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Archive for the ‘Wales’ Category

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“Air, mountains and silence – that’s what happiness is all about…”

 The quote was somewhat adapted from Sylvia Plath for today’s blog entry, but it pretty much sums up how the day went! It started fairly late in the morning as we mastered the art of a ‘lie in.’ (Something I’m not familiar with as when I’m awake, I have a hundred and one things that I’d like to get done before seven AM…) The sun rose in a hazy way and we almost thought that our views would be similar to yesterday – a little on the grey side. But within an hour the hills around us had lit up with a gorgeous glow and already the camera was out and I was capturing the moment.

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On arrival yesterday we found a fully stocked fridge (for breakfast) and so this morning we cooked the fresh bacon, sausages, egg and mushrooms that had been left for us. It was delicious – combined with a cup of coffee and some pineapple and coconut juice (a new ‘like’) the day started off fantastically. We spent a few hours taking a leisurely scenic route to the Brecon Beacons. For those that don’t know the area, the Beacons are a mountain range in Wales. We had researched the road through the most scenic part of the Beacons, but we weren’t quite prepared for the incredible views that we saw. The views were incredible and the peacefulness was stunning.

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I’m not quite sure which part of the Beacons we ventured into, but we ended up on one small ‘mountain’ eating a picnic lunch before doing the ‘drive’ down through the peaks along with a handful of other people – motorcyclists included. It was surprisingly quiet for Good Friday and the traffic was minimal. We later enjoyed an ice cream at the top of another peak before heading back down on the long trek back to Knighton (where we are staying.)

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The sun set in a much more impressive way this evening and lit up the hills once again. There were no more lambs today (so far) but there  are lots of grouchy sheep below our balconey making themselves heard. We’ve learned to spot the telltale signs that a sheep is giving birth, by the time our holiday is over I’m sure we’ll be considered experts in the farming world…

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Tomorrow, we’re heading to Hay-On-Wye which is considered the town of books. Last time we visited, it was a Sunday and not much was awake so we’re hoping to get a bit more exploring done this time around. We can’t come to Wales, be within a short drive of a town of books and NOT go…!

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From England To Wales in a few short days!

So the short weekend break is over and I have a huge amount of photos to share. I’ve tried to whittle them down a little to avoid bombarding – but I’m so excited to share some of them that it’s just unavoidable that there are a fair few! I’m going to break it down a little though and explain the areas that we went to and the views that we captured.

Day 302: England -> Monmouth and The Kymin

We traveled to Monmouth via Birdlip, a rather notorious viewpoint, unfortunately not just for the views though! It was actually the coldest place I’ve been in all year but the views were worth it even though I kept dashing back to the car for a hit of warmth.

Birdlip was our first stop before heading into the Forest of Dean and then down into Monmouth in Wales. Monmouth is home to Monnow Bridge which is a medieval stone gated bridge – the only one of its type remaining in Britain.

The Kymin is a place I first visited back on the 20th of April this year. It’s a hill overlooking Monmouth and at its highest point is 600ft tall. The views are amazing and definitely worth the rather precarious trip to the top – narrow lanes and lack of passing places!

I just knew that the Autumnal prospective photos would be worth a re-visit and it’s completely transformed since the rainy day last April when I dodged huge droplets of water to get my shots. The sky was clear, the air crisp and the leaves a pleasing hue of orange!

The Roundhouse on top of the hill just adds to the wonderful scenery. It was built in 1794 but looks incredibly new and well kept now. The claim is that nine counties can be viewed from the roof of the building – we didn’t like to attempt it to see if that was true!

There is also a Naval Temple at the top of the hill – plenty to see on The Kymin! The Temple was constructed in the 1800s to commemorate the second anniversary of the British Victory at the Battle of the Nile.

Day 303: Hay-On-Wye to Symonds Yat Rock

Hay-On-Wye is the town of books! Every other shop is a bookshop. And a delightfully quirky one at that. It made a change from Andover where every other shop is a charity shop or card shop… Anyway! Hay-On-Wye was buried far away from where we were staying so it was a delightful trek to get there. One that included stopping in the road whilst  a herd of sheep were driven down it. Country living! Sadly I had no camera available at that time. There was a scary moment when the sheep spotted the car and seemed to rush at it!

Cobbled Streets, funny named shops and lots of Autumn leaves adorning houses were popular in Hay-On-Wye. There was also a window with a goat sort of deer animal peering out of it. I managed a shot of that weirdness at least! Browsing the bookshops was amazing, especially the rennovated shop owned by Richard Booth, the man who made Hay-on-Wye famous for its second hand book trade.

The book shop was the biggest and most welcoming that I’ve been in, in this country. America has some fantastic bookshops where you can browse, drink coffee and sit and leaf through books to your hearts content. Here in England we have to satisfy ourselves with an overcrowded WH Smiths or a Waterstones – nice shops, but just not the same. So I was in heaven!

From Hay-on-Wye our next adventure took us up the winding roads to Symonds Yat Rock – a mistake to do at dusk it seems! Or ever…It was worth it for the views, despite it getting dark. But the road up and then back down was quite narrow, and cars did like to come the other way at exactly the wrong moments. Nevertheless we made it up and did the short walk to the viewpoint where we looked down on the River Wye…

Day 304: Symonds Yat – Tintern Abbey

The final revisit of the weekend was to Tintern Abbey. I had been back in the Spring so it was nice to see the season change. But lack of sleep due to a very lumpy bed meant that I didn’t have much energy to appreciate it this time! That and the prospective 100 mile + drive home… Nevertheless, there are some shots to share from today, Day 304!

Tintern is my favourite Abbey, for the location that it’s in. Nestled cozily into the Wye Valley, it’s surrounded by trees, lots of trees! Autumn was well and truly there as well which made the trees just that little bit more awesome.

Thus concludes a short but sweet visit to Wales! I now have a couple of weeks of annual leave to explore some more local places and see what interesting shots I can come up with to fill more blog days…

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