Swimming with Fishes

Swimming outside in the likes of lakes and meres has always been something I’ve wanted to do. After my failed attempt around this time last year, I’ve been working on my swimming ever since to try and conquer it. That and getting my body accustomed to being a bit cold!

Towards the end of this week I decided I wanted to try out my new Hubb wetsuit, which I bought a few weeks ago. Although this meant an early start to get to Manley Mere, I was curious to see how I’d get on.

Once kitted up it was a bit warmer than I’d expected. My hesitant first toe dip into the water, I didn’t feel the chill through my body I was expecting. It was actually quite pleasant. It was a little different when water started going through the zip of my wetsuit however! 


Since my last attempt, I’ve been working on my swimming quite a lot. I’ve never been a strong swimmer, but that’s something I want to change. Especially after getting the Triathlon bug and now wanting to try an outdoors one. 

So I’m a much stronger swimmer now, surely I’ll be ok?

Yea…swimming in open water is so much different to swimming in a pool! You’ve not got a wall to kick off every 25m…

But I gave it my best shot. My goal of trying to get at least the first buoy tarnished my weeds getting stuck around my ankle. And my body deciding it didn’t like the constant swimming. 

After my little dilemma and standing at the edge of the lake with every part of me wanting to get back in. A lady who’d already been around the lake once offered to show me the ropes of outdoor swimming. Up until this point I’d only managed breast stroke, which is quite ironic as it has always been my weakest stroke. She pointed out front crawl was much easier to do than breast stroke in a wetsuit. 

I just struggled breathing out under water when I was swimming outside for some reason. So she got me doing breast stroke, but this time put my head under a few times to get used to it. 

And it worked! 

All of a sudden I was doing front crawl. Granted, not very far, but still, we had progress. I’d not come away from there a complete failure.

On first arriving, I couldn’t have felt more of a newbie with the amount of Iron Man tattoos around. But thanks to the lady who showed me the ropes, I couldn’t wait to go back. 

I wanted to swim for longer, but thought it was best to end on a high and go back again soon. Especially now I have more of an idea what I’m doing. The morning’s antics had completely tired me out, so I was glad Ryan was there to get me home! 

Where did all of the trees go?

So those bikes with spongy forks and knobbly tyres do still exist. Those things called mountain bikes! With my exams out the way I can finally have my life back. 


Saturday morning was the first time I’d got out of a car at Llandegla to be hit by hot and not cold temperatures, and there was a fairly big group of us to get to the top!

A steady climb to the top was followed by a few surprised faces. The trees had gone! No longer is there a tree lined start to the descent, but instead open hillside scattered with tree stumps. With it being such a clear day, it opened up a new view from the top that was pretty special. It did mess with my head though…I couldn’t figure out which part of the trail I was on .


It was such a relaxed ride where I could catch up with everyone. There were new faces on the ride and familiar faces I had a lot of catching up to do with! I always feel guilty for not seeing them more, but nothing ever changes when I do see them! Apart from the fact one has a super cute baby, who I hope is enjoying their first Father’s Day. And the loveliest couple ever having lots of holidays planned. With one of those holidays being Whistler…I’m a little jealous!

We would sometimes spilt up to do different sections of trail, but meeting up at the cafe to have burgers meant we could re-group again. For £6.95, the BBQ is a bargain as not only is there quality meat (I’m sure there’s veggie options too!) you can pile your plate with salad. On busy weekend days, there’s less waiting for your food too. It’s a no brainer really. 


This is only a short post, but how can you not write about such a beautiful day? I could catch up with friends and my brother. It was just overall a good day and what mountain biking should be. Friends and fun times. However, Ryan’s morning ride wasn’t so stress free after breaking a spoke. Luckily it happened in Llandegla village, so I could give home a lift home!


I hope you all had a lovely weekend and didn’t get some rather dodgy tan lines like me! Including some elbow pads tan lines and a white X on my back. For the places I did remember to put sun cream on though, the Nivea Protect and Refresh sun spray worked really well. And it was only Factor 20!

Running into the Irish Sea

Half 6 was rather an early time to be woken up on the Sunday morning, but Ryan had the start line of a TT to be on for his race slot at 8.45. 

I waited for the first 15 minutes while he covered the 10 mile TT course in St Asaph. The last 5 minutes were me anxiously waiting to see if he’d get a sub 20 minute finish time or not. He did…just…at 19 minutes 52 seconds. The fastest he’s ever been on the course despite the strong winds. 

Averaging 30 mph isn’t exactly an easy task I guess.

An early start did mean we still had most of the day left to fill, which we’d do cycling along the coastal path.

The sea going from a dull blue rippled by the wind to a rich emerald every time the sun popped out from behind the clouds.

Seagulls bobbing up and down on the waves or flapping like crazy against the sea breeze and getting nowhere. 

The path twisting and turning along the coast with a new view around the corner. The odd steep piece of path with the potential to catch you out if you were in the wrong gear. 

Waves crashing against the rocks. The sounds of which I could listen to all day.

The rhythmic splashing as the waves go back and to.


Countless amounts of dogs dragging their owners to every new smell they pick up with wagging tails to match. 

A main road not too far away, but we were to pre-occupied with the sight of the sea.


Taking a break in a quaint coastal tea shop, full of unique & detailed gifts you’d struggle to find anything similar anywhere else.

Nautical scarves, photo frames and little trinkets with seaside quotes on the side like,

“Love anchors the soul.”


Filling ourselves with bacon butties and pots of tea.

Not those pathetic thin pieces of bacon, but the type you’d only find in a local butchers.

A tailwind pushing us back to the point at which we started.


Only to finish by running barefoot into the crashing waves as they crawled further and further up the pebbled beach.


Sand trickling between our toes and waiting with anticipation to see how big the next wave was going to be.


Our spontaneous trip into the sea was without spare clothes and towels after all…

And we’d be silly to expect the Irish Sea to be anything but cold. 

Just doing without a care for the consequences.

Every laugh and crashing wave making any worry, no matter how small, become insignificant. 


The pebbles warm as we walked back to the car park, but sharp at times against my wet and sandy feet meaning I had a piggy back to the van.

The seaside now bustling with people compared to the ghost town it appeared to be when we’d first arrived earlier that day. 

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!

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Cader Idris

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Cader Idris

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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…

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South Stack Lighthouse, Anglesey

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South Stack Lighthouse, Anglesey

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Certain places I visited as a child have always had a presence in the back of my mind. Whether it’s possible to go back there or not. South Stack happens to be one of those places and thankfully day trips are possible there.

The first time I visited there a few years back involved me wandering off from my family with the hound at my heels. Passing views unique to the little island off the coast of North Wales, time soon passed and I didn’t realise the time until I had a phone call off my Mum to see where I’d ended up.

This is standard behaviour for me by the sea. I get drawn to the waves and the feeling of looking out to nothing but blue water. Seeing the different currents around a bay. The ships going out to see. Exploring somewhere that isn’t quite on my doorstep.

Anglesey often happens to have aircraft flying round in the skies too from RAF Valley. This involves engines and speed…so naturally something I find interesting!

To most it might just be the island off the coast of North Wales, but something always draws me back there.

Yet, memories are always made there so that might be it.

Exploring World’s End

You know that feeling you get after a good ride on the bike. Your muscles hurt, yet your not all that bothered about it. You know it was worth it.

When an email off Chris from Hotlines UK, a UK bike product distributor, popped up in my Inbox I was more than happy showing him what North Wales had to offer in terms of natural trails and single-track.

Throughout the day I was feeling dubious as to whether our planned ride over World’s End would be a good idea. The rain was on and off, but was quite heavy at times. I very nearly bailed and said to ride in Llandegla forest instead. After his long drive from Edinburgh, I doubt Chris would have wanted a long ride in the pouring rain!

And there was the slight concern in the back of my mind that…the route I had planned I had never actually done all in one loop. And I hadn’t ridden there for a while either. Probably not the best idea when you’re the only one who’s suppose to know where they’re going….

But the weather cleared up, so I took the risk of showing Chris round World’s End after all. With it being the Summer Solstice too, I knew the views wouldn’t disappoint.

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Despite not being 100% on some sections, I didn’t actually need to bring my map out at all. It was all off memory and knowing which general direction we needed to go. So I’ve obviously progressed from my days of getting lost on back roads and having to ring my Brother to figure out where I am…. yes I did that ha!

Going to World’s End always seems to put the little pieces of the jigsaw in my head back into the right places. It brings back a feeling of content. I was switched on in relation to the trail in-front of me, but I completely switched off from everything else I’ve got going on right now.

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I might be riding my Mondraker hardtail less often, but every ride seems to count. It’s not just because I feel like I have to go out. It’s because I want to.

Thankfully Chris enjoyed the ride, but we both figured it would be better to start on the Llangollen side so all the climbing is at the start and not the end of the ride!

British Summer


With my moggy looking at me in disgust because it was raining outside, I wondered if this ride was a good idea. I’ve been a bit of a posh mountain biker lately. With so much going on, being unwell isn’t an option. But I needed to ride my bike. On singletrack.
At first I was riding along back roads. It was damp and misty, but that didn’t seem to hush the birds at all. The leaves were covered in morning dew and a strong green in colour. Along with the humidity, this was the only sign we were actually in British Summer.

Getting onto the trails I felt a little rusty going downhill on my hardtail, but going uphill didn’t feel that bad. Although my commute to work isn’t that long, it must be helping me boost my fitness up. 

It was a bit of a random ride really. More of a ride to scope out possible new routes, which didn’t turn out as well as I’d hoped. I stopped to fuss a few dogs (especially a 9 month old Black Lab…so cute!) and chilled out for a bit. It wasn’t wall to wall sunshine but the ride wasn’t bad at all.