To Scotland and Wales:
We had a couple of days to fill in before heading off on our first trip. Since we were halfway up the country already, we decided to head for Scotland, and in particular Kirkcaldy just over the water north of Edinburgh where a good friend now lives. Janet, whom I have known for about ten years through my job marking writing competitions and literacy tests, moved back to Scotland a few years ago.
The further north we drove, the more dismal the weather became! We have to keep reminding ourselves that this is mid-June - nearly summer. We have had precious little evidence that it is so far. We are still in long sleeves and fleecy jackets. The sun is scarce, and clouds and rain are the norm. Sigh.
We actually stayed at Scone just out of Perth. The drive there took us through the bleak and spare Yorkshire Dales with dry stone walls dividing the landscape, and into the green and gentle valleys of Cumbria. Over the border into Scotland, it seemed that the farms were bigger and the fields wider. And everywhere wind-farms with the huge white wind turbines scattered over the hilltops.
The journey to Kirkcaldy took about an hour and a half. Janet has not been well since returning to Scotland from Australia (I blame the weather...). Seeing her again was terrific - she hasn't lost her excellent sense of humour and though she wasn't feeling her best we had a lovely afternoon with her.
The return trip was longer. We needed to get as far as Holyhead in north-west Wales and only had the one day to get there. We drove through low cloud, mist, drizzle and rain towards the border with England. As we drove south it started to brighten up, or at least stop raining ... a bit - but only for short intervals. Along the northern edge of Wales, the road follows the coast. Out in the water the ubiquitous wind farms rose from the sea. The shingle beaches displayed alarmingly high tidal ranges with mud flats stretching seawards for hundreds of metres at low tide. At times we drove between the sea and Snowdonia National Park with its steep hills coming down almost on top of the coast-hugging road.
Finally around three in the afternoon, the sun broke through giving us some much needed warmth. But out of the camper, a wind took away any semblance of a summer afternoon. A tortuous drive around Trearddur Bay with small sandy beaches punctuated by rocky headlands brought us to Tyn-Rhos campsite. The site was adequate (importantly plenty of hot water for showers!) but fairly exposed. Never mind; it was just for one night.