Holyhead Island, Cambridge, and a Motherland-of-sorts

    Back in September my father and I took a week to travel about a bit of the UK. I've already discussed our trip to Snowdon in the last post, but here I want to stream a few thought straggles from the trip. 

    Our first stop during the week was, in fact, Snowdon. The next day though, we drove up and around Holyhead Island to see South Stack with its lighthouse, cliffs, rare chough birds and general scenery. 


-This landscape is called heath or heathland, but heath can also be called heather from the heather family of plants.




- I made my dad go down the stairs to be stopped at the gate because we were not going to pay to see the lighthouse. Really, dad followed me then regretted it. 




- Looking sharp Daddio







- The cliffs has some beautiful sediment patterns. We also saw seals from afar and a lot of spiders. I'm not sure it is something I would drive that far to again, but if you are in the neighborhood it is some refreshing air. 







- Choughs, easily identified by their red bills. 









    After a nice three days in Wales, it was time to go see Cambridge and Wisbech as a sort of return to one motherland. My most recent English relative left for the states just in time to fight in theAmerican Civil War. I believe this was my great-great-great- (one more?) -grandfather. While he was from Wisbech, we assume family was about Cambridge to some extent. 


- King's College Chapel was really quite wonderful and chalk-full of information.


- While still on the campus we met a gentleman who, rather aggressively, told us about the punt boats history. Being a local, he kindly explained for us Americans how Cambridgians stand on the stern of the boat while the cowardly Oxfordians stand in the boat. 




- Downtown










- I did not get any bubble tea that trip, very sad. I just like this woman's face as I creeped about with my camera.








-I grew up with sheep. I love all things sheep. Dad, less so. We were in 4-H, basically an agricultural youth organization, where all farms must be named. My father recently sent me a photo of a sheep farm called, "Against Dad's Will." That pretty much sums up my dad's thoughts on still having our sheep. 





- Cambridge Botanical Gardens




















- Queen of the Botanical Gardens (for 5 seconds before moving on)


























- I like bugs



















    And finally: Wisbech. Frankly, this town was much larger than I expected with a nice market and very old town centre and church. That said, it was a bit run down. 







   My maternal grandparents were Lithuanian and there was clearly a large Eastern European population currently in Wisbech based on the various languages and shops I saw represented. Just a little familial amusement. 






- And last but not least, a very grumpy man surrounded by flowers. 


   So there you have it, my lingering thoughts and images from my September trip. While I meant to make a bit more sense of them all, at least I hope enjoy a photo or two.

   Next entry I'll make sure to tell a little story from Split, Croatia. 

Snowdon with my Father: A Recreation of an Internal Monologue

Roughly in order of events. 

*Driving with my father in this country is 100% terrible. The roads and oncoming traffic feel like death approaching.
*So tired. Why no coffee this morning? Why DAD!?

* It is no where near as cold as I planned for. I have way too much clothing packed.
*Sweaty back. It begins.


*The air smells clear here. Such still water. So nice. 

*Just stunning.

*Interesting little ruin. Hmm, does the path go around the other side?

*And now it goes up. Time for 'UP.'

*Dad! Stop whining! Why do you continue to go hiking with me?

*Evolution really benefitted man.

*Gentle start here. I can do this, its easier than I expected. Oh, you've got to be kidding me! Its a wall of stairs. A. Mountain. Wall. Of. Stairs.

*Hilarious eavesdropping of a young woman refusing to go any higher and telling her dad to go on, she'd wait there. He appeared to be forcing her to exercise. I wonder how that played out.

*My legs are not in great shape here.

*The sheep here know no limits. They are just casually hanging out all the way up this pile of rocks. I keep thinking we've seen the last, then there is another. And another.

*Its always a bit shameful getting lapped.
*Going up the Miner's Path first was a good idea. Hard up, gentle down. 

*My thighs! Oh, my pitiful thighs!

*Very glad we did not know about the restaurant at the top. Dad hates the concept so much. I definitely saved myself some grumbling there. That said, the cold beer was grand.

*Nap time?


*The people at the summit are a very juxtaposed group of charming nature lovers and the worst loud, moment-ruining hordes of people whom feel compelled to yell, litter, and detract from the view and any concept of peace.
*Moved and found a nicer, quieter spot. Much less angry now. More food.

* This is me! (a sweaty version)

*I would have loved to have another day to explore the land around here.

*Vegan food, not so easy to find in the small town here. Bread for lunch! And maybe a bunch of Oreos. 

* Cheater train. 

*Hmm, actually had extra water this journey. Beer must have replaced it.

*Yep, now its my calves. Why are gyms so expensive. Do I really have to start running again?

*END: I did not love the way down. It follows the train tracks and in general lacks all notion of wilderness. Far too many over worked little dogs and ill-prepared groups of teens yelling back and forth. Too busy for my taste and lacking the superb views of the ascent. I am clearly just not a people person.

*But the way up, and Snowdon in general was wonderful. The vast views from the climb: hills and peaks, sheep, such greens, and cold mountain waters. A pleasant day mainly composed of great scenery, leg pain and its resulting shame, beer, and a quiet, comfortable father-daughter silence punctuating by dad's complaints. 


Snowdon Mountain, Snowdonia, Wales.