Friday, 30 July 2010

9 The Lake District

After a relaxing week in Scotland with Mum and Sandy, we loaded up with all the camping gear and Ray rode his bike and I drove the home to the Lake District.  We had arranged for four pitches in a campsite at Ullswater, and as we arrived it was raining again.   The tents were pitched and the family arrived, in all there were ten of us.  Ray disappeared to collect one party of family and when he came back stated that he had met a group of blokes on their 660 Tenere’s who had seen his new 1200 Tenere and then approached him and said, “are you Ray ?”  Apparently they all recognised him from all his chatting on another website the XT660 site.
The whole party consisted of Me and Ray, obviously, Zoe, Trula, Naomi and Rose, all Rays daughters, Paige our granddaughter, Wayne who is Zoe’s boyfriend, Matt who is Rosie’s  boyfriend and Sophie, who is a mate to Naomi.
Zoe (# 1 Daughter), Karen, Trula (# 2 daughter) and (granddaughter) Paige

Sophie (Naomi's Friend) and Naomi (# 3 daughter)
Matt (Rosie's boyfriend) and Rosie (# 4 daughter).

Wayne (Zoe's boyfriend)

The following day we all headed off into the hills for a walk after a near miss with a tractor, (thanks to Tom Tom).  It was very exhilarating and sorted out the men from the boys, and the rain kept off which made a big difference.

The next couple of days rained but it didn’t stop us going down to the lake and playing in the canoe and a rubber dinghy we had.  We even swam in the lake, determined to enjoy every frozen minute.
On the Wednesday morning we had decided that myself, Paige and Sophie would go horse riding and Rosie and Matt stayed in the motor home (having both got some sort of bug.  Ray went for a walk on the fell and the others amused themselves.  That evening over dinner we decided that the following morning we would meet early for a long hill walk, but the next day the heavens had opened even more than normal and everyone apart from Ray and Wayne decided to attempt to go up the hills.
Ray and Wayne on the way up Helvelyn, after this the weather was too bad to get the camera out.
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Getting the canoe and a dighy out on the lake.
We all went swiming in the lake at dusk
It was pitch black and cold when we got out.
Paige and a friend that just arrived from nowhere !

A few of us wandered down into the local town of Pooley Bridge. The boys changed their mind about their destination and went to Helvellyn instead.  They both came back smiling but I think they’d had a tough time with really strong winds, rain and poor visibility.
Thursday night was the club house disco/karaoke night, well worth waiting for.........Not. We went to bed in the rain and at about 2.30am we had to take down the awning from the motor home as the wind really started getting up and a real storm was brewing.  By 5.00am Ray was outside in a howling gale trying to re peg all the tents, the only thing keeping them on the ground was the people sleeping in them, although I have no idea how they were.  The whole campsite looked like it had been hit by a tornado and there were bits of other people’s tents flying around, people just gathering what was left of their gear, throwing it in the back of the vehicle and leaving the site.  As it turned out Zoe and Wayne’s tent was destroyed, one of our poles on another of the tents had snapped and the weather forecast said more rain, wind and storms.  I’m all for mad dogs and English men but enough was enough. We followed the other occupants of the site and called the holiday off a day early.
We headed back to Scotland to dry out and for Ray to build fitted wardrobes into my Mum’s bedroom, which we had promised to do.   There was as much wind and rain there and the drying out took a lot longer than hoped, but at least we had the out buildings to do it.  Mums wardrobes actually became:- Wardrobes,  new carpet and complete redecorating of the bedroom and Ray and I worked really hard to get it done before leaving on the Friday for Ray’s brother  Bruce’s house in the middle of Wales.   However on the Friday morning I woke up with a bug from hell and was no use to man nor beast and we decided to go on Saturday morning instead.  The problem with bugs though is that they are very friendly and like to get together with everyone, so on Saturday morning Ray had it too.  He wasn’t as wimpy as me and after a slow start and some quick stops we finally got to Bruce’s around 6pm.  Unfortunately that was also Ray’s birthday, so not a lot of fun for him. 
Bruce was having an annual gathering at his place in the hills.  He breeds and races Siberian Huskies.  Although it was cold and windy and then it rained, the barbeque went ahead and a good time was had by all, including Ray and me as we sat gingerly drinking water and trying not to rush off every ten minutes.
Everyone camped on Bruce’s land and the following morning Lyn,  Bruce’s wife cooked a full English breakfast for loads of people.  Throughout the day people left and eventually it was just the four of us left.  
Bruce and Lyn have a small holding in mid Wales and have 360 degree views of the Cambrian Mountains. We are currently parked on the top of a hill with a beautiful view of Cader Idris, one of the largest mountains in Wales.
Since then we have had several relaxing days, it took a few days for Ray and I to completely recover. We have been on a couple of excursions with Bruce, but tomorrow,(Thursday), Ray and me are going to visit a wildlife site that feeds Red Kites and have a few rides round on his motor cycle.  Then it will be on further south in Wales for a good look around.  Oh I think we have now finally decided to go to Silverstone on Sunday for the WSB, being the petrol head I am, I convinced Ray that, that was what he wanted for his birthday.
Thursday we made it out of the motor home and headed off on Wallace,(Super Tenere) to seek out the Red Kites.  Lunch was in a very pleasant place called the New Inn in Dolfor, a hamlet just South of Newtown. Then it was off to find Gigrin Farm, which is in Rhayader,Powys.  Ray found a route that took us through single track, full countrified lanes that went up and down and round some serious bends, perfect motor cycle roads.  Wallace is a star and as comfortable as my favourite Honda Pan, sheer pleasure. 
The Farm is advertised as the Red Kite Feeding and Rehabilitation Centre. There is a full nature reserve with walk and a part that the RSPB funds.  We parked up and walked up to the Hydes to watch the spectacle.  We watched as a tractor unloaded some beef scraps, and were informed that although this is a daily occurrence the following would happen.

The man with the tractor would disappear, there would be a gathering of Red Kites in the skies and then nothing would happen until all the birds were comfortable, then the crows would slowly start to descend and start to eat the meat, after the Kites saw that happen, they would then swoop in and collect a piece of meat and fly straight back into the sky and eat it on the wing so to speak, fighting off any other birds in their path.  It was incredible to watch, the speed, agility and magnificence of these birds is unbelievable.  The colouring and...... well you get the idea, we were impressed.

There must have been between 50 to 60 Kites, 2 Buzzards and a murder of crows.  I can tell you are impressed with that one.  We left there feeling at one with nature and that we had witnessed something quite awesome.  Can’t wait for the next day of our retirement.

It is official, we are fed up with the rain. It seems that for the last 3 weeks, apart from odd moments, it has never stopped.  However during a break in the weather today we decided to get on the bike and went to the seaside at Borth.  Once there we made like tourists and played on the beach. Well I stood admiring the view and a certain person I know played on his bike on the sand.

There I was minding my own business looking through the gloom at thedistant sea and hills, when I heard Ray call out.  I looked round and there he was on the floor under the bike, laughing.  Can't believe I missed that.

 We dusted the bike down and headed into the main town of Aberytswyth along a lovely coastal road.  So now here we sit in McDonalds updating this and dreading going back out into the heaving rain.

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