We decided to make last-minute plans for Valentine’s day and ended up in Wales. Why Wales? Castles!

We stayed at Gwydir Castle, a genuine 16th Century castle. The owners wrote a book about restoring the castle called “Castles in the Air” by Judy Corbett. I’m currently reading it. I was going to have the author sign it, but I forgot to ask before we left.


Did we mention there were peacocks?

Gwydir Castle Photos


The next day we went to Conwy on the North coast of Wales. Conwy is a walled city with a cool castle.


Conwy Castle


They let you climb up all the towers.

Conwy is also home to Britain’s Smallest House!!!

Conwy Photos



After Conwy we drove to the seaside resort town of Llandudno. February not really being prime seaside season, we were surprised to see so many people out and about walking on the beach.

After visiting “Probably Wale’s best Gift Shop” (no photo, sorry!), we had tea and scones before heading to…

Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch

…home of the longest town name in Britain! (how to pronounce it)

Llanfair PG (as the cool kids call it) changed it’s name as a tourist ploy. It worked.

On the way home we saw lambs.

video of lambs

Last Saturday we decided to take our first trip to the Lake District.¬† We drove for about an hour and a half before stopping at Watermill Inn and Brewing Company. It’s a nice restaurant that brews their own beer.

While driving we passed several town with funny British names

The weather was very nice for a hike. We tried to follow a walk suggested by the National Trust. We took a wrong turn very early in the hike, so we ended up just going on a nice hike through the hills. The top of the hill had a gorgeous view.

All of this land was owned by Beatrix Potter. When she died she donated  it to the National Trust.

Since it was still late January in the UK, it got dark early and we headed home.

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At the last minute we decided to go away for new years eve. After looking online we found a cute B&B in Strathyre, Scotland.

On the drive up, we stopped to see the Falkirk Wheel. It uses science (Archimedes principle of displacement) to be super efficient, using only the amount of energy needed to boil two kettles to move a boat from one part of the canal to the other! Unfortunately, the canal was frozen over and the boat lift wasn’t running so we didn’t get any action shots.

Since our plans of riding the wheel were dashed, we took advantage of our limited day light hours and stopped by Doune Castle, aka the castle where Monty Python’s Holy Grail was filmed!

That night being new year’s eve, we hit up the pub next door to our B&B and hung with some locals. We met a guy from North Carolina, had a drunk Irish man explain Samuel Beckett to us, and had drinks with Ian and Eleanor from Edinburgh and Tommy from Doune. There was even a bagpiper at midnight!

The next morning after a delicious breakfast (Randy had haggis with a poached egg on top), we drove to Balquhidder to see Rob Roy’s grave.

We then drove to Killin to see the falls of Dochart on our way to Pitlochry.

Pitlochry, as I’m sure you know, is the home of a fish ladder, so of course we had to stop and see it before we got too cold and it got too dark.

Day three started with snow, but cleared up so that we were able to drive to Loch Lomond (of “You take the high road and I’ll take the low road” fame). On the way, we stopped at Drovers Inn


The Drover’s Inn and lunch (yes that is haggis)

Loch Lomond was beautiful

We saw fuzzy cows throughout the trip, but on the way home we saw one that we could get close to

On the way home we also stopped in Stirling to see the castle. It was freezing, but the views were great.

The rest of the Scotland Photos

Happy Boxing Day!

We finally got our driveway cleared and to celebrate we drove to Follifoot for a walk. It was a beautiful winter day to be out.


Crimple Beck