Going underground

On a visit to Amlwch during my recent Anglesey holiday I found out that it’s possible, with the aid of an experienced guide, to explore some of the many miles of passages and caves underneath Parys mountain. I’ve walked round the mountain (above ground) a couple of times and found it to be an amazing and fascinating place so to be able to explore underground would be a brilliant experience. Unfortunately I couldn’t take the opportunity when I found out about it as pre-booked visits only take place on Wednesdays and I was a day too late, however I’m seriously thinking about doing it next year.
The following is taken from the underground group’s website and the information sheet I got while at Amlwch –
Only visitors with valid British Caving Association third party insurance may enter the mine. If you are not a caver with this insurance you can join the group as a temporary member at a cost of £10 per person; this will provide BCA insurance for the trip as well as allowing the use of our club caving lamps, helmets and belts. Personal insurance is not covered by the group and must be arranged by each individual.
The mine is much as it was when abandoned 100-150 years ago – it is not a sanitised show cave. There is no lighting other than that provided by a headlamp, and there are areas of obvious hazard, deep and acidic pools and steep drops, but with due care the usual visitor route is safe. The passages are muddy and frequently uneven with some water on the floor. Visitors must be at least 17 years of age and physically fit as the trip involves areas of restricted height, some steep areas, short crawls and climbing a number of unprotected wooden and metal ladders up to 25ft long. 
Due to the acidity and secondary ochre deposits wellingtons, gloves and a boiler suit should be worn; wellingtons rather than boots are recommended as some areas are above ankle deep in water. You should allow around 3 hours to complete the tour and return to the car park.
The more I look at the photos on the group’s website the more I want to do this – I just hope they take individuals and I don’t have to be part of a group. I’ll be making some enquiries soon and if I get the answers I’m hoping for then I’ll really have something to look forward to on my Anglesey holiday next year. Bring it on!
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Back from Anglesey – and I definitely need a new tent!

I arrived home late yesterday afternoon from my holiday on Anglesey; weather-wise the eight days had been a bit of a mixed bag, with two days of rain and a day-and-a-half of grey cloudy sky, but the other days were full of sunshine and blue skies and also quite hot.  Other than a few weekenders who arrived last Friday and left on Sunday the camp site was very quiet and I was the only one in the field where I’d chosen to pitch – the peace and quiet were absolutely blissful.
The start of the holiday wasn’t without it’s problems though; if I’d thought that getting a rip in the side of the tent a couple of weeks ago was a disaster then this was a catastrophe of Titanic proportions. I’d got the tent up and was in the process of pegging out the guy lines when it decided to give up the ghost completely – there was a horrendous ripping sound and a huge – and I mean really huge – tear appeared right along the top. The tent was definitely dead this time but luckily I had a back-up plan, which will be explained on my other blog, so it didn’t affect the holiday too much.
My out-and-about days produced plenty of good photos including various animals, birds and flowers, and I even found a couple of places which I’d never been to or seen before. I finally found a beach I’d been looking for for several years and at another beach I managed to get myself cut off by the tide, though fortunately I was able to wade the few yards back to dry land. The dogs had to swim though, and while Poppie was okay with that Sophie wasn’t too impressed. On Monday, armed with a tin of black paint and a couple of artist’s brushes, I took a walk to Tyger’s memorial stone near Rhoscolyn and repainted the faded lettering engraved on it – I really needed a finer brush but it didn’t look too bad, and no doubt by next year it will have faded again so I can do it better next time.
A couple of the grey days were spent on the unsuccessful hunt for a new tent and on one of the days I got a free meal and coffee at the Morrisons cafe in Caernarfon. I also visited my cousin, who I managed to track down at my second attempt, and I spent a good couple of hours with him and his wife, catching up on our respective news over a coffee or two. The sunny days produced some lovely sunsets and glorious colours in the late evening sky and the bedtime dog walks were spent rabbit spotting as there were loads of them hopping about round various parts of the camp site. Early morning yesterday saw me walking the dogs along the nearby beach and at only 6.30am we had the whole place to ourselves; after breakfast a final fling before packing up to come home was a photography walk round Parys Mountain.
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Nefyn beach – finally found after several years
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Amlwch harbour
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A lake on Parys Mountain
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A random garden at Amlwch
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Garden flowers at Porth Dinllaen
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Lesser black backed gull at Holyhead port
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Late evening sky over the camp site
With well over 200 photos taken during the eight day holiday, and the hot sunny days making up for the dull ones, my much-needed time away was very enjoyable in spite of the tent giving up the ghost at the start. My back-up plan had worked out well enough that the demise of the tent didn’t really spoil things so all in all it was a good holiday. Now all I have to do is sort out my photos and update my other blog – it may take a while!

Off on my travels again

Tomorrow morning (Monday) I’ll finally be leaving for my usual summer camping holiday on Anglesey. I should really have gone early yesterday morning but a very mentally taxing couple of days where I felt like my brain was going to explode and shower the whole area with mush has meant that my trip has been somewhat delayed. The van is all packed up – in fact it was never unpacked from last weekend, I’ve just added a few more things to what was already in there – so all I have to do now is put my personal stuff in and I’m away.
To be honest, just at the moment I’m so tired I don’t really feel like going anywhere but I’ve been looking forward to this holiday and I need it so come hell or high water I’ll be on the road sometime tomorrow. I’ll be gone for eight days and I won’t have any internet access but when I get back I’ll write about the events of the last few days – and be warned, it’s a long story!

A weekend away

I returned home yesterday afternoon after a weekend away at the Elvaston Castle Steam Rally just outside Derby. Always the early bird I was on the road by 5.15am on Saturday, arriving at the show ground just after 7am. Weekend camping for the rally is actually on four huge farmer’s fields across the road from the show ground, and while most people camp in the two fields closest to the entrance I prefer to be in a quiet corner out of the way, so after checking in with the camping stewards I made my way over to my favourite spot near the far end of the far field.
It was while I was putting up the tent that disaster struck but I’m not going into detail here – I’ll save that for my camping blog, when I finally find time to update it. As well as all the usual stalls and attractions at the rally there was camel racing (which I thought was rather boring but it would have been okay for kids) and Winged World with some very colourful parrots and cute little owls. The weather was gloriously sunny and warm all weekend and I was able to get out and about with the dogs and the camera, especially on Sunday when not only did I walk round the show ground but I also went for a lovely walk along the nearby canal – and even though my step challenge has officially finished I surpassed myself that day by walking a total of six miles and 21,339 steps!
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With the opportunity to catch up with various camping friends, and friends from years ago who live nearby, plus a walk round the castle grounds before setting off on the journey home, it was a very enjoyable weekend, and already I’m looking forward to doing it all again in July next year.