The Diary of a Slow Traveller – it’s blowing a gale, Wales

Conway Castle

Just when we thought we’d seen the worst of the weather we wake for our last full day in Wales to the news that there will be gale force winds for most of the day and through the evening. Shortly afterwards we get an email telling us that our ferry to Dublin is uncertain due to the storms.

Our few days in North Wales have been excellent.

The walled town of Conway provided a base to visit the castle and walk the city walls. We had our best fish and chips accompanied with a couple of local G&Ts, but the highlight was a couple with a dog that I thought looked a lot like ours – surely it couldn’t be as our dog is a kelpie cross. I had to ask its owners, who said that he’s a kelpie, and because he’s an Australian dog his name is Ozzie! It sparks a long conversation over dinner. Our ” new friends” are travelling nomads  and seem to know all the good pubs. It’s a great chat and makes our dinner one of The many highlights of our trip.

We’ve found people so friendly. Continue reading

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The Diary of a Slow Traveller- Quaint or Odd, The Howtown Hotel, Lake District

Howtown Hotel

Odd or Quaint? We weren’t sure as we somewhat hesitantly booked our accommodation in the Lake District. I’d been intrigued by an article I’d found online in the The telegraph that had made reference to staying at the Howtown Hotel. How odd or quaint, I thought. Reservations are made in writing and by that they meant by post, a real letter with a stamp.

The hotel is pretty much all there is in Howtown. Once through Pooley Bridge, it’s a sharp right hand turn onto a narrow windy road for what seems an eternity, about 4 miles. Our drive is not made any easier by the torrential rain, making viability poor and the road in many places covered with water. We’d been told to expect rain in the Lake District and the day we arrived there was about 4 inches!

As we drive taking the track to the hotel we note that unlike Scotland there don’t appear to be designated passing places on the roads, necessitating our having to back up more than once on our drive to the hotel. We also note that the drivers in England seem much less gracious than their Scottish neighbors when it comes to allowing on coming traffic pass.

After a drive along a narrow windy and often flooded road we arrive.

Our greeting at the hotel is pretty low key. The proprietor greets us with a quizzical “Good Afternoon” and brief welcome. She arranges for one of the staff to show us our room and that’s it, we’re registered. No id required, no credit card imprint, nothing more than our brief introduction and confirmation of name.  Our room has as well as no wifi ( we knew this before we booked), no TV, no coffee or tea making facilities, no toiletries other than a bar of Imperial Leather soap and no room key! What it does have is great views to  Ullsawater. Continue reading

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The Diary of a Slow Traveller, Time to take it slowly, Edinburgh to York

    Durham Cathedral

After a few days walking the streets of Edinburgh it was into the hire car and off to York.

We’ re just over halfway into our trip and I was feeling like I had sensory overload.

I’d packed so much into our time in Scotland. There was so much I wanted to see, that I’d broken with the vow of Slow Travel. Our arrival in Edinburgh and our decision to rent an Airbnb apartment rather than stay in a hotel or B&B meant we could go at our own pace. Continue reading

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The Diary of a Slow Traveller – Walking in Edinburgh, Scotland

Walking around Edinburgh is the best way to see it. It’s narrow streets and closes. It’s history, galleries museums, houses and pubs. These are not seen from the top level of a double decker bus or car. They are seen by walking, stopping and looking, not cruising by. For us walking makes it our own journey of discovery, not someone else’s pre-packaged highlights reel.

If we hadn’t been walking in Edinburgh, we would not have seen the wonderful textile exhibition at the Dovecot Gallery. The Dovecot Gallery and coffee shop are in a side street,  a short walk from the Royal Mile.

Dovecot Gallery

Dovecot Gallery

We stumbled on the Museum, sure, it was on our list but Continue reading

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The Diary of a Slow Traveller – The Northcoast 500, Highlands, Scotland

In planning our trip I’d spied some blogs on a drive along the coast roads of the Highlands of Scotland. While time didn’t allow us to drive the full journey of the route known as the Northcoast 500, we were able to cover a big slice of it – Lochcarron to Durness.

The Northcoast 500

From the Kyle of Lockalsh, the mainland adjacent to Skye, we headed up the coast taking a short detour to the delightful seaside village of Plocton, before joining the NC500 at Lochcarron. Over the next two days we travelled upto Durness using Ullapool as our base.


NC500 Lochcarron to Ullapool
The forecast was at best average – driving rain and high winds!

We joined the NC500 at Lochcarron which leads onto the Bealach an Ba ( Pass of the Cattle). I’d suggest goat track would be a more appropriate translation.

Leaving Lochcarron the signs warn that it’s likely to be impassable in winter. Continue reading

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