Forests Not Yet Explored

Thanks to Wonderful You‘s post on Instagram, I heard it was #LoveYourPetDay . So that makes it the perfect opportunity to write about my favourite chocolate beat right?

Due to some back issues I could only manage some hill walking last weekend. I was gutted to not be able to ride my bike, but I was content enough just to be in the hills and the great outdoors. Sometimes exploring by foot means you see that little bit more than you would if you were on a bike.

I spotted the forest on an Instagram post and was intrigued I’d never heard of it before. Coed Llangwyfan nestles itself in amongst the hills near the likes of Moel Arthur. Along a narrow country lane with a ribbon of moss up the centre of it, going in and out of overhanging trees waiting for Spring to come around again, you find a car park surprisingly full. Walkers, from young families to couples alike, passing through the car park as they go from the forest to head up Moel Arthur. Little ones in their wellies racing eachother down the hill.

Jenson eagerly waiting in the back of my car to be let loose in the Welsh hills. He’s soon dragging Ryan around the car park whilst I change into my walking boots. The wind has a slight chill, but the sun meant my big thick winter coat wasn’t required. I let the sun hit my skin whilst filling my lungs with the crisp, clean air as we headed up a muddy track to explore Coed Llangwyfan.

Jenson’s nose taking him in every direction but straight up the path.

The higher we climbed the more the trees began to thin out opening to views of rolling green hills and down into Ruthin.

We only managed a quick loop round the forest as we went over to Moel Arthur to meet Ryan’s family. Moel Arthur made up of rolling fields with the hill top covered in heather. Traipsing through narrow heather lined sheep tracks whilst Jenson constantly going from the back to the front of the group checking everyone was still together. Nancy hopping through the heather like a little rabbit let out of a cage.

We start to descend back down the sometimes slippy path to the car park with Jenson unable to resist fully submerging himself in the muddiest of puddles. Although once back in the car it’s not long till he’s fast asleep as we drive home.

Going walking without a chocolate bear to constantly watch what mischief he’s going to get up to next always feels rather odd. If you’ve ever had a four-legged friend I guess you’ll know exactly what I mean.

So Happy #LoveYourPetDay !

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. 

#WorkoutWednesday : Taking Time Out


I wanted to do something a little different for this week’s #WorkoutWednesday post. I enjoy posting about what I’ve been doing in training, but sometimes other things pop up that stop you from doing so.

If you weren’t already aware, I spent my weekend in London/Milton Keynes with Ryan. He’s always travelling back at the weekend and sometimes I feel a little guilty I can’t go down to see me as much. I’ve not ventured onto Motorways when driving yet, so doing it alone scares me!

So last weekend I went to see him, and coincidentally the London Bike Show was on too, so that’s where we went. But I’m going to talk about our wander round a park and some woods the day after. 

A short walk from the hotel we were staying in we ended up at a cafe called the ‘Pavillion’ somewhere in Bedford. It seemed a different way of life round there. Somewhere where the rhythmic hustle and bustle of London is so accessible, yet still so far away.

The Park was full of families spending valuable time with each other. Friends meeting up for coffee. This little cafe seemed a hub for socialising. 
I was so glad Ryan found this little cafe because it was so nice to sit somewhere relaxed with great food! I had an interview I wanted to write, but this turned out being something we both worked on. I loved writing it. We could just bounce ideas off each other and was much more productive than if it was just me writing it. I can’t wait to post the interview, but more information on that soon!

So what’s the whole point of this post? It is a #WorkoutWednesday after all! My point is that sometimes time out can do you good. 

Following the cafe we went for a wander round a park and then a quiet nature reserve nearby. Muddy tracks that we had no real idea about where they were heading. We just walked. I could not get over how quiet it was and thinking about how beautiful it must be there in the Spring & Summer.


An arrangement of trees that made up an orchard. Collections of snowdrops dotted around and occasionally a view over open fields. We talked about everything and everything. It was good to focus my mind on something and somewhere completely different. To explore.

I train to escape daily life like anyone else, but it is so so easy to get to engrossed in that training mindset. You’ll soon find time is running away from you and all you’ll have been doing is training. Yes, it’s important, but it’s just a good be able to go back to it with a clear head and new motivation.

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!

London

I’d only been in London 2 minutes and David Beckham walked past abandoning his Bentley on the side of one of the many busy roads in London. 


With a fashion sample sale to head to first that took up a lot of the day, but didn’t stop me stumbling across Portobello Road. A road I knew had some significance in London, but I was sure what. Walking along it I could see the attraction. Market stalls and every colour in the rainbow filling the street. And lovely people to match just trying to make their way in the world. The shops were like little hidden gems. Full of unique things I wouldn’t find back at home. Everything from edgy urban styling to the pastel coloured garments I love filling my wardrobe with. Appletree Boutique to be precise. 

After photographing Portobello Road from every possible angle it was time to head to Camden Town. A place I didn’t know much about, but was full of cultures from around the world. And people from around the world too. I rarely heard a British accent. Old London is one way I’d describe it. Aged bricks and mortar that was sky high made bright by the cultural items on sale. I didn’t buy much here but it was good to explore the place and fill the film on my Mum’s Canon EOS 500. 


Then we found ourselves in Regents Park, which sparked up a memory of some writing I did on my first trip to London. I was just sitting on one of the benches with my notebook and pen in hand. I’d always wanted to write, it just took me a few years to write anything worth reading. I even recognised which bench I was sat on as my shy teenage self. Dodgy haircut and fashion sense to match. 


The sun was setting and yet so many people were still out and about. Walking. Running. Socialising face to face and not through a screen. It’s kind of sad these days people spend more time talking via Facebook Messenger rather than face to face. Conversations with people when they’re right in front of you always have more meaning. Work to live and not live to work I suppose. Yes you might be tired after work, but can watching a television screen really have any comparison to seeing friends and family. Or even just being outside? 


There was still the rumble of traffic not to far away but it was still peaceful with the birds chirping away. And it was only at this point I heard numerous British accents. Which was quite odd really.

So London might seem an unsociable place to some, but it’s sparked up my thoughts into wanting to be a bit more sociable rather than keeping in touch by typing a message into my phone.