Sunday, 21 August 2016

Not Had Enough Time.......

Over the past few weeks since my last blog post it seems that I have not had enough time to do everything that I have wanted so my posts (or lack of) have suffered.
This retirement lark is pretty time consuming......

With the good weather that we have been enjoying Anne and I have been out on walks and other trips around the Welsh border country.....(And then don't forget there has been fitting in my bike rides as well).

Obviously I have a number of images captured on our little day trips and I will share them with you over time but to start off here are some shots below of a couple of places that captured our interest......

First of all on one of our walks around a country park only a couple of miles from our campsite we came across this cave carved out of the rock....
Apparently a few hundred years ago a local Highwayman by the name of Humphrey Kynaston lived here with his horse.....
From the location of the cave he had a good view of the road to Shrewsbury and was able to see when a likely wealthy traveller was making their way along the road....it was easy pickings for HK and he managed to make a good living from his criminal activities for a number of years....

In more recent times..about one hundred years ago.... a family of nine lived in the cave...
If you check out the steps leading up to the entrance of the cave you can see the years of use have worn away the steps to quite some degree....

Now a nice solid cave could be quite a good place to live to my mind.... Good shelter from the extremes of weather and no worries about it being blown away by strong winds....
The powers that be these days have placed a steel door and bars at the window of the cave as you can see in order to prevent anyone getting inside...this is obviously done under the guise of 'Health and Safety'. 
It seems it is deemed better for anyone homeless to live in a cardboard box on the streets than to be reasonably warm and dry in a nice solid cave....
When on some long distance backpacking trips in the past I have slept in a couple of caves and have always found them to be a pretty near ideal place to spend the night....Anyway I digress....

Humphrey Kynaston's Cave
 These next couple of images are of Whittington Castle which is situated just a few miles from the small town of Oswestry.....
The castle has been revovated and is run on a day to day basis by volunteers from Whittington village.....They run the small cafe and shop and entry to the castle and grounds is free...
Whittington Castle with moat 
Front view of Whittington Castle
 I was chatting to one of the castle volunteers and she told me that they do very well as a wedding venue....
I must say that the castle and grounds would make a great backdrop for those all important wedding photos.......

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Most Motivated....

When out on a ride yesterday I found this church in the village of Melverley....

Melverley Church
It's an exquisite example of the timber framed black and white buildings found throughout Shropshire....
This church was apparently rebuilt in 1406 after it was burnt to the ground by Owain Glyndwr.
Another view of Melverley Church
 It is a bit tucked away up a small side road but is easy to find due to the good signs in the village,,,,
It stands on the banks of the river Vyrnwy and is in a really tranquil location.

Check out the plaque just above my bike saddle.
This last image is a close-up of my bike parked in front of the church... note the plaque above my bike saddle.
I was quite fascinated by this..... What could it have been awarded to the village for exactly?
Motivated to do what..?
Who actually awarded it to the village and anyway if they were so motivated why haven't they won it again in the past 25 years?....

There was nobody around to actually ask at the time so when I got back from my ride I checked it out on the internet.... 
What did I find .....well very little really.

It seems a number of people had asked exactly the same type of questions and the only answer was that the villagers had managed to raise £500,000 in order to stop the church collapsing into the river by reinforcing the banks of the river Vyrnwy....

I have no idea if any of that is true but if it is it still leaves the question relating to who made the award to the village unanswered......

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Doing the Tourist Thing.....

Since we have been at our current site Anne and I have been out and about doing a bit of the tourist thing....

One of the places that I wanted to visit with Anne was the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct on the Langollen canal which goes over the River Dee.
It was built by Thomas Telford in 1805 and was one of his first engineering feats....

The aqueduct is 307m long..it's width is 3.4m and it's height is 38m. It is the longest and highest aqueduct in Great Britain. 
It took ten years to design and build and it cost £47,000 which seems cheap today but then of course that amount was worth a lot more in those days.

I first saw the  Pontcysyllte Aqueduct about ten years ago when I walked the Offa's Dyke Path.... the route actually went across the aqueduct. 
I always wanted to come back again and show it to Anne as it is a pretty impressive structure and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site Structure...

A good head for heights is needed if you intend to walk across it on the narrow path at the side of the canal....
There is a hand rail on the footpath side but nothing on the canal side which seems to fuel the feeling of exposure as you walk across......

Below are a few shots that I took during our visit....
The Aqueduct from the banks of the river Dee
Drop-Handrail-Path-Canal-Drop and 307m to walk
Looking up from the river bank
View from the top
Anne(blonde hair) heading off over the Aqueduct- but holding on!


Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Careful what you wish for......

We have now moved camp sites and are a bit further north .....
We are well into English/Welsh border country.

So far this year we have had some very changeable weather... when the weather has been dry and sunny it hasn't lasted more than a few days before we then pay the price with more wet and sometimes windy weather....
The average temperatures have been a bit low so I have been wishing for some warmer weather.....

Well the day we moved here was the start of a bit of a mini heatwave.... putting the awning up in the stifling heat was not a pleasant experience but at least I had got it done. The reason I wanted it up the same day that we arrived was that the weather forecast for the next day was for an even hotter day.
That forecast was spot on and like a lot of places in the UK yesterday the heat became beyond what I find comfortable.

The temperature inside Eva the Eriba with all the roof vents open and every window wide open too was very high....just look at the image below of our small thermometer.

To Hot For Comfort In My Book..
 Mind you looking at the forecasts it would appear that it probably won't last long and we will be back to cooler weather plus a few thunderstorms as well.....

One of the upsides of our recent site move is that our latest pitch is almost perfect for us.....
We look out on some lovely wild countryside with Red Kites flying overhead and plenty of other wildlife to lookout for....
Below I have added two images (one from each door) of the view from our awning....

As explained above it has been a bit too hot to be out on the bike since we have arrived here but as we will be here for a month there will be plenty of opportunity to explore the area on my road bike which I am really looking forward to doing.....

View From The Awning At Our Latest Pitch
Anonther View From The Awning  At Our Latest Pitch

Saturday, 16 July 2016

More LEJOG Riders...

One of the great things about travelling around to all the various campsites that we do is that we get to meet lots of interesting people...
I don't mention them all on this blog.....indeed the last time I think I mentioned a cyclist who I had just met was way back at the end of August/ beginning of September last year when we were down in Devon at the Tavistock C&CC site....

Anyway.. the other evening a couple of touring cyclists arrived at our current site in Herefordshire and after they had set up their tent and sorted themselves out I went across for a natter.... 
I had the feeling that they were doing the Lands End to John O'Groats (LEJOG) route and
I was proved right as they had set off from Lands End four days earlier....

Back in 2008 when I did LEJOG we had stayed not far down the road at Hereford and these guy's were doing almost the same route that I and the rest of the Rev Pro Team had taken.

They told me that they were father and son and their names were Duncan and Chris Marfell..
Duncan is an engineer and they live in Andover in Hampshire.
From what they said the weather had not been too kind for them up to their arrival here and although the following day's forecast didn't appear too bad it looked like they were going to hit some more bad weather as they headed north....

This all sounded a very familiar tale as my LEJOG experience was one of wet and windy weather and chatting to Duncan and Chris brought back all my memories of that ride....

Their bike's were quite heavily loaded as they appeared to be carrying a lot more kit than I like to when on the touring bike and as Chris is just sixteen years of age I had to admire his determination to complete the ride.....

As with most people who do this ride they were raising money for charity...in this case for Sport Relief....
I was impressed by this likeable pair and offered a small amount of support for their efforts as well as a couple of bottles of Italian beer (which they obviously deserved) which seemed to go down well with their evening meal.....

I have included a picture of Duncan and Chris below as well as their charity page address....
If any of you out there can give a small token of support for this pair I know that it would be welcomed...

It's great to see youngsters taking up riding bikes and doing LEJOG at sixteen years of age has to be worthy of a token of support in my book especially as it is all for a good cause...

Just lift their address and use it to go to their charity page.... Thanks..


my.sportrelief.com/sponsor/chrisandduncan


Duncan (on the right) and Chris Marfell

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

More Sculptures

Regular readers of this blog will know that I do like the slightly unusual when it comes to sculptures...
The other day Anne and I visited Hampton Court Castle and in the wonderful gardens they had some very interesting sculptures dotted around....

Now this is not the Hampton Court that is situated close London....that is a Palace and is about one hundred years younger than the Hampton Court Castle that we visited which is set in the lovely Herefordshire countryside...

Like the Palace gardens near London this Hampton Court also has a maze...this one is made up of a thousand yews and has a gothic tower at it's centre.
From the top of the tower you have wonderful views over the gardens...you can then descend beneath the tower to a secret tunnel that leads out to a sunken garden from behind a waterfall.

The gardens of the castle are lovely and I might share some images of the very colourful flowers and other plants in another post.... until than I have shared a few of the scultures we saw in the gardens below.....




Sunday, 3 July 2016

Another New Site.......

Here we are in Herefordshire and another new touring site.....
The drive up from Devizes went well enough with no hitches and we even managed to put up the awning the same afternoon that we arrived...
This is the second time that we have done that this year...usually we don't do it until the following day.

As it was it was a good thing that we completed the awning upon our arrival because the next day back came the rain and it was torrential....
It has continued to rain on and off for almost the entire first week that we have been here.
I have not managed to get out on the Felt until today when the sun came out and we had a really beautiful day...ideal riding weather.

The site we are now pitched up on is a small private site and it is well positioned for both cycling and walking as long as the weather is kind to us....
Looking at the forecast for the next few days we might just be lucky...

Our current pitch