Hugging the Welsh/English border…and a lighthouse visit, of course

A view from the top of Heath Mynd in Shropshire
A view from the top of Heath Mynd in Shropshire

The weekend just passed was yet another enjoyable one and this time in another new part of the country. After meeting in Carlisle at our usual “home away from home” (the Premier Inn), Bob and I headed south to Welshpool to meet Myrddyn Phillips, who is currently filming a series of interviews with Bob about his Seven Summits expeditions.

After crossing the Welsh/English border a number of times, we arrived at Myrddyn’s and chatted over a cup of tea. We then headed out to Heath Mynd for filming of the interview about Mount Vinson in Antarctica and a pre-Everest (the Big Hill) video. Heath Mynd is an English “Marilyn” (a hill or mountain with a drop of at least 150m on each side) and, after the first interview, we proceeded to struggle through the thick heather to reach the top where we had some fantastic panoramic views over to a variety of English and Welsh hills. This marked my third Marilyn and was the first that actually involved a walk of more than 10 metres to the top! After we had found a more sensible route down and filmed the pre-Big Hill interview, we headed back and went for dinner.

Point of Ayr lighthouse at Talacre, on the north coast of Wales
Point of Ayr lighthouse at Talacre, on the north coast of Wales

On Sunday, my main objective was to reach the Point of Ayr lighthouse at Talacre on the north coast of Wales. Having visited all of the lighthouses on mainland Wales now, this one stands out in my mind as a particular favourite. Although it’s not looking particularly special and – from some angles – you can see how it much it is tilting now, it has so much personality (as much as a lighthouse can anyway) and it’s very easily approached. I was keen for Bob to see this one too while we were in the area.

On the drive from Oswestry (which, we were informed by the member of the staff at the hotel, was in England) we headed north and passed through the village of Pant for the second time. This had brought on a severe case of the giggles (from me) the previous day and did so again on Sunday. I have a feeling it was the amount of repetitions the word received in such a short space of time that made it so funny. Our first drive through the village was so enjoyable that passing the sign on the second drive through Bob announced in a surprised, yet delighted tone: ‘Pant!’ and the fun started all over again. We really should stop there in the future to see what, if anything, it has to offer.

Heading up the road, we stopped briefly at the Pontcysyllte aqueduct near Llangollen for me to take some pictures and Bob to research a Marilyn we would be passing on our way to the lighthouse. We then followed a winding road – which Bob enjoyed driving while I held on to my seat – to Horseshoe Pass where we parked and walked up Moel y Gamelin. We were surrounded by cloud on the way to the summit, which was fortunate really as the cloud cleared on the way back and we could look back at the distance we had walked, which looked a lot longer and more daunting than it actually was. After reaching the top of my fourth Marilyn, Bob marked the occasion by revealing a bag of Revels! There were some stunning views on the way down after the clouds had cleared. We continued the celebration with lunch at a nearby café. A short time later we reached Talacre and the lighthouse. For a change from my first visit, the tide was coming in as when we arrived. Bob was disappointed as it meant that we couldn’t touch the lighthouse. He considered walking across the line of rocks leading the lighthouse, but I suggested that it might not be a very good idea and he (only just) obeyed my orders not to attempt it. There’s something about a lighthouse on a beach that I love and I think it’s that the beach is such an enjoyable place to go, particularly when you are a child, and to throw a lighthouse into the mix is, for me, a very exciting prospect!

The old lightship at the side of the road in Mostyn, north Wales

Heading back towards England, I was concentrating on the road (as one should when driving) and Bob uttered his ‘Uh, Sarah’, which usually means he’s concerned or there’s something I’ve missed (he’d said it on Sunday morning too when my crumpet was on fire in the toaster). It turned out that I had driven past what appeared to be an old lightship sitting at the side of the road at Mostyn. After turning around (not doing a handbrake turn, as Bob suggested) we stopped off and had a look at this intriguing boat. I still have yet to find out anything about it as much of the information about Mostyn Harbour is focussed on the old Duke of Lancaster ship, which is rusting away nearby. I shall continue to research this though.

A while later we arrived back in Carlisle and, as usual, I headed south while Bob drove northwards. I look forward to joining him on the drive north each time in the very near future 🙂

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