In 2018, our honeymoon took us to the Isle of Arran, off the west coast of Scotland. We fell in love with the place. So much so, we were back again the following year, this time bringing along my Mum, Dad and sister, Karen. Whilst driving around during our prior visit, I kept noticing a path running alongside a river in the mountainous north of the island. It was so inviting, and it was now time to see where it led.
For eighteen miles between Whitby and Pickering, the North Yorkshire Moors Railway runs steam and diesel locomotives through the gorgeous North York Moors National Park. But to Rowan, a steam train can only mean one thing – the Hogwarts Express. I was really looking forward to our day out with a difference.
Last summer saw us back in Whitby for a few days. (yep – I am THAT behind on writing things up – good job I have notes and lots of photos!) Previously, we had wanted to take the cliff top walk from Robin Hood’s Bay to Boggle Hole, but I had been too poorly. After exploring the town the night before we had woken to glorious sunshine – today would be the day.
Time for another castle! We’d had a brilliant day out at Harlech earlier in the year, so while me and the boy were staying with Anma and Grandpa at the caravan, we took the opportunity to pootle round another. Grandpa loves castles too, so he joined us for our day out – this time to Conwy Castle. We parked up at Morfa Bach car park (postcode LL32 8FZ) and paid £4.50 for over four hours parking – Conwy is a big one. And with Rowan all kitted out as a knight, we headed through the pedestrian tunnel towards the imposing walls.
Our first weekend away in Tormund proved to be extremely lucky with the weather. After a brilliant day out exploring Birkhouse Moor and Red Tarnand a surprisingly comfortable night in the van, we woke to warm sunshine and wisps of cloud in the blue sky. We had already decided to take it easy on the Sunday so after a bit of a lie, we started the day with a breakfast of kings in the fresh air.
I love castles. Whenever I picture a castle in my head, invariably it will be something akin to what I would have drawn as a child – imposing stone walls standing proud on a hill, turrets and battlements, arrow slits and a huge portcullis. So when we decided to visit Harlech Castle in North Wales, I was very excited.
The bustling village of Betws y Coed is surrounded by forests, so during a visit to North Wales, we decided we would explore them with the aim of reaching Llyn y Parc in the Gwydir Forest. We left the car at the Pont-y-Pair car park (LL26 0LS) and after the usual faffing around, turned right out of the car park. A quick stroll led us to a road on the right, at the bottom of which, the forest awaited. As we made our way into the trees, we found ourselves on a wide track bounded by pines.
Newborough Beach is somewhere we have visited regularly – each time looking enviously towards Llanddwyn Island. I had always believed it was out-of-bounds to us as its status of a nature reserve meant we couldn’t take the barking furry pair. However, the opportunity arose when me and Rowan were at the caravan with my Mum and Dad, and Rick (who has fewer holidays than me) had stayed home with the muttlers and several packets of Tunnock’s teacakes for company.
With its dramatic mountain scenery to the north, and rolling green fields in the south, Arran is said to be Scotland in miniature. The A841 circumnavigates the island in 55 miles and there is lots to look out for along the way, whether you have ten minutes or a couple of hours. Below are some of the many other things we enjoyed whilst out and about on our honeymoon.