Corfu – Afionas

Another follow up post about our Corfu holiday.

As mention before we were staying in Agios Georgios in the North West of the island.  We were keen to explore neighboring towns and one that became a fast favorite was Afionas.   A short drive from our villa and judging by the guest book, some folks would walk over for dinner.

The village/ town is small but so pretty.  The main road in leads to what seems to be a dead end.  We tried to navigate a car one day but found it too tricky!  However, this road will lead to a path/ beach.

There ate alley ways and paths through the buildings laden with brightly colored flowers that led to some lovely restaurants.

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Afionas

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Afionas

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Afionas

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At the restaurant Anemoes

Our favorite was Anemoes Taverna.   Set on the side of a hill with  spectacular Sunset views.  The restaurant offers 2 outdoor terraces and we easily got a table.  I do think in peak season, booking would be recommended.

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Sunset

Food was great too.   Probably the best meal we had during our stay in Corfu.

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Pizza at Anemoes

Another restaurant we tried in Afionas was 3 Brothers.  We had read good things about this restaurant but were disappointed with it.  It lacked the charm of Anemoes and food was just standard for tourists.

Another bonus to Afionas was the beautiful beach.  Be warned, this is a serious hike to get to.  Sturdy footwear is better than flip flops (!) and take water.  Pick your timing wisely as in the heat of the day walking down to the beach s tough enough but back up to the town can be a killer!

The rewards are the views and quiet beaches.

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On the trail

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View of Agios Georgios from the trail in Afionas

Part way along the path is access to a restaurant Dionysis.  We stopped here one day for drinks.  Again, terrace seating and lovely views.

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View from Dionysis Terrace

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Afionas beaches

 

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Afionas Beach

As mentioned in my previous post, beaches aren’t great in Corfu and the quality of the beaches in Afionas could be better.  However, the setting is gorgeous and we enjoyed the quiet snorkeling opportunities.

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Snorkeling at Afionas beach

Cornwall – Carnewas

This is a follow up post to the Watergate post yesterday.   We rounded out our day after the stroll along Watergate Bay at another National Trust spot further North along the coast (just a few miles).   This was Carnewas.   This is home to the famed Bedruthan Steps.  Sadly we didn’t go this far as the crew was tired but for a short distance, the rewards were plentiful.  I’ll let the photos speak for themselves!

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Idyllic setting

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Views from the coastal path

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View south down the coastline

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Playing with camera filters allows for  moodier shot

Cornwall – Watergate Bay

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Watergate Bay

Day 2 of our adventure and we had an exciting day planned.  Firstly, another note about Parkdean and the site.  Not sure if its the time of year or this would be year round, but the place was full of crows…yes crows!  The noise from the them is deafening and starts around 5am…needless to say, we were up early!  The good news is, the sun was blazing and the weather gods were looking down on us 🙂

The weather was particularity exciting for the girls – the camp was home to 3 swimming pools and  200ft water slide…so yes, we hit the pool for an hour before we set off for the day.  The camp actually plans well for the British summer.  They keep the pools heated at 30° so even if the weather was cooler, they were plenty warm enough.

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This day we knew we wanted to head North from Newquay.  We were headed to Watergate Bay.

I have family that often stays at the Watergate Bay resort.  Sadly, not for us this trip but it looks gorgeous and does offer all sorts of sports etc.   We arrived at Watergate Bay Beach area and easily found parking.  In high season, I am sure its a bear to park but we did just fine and were happy to pay £6 for all day parking…..a good deal for all day.

Our first stop was Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen restaurant!  We were so excited to experience a Jamie O restaurant and food and this was a really special treat.  What we have saved on accommodations, we can put towards experience.  In addition, the cause is a good one.  The Fifteen Model began in London in 2002, providing chef apprenticeship opportunities to disadvantaged youths in the local area.  There are now a number of the restaurants and the Cornwall location is also a local charity.

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Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen at Watergate Bay

I believe on all kinds of experience, big and small, basic and organic to grand and bold.  A dining experience at an upscale establishment is not only special but helps build skills in the kids for when the embark on their own adventures later in life.  While Jamies Fifteen is not over the top fancy (especially for lunch), they still had a properly set table, a sophisticated menu of which the kids asked the waiter many questions on to make their choices and a level of expectation on behaviors.

The restaurant is beautifully located on the beach of Watergate Bay overlooking the ocean.  Every table affords a great view.  The kitchen is ‘open’ so you can see the chefs at work.  The kids were happy to face the chefs to watch and we had the ocean view seats.

We opted for cocktails and mocktails all round and the food was delicious..

 

After a long leisurely lunch we explored the beach.  The sun was still shining so stripped off our shoes and wet for a paddle.

Surfers and Kite surfers were out but as the beach is HUGE, its felt like it was all ours 🙂

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Paddling at Watergate Bay

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Kite surfing at Watergate Bay

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Watergate Bay

Cornwall – Newquay

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Gunnel at Cranstock Beach

This last weekend, we went to Cornwall for the weekend.   It was a cheap getaway that we booked just a couple of weeks ago.  I had seen an offer in the Daily Mail to collect the tokens and get away for just £20pp.  I dont often do offers like this but as a family of five and copious amounts of travel draining the purse, I thought this would be a great deal for us…and it was.

We booked into a camping resort – Parkdean, Newquay.  Again, never staying in a ‘holiday camp’ type of resort before this was a new experience but pleasantly surprised.   The unit we booked accommodated up to 6 people.  It was sparkling clean and had everything we could possibly need for the short stay…2 bathrooms, fully equipped kitchen, living room, diner, tv etc.  We are at the beginning of the season so I wonder how well the units would hold up through the summer but for us, it was perfect.   We opted to bring our own sheets, although, they do offer these as an extra charge.   With the newspaper deal, we paid under £50 for a 3 night stay!  WOW!  This is a brilliant deal and highly recommend anyone looking out for the deals when they are done again.  We paid an additional £40 for entertainment passes.  Not critical for us but we did use them and they did check the passes so with such a good deal, happy to spend the little extra.

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Lounging around at the Camp site

Our first full day there was Saturday.  Having been weather watching all week, we knew that the weather wasn’t going to be great so we opted to do some driving/ touring around the area.

First stop was Newquay.  Don’t get me wrong, Newquay has some of the most beautiful beaches and best surfing spots in the UK but on a grey day we were less than enamored.  The town center/ promenade area was also disappointing.  Maybe we just didn’t hit the right spots?  Not sure…but with one way road systems, rain and no ease of parking we moved out of Newquay and headed South along the coast.

Our first pull over site was a National Trust location Crantock Beach.  We have an annual membership for NT so as it turned out, we were going to be fortunate to use it a number of times this weekend away.

We headed up and over the dunes onto a pretty sandy beach.  As I said, one of many in this lovely area.

We took a stroll along the beach watching the tide come in.   We opted to take a different path back to the car park.  There are many paths off the car park so by chance we opted to take an opposite path up and over into another cove.  This was beautiful!  Its clear where the water flows here and leads out to the ‘Gunnel’.

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Dogs playing on Crantock Beach

If you go, take a walk over to the wooden bridge and cross over to a series of steps up.  166 in all.   Perched at the top, there is a delightful cafe with fantastic views.  Naturally, we took some tea and cake – what we do best 🙂

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View of the Gunnel at the top of the steps/ cafe

After refreshments we set out North again to find another adventure.   Next stop was Holywell Beach (National Trust).

We asked the car park attendant for his must do at the beach and he told us to head to the far end and explore the cave…so that’s what we did!

For the walk back to the car park, we ventured through the dunes….all very picturesque!

Two beaches down, we opted for a little change in scenery – we headed into Truro for a look around.  I wont spend much time here on it as we only hit the shopping/ center.  From what we saw, it would be worth a return visit one day to explore more.  Shopping was pretty standard but the kids enjoyed a change in activity.   We grabbed a bite of dinner at Sams Bistro.  I would recommend the restaurant – the food was good and reasonably priced.

Final stop was back at Parkdean in Newquay – our camping resort.  In true holiday camp fashion, the resort offered plenty of evening entertainment.   So Bingo and quiz night it was before we headed off to bed!

 

York

A brief post about a flying visit to York a few days ago.  I wont really do it justice as the trip was quick and I know there is so much more to see and do here.

My Sister in law and I took a train from Manchester into York.  A quick trip, just 1.5 hours and the views (cross Penines) can be lovely at times.  Its so nice to take a train.   With so much driving in the car this year, taking a break and being a passenger was welcome.

I have a good childhood friend that lives in York so the intention was to catch up and send time with her.  Sadly, we haven’t been able to get to York as a family as we’ve been so busy and its been just a bit too far for the weekend.   So being in Manchester for a week, allowed a day trip to make this happen.

Naturally, no trip to York is complete without a trip to York Minster.  My friend was fortunate enough to be married in the Minster and I was bridesmaid.   It was a great day and memorable being such an impressive venue.

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York Minster

This trip we were disappointed with the Minster.  Now they charge £10/ adult to enter (kids are free).   The charge seems high and is the only Minster/ Cathedral we have visited int he UK so far that makes a charge.  Additionally, on entering, the Minster was filled with workmen and scaffolding setting up for some theater productions.  I am sure now, these are no longer happening but then the charge still applied despite the disruptions.   Having been to the Minster many ties before, the level of scaffolding and high charge, we opted not to go further.   Interestingly enough, a large group ahead of us was also put off by the charge and opted not to pay.   I wonder if the entrance fee sometimes works against the minster vs relying on donations?

We opted for a couple of quick snaps outside and moved on!

Lunch was looming so we checked out Tripadvisor for some good eats.  Going for Fish and Chips, we went to Drakes in the center of town.  Not bad food but perhaps there are better choices in town?  It was fine though and caters for tourists wanting the classic British dish.

We spent a lot of time walking around the streets of York.  Architecture and history is fascinating.  The shambles I think is the most photographed street in England and we also stopped into York’s most haunted pub.

While we didn’t do it, there is a cat trail of York.  Its is a self guided trail and info can be found online and certain shops.  We did a few and enjoyed seeing the cats as we walked through the day.


The day was cooler than we had had all week so we opted to stop for hot drinks to warm up.  A must do is the York Cocoa House.  Hot chocolates are amazing and for the grown ups, they can make them much less sweet so a little more sophisticated.   Each drink comes with a complimentary chocolate of the month (ours was Ginger) and the cake selection was fabulous too.  If you lived locally or had a longer stay, they offer chocolate making classes and more.

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York Cocoa House

Shopping in York is really good.  Huge range of stores from high end, to novelty and then also great antique stores.   We enjoyed browsing through some more of the unusual shops..

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Soap Store

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Fun novelty gift store

We wrapped up our day with a walk around the city walls.  The walls afford some pretty views and again, steeped in history for the city which dates back to 71 AD when the Romans arrived.

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Walking city walls and view of the Minster

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Clifford Tower

If you are visiting the North of England, York is a must do and if we had time, we would be back!

Manchester – Didsbury

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Poplars of Didsbury

I’ve written a little about Didsbury in a post prior (Community Re-defined) but this post is just a little more about the area and a recent trip ‘home’.

I’ve been lucky to have had a week ‘off’ and stay in Manchester with my brother and sister in law.  Just me, no kids, and days to relax, explore and fine dining!

The week was filled with sunshine which is always a bonus.

One day, we explored the Trans Penine Trail, as it runs through Didsbury (and beyond). For all the years I lived in Didsbury, I had no idea about this pathway.   I knew of one short section…a small stretch that we always need to run along for school cross country (any Parrs Wood Alum will remember this), but I never thought about where the path led to in either direction.

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We accessed the path off Barlow Moor Road.  At the end of Darley Avenue you will find an access path to the trail along the river.  We headed left towards Didsbury (beyond will take you all the way to Stockport too).

You can walk either side of the river, with several crossing points along the way.   The path is a lovely alternative to getting around.  Walking, running and biking.   Wildlife is aplenty with birds and butterflies and it was so peaceful.

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We ended our river walk at Fletcher Moss Park.  Another haunt from my childhood.  Again, if you are visiting Didsbury/ South Manchester, these parks are a must.  They are beautiful and and lovely serene spot central in a bustling area.

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There is a lot to explore here, including some older buildings and churches steeped in history for the local area.

The river walk and exploring Didsbury can take up a day.  With Didsbury a booming ‘village’, there are also plenty of options for coffee or something a little stronger 🙂

On a different day, we strolled around another beautiful park – Marie Louise Gardens.  Situated in West Didsbury with an entrance on Palatine Road.  It was given to the citizens of Manchester in 1903 by Josephine Silkenstadt, in memory of her daughter, Marie Louise, who died young.   As a child/ young adult, I spent hours in these gardens.  Again, another hidden haven in the area.  The squirrels have a reputation of being friendly and you can feed them directly if you would like!   Its a favorite place of mine and I have fond memories of my dad here.  He grew up locally to the area and I am sure, as a child, he visited the park often too.

If you have time to dine and drink in the area, the Rose Garden on Burton Road is a must.   My brother is a regular there and I had the pleasure of lunch one day.  The food was amazing and possibly one of the best restaurant meals I have had.

For drinks, Burton Road is overflowing with bars!  We enjoy Folk – offering indoor and outddor seating and its always busy so atmosphere is guaranteed!

 

 

Buckland Newton, Dorset

To wrap up our weekend, we decided to stay local and take a stroll around a different village, Buckland Newton.  After a little research in the book Dorset Pub Strolls, we found a pub – Gandering Geese – that offered a 3 mile picturesque walk around the village.

Point #1 – make sure the pub is still open!  Book was published in 2001.   Things change in 15 years….Pub was no longer in operation!   It didn’t deter us from the walk though so we set off on the trail described in the book.   It was a gorgeous walk.  Sun was shining, mixture of meadows and trails and there’s always another pub to find at the end 🙂

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Springtime affords spectacular vistas of rapeseed fields

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collecting daisies and dandelions

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views across Dorset

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Trail walk

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Views on the way back down

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Plowed ‘ombre’ fields

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the curious cows 🙂

Glastonbury Tor 2

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Glastonbury Tor

I have written about our Tor walk before (here) but wanted to add a follow up st as we went back last week.

This visit was different. It was early evening and would recommend this as a time to visit.  It was free from crowds and at times, we were the only people atop the Tor.   This allowed for peace and quiet to take in the view and also afforded some lovely photos….enjoy!

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The path up

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Solitude and views at the top

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Enjoying the ruins

 

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Used a landscape filter on the camera to pop the color…long path ahead

 

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Uninterrupted views

 

Wales – Anglesey Day 3

A delay to the final day of our Anglesey trip but its been a busy few weeks.  I have a lot more experiences to post/ catch up on!

Day 3 of our trip to Anglesey was to explore another part of the island.  We had tackled the rocky coastal walk the day before so now, we headed to more of a beach walk for the day.  The sun was shining if not a little breezy!

On our way to the walk, we drove over to South Stack lighthouse to take a look.  The actual car park for South Stacks was full so we went back down to an overflow car park. This means a short walk back up to the visitor center to pay for entry. The walk is coastal and afforded some beautiful views of the lighthouse.  Having taken it all in and almost being blown of the path, we opted not to go all the way down and enter the lighthouse.

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South Stack light house

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South Stack lighthouse

We then headed back over to Rhosneiger to start our walk.  Not too far to drive and we took a quick spin around the village which was pretty to see.  Due to parking challenges, we did end up parking at the Oyster Catcher.  This was a pub previously owned by the Timpson family.  Recently taken over I believe…together with the White Eagle mentioned in Day 2 of our Anglesey trip.

The pub is located at the end of a large beautiful sandy beach.  Its a nice place to stop for food and drinks.  The downstairs ‘pub’ allows dogs as does the upper deck outdoor seating…which comprises of very cute beach huts to sit in.   As the weather was so beautiful, we opted to get straight on the walk and treat ourselves to a nice meal and drinks when we got back.  Little did we know, by the time we got back a couple of hours later, they had shut the kitchens down as the were ‘overwhelmed’..?  Interestingly, the staff complained to us over new management, and we heard similar grumblings the day prior at the White Eagle.  Clearly a takeover that wasn’t going too well!

Back to the walk…we approached the beach through some gorgeous sand dunes.  Fun for the kids to play on as we made our way through.

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Sand Dunes

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climbing and tumbling down

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a high climb!

We headed left and along the large sandy beach.  If this is the main Rhosneiger beach, then its tipped as one of the best sandy beaches in the UK. It certainly looked like it could be.

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Rhosneiger Beach

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Resting on the beach

A walk to the end took around 20-30 minutes…a gentle stroll and the dog playing in the waves.   At the end, we headed up onto a coastal path.

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Coastal path at end of the beach

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Looking back down the path to Rhosneiger beach

Another nice walk that led us around to an ancient burial mound.  It looked like some work was taking place but at some point, it has been ‘open’ to visitors.  We used this as a turnaround spot to head back to the Oyster Catcher.   On top of the mound, looking beyond Rhosneiger beach, there is another smaler cove/ beach.  This too looked like it woudl be worth exploring as today the cove was filled with surfers taking advantge of the breezy weather/ waves.

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Resting on top of the mound

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View of the surfers cove beyond Rhosneiger beach

With the disappointment of the closed kitchen at the Oyster Catcher, we ended up eating at the pub close the rental house The Seacroft.  A very nice meal and would recommend to others!   A great final day in Anglesey and looking forward to revisiting again one day.

Wales – Anglesey Day 2

We had a great day with a spectacular 7 mile hike along the coast.  The hike started from the house, following the road round to a coastal path just beyond the campground at Treardurr Bay.

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Mix of moorland terrain and rocky terrain

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Stormy skies and windy weather made for great waves

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The route took us along the coast….terrain was a mix of rocky, beaches and moorland.   Most of it pretty flat and easy to navigate.   At each turn, the views were breathtaking and as we had the remnants of Storm Katie, waves were whipping up making it much more exciting to watch.   We were lucky enough not to have any rain which was great.  At one turn we happened upon this rocky cliff.  What do you see??

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What do you see?

The walk took us about 4 miles up the coast, passing what we believe was Prince WIlliam’s and Kate’s home after they first wed.  If you recall, he got a job as as a sea rescue pilot on the island for a couple of years.   The house is large but completely isolated.  Far from anywhere or anything.  Probably good security tactics as there is no approaching without being seen.  I can only  imagine its beautiful inside and he views amazing!

Further on round, we come across an ancient Monks bathing house.   My sister in law has visited the island before so she knew a little of the history etc.  This bathing spot was used centuries ago by monks that settled nearby.  Little/ nothing really remains of the monastery but its interesting to think of the solitude they had on the island back then.  Even now, there is little in these remote corners.

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Monks bath house

We hiked up onto the Coastal lookout point.  It wasn’t manned this day so no-one to chat too but it was good resting point.  However, we couldn’t get all the way around due to the fierce winds whipping around the point!

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Headed over the stile and down to the White Hart

Not far from here, following the path away from the lookout, you will eventually reach the White Eagle in Rhoscolyn.  A pub/ restaurant owned by the Timpson (yes, the cobblers) family.  They own a number of pubs on the island.   The White Eagle is  large establishment which can get very busy at times and was even busy on this blustery day in the off season!.  They allow dogs in certain parts of the restaurant and they were very kind to find a table for the 9 of us, allowing Chester a warm resting spot while we grabbed a light snack…they were also very understanding that, after making Chester comfortable, he then threw up all over the rug!   Absolutely horrifying but after a quick clean up and lots of apologizing as we left, we soon moved on 🙂

We took a similar route back to the house but cut out a few corners of the coastline to shorten the walk.  Luckily for us, the shepherds were out tending to sheep and as we approached a stone wall to cross, there lay a sheep giving birth to a lamb….WOW!  What an incredible experience.  The farmer was on hand for the birth and the kids got to witness this in as natural a setting as possible.  An absolute highlight of our day.

 

On the island of Angelsey, there is also a Royal Air Force base.  This RAF base specializes in the most elite of aircraft and pilots so through out our day, we had the pleasure of watching jets fly about and make all sorts of aerial maneuvers….tricks you’d pay to see at an air show, happening for us and sometimes, felt like just us.  Formations, loop the loops and more.  We like to think that as we waved with each pass by, they did an extra trick just for us 🙂

With 7 miles of walking, sunshine and brisks whipping around us, we were thankful for the coal fire and hot food for when we returned….The young’uns among the group, cleaned up all the fishing tackle at the house and headed out for some fishing off the rocks.  No luck this time but they had fun trying!

Mother nature was kind enough to grant us this spectacular sunset from the house to finish out our day!

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Sunset from Hafn

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Sunset