Busy, Busy, Busy!

Work, Work, Work!

Travel, Travel, Travel!

 

All the above pretty much explains my lack of posting recently. Between day trips, weekend trips and even week-long trips away, as well as work in between I have been so busy that this blog has been left ignored for a short while. Sad to say, for the mean-time this will still be the case as I come up to one of the busiest times of the year work wise. However, when I do have time to write up posts, sort out my photos you will have the following treats heading your way:

 

  • Various Yorkshire day trips (April onwards)
  • A walking weekend in Cumbria, England (Early April)
  • A trip to Belguim, via Amsterdam, Netherlands and Cologne, Germany (Late April)
  • A trip around Scotland including a visit to the Isle of Orkney (Starting this weekend!)
  • Another trip to London! (Mid-June)

Such a packed-filled 2016 and not even at the half-way mark yet! Maybe I should use the latter half of the year to write up all these posts!!

Travels Galore!

What a busy time to come and already had travel wise!

I have just come back from a great walking weekend in the Lake District and in less than 10 days I’ll be flying out to Belguim via Amsterdam in the Netherlands, a trip to Scotland in May and maybe even another trip to London in June!!

Busy, busy… so you may find a lag or two in the posts!

Happy travels!

My Travel Map

Do any of you have a travel map? Well, this is mine, the ‘scratch it off as you go’ kind and I can tell you, it is out of date. Framed and sitting pride of place on my wall, my intention is to up-date it once a year, last update taking place in January 2015. Which part is out of date?…

Europe, the Europe part of my travel map is out of date. When I do my next scratching off, Germany and Austria will need to be scratched off (at the time of writing). Also, if you look carefully, I have scratched off the Canary Islands but the colour appears to be the same as the unscratched portions of this travel map which is a little disappointing. Oh, and Malta too.

This map has made me realise how large Africa is as a continent compared to the rest. Just WOW!

The USA portion of my travel map provides a great insight into my USA road trips – East Coast, and a road trip spanning from New York city to Los Angeles. Yes, seriously… Despite all that, the USA is a big place including Alaska and islands off the West Coast – Still have plenty of places to visit, which I hope to do someday!!

I still have places to visit, infinite amount. I need to head East, I need to head below the Equator and see more of other cultures and experiences. Someday, some how.. I hope to achieve this and I am aware how lucky I am to experience the places I have already been too with the memories that come with them. I would rather spend my money on experiences, rather than things.

If you are interested in buying this travel map, check it out here.

So far, you have had an insight into places that are part the UK mainly involving those that are featured on the Header and the Icon, as well as a little bit of the county of Yorkshire (Northern England). In the future, keep an eye out for posts detailing my travels to the countries featured on my travel map, including reviews, tips and photography, as well as the general madness that is a blog that is intended to be a collective of all my previous blogs on other platforms. To quote my first ever WordPress post… “Enjoy the Journey!”

Scotland: Glasgow

Glasgow, Scotland.. the city that hosted the 2014 Commonwealth Games. As soon as you come out of the station, you can see some of the street art on walls to support this marvellous occassion. As a Netball fan and player, I inevitably had to take a picture of the Netball art featuring The Scottish Thistles and The English Roses. As the recent Netball World Cup has demontrated, the teams for Scotland, England and Wales demonstrated what a force they are on the World Stage, with England taking the Bronze medal. All teams played with passion and I hope to see future matches with these national teams in the future.

*Steps off Netball Soap Box* So, back to Glasgow. I only had a few hours in this beautiful city and like any adventurer, I forgot the map *Read: Didn’t get one* and just wandered around the city. We went through Buchanan Street, the city centre where you typically find your shops, pubs, clubs etc, as well as taking in the views of Glasgows West End and Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. However, we spent most of our time in the Botanic Gardens mainly outside, but we did venture inside too. Sometimes the best way to see a city is just to walk around it, see a little of a lot and if I had more time, an extra day even, I would be more specific with where I was going, be more in depth and hopefully one day I will return to this city and do just that.

Scotland: Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park

Home

My adventures started in Balloch, having a mini reunion with some of my friends/fellow colleagues from camp. Taking a coach to Glasgow, then a train to this small town, I had a relatively small way to travel compared to others but it was worth it to be reunited with some incredible people that I spent two awesome summers with in the USA.

Once we had all found each other, it was evening time and what a better way to get reaccquainted than by taking the dog for a walk around the Balloch end of Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park? None. Great friends, a colourful sunset, a walk down memory lane – What more could you ask for? Deer, we saw Deer.

The next day, we fancied a  different kind of walk and Conic Hill in Balmaha was it. Starting from the information centre in the town, a regular bus service from Balloch takes you right to the base of this trail (£3 return, 12 miles each way is a great price, trust me), dogs are welcome and be prepared. This walk is good for regular walkers and a good introduction to hill walking if you are considering taking it up. The paths are good, steps in many places and gradual ascents/descents for the most part. No need to rush as at 2.5 miles, you have time to relax and take in the incredible views on both the way up and down. The views over Loch Lomond and its islands are fanstastic and I was so fortunate to undertake this walk on a beautiful, warm summers day with friends. Running back down was also great aka How to unintentionall freak other people out.

Looking for a bite to eat after the walk, opposite the bus stop where you are dropped off for the walk (also helps that it is the LAST stop on the bus journey), then do what we did and try The Oak Tree Inn. Reasonable pricing (based on my own experience from UK travel and abroad, so this is where we could differ), we sat outside overlooking the Loch, tucking into our large and tasteful food in a relaxed environment.

After a bite to eat, we took a walk around parts of Loch Lomond, keeping the water on our left, as well as keeping to the paths, this wonderful national park has so much to offer for the adrenaline-seekers out there or for those who just want a chilled out day. We went for the latter…

                      The guy in the red bobble hat is Tom Weir MBE (29th December 1914 – 6th July 2006) “Scotland’s Most Loved Mountain Man.” A lover of the outdoors, passionate about the environment using various methods to encourage others to discover what the great outdoors has to offer, Tom Weir did so much for this wonderful aspect of our world and it is no surprise that he has been honoured this way. If you would like to find out more about this ‘Mountain Man’ click here.

Following the road around, onto the pier and into a small woods, all you can see is water that stretches and stretches. Across a small road, you re-join the park, going deeper and deeper into the National Park, trees on your right, water to your left with killer views and more small islands coming into view. If you have a jet-ski, or a little boat, this is a great space to come too.  With many small sandy and peddled beaches around the area just off the path, it isn’t hard to find your own little spot and stay there for a while. Relax, playing fetch with the dog, reflecting on life, being with friends and being in the moment, it will be hard to pull yourself away, as we certainly struggled ourselves.

Back to reality, but Glasgow the next day, so lets go!

The Header and The Icon

What a contrast!

The header picture was taken by myself during a visit to the Black Country Living Museum in Dudley, England with family.The museum is an open-living area where all the buildings are from the industrial revolution (yes, really) and all volunteers dress and act as people from this time period. The site is massive with all the buildings you would expect to find in a town including shops, schools, pubs etc with a small canal, train and buses. You can easily spend the entire day here like we did just to cover the entire site. I throughly recommend it (click here).

All the smoke you can see is from when they had to release all the pressure from the pipes of the industrial area near the mines and this was the result. I took many pictures of this unexpected event but this is my favourite.

The icon picture was taken in Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, Scotland with two dear friends/ex-colleagues I worked with over two summers at a USA Summer Camp, one of which happenes to reside in this beautiful area and another visiting from overseas. The evening this photo was taken, we were taking a walk around the grounds taking in the beautiful landscape, an incredible sunset and wildlife.

If you are wondering why these photos…. I like them, they are so different from one another and the composition.