Kelliefish13's Blog

Travel writing, Poems and Stories


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HIghlands of Scotland part 0.5

Whoops since going through my photos it turn out I missed out a whole heap of our trip. Well at least two main things anyway.
Before heading to John O’Groats we stopped at Culloden Battle field just out of Inverness. We walked around the battle field looking at the flags showing where each side had lined up (and noticed how well back the leaders both were), it was windy and cold and the ground was wet and boggy. It must have been hard work just to move towards each other without getting their feet stuck. A very sad place, lots of markers showing where the clans were buried.

Culloden


The other part I forgot was the visit to Robbie’s family castle. Though its not entirely sure that it once was owned by the MacKays but there is a story that goes with it about him hiding in a cave nearby.The Castle Either way we walked up and had a look, giving Robbie lots of shit for his tiny falling down Castle, not minding that the non of the rest of us had one at all, details details.

In the Castle


Plus it had a really cool view.


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Wales the first part 2

After the castle we headed towards town, past the big Manor house, past the sheep that still had their tails, down a cute country road, past some very cute houses, still terraced even in the middle of no where, past a cute post office/cafe down to the bus stop where I inspected my shoes and jeans which were now slightly cleaner from the long grass but still very wet.

We waited and waited, Hagrid decided to go in search of food at the cafe, I wrote post cards sitting at the bus stop, Hagrid came back with lollies having had a lovely chat to the lady at the post office, and waited, and waited. Then the lady from the post office appeared asked where we were going then said jump in and kindly took us all the way into Carmarthen telling us about Welsh schools amongst other things. In Carmathen we went in search of food, which I found in the shape of a yummy roast pork roll mmmmmm. Then we headed off to our next place by train, thank fully the train was warm and dry so I was almost dry when we got off.

We got off at a train stop surrounded by caravan park, though they dont have Campervans like we do, the are more like rectangular mini houses on wheels (though sometimes not) that seems pretty firmly in place. We walked past these, and carried on and on. Then we asked some children outside a church for directions at the T intersection as neither of us knew where to go and carried on. We came across a farmer further down and asked for directions again which he gave us but warned that it was quite some way to go, we didn’t believe him and carried on, past another Castle which looked beautiful in the setting sun but had closed for the day. We found the little town stopped to buy food for dinner (not wanting to end up somewhere with no food like we almost did the night before) checked the bus times and discovered it was ages until the next and kept walking. By which time we had walked quite a way and thought it can’t be too much further. The the farmer we had asked for directions from earlier went passed then stopped and asked if we would look a ride which we gratefully took, and discovered that it was in fact quite a way and would have taken us a long time to get there, this was the 3rd time that day someone had stopped to drive us where we were going, very kind and friendly people. After warm shower I found tv and a book to entertain myself until Hagrid came back for his walk so we could make dinner.

The next day we decided to take the path along the cliffs back towards the Castle. It was spectacular, high cliffs with crashing waves beneath them. It was a fantastic walk. But of course it rained and the path was muddy so soon enough I was wet and muddy again but that didn’t matter.

It was quite a long walk but well worth it and finally we rounded a corner to see the beach and the castle. The surfers looked like black seals in the waves in their thick black wet suits, we decided that we would go for a swim if we could find somewhere dry to put our gear.

We walked past an ancient rock formation that was meant to be a burial place for a king I think.

Then down to the beach where we saw a girl come out of the water with no booties she told us that it was freezing! We looked around but there were no dry places to keep our clothes and bags from the rain so we didn’t stop for a swim. We walked around the Castle and had a peek inside but it didn’t look that interesting and we would have to pay so we went back to the train station to head for our next stop.

Tenby (I can’t remember when it was we stopped here but it was somewhere on our way) beautiful little beach town. We were amazed by the different colour houses and the massive search and rescue boat (though I think they call it something else) which was in a building at the top of a massive ramp which the boat slides down into the water when ever it needs to go out. That would be soooo fun to go down.


We explored that town, which still has a big stone wall around most of it, then headed down to the beach. The town is on top of the cliffs so we climbed down the stairs to the sand looking at the little gardens that had been put on the different ledges on the way down, so cute!

The beach was incredibly windy (even by NZ standards) so we went exploring the attached island which had a tunnel through the middle of it. It also had a building on top of it but that was fenced off, though I could see a possible way up scrambling on the rocks it was a bit precarious and with the wind blowing so hard I decided against trying. Hagrid bought a kite and had lots of fun flying it in the wind.



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Wales the first

The first trip to Wales came about just before Easter in a rather random manner. I was sitting at my flat in Coventry talking away to my flatmate Hagrid when we discovered we needed milk and eggs (I think) so I went down to the dairy (or corner shop or whatever you want to call it) came back with milk, eggs, chocolate and a desire to go to Wales. Within about 5 minutes of being back home Hagrid had agreed.

We then spent the next few hours working out the cheapest and best way to see as much as we could, booking transport there and back and places to stay. We had a few difficulties in finding places to stay in city centres but decided we could find ways to ones slightly further out. That evening we packed. The next morning at some ungodly hour of the morning we were off in our taxi to the bus station.

We arrived in Cardiff hungry and excited so we headed off in search of food after walking through several streets and one rather large (and confusing) shopping mall we finally found Rouge which although my breakfast was yummy had far far far too much cheese for the first meal of the day.

Our next place on the agenda was the Castle which was great fun with long corridors in the walls and a moot and bailey (small castle/fort on a mound) with a moat going part of the way around. There were daffodils covering the hills going up to the walls and a crisp spring chill to the air. It was beautiful. We had fun exploring around then found some nice places to sit to listen to the information on the audio guide (yes I do realise your meant to do that on your way around but that was annoying).

I forget the exact order of the stuff we did next but we took a beautiful and rather long train trip around the coast and ended up in a place called Carmarthen, where we raced off the train in over to find a bus that took us out to our hostel, we got one and asked to check if it was the right one (as I couldn’t pronounce the name of the place I showed them the piece of paper I wrote it down on). Off we went and the bus driver kindly told us when our stop came up. It was in the middle of no where up a dubious looking road with little or no signage. At which point I was feeling very glad I was not travelling by myself. We wandered up and found it almost looking deserted apart from a dog that was barking at us like mad, so we wandered around, and found what looked like a caravan park but being still very early spring it was deserted but very pretty .

We were on top of a hill in which one way was farm land the other was the river end of an estuary, the view was breath taking. But it was cold so we headed back to what we thought was the main building and finally found someone.  Turned out we were the only ones staying that night so the bar/restaurant downstairs was closed and there no shops anywhere near, so the owner took pity on us and cooked us up some chilli con carne. It was a rather random place but the owner was lovely and his two little daughters were coming with him to ‘help’, very cute.

The next day hearing that the bus we took carried on to Llansteffan which is a tiny town on the coast with a castle we decided to catch the bus and check it out. So we checked bus times and down the steep, long road we went. But we didn’t quite allow enough time and missed the bus. It was raining a little but we decided it couldn’t be far and started walking (carrying all our stuff as we weren’t planning on going back to the hostel). Then the rain started to get heavier, and heavier and though my rain coat kept the top half of me dry my jeans were now completely soaked.

Then a car pulls up and a lovely couple offer to drive us into town. we tell them how wet we are but they don’t mind so we jump in (again loving that I was travelling another person, bonus points that he was male and large) and they take us down to the beach and give us directions to the castle and to town, we thank them profusely and head straight towards the beach (having not seen the ocean since arriving in the UK several months earlier I was rather excited at this). But water was muddy and didn’t look safe for swimming as it was near the start of the estuary. So we headed for the Castle, walking up muddy pathways my pretty pink canvas shoes didn’t stay pink very long and the bottom of my jeans also got rather covered. But it was sooo much fun! Still pouring with rain we were going on an adventure so much so we got the directions wrong and ended up at another beach, with large warning signs against swimming there so we stood and stared out at sea instead only to see some dolphins in the distance playing in the swells. Well worth seeing.

Then we went back to try for the castle again, taking a different path we could see it so we decided to take a short cut up a thing muddy over grown path up a rather steep hill. We didn’t get very far before we found that it was far to slippery to go that way, but we gave it a good go first, but after another layer of mud and lots of slipping and sliding we went back to the proper path.

The Castle was the most maginicent Castle I have ever seen, in ruins on the top of a large hill, on one side the ocean rough and wild in the wind and rain, the estuary running along the other to come and meet it, the other direction was lots of green hills and farm land as far as you could seen, all lush and green and beautiful.

The place was deserted for most of the time we were there, so we climbed up towers, through winding stair cases, sheltered in old rooms with stone walls, floors and ceilings, walked around maze like walls that came no higher than our waists (I think it was once the kitchen) took lots and lots of photos and admired the beautiful view. It was amazing.

That is still my favourite castle.

To be continued…