Sep 18

Meteora to Parga, Greece

After breakfast, we hopped into Emanuel, left Metsovo and drove the remainder of the way to Meteora (which was just over an hour away!). The weather today was mostly overcast, which was unfortunate – as it would have been fantastic to get some nice photos of these epic monasteries in all their glory.

We rocked into the town underneath the rock cliffs, where Gina jumped into the Information Centre to get us a map for the different monasteries.We could see from the get-go that this was going to be a major tourist attraction, as the place was full of buses, all going up to see the monasteries.

We had a lovely time up there; massive rock pinnacles with epic monasteries perched ontop of them. There was far too many for us to visit in a day, so armed with Gina’s map – and some recommendations from the inofmation centre, upwards we went!


Gina & Megalo Meteoro, Meteora

Our first stop was Varlaam, which is the second biggest monastery in Meteora. It offered some fantastic views towards Megalo Meteoro on the rock pinnacle across the way. It had a lovely small museum (no photos allowed!) and we could also see the original rope basket  in which the monks used to get to the top (there we’re no steps back then!!).

Ginas petting heaven

A Meteora Cat

We continued on towards Agiatrias and Agios Stefanos, which both offered spectacular views over the town below, and over to the hills at the other side.

Gina superpose

Views over Kalabaka

Gina at the viewpoint

And there we have it! Another World Heritage site ticked off the list.

Our next stop was Parga for a couple of days, and luckily for me, Gina had booked this stay for us, and boy! what a booking!

Balcony views over Parga

Iest and some cats

Parga is a picture-perfect little town, with it’s hollow castle perched above, and two lovely sandy beach to either side. To add to it’s beauty – our b&b owner was the local stray-cat lover, giving them dinner every evening, so Gina was again in cat-heaven!

Cat gathering

Valtos Beach cove

We chilled to the max, with Gina taking a dip in the sea, and then off for an epic Greek dinner in the evening, before heading to our b&b to enjoy the views from our epic balcony, and listen to the crickets chirrup.

Gina having a splash

Our lovely dinner

Sep 18

Ioannina to Meteora (ish), Greece

We woke up, and headed downstairs for some breakfast. A large buffet was awaiting us, and we got stuck in. We had hoped to take the little relaxing boat cruise over to the To Nisi (the Island) right in the middle of Lake Pamvotida, but unfortunately, the winds were still blowing strongly. We walked along the lake shore just to double check, but all the boats were tied up for the day. No luck!

Windy Lake Ioannina Pamvotida

Old streets of Ioaninna

From here, we decided to walk into the old town, to see the sights. There’s a lot of history in Ioannina, and the thing that stands out the most is solid, tall walls of the Kastro enclosure; a tranquil old quarter, with many interesting sights that we planned on visiting.

We first headed over to see the Aslan Pasha Mosque, which is set atop Ioannina, in some really quite impressive castle ruins – littered the floors were stacks of cannon balls. Inside the Mosque, was the Municipal Ethnographic Museum, which exhibits local costumes and period photographs together with exhibits of the Greek, the Turkish and the Jewish community.

Grounds of Aslan Pasha Mosque

Gina and the stacks of cannon balls

The Mosque itself was really impressive and quite beautiful – built in the 17th Century. We pretty much had the whole area to ourselves, so we took our time and and admired the beauty of the place.

From here, I had to head over to the car quickly to sort out parking, while I left Gina for a few minutes. I had such a hard time finding her afterwards – so much so, that I’m making a note of it on our blog. The impressive Kastro walls wouldn’t let me inside anywhere – I finally found her, chilling on the grounds of Its Kale, by the Silversmithing Museum.

Gina inside Aslan Pasha Mosque

The Silversmithing Museum at the Its Kale

We continued to explore the grounds of Its Kale – and relaxing behind the Fethiye Mosque, which was another really impressive mosque overlooking the lake. We didn’t go into the Fethiye Mosque, as this one was quite busy – so we just chilled in the glorious sun.

Fethiye Mosque


Fethiye Mosque

Gina and Lake Pamvotis

Walls of the Kastro enclosure

We decided to hit the high street, to see what Ioannina had to offer us – Gina found a H&M, and got herself a funky Wonder Woman t-shirt which she loved. By now we were a bit peckish and headed over a local cake shop to sit outside in the sun to have a couple of lovely slices.

Cake Shop

Cake eating in the sun

We then headed back to Emanuel, and decided see if we could try to catch a boat to To Nisi (the island), but from the other side of the lake. Unfortunately, they weren’t going from here either – the winds we’re just too strong.

The plan then was to head over to Meteora, so we drove East, out of the Ioannina. Unfortunately, Gina had tasked me with booking our hotel for this night. I managed to book us into a super fancy hotel, that was in a tiny sleepy little town of Metsovo, which was still a good hour away from Meteora. Oh dear.

We decided to make the best of our situation, and head out for some local dinner – and then retire to bed early.


Sep 18

Beloi Lookout to Ioannina, Greece

We woke up at a leisurely pace, and went for another dose of our favourite Greek breakfast. The weather today had totally changed compared to yesterdays; completely overcast, with rain clouds everywhere. We had another lovely chat with the host, and she recommended that we went around the Canyon the other way – as it also offered some great, less busy views of the canyon.

So after packing up, and saying our goodbyes, we set off driving anti-clockwise from Dilofo and immediately stumbled upon a few fantastic stone bridges, dating back to the 18th Century – we parked Emanuel, and hopped out for a couple of snaps. The first bridge was Bridge of Kokkoros (or Noutsos) – and about 5 mins drive around the corner is the more adventurous; The Bridge of Plakidas – both must be amazing when the river is at it highest – but right now, there wasn’t even a drop of water going under them.

Bridge of Kokkoros or Noutsos

The Bridge of Plakidas

We continued up, through the winding road up to a tiny little village called Vradeto. We parked up, and hiked a few the km along the top plateau of the gorge until we reached the Beloi Lookout point – a similar setup to what we had at Oxya Viewpoint, but we’re now at the other side of the Canyon.

Hiking along the plateau

Another Hiking Pic

The view was pretty fantastic. The canyon is BIG. We had the place to ourselves for a little while, but we were then joined by an older couple who happily took our photo for us. Being so high, it was a bit nippy, and started to hail a bit by the time we were leaving. We got back to the village, and decided to pop into the only little hotel/cafe that’s in Vradeto for a quick cup of coffee and cake by the fire. We picked up a couple of Iranian hitchhikers and dropped them off as far as we could along the route they were going.

Beloi Lookout

Us at the gorge

From here, we continued going counter-clockwise, the road started to get worse and worse, but the view were still mighty impressive. There was evidence that some serious landslides had happened in the past at a few places, with the road almost gone – so I took my sweet time driving along this little road. It was incredibly quiet, but we stopped now and again to take in the views, take photos and timelapses. We listened to some traditional Greek radio – to help set the mood, and Gina kept a sharp eye for some bears in the woods (which we didn’t see.)

Incredible landscape

After a few solid hours of driving, we arrived back on one of the main roads, we’d basically done a massive loop around the whole mountains and gorge. Our next destination was down South to Ioannina. When we arrived, the weather had changed again – this time the wind was super fierce, the lake had waves on it! We found our hotel, and set ourselves up for the night.

Iest & our hotel

Windy Lake at Ioannina

By now, we were super hungry – we popped over to the lake for a quick look, and decided to run into the town to shelter from the massive winds. Gina found a nice place for us to eat, recommended by our Lonely Planet guide book; Stoa Louli – serving Greek favourites with a contemporary twist. The food was fantastic – but unfortunately, the whole electrical power of Ioannina was knocked out by the massive wind. We were given candles to eat by, so everything was good. After dinner, we headed back to the hotel, through the pitch black streets, into bed, where we watched the new second season of the amazing Norsemen. Yey!

Sep 18

Vikos, Greece

We woke up (having slept beautifully in pitch black room!) to glorious sunshine. Wonderful! We made our way over to the breakfast room, and were greeted nicely by the owner. We then helped ourselves to the most amazing breakfast buffet of all things Greek – cakes, fruits and yogurt, it was magnificent.

We had a little chat with the owner about the area, and she provided us with a nice local map of the sights. As it was such a great day for hiking, we decided it would be great fun to check out the Vikos gorge, and walk down to the valley today.

Morning at Archontiko Dilofou

The view from Convent of Agia Paraskevi

We started by driving over to the next village, Monodendri where Convent of Agia Paraskevi was located. A really pretty, stone built monastery perched atop the gorge, offering us some incredible panoramic views of the start of the gorge. We pottered around for a while, checking out the very old chapel and walking out over the ledges to take in the views.

From here, we jumped back into Emanuel for a short, winding drive over to Oxya Viewpoint – which offers some incredible views of the canyon. We parked at the end of the road, and walked a few meters towards the viewpoint. Vikos gorge is officially the ‘deepest gorge in the world’ – and standing at this amazing viewpoint, you could take in the sheer size of this place.

We spent a little bit of time here, just taking in the epic views, and had a quick photo-shoot as the sun was shining quite nicely.

The Vikos gorge

Us at the Gorge

A Gina photoshoot

Another Gina photoshoot

From here, we drove over to the village of Vikos, where one of the walks down into the gorge starts. We parked Emanuel, and ventured down into the depths of the canyon.

Down we go!

Deep into the Gorge

The walk itself really didn’t take too long going down. The views were just incredible, so I was stopping every 2 minutes to take a few photos – I would confidently say that Vikos gorge is one of the prettiest places I’ve been to so far. Just an amazing views for the whole walk down. Once we got to the bottom, we were greeted by the Voidomatis River, and it’s crystal clear waters – I was once told that this river is the cleanest in Europe, and I could totally believe it – I’ve not seen anything like it.

Papigo Towers

Voidomatis River

We spent a good hour or so down on the banks, just relaxing and petting the friendly stray-looking dog that was relaxing there as well. There wasn’t many people here either, so there was a very nice calm feeling. Gina, of course, wanted to go into the water, so off she went when I was down exploring the river banks. She pressured me to take a dip into the icy cold water, and I really did want to [note from Gina: he *really* didn’t! had to be shamed into it.] as I couldn’t give up the chance to dip into the cleanest waters in Europe. I can tell you now, the waters were freezing, but very enjoyable. I went in twice.

Gina taking a dip

The water sure was cold!

We headed back up the trail towards Vikos village, where we grabbed some ice cream, and walked around the local shops.

Into Vikos village

We then decided to drive over to Papingo to see the end of the gorge, and to get some dinner. The road was long and windy, with some sheep coming down, but Papingo offered some more great views of the gorge for us.

Traffic on the way to Papingo

Dinner at Pantheon

We grabbed dinner at a restaurant called Pantheon – where there was a massive sleeping dog, and an outside terrace for us to enjoy. We filled up on some pie, before retiring for the night at our lovely hotel room back in Dilofo.

Sep 18

Dilofo, Greece

After dropping Lily off on the weekend, we were all packed and ready to go to Greece for our summer vacay. Unfortunately for us, we had to get up super early this time – 3am to be exact, ready to be picked up for 4am by the taxi to take us to Gatwick. Everything went super smoothly, Gina even managed to get a few Zzz’s in on the plane, and we landed in Thessaloniki in no time.

Our first mission was to pick up the car, a nice little Citroen we named Emanuel. After familiarising ourselves with the car, we departed Thessaloniki on the 4 hour drive over to Dilofo.

The drive took us right through the middle of the country, where we were greeted by some lovely views – and the Greek highways were super nice to drive on. We noticed loads of high fences on either side of the highways – these were to prevent bears entering onto the highways! How cool!


Iest & the church at Dilofo

We arrived at Dilofo just as the sun was starting to set. No cars are allowed into Dilofo – so we parked Emanuel in the car park that’s just on the outskirts of the village. Dilofo is amazing, an incredibly traditional, picturesque village that I don’t think has ever changed since the day it was built. All the houses and roads are made from the same stone, with the whole village nestled into the woods in the hills, making it look like a little fairy tail village. We dragged our suitcase over the stone cobbles, and found our fantastic hotel; Archontiko Dilofou that Gina had picked nicely for us. I can’t recommend this hotel enough, the rooms were beautiful – all rustic and super comfortable, with a lovely host that we got chatting to a lot. She made us feel very welcomed.

Archontiko Dilofou

The streets of Dilofo

After familiarising ourselves with the beautiful room, we headed out to take a tour of the little village. Dilofo is super quaint, with lovely old buildings everywhere, with a church in the middle of the village and narrow lanes connecting everything up. We walked the loop around the village, and eyed up a nice little restaurant for dinner; Taki’s place. We sat outside on the terrace, looking out towards the mountains as the moon was slowly rising up behind them. We ordered a whole lot of fantastic food, including the grilled feta with tomatoes and herbs – something so simple, yet incredibly delicious. We had a couple of beers, and then retired to bed for the night – since we’d been up since 3am (!) and we had a full day of exploring to do tomorrow.

Grilled Feta!

Moon rising

Aug 18

Oslo, Norway – Day 4

For our final morning and afternoon in Oslo, we decided to head on down to the waterfront – but this time over towards the Tjuvholmen sculpture park.

Our first stop however was the Historical Museum – as we had a free pass from the Viking Ship Museum – my plan was to see the only preserved Viking helmet in the world (!) but unfortunately, the museum was under some renovation, and the Viking helmet wasn’t around, so we didn’t get it see it. Such a shame. Next time! We then slowly made our way down to the waterfront, via a couple of shops.

Tjuvholmen sculpture park

Gina getting some sun

At Tjuvholmen sculpture park – we had a nice sit down in the sun, sipped some coffee, before heading on back to get our bags, and catch the train to the airport – all in all, a fantastic break to Oslo. We got to see so much!

A 50mm photoshoot

Mae’r haul bob amser yn disgleirio ar y locsyn coch

Aug 18

Oslo, Norway – Day 3

I had done some research, and found out one of the worlds top baristas had a coffee shop just around the corner from our well-chosen (by Gina) AirBnb – so, today was the morning that I’d get to taste such goodness! We headed out, and over to Tim Wendelboe – I wasn’t disappointed. I got myself one of the filters that was on sale that day, and sipped away before breakfast. Top stuff. They didn’t sell any breakfast stuff here at Tim’s, so we made our way back to where we had the fantastic breakfast the day before; Godt Brod Grunerlokka for some more Norwegian pastries.

Iest and his coffee

The mission for today was outdoor parks, as all the museums we’re closed on Mondays. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t 100% on our side today, with massive overcast skies, and spitting rain.

Our first stop was the oldest building in Oslo; the Old Aker Church and it’s surrounding graveyard; cemetery of Our Saviour – where we saw the graves of Edvard Munch, and a few of Norway’s other top painters, poets and playwrights like Henrik Ibsen. Just across the way from the South East entrance to the graveyard was the little pretty-street called ‘Damstredet’, a very charming and picturesque part of central Oslo with well-preserved and inhabited wooden houses from the late 1700s and the 1800s. So we took a few pics of the lovely little houses as we made our way down the the street.

Old Aker Church

Munch’s grave



We then made our way, walking through the streets towards The Vigeland Park – but we took the shopping streets way, just to see what kind of nice stores the Norwegians had, and I’m happy to report that Gina found her new fave store; Sostrene Grene :) and a few other nice, house-hold type store, all of which were very nice.

We arrived at the Vigeland Park just as the rain started to become a bit heavier, so we just made it around to see Gustav Vigeland biggest works; The Angry Boy, Monolith, and Wheel of Life before heading back into town for a coffee, cake and a sit-down. We saw some interesting birds in the park too – including someone’s pet canary!

Vigeland Sculpture Park


Iest & Monolith

Wheel of Life

Gina having a cake

Next on the agenda was the Akershus Fortress. It’s a medieval castle that sits right at the waterfront but it’s now used a military base, and police station. It’s very nicely located, where you can walk around it and look out to sea, watching the ships come in and go – but there was a fair amount of tourists there on this day, trying their best to get that ‘oh so funny’ picture of themselves, so it ruined the vibe for us a bit, so didn’t stay too long. We headed back over towards the main shopping street of Karl Johans gate, for a more in-depth look at what was on the high-street shopping, before heading back for a little chill.


Gina in her fave new shop

For the evening, I had done some more research, and landed on a restaurant called ‘Sentralen’ for our evening meal. I booked the table for us from London, so we were all set. They served Scandinavian ‘small plates’ where we chose three dishes each, each different and very, very nice.

Dessert at Sentralen

Aug 18

Oslo, Norway – Day 2 – Museum Day!

As I was the one in charge of planning this awesome weekend – I planned very nicely for us the best places for breakfast and coffee for the morning. Gina, really wanted to willy-nilly go into any old place that served breakfast, but I made sure stuck to our well planned places, and our breakfast destination for today was this lovely cafe called; Godt Brod Grunerlokka. It was a lovely place, great building with awesome Nordic pastries and coffee.

Gina and our Nordic breakfast

After breakfast, we bought some travel cards for the day as we were planning on zooming around the city quite a lot, and jumped on the bus to our first museum of the day – and the one that inspired Gina to get this awesome trip for us; The Viking Ship Museum!

The bus took us directly there, all the way to the other side of the peninsula, to the area known as Bygdøy. It was quite clear how busy the place was going to be, as the bus was jammed by the time we got to the museum. We hopped off the bus, and was pleasantly surprised by how lovely the purposely built building that housed the Viking boats was.

The first thing you see when entering the museum was the truly amazing Oseberg Ship, completely whole, excavated from the largest known ship burial in the world. This ship was massive, and so beautiful – and is commonly acknowledged to be the finer artefacts to have survived from the Viking era. Every single carving was still visible, especially at the bow and stern, together with the spiral structure at the bow and stern of the boat – which was remarkable. Standing under the massive structure really gave it a sense of scale.

Gina and the Oseberg

Oseberg from the viewing platform

There were two, almost as impressive boats in this amazing museum, the Gokstad ship and the Tune ship, which we spent time studying and admiring. The museum was such a lovely space, the ceilings were super high, which really gave scale to these boats, but there were also little overhangs/balconies to which you could climb up, to view the decks on which the Vikings would have been sitting on. There was also a few skeletal remains, which the archeologists found when they excavated the boats, and a whole lot of Viking era jewellery, bits of clothes, carriage, and an incredible animated short-film that was projected onto the walls and ceiling, depicting the story of a chieftain and his Viking ship. Amazing. I loved it.

Gokstad ship

We took 10 mins, and did a quick sketch of the boats, before heading around the corner to the second museum of the day; The Norwegian Museum of Cultural History. This place was great. It’s;

…a museum of cultural history with [an] extensive collections of artefacts from all social groups and all regions of the country. It also incorporates a large open-air museum with more than 150 buildings, relocated from towns and rural districts.

It covers a large amount of land, and it’s all nicely laid out for you to walk around, and admire the amazing wooden buildings they’ve got from all over Norway. The most amazing building was the ‘The Gol Stave Church’ dating from around the 1200;

The Gol Stave Church

Iest and the church for scale

There are many other amazing buildings here, including a farm from the 1950’s, old towns building from Oslo ranging from 1600 – 19th century, to various old wooden storehouses from the 1700’s. You could pop into some of the buildings, where they had some of the furniture from the era, so it all looked quite amazing. There were a few shops dotted around too, selling food or sweets from the era that building was from. We were super lucky with the weather, so it was a beautiful morning out in the open-air museum.

From here, it was time for lunch, and I’d done my research, and took us to a rather nice restaurant called Lantern on the waterfront, where Gina had some sound and I had my first burger of the day.

Lantern, on the waterfront

Our lunch

After filling up, and walking through the lovely neighbourhood of incredible Scandi-architecture, we caught the bus back to the city centre, for our third museum of the day; The National Gallery. It houses Norway’s largest collection of art – so we were in for a great time! Their collection was quite wonderful, we got to see The Scream, Madonna, & The Sick Child, by Edvard Munch. I was quite surprised by how quiet it was around the ‘Scream’ – so I managed to get a good picture of it. We both loved Harald Sohlberg ‘Winter Night in the Mountains’ – the colours on it seemed like they glow in the dark somehow, really capturing the moonlight, but my favourite had to be Erik Werenskiold and his work ‘Peasant burial’ – with his incredibly detailed landscape and peasants.

Munch’s ‘Scream’

Munch’s ‘Madonna’

Sohlberg’s ‘Winter Night in the Mountains’

Heyerdahl’s ‘Fra Asgardstrand’

By the time we’d finished, and popped out – it had been raining, as all of Oslo was wet – so we were quite lucky, and timed the indoor museum very well! As we were in the area (and it was down in my itinerary) we walked over to Slottsplassen park for views and the Royal Palace, a sit down, and a sketch in our sketchbooks, before returning back to our AirBnb for a nice chill and some Norwegian style yogurt via the main shopping street of Olso; Karl Johans gate.

On our way to the Palace

The Royal Palace

Gina and a Guard

Festival at the waterfront

For the evening, we headed down towards the city to centre, only to find out there was a massive music festival taking place on the water – right infront of the Opera House. We chilled here for a bit, before heading back up for some dinner – tonight we were keeping it causal, so we had some Veggie burger at the well-recommended ‘Wunderburger’ which was just around the corner. They were indeed, great – so we sat by the window, enjoying watching people pass, before heading back for the night.

Aug 18

Oslo, Norway – Day 1

For my birthday, Gina treated me to a long weekend away in beautiful Oslo! I’ve always wanted to visit the Viking Museum to see the epic long boats they have there, so I was super excited to visit. I was in charge of planning this trip, so I made sure I planned it well :)

We dropped Lily off at our favourite cattery, and headed up to Stansted airport for our afternoon flight to Oslo. We arrived without a problem, smooth flight, and an even smoother train ride into Oslo city centre. We navigated our way to our Airbnb which Gina had picked for us nicely – centrally located. We dropped off our bags, and decided to take a walk down to the sea front to get our bearings and see what the city was like.

First stop, was the Oslo Opera house – it’s located right at the head of the Oslofjord, and looks out right across to the little islands and the peninsula across the other side. The building is so epic, that the roof angles down to the ground, which creates a marble plaza that invites people to walk up to its roof and enjoy some fantastic panoramic views of Oslo & the fjord – so that’s exactly what we did, with all the other tourists.

Gina on the Opera House

Iest, chilling

After taking in the sights, Gina thought it would be a good day to visit the headland that was just down the way to get some ever higher-up views of the city. The headland was part of the Ekebergparken Skulpturpark – which I had down on our itinerary for another day, but seeing as it was such a beautiful sunny day, we decided it would be a perfect evening stroll.

The Opera House

New Architecture

We made our way over, through the newly build buildings that lined the inlet, and walked up the hill through some woodland to start the sculpture trail. The first thing we came across happened to be the view in which Edvard Munch used as the backdrop for his most famous painting ‘The Scream’, which was a pleasant surprise. We continued on, ending up in a large opening at the top of the hill, where there were some interesting art hanging from trees, and some smoke-lined moody trees. We spent a couple of hours in total enjoying the park, and its many sculptures and statues – before heading back down towards the city centre as the sun was going down.

Iestyn’s ‘Scream’

Overlooking Oslo

Gina admiring the sculpture

Wood woman

Foggy Trees

By this point, we were both hungry for dinner – I had just been listening to a great podcast about Oslo’s food culture and the exciting Vippa community down on the waterfront, so that’s were we headed! It was a lovely little place, with about 12 different ‘sea containers’ halved, and turned into a kitchen, selling every kind of cuisine. We both had a fresh bowl of salmon Poke, while enjoying the sunset over the sea.

Gina at Vippa

Iest eating Poke

With full bellies, we headed back to our AirBnb, and chilled for the evening, as we had a full on culture day coming tomorrow!

Jul 18

Skerries & Wild Camping, Wales

Saturday, 7th July

Back in Christmas 2016, we got a lovely gift from our little nephew Eban – a RIB ride excursion to the Skerries, off the North coast of Anglesey, and back down to South Stack. Unfortunately, due to us living in London and bad weather when we were actually up in Wales, the trip was somewhat delayed. Thankfully, we planned a little break away to Wales for a long weekend, and the weather looked incredible – so, a year and a half after getting the gift – we were all booked in to go on the RIB ride.

Our trip started from the Holyhead marina. We were greeted by our skipper called Olly and after we were shown around the boat and the various health and safety tips, we were off – blasting through the waters, North bound towards Church Bay & Carmel Head, before venturing out to open sea, and The Skerries.

The Skerries, [are] a unique group of rocky islands with Trinity House lighthouse, built in 1716, on the highest point. In Welsh the islands are known as Ynysoedd y Moelrhoniaid, which means ‘the islands of the bald-headed grey seals’.

This Important Bird Area and SSSI has a very large Arctic Tern population (over 2,000 pairs), Common Terns and a smaller Roseate Tern population; it is also home to Puffins and Kittiwakes. This uninhabited group of islands has a distinctive cliff and maritime grassland environment.

Trinity House lighthouse

Trinity House lighthouse & the Terns

The first thing we noticed was just how many Terns there are out here, incredible! They kept swooping in and over the boat as we made our way towards Trinity House lighthouse to anchor and watch the wildlife around us. According to the internet, there’s over 2,000 pairs on the island. Just over the brow of the crags, we could also see a handful of Puffins just chilling and coming in to land from being out feeding.

Artic Tern (left) and Common Terns

A Puffin coming in to land

We spent about 15 mins anchored to a buoy just underneath the lighthouse, surrounded by crystal clear seas. All around us, chilling on the rocks, swimming casually and making the most amazing sounds were a whole lot of grey seals. So much wildlife, and never had we seen Wales to sunny!

A cheeky Seal

Look at that face!

As the RIB Ride website says; “We then begin the adventurous nine-mile open-sea crossing to the island of North Stack. Here we explore the caves and the dramatic 100m high sea cliffs of Gogarth Bay to reach the lighthouse on the island of South Stack. We will watch the Chough, Guillemot, Peregrine, Puffin and Razorbill at the RSPB South Stack Cliffs nature reserve before we return.” – which is exactly what we did.

Along the way, we spotted a circus of Puffins out at sea – Olly slowed down for us, so we could take some great snaps.

A circus of Puffins!

Startled Puffin

Being the sharped-eyed skipper that he was, Olly also spotted a few Porpoises out at sea. Down over underneath South Stack we were met by the massive cliffs, and a whole lot of guillemot and razorbills swimming casually in the sea.

A Porpoise

Guillemot (brownish) and Razorbill (black)

From here we dipped in and out of the sea caves, all while Olly was giving us the historical information about the lighthouse, and how they used to load goods onto the island before the steps were constructed etc – all super interesting. Then, we blasted over to Gogarth, a very popular bit of rock, where we could see climbers starting their climb up to the top.

Looking back towards South Stack

And that was it… we cruised back on over to the Holyhead marina – what a fantastic start to our day!

After a quick stop in sunny Rhosneigr for lunch, we cruised over to Tesco’s to pick what would be our dinner – as tonight, we were camping in the mountains.

We packed, and got dropped off at Pen y Gwryd by Dad, our destination was Llyn Caseg-fraith, inbetween Glyder Fach and Foel Goch, overlooking the mighty Tryfan in the Glyderau.

Gina in the Glyderau

Gina crossing Nant Y Gwryd

We headed on up, and had nothing but good times – the sun was blasting, the evening light was starting to fall, and it was looking lovely! We knew once we got to the top, we were in for a great night camping.

Gina on the gamfa

Fantastic evening light

We arrived at Llyn Caseg-fraith, a small lake that’s nicely located above Tryfan just as the sun had started entering its golden hour. Much to our surprise, we weren’t the only ones up there wild camping. There was another tent on the other side of the lake, and soon another guy arrived, hiding his tent behind the rocks nearby. Everyone minded their own business though, and it was very quiet all around. We pitched the tent without a bother – and began our plans of chilling to-the-max.

Our tent, overlooking Tryfan

Gina about to chill with a book

Iest, chillin’

And yeah, this was the scene pretty much for the whole evening. We ate our picnic, did some time-lapse photography with my iPhone, Gina read her book and hit the sack. It was super pleasant up there, not a whisper of wind – awesome.

The evening colours


Sunday, 8th July

We awoke to another beautiful, cloudless sky morning. We had a leisurely breakfast, chilled some more, before packing up the tent and sleeping stuff. The goal for this morning was to head up Glyder Fach, over to Glyder Fawr, and down into Nant Peris the other side of the mountains – where Dad would then pick us up in time for lunch.

Everything on the way up to the Glyderau went super well, we were cruising – enjoying the views.

Morning Gins!

Looking back at Llyn Caseg-fraith

Unfortunately, on the way down the slippery scree of Glyder Fawr, my knee (which I’d been having physiotherapy for for the past 3 weeks) totally gave way. I went down and yep, this was agony. It took me about 2 hours to get down, whereas it should have taken about 30mins – this wasn’t good – as Dad was down in the valley waiting for us. Dad suspected that something might have been up, but he continued to wait until Gina went ahead and met up with him, while I took my time getting down safely. Damn knee!

We got back home, I iced my knee for a few hours, and went over to meet the newest addition to the family; little baby Erain. Then headed over to Pant Du for some lunch and apple juice – which was great! We then decided to take a trip to our fave beach, Llanddwyn for the evening, to chill in the sea (legs only) whilst the sun gently went down.

All in all – a pretty awesome trip back home for the bank holiday!