather.

Monday 25 June

A long drive in the heat from North to South Wales, a slow journey through Aberystwyth, and single A roads that are not conducive to fast travel.

IMG_6644

Roch Castle

We stop for lunch at Aberaeron asking a local (with not a particularly Welsh accent) for recommendations before our onward journey to Roch Castle for a coupe of nights.

fullsizeoutput_3efc

Roch Castle lounge

Roch Castle is a 12th-century castle, located near Haverfordwest and was built by a Norman knight, Adam de Rupe in the second half of the 12th century, probably on the site of an earlier wooden structure.

It was extended and converted to a hotel, opening in 2013.

It only has 6 bedrooms  which by the very design of the castle, are all somewhat quirky.

The lounge is on the first floor with an outdoor area for viewing the surrounding countryside, above which are 4 other bedrooms and a spa room on the top floor although our room was on the lower ground floor which in turn had to be accessed from below. Strange layout but somehow it worked.

Dinner tonight at a sister hotel in St Davids with some interesting artwork to which we are taken and returned by the hotel provided minibus.

Tuesday 26 June

fullsizeoutput_3efd

St Davids Cathedral (or is it St David’s Cathedral?)

A day to explore St Davids and of course its Cathedral. St Davids is the United Kingdom’s smallest city in terms of both size and population (1,841 in 2011) and is the final resting place of Saint David, the patron saint of Wales.

Inside the cathedral, the ceiling, stained glass and flooring were exceptional and there was a lot to see – very calm and collected in there of course.

In fairness, there is probably not a lot else to St Davids other than the Cathedral and the adjacent ruins of St Davids’ Bishop’s Palace which is not free to go into.

IMG_6638

Bishop’s Palace ruins

Now, anyone with an english language background will be puzzled as to the spelling of the Cathedral.

The official website of the cathedral has no apostrophe but Google Maps and Wikipedia has it with an apostrophe. Which is right?

We then head off via Haverfordwest to Fishguard which, just outside, has a good viewpoint at Fishguard Fort.

fullsizeoutput_3f01

Boats at Solva

A meal tonight at the Cambrian Inn at nearby Solva which has a wonderfully protected harbour and some Lime kilns with lots of moored yachts in the harbour and many canoeists.

Of course we get a good view of the sunset from the castle balcony although we are reminded that the sun does not always shine in Pembrokeshire!

fullsizeoutput_3f03Wednesday 27 June

Yes, we would return there if we could and stay at both hotels but let us hope the weather is not quite as hot as it was on our very long drive eastwards in the scorching heat – it reached 30C – to Reading (with a brief drive around Tenby – couldn’t park so didn’t stop) for our overnight and a catch up with Flic, Gary and Cody.

Thursday 28 June

Another very hot day and we are calling in on friends Pete and Lorraine in Woodford for a catch up with lunch in nearby Buckhurst Hill.

Friday 29 June

20180629_213026Another very hot day and we drive down to Steyning where we used to live 30 years ago to visit friends Bob & Di.

Their middle daughter, Toni, has recently become engaged and we are fortunate enough to be there for her engagement party.

Her party is held in a pub just over the road from Brighton Station, the Grand Central public house.

Sadly, our goddaughter, Alex, could not be there but hopefully we will be able to catch up with her soon.

A nightcap back in Steyning and a chance to see the resident badger.fullsizeoutput_3f05

Saturday 30 June

Our plan was to go to Clearwell to check the decorating and garden, talk to the caretaker and collect something from the loft for Flic.

However, we changed so that we could meet Flic, Gary and Cody at Amesbury, Wiltshire for some house hunting, electing to defer our visit to Clearwell for three weeks later.

After struggling in the traffic jams around Worthing and Chichester, we then managed to get into a traffic jam outside Salisbury which took us 80 minutes to travel just over a mile.

fullsizeoutput_3f06

Amesbury park

Missing one house, we then take Cody to a park at Amesbury for a couple of house before ending our stay in a local pub for a drink before we head for Huntingdon for tonight’s stay at the Holiday Inn racecourse which is a bit difficult to locate but well appointed with wonderful views over the racecourse.

It is still 24C at virtually 10pm when we get to the hotel!

Only afterwards we discover that the hold up in Salisbury was probably due to the discovery in Amesbury of two individuals who had been poisoned with the Novichok nerve agent that had also poisoned two Russians in Salisbury a couple of months previously.

fullsizeoutput_3f0a

Fun at Amesbury park

Both individuals have a strong link with Salisbury and sadly one of them died a week later.

Part of the investigation included Boots (the UK store) at Amesbury where I had tried to visit whilst there (it was closed). Scary times.

Sunday 1 July

A visit to Sally’s brother, Nick and his family in Cambridge for a catch up although due to a family funeral, they had met in Surrey earlier this month.

Both Peter and Paul were in so it was time to catch up with them and their respective studies.

fullsizeoutput_3f07

Old plane at Liverpool Airport Crowne Plaza

A long drive tonight to our overnight at Liverpool (Crowne Plaza at the Airport), an Art Deco building with an aviation history and which had served as the main Airport building many years ago.

We hadn’t stayed here before but on the basis of our stay, think it will be on the list for a repeat visit.

(I had possibly been through the building in the very early 1960s with my Mum & Dad on a family holiday to the Isle of Man)

Monday 2 July

The end of a somewhat varied experience in Yorkshire, Wales, Sussex and Cambridgeshire with a mid morning ferry home after an indifferent breakfast at the hotel and prepare for a visitor for a few days.

Yorkshire

IMG_6465

After our entertaining duties are over following the Isle of Man TT, we are on our way to Liverpool this afternoon and the boat will be busier than normal as the previous two fast and overnight slow boats were cancelled because of the storm yesterday.

20180614_184316

I Wanna Hold Your Hand

We stay tonight at the Crowne Plaza Hotel at Liverpool pier head (100 yds from the ferry) and venture out in the evening for a walk around some of the newly named Royal Albert Docks including a stop at the rather overlarge model of the Beatles for a photo opportunity.

Friday 15 June

Watch the Mannannan go out from it’s berth in a very fast moving inward tide – quite impressive as we have never seen it depart before, we are always on it – never watching it from the land. These fast ferries are so manoeuvrable.

Head off for the Scarborough area of North Yorkshire, finding a lovely garden centre near Brighouse for lunch – very crowded – but later on, traffic on A64 towards Scarborough is very slow so we are 30 minutes later than anticipated.

IMG_6436

View form our bedroom window

Our home for the next week is a converted barn on a working farm just north of Scarborough.

The Old Granary Cottage has a big kitchen and living / dining area downstairs with comfortable seating for 6 and 3 bedrooms upstairs one of which has an en-suite shower room and a wonderful view over the rolling countryside (our room)!

As a welcome pack, we are left 6 eggs, several biscuits, coffee and of course Yorkshire Tea, all very delicious.

fullsizeoutput_3ed0

Lucy’s oversize cage

John & Deirdre arrive soon after us with Lucy (their dog) who is possibly somewhat puzzled by the size of the cage that the owners have left for our use.

Saturday 16 June

Not a particularly hot day but very little rain and we head for Dalby Forest for a few walks. The forest has lots of hiking and cycling trails and a “Go Ape” that has an amazingly long zip wire which seems to bring out the screams in everyone!

IMG_6443

Dalby Forest

A popular place with, probably, locals as well as tourists with a well stocked café and shop as well as an interpretation centre aimed more at youngsters.

We, however stick to the walk around the lake which was just as nice as climbing up steep banks or walking in amongst the trees at height.

Whilst entrance to the park is free, if you walk or cycle but if coming by car the parking charge is a steep £9 for any length of stay.

Sunday 17 June

Rosedale Abbey

IMG_6451

Rosedale Abbey church with Priory staircase on right

Our visit today is to Rosedale Abbey, a little village in the dales not far from Pickering.

We are told that there never was an Abbey here but in fact there was a Priory between 1154 and the dissolution of the Monasteries in 1536 with the only remaining visible evidence being the stairwell and perhaps some outer houses such as the Reading room.

IMG_6450

Near the church in Rosedale Abbey

It is a pretty village with a good tea room and a workshop with some very expensive glass blowing. A couple of fairly flat walks and a view inside the church followed by the ubiquitous refreshments whilst we watch cyclists and walkers pass through – even some on a bus.

Our return is via Cropton and Wrelton where we holidayed in 1994. (Cropton was where we bought take away beer in “milk cartons” and Wrelton is where we all stayed in a holiday cottage – Beech Farm)

Monday 18 June

20180618_124237

Runswick Sands

Sight of the sea is required today – withdrawal symptons setting in! Sandsend is our first stop, then tried Runswick Sands but don’t stop there, car park quite high up and for £2.00 an hour, a little expensive, so onwards to Staithes, a pretty little coastal village where we have lunch at the quaint Dotty’s Tea Rooms – do try the fruit scones.

A long and steep walk down to the beach from the car park at the top of the hill so some dropping off and collecting is required.

20180618_142502

Staithes

The village has a couple of piers so is a sheltered harbour which makes for a nice walk and photo opportunity.

Tuesday 19 June

IMG_6479

Peasholm park

Drop Lucy off at some nearby kennels and we are off to Scarborough for a Jet boat ride, a tramway ride, a visit to the newly renovated Scarborough market – then off to North Beach for a walk around  Peasholm park. 

Evening meal at the Falcon Inn , a short drive away in the Whitby direction.

There are some impressive looking Yurts / glamping  pods in their grounds which look new.

Wednesday 20 June

We are off today on a steam train ride to Whitby on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, a preserved railway predominantly run by volunteers.

IMG_6482

Our train to Whitby

We are pulled by Southern Railway’s engine number 926, Repton, which was built in 1934.

This is a very crowded train of 7 coaches with a couple of parties and some people in wheelchairs.

We opt for the very comfortable first class compartments at a nominal £2 supplement and are joined by two Chinese girls with large travel cases on our way to Whitby.

IMG_6501

Disused Railway viaduct in Whitby

It is surprisingly very windy and quite cold in Whitby but with only a couple of hours there, we only have time for a crab sandwich and a stroll along the harbour watching the boats take tourists out for a ride onto the North Sea before we are back queuing for our not so crowded train back to Pickering.

IMG_6496

Boat rides on an old lifeboat

No 1st class compartments on this train this time and certainly not so crowded with diesel hauled from Whitby to Grosmont and steam hauled from there. 

So much wildlife to see by the side of the track but they are all moving quickly away from the moving train which is either making a lot of noise as it battles up the hills from or is coasting at speed downhill in an attempt to make up some of the time as it was at least 30 minutes late leaving Whitby.

IMG_6509

Our engine for our return journey

Dinner tonight at The Plough Scalby, the slightly less popular of the two virtually adjacent pubs, the other being The Nags Head which was heaving with customers for their wine tasting event.

Thursday 21 June

A more leisurely day with less wind and cloud and we head for Falling Foss Tea Rooms which were a little difficult to find if you don’t see the sign in the car park!

Down a steep hill so coming back up was courtesy of a very nervous me driving down to collect them over terrain that is far more suited to a 4 x 4 vehicle.

The falls themselves were suffering early onset drought so not flowing freely.

IMG_6531

Falling Foss Waterfall

Aidensfield was our next stop (otherwise known as Goathland).

If you look on a map of the area, you won’t find Aidensfield as it was a fictitious name for a town featured in a 1960s based TV series, Heartbeat, that was filmed there from 1992 onwards for 372 episodes.

IMG_6533

1960s style Police car

Some recognisable features are still there including the old garage and a police car.

Interesting car parking arrangements with sheep surrounding the car on our return – fortunately no damage.

IMG_6538

Car Park at Goathland

Back towards our cottage for the last week and we stop at the nearby Grainary Tea Rooms before returning to pack for our departure tomorrow.

Friday 22 June

John and Dierdre collect Lucy, who is obviously pleased to see them. The kennels are on a remote headland, a lovely location.

Off now to a lunch at a National Trust property – Hardwick Hall before we leave John & Deirdre and head off for our next adventure in Wales.

Receive a phone call just after we get on the motorway about possibly returning to work for a short period of time – interesting prospect.

IMG_6535

Dunham Massey

Sunday 20 May

IMG_6342After our visit to the Anderton Boat Lift we have headed to Dunham Massey, a National Trust house. Whilst this is not a spectacularly large house, the drive to it is long and the parkland surrounding the house is substantial allowing for many visitors to picnic in the grounds.

IMG_6349

Rear of House from Gardens

Although the postal address is near Altrincham it is also near Little Bollington and easily signposted.

A modern cafe and visitor centre is set away from the main house which is found on a flat walk.

IMG_6354

Talk on “A Woman’s Place”

Our Manx National Heritage cards allow us free access to the gardens and house as well and we are lucky enough to hear a small talk in the kitchen area by a volunteer who portrays one of the Housekeepers of the 19th Century at the house (Dunham Massey: A Woman’s Place)

Not a great deal to see inside of the house compared with other houses but still worth a visit. A display of Victorian and other clothing was a popular display and an item of interest is that surgeon Thomas White in May 1729 performed a Mastectomy in the house on Lady Mary Booth’s mother.

IMG_6358

Costume display

It beggars belief the pain the poor woman went through.

IMG_6345

Colourful

The gardens however are worth going to but were not perhaps at their best when we went.

Dinner tonight at a pub that was recommended by another volunteer who provided a golf cart style lift back to the entrance to save our legs.

The pub, The Swan with Two Nicks, is not exactly easy to find but once there we can see why the volunteer suggested it. Sunday lunch type fare, Yum.

IMG_6343

500 year old Oak Tree – the oldest on the estate 

Monday 21 May

A bit of retail therapy in the heat of the day at Cheshire Oaks after we have said goodbye to Phillip & Sylvia.

Lots of renovations are being carried out on the complex which will make it even bigger in the not too distant future – probably in time for Christmas.

Ferry home from Liverpool just in time to prepare for the influx of bikers for this year’s TT.

We are hosing Homestay guests again this year but not our normal visitors.

Anderton Boat Lift

IMG_6337Saturday 19 May

The day of the Royal Wedding sees us driving up to Warrington to meet up with Phillip & Sylvia who are delayed because of a puncture but there in time for us to go out for a meal in Warrington at San Lorenzo which is housed in the old Treasury building at Palmyra Square.

20180519_215247

San Lorenzo, Warrington

Food not bad but service very slow – we had to wait for about an hour for our main course.

The Treasury Building has an interesting history being built in 1901 and housed then the Warrington Technical College before being used by the local council’s finance department and then earlier this century being converted into it’s present day useage.

Phillip had arranged a night out at the next door Parr Hall with an Abba Tribute band – Thank you for the Music. The sound reproduction of the singers was good, the clothes good but they hadn’t quite got the movement right although the evening was very enjoyable – shame there were many untaken seats.

A local school choir had been roped in to join in with one of the numbers which had swelled the audience by the addition of the parents / grandparents.

Sunday 20 May

IMG_6331

Anderton Boat lift from the top level

A morning at the Victorian Anderton Boat Lift near Northwich, Cheshire.

The lift provides a 50-foot (15.2 m) vertical link between two navigable waterways: the River Weaver and the Trent and Mersey Canal and is operated by the Canal & River trust.

A visitor Centre is at the top of the lift which is free to enter and provides some historical photographs and the complex is run well by the Canal River Trust. ( http://www.canalrivertrust.org.uk/anderton )

The lift had to be built out from the bank of the River thus creating an island but over the years, this has been filled in.

IMG_6333

Would you trust these two to steer you along the river?

To experience the lift, a boat ride is required which takes you down from the visitor centre which is on the Canal level to the river below and is followed by a river trip to Northwich and back to the base of the visitor centre at the lower river level. (The process is reversed for every other journey)

IMG_6338

Northwich from the water

A very informative commentary was provided with some good photo opportunities in our tour that lasted about 75 minutes.

The one downside is the view of the still operational Tata Chemicals factory opposite the boat lift and but this does have a claim to fame as it was the location of the invention of Polythene, widely used nowadays in many plastic items such as polythene bags, back in 1933 by two gentlemen, Mr R O Gibson and Mr E W Fawcett, during an experiment that ‘went wrong’.

IMG_6330

Car Rally

After our cruise up River to Northwich and back we look at the cars at the car rally  – mostly TVRs – that was on display in the grounds before climbing up to the Visitor Centre for refreshments.

We now head off to Dunham Massey a National Trust property with a massive park near Little Bollington which is today very popular in the sunshine.

 

Reading and Basildon Park

IMG_6294Sunday 13 May

Long drive late in the afternoon to Caversham on the banks of the River Thames to our Crowne Plaza hotel for the next 6 nights which, using points from previous IHG stays, was virtually free.

Monday 14 May

Meet up with John & Deirdre at Basildon Park – a National Trust property just outside Reading on a lovely day so we take advantage and sit on the grass with our lunch.

IMG_6291

Shell room

IMG_6288

Inside Basildon Park

We were able to get in free due to our membership of the Manx National Heritage.

Basildon Park is an interesting house with a shell room and substantial library as well as a kitchen left in the state it would have been when in it’s heyday.

One field nearby has just been dug up so that the equipment required for ground source heating can be installed which will definitely benefit the finances of the house in the long term.

One or two fields have been left uncut and the resultant display of buttercups was a wonderful sight.

IMG_6283

Library room

Cody is just learning to walk and this was a very tiring day for him – we definitely managed to tire him out.

Tuesday 15 May

Cody definitely overwhelmed with his toys for his birthday and might have suffered with Sensory overload as many of them had to be left for opening later.

Lunch out with Barbara followed by a brief stroll in the sun around a park in Woodley, it was up to well over 20C today, by the lake watching the baby geese.

20180515_140407

Geese family gathering

At one stage, they all were trying to get up a bank, all but one succeeded and the mother had to nudge the last one further along the bank for an easy access route – mother’s instinct!

Gary has hurt his back playing walking rugby and as he is a bit immobile, we stay with him to put Cody to bed as Flic is at college tonight, she is back at work tomorrow after a year’s maternity leave and holiday – how the time has flown.

Wednesday 16 May

Flic is back to work today and whilst Cody is off to the childminder we have a bit of free time in town but were not impressed by the service for breakfast at John Lewis.

IMG_6315

More presents

With Gary, we collect Cody from the childminder – he had been fine after the first few minutes, the other children had taken to him well and Flic was home a few minutes later to have some quality time with Cody, opening more presents.

Thursday 17 May

Ikea breakfast considerably better than John Lewis and at half the price and another day to ourselves although we did have to take Gary to the hospital as he was still suffering with his back and had another appointment.

20180515_134350

Grandma’s watch

Lunch at Bosco Lounge in Woodley with Gary before we pick up Cody again from the childminder.

Friday 18 May

Mel is arriving today for a few days (she should have been on a course but that is another story) so we are not going to get a look in as far as Cody is concerned.

We are, instead, off to a pre-arranged meet up with Phillip & Sylvia in Cheshire tomorrow, driving on what might be quiet roads as it is the day of the Royal Wedding in Windsor.

 

IMG_6293

Buttercup field at Basildon Park

Tram driving

33I’ve driven a steam train a few years ago so jumped at the advert to drive one of the local electric trams, especially as it was only £25 for about half an hour’s driving and Sally and Mel could join me on the Victorian tram on the Manx Electric Railway in really poor early April weather.

15

At the controls of Tram 19

There were two of us driving, the other person having driven one before and we took it in turns for a quarter of an hour before changing over and then returning to Laxey.

A reversal towards Douglas and then some instruction and a drive all the way through Laxey station on the route north towards Dhoon, about half way to Ramsey, our turning point.

06

Comfy seating

The controls of the tram are relatively simple but being a Victorian tram (built in 1899) they are somewhat “Heath Robinson” although they are obviously very effective.

Turing one handle to one of the 7 positions increases the speed to a maximum of 25 mph but stopping the tram requires a complete fast shutdown of the handle to point 5.

27

The view from the Cab in the poor weather

The weather wasn’t brilliant and on the way back (the tram has a driver’s cab at each end) the windscreen wiper was not working which added to the difficulty.

A couple of goats had strayed onto the track at one point but quickly departed on the sounding of the hooter.

A wonderful experience and well worth it if you see it advertised again.