steam power Wales

Family Fun on the Snowdon Mountain Railway

While enjoying a family holiday on Anglesey we decided it would be a great day out if we all went on the Snowdon Mountain Railway, something that none of us had ever done before. The idea was that we would all go up to the summit of Snowdon on the railway and our children with their spouses would walk back down. Jude and I with Arabella would make the descent by train.

We had a brilliant family day out! We began at the train station at the bottom of the mountain railway track, booked our tickets and waited for the off. It was a busy little station painted brightly in yellow and green, decorated with carved wooden detailing. It loked so cheerful on this sunny day. We had time for refreshment in the station buffet as we waited for the arrival of our train. Excitement rose as it pulled in to the station. Our engine was called Padarn. The huge smile on Arabella’s face reflected our excitement.

There is something so special about riding a steam train but the thought of this little engine pulling us up a mountain added extra frisson.


The slow ascent accompanied by the sounds and smells of the steam engine, took us through some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. We all felt so lucky. Everyone smiled for the whole journey and excitedly commentated to their friends or family. Passengers who began the ascent as strangers were soon talking and chatting like old friends – the power of steam nostalgia.


At the summit we had a short time to appreciate the engine and the view, enjoy a coffee and watch Jamie, Sam, Jo and Rob set off walking down the mountain, the tallest mountain in England and Wales.


We have waited ages to get around to making the journey of the steam railway to the summit of Mount Snowdon and back, but it was most certainly worth the wait. I don’t think it will be long before we return to do it all over again.






A Family Holiday in Scotland – Part 2 – strolling down the glen

Part 2 of this little series concerning our family holiday in the Scottish Borders, explores a gentle stroll down a beautiful Scottish glen. But first let’s share with you our lovely holiday cottage, a Scottish longbarn conversion, and its amazing grounds.

If the weather is sunny and there are any plants in the garden Arabella loves watering them, but usually has to water her feet first.


Come for us now for a wander around the cottage’s grounds and up its driveway, full of wildflowers, scented plants and mature native trees.


Whenever we went out for the day we began by driving down that lovely driveway which was a great way to start the day. Early on in our week Jude and I with son Jamie, daughter-in-law Sam and 18 month old granddaughter Arabella took off to visit a local glen.

So, come with us on our little walk, a slow walk at Arabella pace.


We were amazed by how many wildflowers we spotted in both quantity and numbers of different ones. Wildlife seemed to really appraciate these plants.

I think the best way to share our walk with you is via a gallery of my photographs, so please click on the first picture and then navigate using the right arrow. Enjoy!

We hope you enjoyed visiting our holiday cottage and its grounds and sharing our walk in the beautiful glen.

countryside landscapes

Dawdling in the Derbyshire Dales – part one – limestone hills and old barns

We hadn’t visited Derbyshire for a long while so decided that a few days away in July would afford us the chance to walk a few of its dales and bring back memories while doing so. Limestone ridges, old stone barns and limestone walls as field boundaries are trademarks of the Derbyshire landscape. Well Dressing is an ancient tradition celebrated by the locals and friendliness an attribute of their characters. We found them all!

I kept trying to get a good photo of this old barn and the surrounding drystone walls, typical of the Derbyshire countryside. I moved around, tried all angles and am still not convinced I got it right. So here are my attempts for you to consider. My preference is the first shot because I like the way the walls lead the eye diagonally towards the barn. Do you think differently?

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This second barn nearer to the horizon seemed a little easier to photograph but I still tried several different shots. I enjoyed the challenge! I personally like the square format photo most of all but you may think differently.

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Limestone ridges are our second feature typical of the Derbyshire landscape and we were extremely lucky to have found a sunny bright day to view them. Their character changes with the light and on dull days they lack texture and sparkle. Shadows sit under the few trees stunted through lack of soil depth and lack of moisture.

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The farming landscape here is soft and friendly with its dry stone walls and a scattering of small trees.  It is an undulating landscape with occasional valleys which are in places heavily wooded.

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When tourists decide to visit Derbyshire many choose the Well Dressing season to make the journey. This is a traditional ceremony when villagers and often the children from the village school make fantastic displays created from flower petals. They make very colourful additions to the characterful villages of Derbyshire. We discovered these creations in one little valley.

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We can add another element to Derbyshire’s points of interest for the visitor. The locals are very friendly. These two ladies chatted away to us for ages as we relished our coffee and cake. As you can see the one liked having her photo taken to go onto my blog while the other claimed to be too shy!

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So with a smile from one friendly local I will finish this post about our week in Derbyshire. The coming posts will feature some walks along the dales.