Friday, 25 September 2009

Less of the car more of the legs

If yesterday was about driving all over Wales and only using my legs to stamp on the break so as not to hit stubborn sheep and walk downstairs to the bar, today was all about using my legs so much they hurt.

It was an early start because I’d booked myself on the earliest train up Snowdon at 9am. You wouldn't think that sounds like an early start, but it is when you have to factor in breakfast, and not just any old breakfast. Having a travelling saleswoman as your friend comes in very handy when you can stay in her accommodation and eat a free breakfast all courtesy of the company funds, large cooked breakfast for me with everything possible on it (including black pudding which I don't even like) please waitress, thank you.

After a bit of a tadoo about not having four pound coins for the parking and only just getting into the train in time I finally sat down to enjoy the hour ride up Snowdon. Predictably it looked cloudy up there, of course it was. I started to get a little bit worried when the pre-recorded voice (in Welsh and English) informed passengers not to miss their train back down as the “walk back is long and not easy”, all the passengers looked at each other and rolled their eyes and tsked “as if!”. Woopsy, oh well, too late now, I only had a single booked and it was a good idea at the time so I’m sticking to my guns.

The journey up was gorgeous, steep green mountains, sheep dotting the hillsides and slate quarries abounded, only to be seen when the train wasn’t making it’s way through thick cloud though you understand, which wasn’t often. Getting to the top I went up to the summit, couldn’t see a thing, took a picture of myself wearing the most inappropriate clothes for the 2 hour walk back down (sailing coat and thin trakkie bums, thus is my attire of late) and decided to get the walk down over with.

Unfortunately to my horror I found that there was not one way down, oh no, there were many. I asked for help, the Walian in the shop looked incredulously at me “they had maps at the bottom madam”. Bollocks. Oh well, here’s hoping I don’t get lost. So I started walking in the direction of the Walian’s waggling finger. The walk down was actually fine, although harder than I thought it would be, my toes will stay in claw-like formations for a while I think, but I made it to the bottom in an hour. Felt a bit bad about all the proper climbers panting and puffing slowly past me in the opposite direction, but not really, my idea was better.

Next stop was Anglesey, where I hadn’t managed to get yesterday. My original plan was to drive around the island on an inviting looking A road and see some sea and coast, strangely enough it wasn’t to be (although I did manage to take a picture of the Menai straight between Anglesey and Wales). Instead I got massively side tracked by brown signs, some good (Bryn Celli Ddu a prehistoric mound where I met a dog which loved me and followed me everywhere until I got back into my car, then looked heart broken when I finally drove off).

Some not so good (a brown signed historic driving route where signs start and stop randomly, leading to massive confusion and me ending up right in the middle of the island, where there is no sea or coast FYI). Ho hum.

As I hadn’t booked anywhere to sleep and didn’t know what I was doing or where I was going I thought it best not to hang around Anglesey and get going eastwards, I’m supposed to be in Liverpool tomorrow so I thought it best to go towards the place at the very least. This was of course until I saw an equestrian centre signed off the road. Too much temptation, I gave in and booked myself right on in on an hour hack. I was told 2 other randoms would be doing it with me, which I always get a bit scared by. I don't mind doing random stuff by myself but when other people are there who don't know me I get a bit nervous. Anyway, they were Claphamites on holiday and were astonished that I was “touring around” on my own. I kept it light, didn’t tell them that yes it was a bit weird and sometimes a bit embarassing, especially when people are openly astonished at me doing what I'm doing when on activities like horse riding hacks. I can’t get the photos off my phone of the trek, which is annoying because I took loads of jaunty angle ones, mainly of the horses mane, which are funny, but you’ll just have to imagine them.

I really had to get out of Anglesey now as it was 4pm, getting late, and I had nowhere to sleep, only eaten apples and gherkins for lunch, my phone was dead because I left my charger at home (idiot) and the wonder of modern technology that is my dongle wasn’t picking up any signal. I took a great big deep breath and decided to do what me and Chris did when we were travelling, carry on along a road and hope something that looks like somewhere nice to sleep jumps out at you. It's not the best tactic for accomodation finding, especially as a girl in a crap car travelling around on her own in deepest darkest Wales, but it was a tactic none the less, so I went with it. Nothing jumped out for a while and I was starting to get scared. As much as I initially balked at the thought of driving to the outskirts of a big city and finding a Travelodge to sleep in, the idea was becoming more and more appealing.

It was on the way to said city, Chester (please don’t think wow Hollyoaks country! everyone says it and it's getting boring) when I happened upon a pub called The Druid Inn. Its spanking inn with amazing views which a brown sign informed is in an “area of outstanding natural beauty” and right near a town called Mold, now what gets better than that? Nothing, that's what. So, I went off to the inviting tones of the karaoke downstairs to eat a big pie, then I’m taking my aching legs to bed.

And I'm there right now, so goodnight....

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