Erddig in Autumn

Early memories of Erddig Hall involve making an appearance in the local newspaper due to having attended their Apple Festival with school. (This year’s Apple Festival is coming up on the 1st October!)

I’ve not visited the house or gardens since school, but I have taken Jenson to wander around the grounds of the estate. This being said, walking around the gardens was almost something new and different to see.

Summer is amazing, but the colours the transitional period bring between Summer and Autumn can turn landscapes into a sea of golden colour.


Walking through the back of the Stables brought us out to the side of the house which looked out onto the rolling Welsh hillsides. A building with such uniform features having an incredible presence in the scenery around it.


Through a small wooden gate we were taken into a vast expanse of fruit trees & countless varieties of plants which were positioned precisely in flower beds throughout Erddig’s walled gardens.


Bees were bumbling about. Friendly ducks greeting everyone in site…or searching for food perhaps? Either way, it was a perfect afternoon. Feeling so far from the modern world, yet not really missing it either.


How are we posing for this photo again?

Two blog posts in one day? Should I be doing that? Who cares! Today’s ride was too much fun to not write about it!

How are we posing for this photo again?

Originally a ride to catch up with Anna, our group suddenly grew to include Kate, James and Ffion too. 

I’ve often found group rides to become quite difficult. People will often ride at different speeds that can make keeping the group together hard work. But this one turned out to be quite the opposite.

At our own pace we made our way up the first long climb at Llandegla chatting about anything and everything. We weren’t bothered about going fast up the climbs…just maybe a little on the descents! The general feel for the ride was good.

Anna was the person to get me involved in downhill, so I’ve known her for quite a while now! But I met Kate & Ffion through organising Girls At Moelfre in 2015. It was almost like a Girls At Moelfre meet-up!

I couldn’t organise a similar event this year, but will hopefully be able to soon as I met so many amazing girls at the last one. Plenty returned but to try the tracks at the Girls At Llangollen uplift earlier in the year.

Back to today’s ride…we (eventually!) decided to head down the Black, but rather than do Parallel Universe we turned left and I had forgotten how fun that little section was! Plenty of flowy corners and berms with a few little jumps too. For my hardtail it was perfect. I may have finally figured out how to get my 27.5 wheels off the ground too…ha!

We conquered a few climbs, took plenty of photos, stopped for random chats, which all made for an enjoyable and relaxed day on the bikes.

A Windy Antur Stiniog

This year I’ve been somewhat cautious when it comes to getting onto my downhill bike. With learning to drive and trying to sort a career out, at the start of the year I had quite a lot going on at once. Everything was very uncertain and I’ll be honest I didn’t deal with it very well. It felt like I was stuck in a rut that was impossible to get out of.

But hopping back onto my Scott Voltage today made it all worthwhile. In the grand scheme of things this year is such a small part of my life. I now feel confident that using it to organise things was the right thing to do.

When I’ve been so use to lycra shorts and road cycling jerseys, packing all of my body armour into my bag felt a little odd. Surprisingly I knew where it all was too, which is a first! With everything packed in my little car (thanks to my brother & his help to figure out the tetris puzzle…) off I went to meet Jake to go to Antur Stiniog.

I’m not overly confident driving all that way just yet…and I’m glad I didn’t because 5 minutes from Antur a truck had jackknifed in the road. So we had to take a bit of a de-tour to get there. I would have had no clue where to go!

Fast forward to getting onto the uplift and I was surprisingly quite relaxed. Kicking things off by following Jake down ‘Jympar’ my bike didn’t feel as alien as I thought! I knew I wouldn’t be as fast as I use to be (the gale-force winds did not exactly help that situation though!) but I wasn’t too hesitant.

Somehow surviving the Black Powder was a surprise too!

Thanks to Jake for inviting me along and to the guys at Antur for a great day! Despite the crazy weather conditions I couldn’t have asked for a more chilled out day on my bike.

Exploring Dolgellau:Hike & Swim

My bucket list is endless. My curiosity always gets the better of me when it comes to wanting to try & experience new things. One thing I’ve managed to tick off this list is open water swimming … that happened to be in a lake at the top of a mountain! Meaning there was a hike up to the top first! That path just kept going up…and up…and up! Step after step. Getting up there was a workout in itself!

There was Ryan’s family of experienced swimmers…and me…who nearly put on the wetsuit backwards. What could go wrong? Ha!


What am I doing?

So there was the battle of getting into the wetsuit and then 2 swimming hats. And then the challenge of getting into the water…which not very surprisingly was rather cold!


I can swim. I’m just not a very strong one! Some sports I naturally just do better at and swimming isn’t exactly one of them. But you’ve got to try these things right?

Front crawl is about as good as it gets. Breaststroke with my head out of the water? Not a chance. This is water you’re suppose to do so your body gets use to the temperature of the water before putting your head in. Whilst Ryan’s Mum had already swam the length of the lake, I could barely swim a metre. Despite the look on my face…I did actually enjoy it. It was more frustration I couldn’t swim properly in there. But it has given me something to work on this Winter and maybe try again next Summer!

So that’s last the part of ‘Exploring Dolgellau’. Thanks to Ryan’s family for letting me tag along and for showing me round Dolgellau. I loved every minute of it.

Exploring Dolgellau:Closer to Camp

The Sunday of our mini-holiday actually involved me getting on my mountain bike, which hasn’t actually happened all that much this year. It definitely became clear how much time I have spent on the road bike this year. Pedalling hard but it would still felt like I was making no progress at all. The gearing just felt all types of wrong. Being on a mountain bike felt slightly odd too, so needless to say I never actually did anything worth sharing from my ride around Coed Y Brenin. I appreciate Clare showing me the trails there…I just wasn’t getting on with my bike at all. I spent more time pushing my bike than riding it. Compared to what I was riding last year…that was hard to swallow.

So as not to carry on all that negative talk, the rest of the day was spent at the campsite. Although it was past lunchtime by the time we got back.

With another spectacular sunset my camera came out of the bag when me and Ryan went for a wander. Well it was more me wanting to go and take photos…and not go by myself ha!


Cader Idris


Cader Idris


Exploring Dolgellau:Park Runs & Fishing Lakes

Popping my head out of our tent I found the sun rising creating a contrast between the deep grey ridgeline of Cader Idris and the golden sky above it.

As tranquil as that might sounds it was gone 8am and I was suppose to be joining Ryan’s family on a Park Run in Dolgellau at 9. My bed head was out of control and if there was going to be any hope of me completing this run…my brain was requiring coffee. Especially with the sub-25 minute time I’d been given to beat over a distance of 3.15 miles. With this requiring me to run a minute faster per mile than normal I needed all the help I could get..

But enough with the numbers…this isn’t suppose to sound like a Maths lesson.

Miraculously I was on the start line at 9am with Ryan’s family having no clue on what would happen on this run. It’s not suppose to be a race, but my competitive side came out. Only a little bit….ok a lot!

Realising half way round the first lap I needed to do a second I began to figure out when to start upping my effort. When did I become good at pacing myself on a run again?

Seeing Ryan’s 6 year old brother running round with his Mum and the biggest grin on his face… it made me push that little bit harder!

For the last leg I placed myself behind a group running at a similar pace to me only to find some energy to up my pace to the finish. Having not run like that since Sport’s Day, which is a few years ago now, I’d somehow managed a time of 24:48 with a 7:37 mile in there somewhere.

I was genuinely perplexed as to where that had exactly come from.

I still have no idea.

I thought that was me done for the day too! But no, there was a walk around a lake to be done too! The Precipice Walk to be exact. With plenty of views not even photos can give justice to. As it followed the edge of a fishing lake only to turn right and up around a hillside I struggle to put my camera away!

Exploring Dolgellau: Unsuitable for Motor Vehicles

Pulling the tent out of its bag trying to figure out which side was the door, the jagged ridgeline of Cader Idris dominated the skyline behind us. Us being me & Ryan and with some blue skies the idea of camping for a whole Bank Holiday weekend seemed somewhat more bearable. I’ve never had a great amount of luck whilst camping but this was a weekend I’d been looking forward to.


Once our tent was set-up it wasn’t long before the road bikes brought out where Ryan and I found ourselves descending the hill into Dolgellau. Turning here, there and everywhere we began climbing out of the village and up into the hills. The gradients of the climbs changed yet my reaction to the ever-changing views did not. Round each corner or through each tunnel of trees opened up a view of lavish hillside the hedge-lined country lane before us meandered through. Token Welsh sheep dotting the fields around us and the history-ridden walls of farmhouses appearing few and far between.


Whilst part of me wanted to push hard on the pedals during this road ride, the adventurous side wanted to take it easy so I didn’t miss a thing.

Over cattle grids and through gates the hillside soon opened up to uncover a view of the great blue expanse of the sea. With complete silence and a view so picturesque, it was one of those moments you won’t ever forget.


But it was at this point the road ride became a little bit eventful…a country-lane descent of 25%. And things were going well until trees began to overhang the lane and moss covered the surface beneath my tyres.

O good god! What on earth am I doing?

With a final sharp turn to the right after some sketchy where I wished I had MTB tyres to rely on, Ryan ended up having to stop me in my track so I didn’t go straight out into a main round at the bottom! My rims were hot to touch, but I suppose he could have took me up it! So that was a bonus!


The fairly steady ride home was mostly spent contemplating what we had just done. That was possibly the most bonkers things I’ve done on skinny tyres! Soon back & climbing up to the campsite my legs felt like they had done a lot more than 16 miles…