......and we are off! We headed out of Glasgow and took the motorway south to Ayrshire, where we trekked our way to Loch Ken. Unfortunately, the loch side locations where we hoped to stop were occupied; it was Saturday night, after all, so we continued to the quaint village of Haugh of Urr and visited the Laurie Arms where we had a couple of drinks and a very enjoyable dinner before settling in for the night in their car park.
We cycled along the old military road to Dumfries and then looped back around to Haugh of Urr, a lovely trip in the luscious countryside. Then in the evening, we went to the Laurie Arms hotel beer garden and watched the European cup final, which saw England take on Italy. The Italians won the competition on penalties after extra time.
Today we were on the move again, and we ended up in Dalbeattie, a small town in Dumfriesshire. We stopped for our lunch and a walk around town before moving onto a tremendous wee spot by the river Annan near Lockerbie for the night.
Heading south and have moved into England! We found this quintessential Northern English pub where we enjoyed a jar or two and they kindly let us kip in their car park overnight! Next to the pub is a statue of King Edward the First who was killed in this town on 7th July 1307 (07.07.07!) while fighting Robert the Bruce.
So, we have been to England, albeit, briefly, so now it is Wales. We decided to start in North Wales in a small farm steadying which allows Campervan to pitch overnight.
We arrived at about 7:30 pm and having set up Iona, we were visited by some of the farmer’s chickens! Then, in the evening the cows “came home”! Fabulously rural and rustic!
After a brief local shopping trip, we headed to the costal town of Flint and took a walk along the coastal path, starting at Flint Castle. We had a lovely six mile walk along the coast, through woodlands and countryside, and the sun came out to join us later in the day. Fab!
Today, we set off on a 19 and a half mile cycle and passed through this quaint village and it’s iconic church. The cycle was great although we had a few steep hills to conquer en route! Once back at base, we freshened up and walked 20 minutes to the local pub where we enjoyed a couple of pints before ambling back to Iona again where we settled in for the night.
After a quick shopping trip in the morning, we headed to a fantastic Organic food shop (The Organic Stores, Mold) and then we headed to Loggerheads Country park where we parked up and had lunch. Afterwards, we had a lovely 5 mile walk in the park.
Time to move on, and so we headed west to the coast. After a two hour drive, we arrived at our new camp spot, a field on a farm, and we found a lovely place to ‘pitch’ Iona beside a small stream. We will be able to hear the babbling brook from our bed!
In the afternoon, we had a two-mile walk along an old disused railway track, before we had dinner as we barbecued some great lamb chops!
After a peaceful night, we decided to relocate Iona within the farm field, primarily, due to abysmal WiFi! However, we managed to find a location with reasonable coverage adjacent to the stream with a great spot under the trees providing shade for our alfresco meals!
After our morning cup of Java, we cycled to a local seaside town and back again, getting 14 and a half miles under our belts. We then had a leisurely lunch under the trees and relaxed in the fabulous weather (27 deg C @ 14:45!).
Well, today was a “bucket list” day! Let me explain: as a 9-year-old, back in the late ’60s, an avant-garde science fiction drama began its 17 episode run on British TV. It was created by, and started, Patrick McGoohan, was set in the Welsh village of Portmeirion, and I was hooked from episode one!
The village seeped its way into my mind and has been a place I have wanted to visit ever since, and today was to be that day! And as luck would have it, we picked a belter of a day too!
I won't go into the details; suffice to say that it was wonderful and if you like the images, then search for Portmeirion and, or Clough Williams-Ellis online to find out about this beautiful Welsh village.
PS. I am not a number!
Time to head south, and as we travelled towards our next location, we stopped en route for lunch at this fabulous tranquil spot.
After our rest, we ‘battered’ on towards Pembrokeshire and our stop for the next few days.
We cycled to the coast today to get a feel for the Pembrokeshire countryside, and it turned out to be a delightful trip. However, and perhaps inevitably, Portgain was ‘hoachin’ as we say (extremely busy)!
Then, in the afternoon, we drove to Haverfordwest for a bit of shopping before heading back to the field where we are currently camping.
Today, we drove to St Davids and en route; we stopped off at this fabulous wee beach. Plenty of people were enjoying the magnificent heatwave we are currently experiencing.
St Davids is a pleasant city, and I have to say, it is possibly the smallest city I have seen! It is also a joyful, colourful and bustling place.
In the afternoon, we moseyed on over to Porthgain again and headed out along the Pembrokeshire Coastal Walk for about two miles until we reached the Blue Lagoon.
The lagoon is what remains of a former slate quarry, which closed in 1910, and now provides a wonderful natural leisure facility.
We had a lazy, camp-based day today during which we caught up on ‘domestic chores’ and planned our next port-of-call!
Then in the evening, we collected a curry from the Saffron in St Davids and headed down to Whitesands Beach, where we enjoyed the sunset and the spicy food.
Another beautiful day greeted us when we woke, and after our customary cup of ‘java’, we set off to Newport Beach, where we enjoyed a leisurely lunch. As it was Sunday, the place was ‘hoachin’, as we say in Scotland, i.e. extremely busy!
Then we headed back down the coast to Fishguard and had a pleasant walk around the harbour and town centre.
Time to move on! After our ‘cup’o Java’ we turned Iona (our campervn) from a home to a vehicle ready for our 3 hour journey north to Llandrinio.
We arrived at our new campsite at about 17:30 and chose the empty field as opposed to the riverside spot that we were offered. Naturally, the riverside was busy due to the lovely view, however, wNorth to Llandrinio.
Enjoyable bike ride around our new location. We plotted a 1 round trip through various local viallages and half way round we stopped in Knockin and had our packed lunch.
As luck would have it, it rained heavily while we were stopped and we found a quaint wooden bus stop to sit in to keep dry while having lunch!
Oh, and there is a local shop called the “Knockin Shop”!!
This evening we walked the mile into the village of Llandrinio and had a fabulous curry in the local pub! On our walk ‘home’, the skies cleared and we got a glimpse of the evening sun.
We had a slow start to the day as the weather was overcast and rainy. However, as the day developed, the sun joined us!
Took a walk to the local shop and then stopped off at the pub on the way back. We were fortunate as the heavens opened and the rain lashed down when we arrived at the shop and then again at the pub and we missed getting soaked twice!
Drove to Welshpool in search of a laundrette, with no luck. However, we stumbled across this anachronistic small woodland oasis in between the main road and an industrial estate!
In the afternoon, we drove to Breidden Hill and had lunch in our van before heading off up the hill to see the Rodney’s Pillar (erected in commemoration of Admiral Rodney).
The walk took us 2 hours and 46 minutes, during which we travelled 4.5 miles and ascended 948 ft. It was well worth it as the views were wonderful.
Iona all packed up and ready to head off. Rodney’s Pillar, to which we walked yesterday, can just be seen on top of the hill in the background!
We set off to head to the coast and meet up with friends near Cardigan and Aberystwyth for our final two days.
After a lovely meal and a good nights rest, our friends took us to see their local beach, “Cwmsillio”, and we had a pleasant walk along the coastal path then back up the tree-lined ‘tunnel’ to their house.
Later in the day, we said our fair wells and drove north to Bontgoch just outside Aberystwyth to meet our other friends for our last night on this trip.
After another great sleep, we had an enjoyable family breakfast with our friends and then said “cheerio” and set off on our 6-hour + journey back to Glasgow.
And so ends another great trip in Iona around Scotland, England and Wales, after some 1,482 miles!