Ever since I moved to Wales 2 years ago I had a quiet wish to climb the highest peak in this country – Snowdon. Last weekend was showing to be a perfect opportunity to fulfil that wish. I was working only till 12 pm and the forecast was for sunshine and high temperatures stretching way into the following week. Getting some good literature, so you know what your are doing, is very advisable.
View from Garnedd Ugain: to the right is Snowdon and to the left is Y Lliwedd with its three peaks ) from left Lliwedd Bach, East peak and West peak. Any similarities with Triglav are strictly coincidental 🙂
If you are based in southwest Wales it is a good idea to head up there on the day before you are climbing as the road trip takes you over three hours. There are no motorways or even dual carriageways between the south and north parts of Wales! Instead of going for a more expensive option of a hotel or B&B (the decision to go to Snowdon was make pretty late and the hotel accommodations were either not available or very pricey) I opted for a campsite. The last camping I did was for a skydiving tournament that was held in my “home” DZ in Prečna near Novo mesto a few years back and I was a bit worried I might forget to bring along something essential. Hold that thought.
See the full photo gallery here.
There was a slight snag with camping in this part of Wales. I looked at the weather forecast and the low day temperatures were very, very close to freezing – and I mean 0° or 1°C. This was the forecast for Llanberris. So instead I went for campsites a bit closer to the sea and, of course, the warmth. I found one close to the town of Penrhyndeudraeth called Barcdy. Would recomend it, but it is a bit more pricey then others: it cost £10/person/night for a tent – other campsites were around £6 or £7. The additional problem you might have to contend with is kids – there was a family that came to the camp after me and they put up their tent right next to mine and, you guessed it, had a bunch of very noisy kids with them. Don’t seem to be a big fan of them, but would maybe feel different, if they were mine – and I stress – MAYBE ;-).
Ooops no more. I have received my container back this morning via FedEx. The tracking itself proves why it sometimes makes sense to switch your courier service. As I mentioned in my previous post here and here, I chose DHL to send my container to the U.S. It has a good network here in the UK and since I sent it in November there is an even closer service location right here in Haverfordwest‘s WH Smith shop. But there was a huge delay in the dispatch location in the States delaying the shipment for quite an unreasonable time. FedEx took just 6 days!!!
The container was repaired free of charge which is a big plus for Aerodyne even though there seemed to be a manufacturing fault to which they conceded. At least they fixed the problem and sent the container back to me, again, free of charge.
But there is a problem which I won’t follow-up on. There is a small discrepancy with the logo which was on the flap that had to be replaced.
Before the repair (08-Nov-2008)
After the repair (03-Mar-2009)
The blue colour of the arrow pointing down is not the navy blue colour it was before.
Tenby harbour with the Quay on left, lifeboat station above it, Castle Hill in the centre top
I have put it off for a long time but a sightee-er to Tenby was well due. The town of Tenby lies on the south Pembrokeshire coast and if leaving from Haverfordwest can take the road across the Cledau bridge or you can, by saving the 75p bridge toll and, depriving the Pembrokeshire County Council :-), go through Canaston Bridge.
St. Catherine’s Island with Castle beach in foreground
I had the privilege to see it on a beautiful sunny July day in 2008. There are a few parking spots close to town but the multi-storey car park is your best bet. See map here. I have been to a few British seaside towns but this beats them all with it delightful charm and lack off cheesy entertainment that so often can be found in the stereotypical British seaside town. As I was born in Portsmouth I feel free to slag it off as an example to my point.
I wanted to take the opportunity and see Caldey island, which is just off the coast from Tenby but at is was a Sunday and the island is de facto run by monks it was closed. All you could take is sightseeing boat trips round the island. I was on the seal safari trip. Besides getting really up close to some curious seals I had the chance to get a first seat view of the Tenby lifeboat being pulled back up into the lifeboat house. For those who are not familiar with the procedure of launching the RNLI lifeboats in Tenby is that they keep the boat completely closed-up in the lifeboat and when an emergency demands the service of the RNLI lifeboat that is quickly released and the boat slides down the slipway and straight into the water.
The new Tenby lifeboat station with the lifeboat in the foreground
The new Tenby lifeboat station
Last weekend I did what I wanted to do for a long while – to actually skydive in the UK. I’ve been putting it off for a long time, lately mostly due to the weather we have been having. Last weekend the weather was OK, no flu lingering in the background and no lameness in any of the legs 🙂
The Skydive London dropzone is situated about 3 hours drive away from Haverfordwest, adjacent to the town of Swindon. Being used to relatively small dropzones in Slovenia I was surprised that the DZ which bares the name of the nation’s capital is smaller than most of the DZs in Slovenia. But that is not relatively a bad thing. The environment is very friendly, everybody knows each other by their first name and there is no large scale manifests to have to battle with. The only real drawback for me, as a skydiver, is the focus on tandems which means you probably have to wait a while to get a seat on the next lift.
I heard from some skydivers, that the DZ only has an Airvan and that it takes about 20 minutes to get to 12,000 feet – I must be pretty unspoilt as I though the flight was relatively fast and comfortable. My last high altitude jump was in the Antonov-2 which needs about 30 minutes to get to 3,000 metres and you usually have the opportunity to enjoy diesel fumes and turbulance (with all due respect to our lovely Fata). In fact the Airvan very much reminded me of the Canguro airplane although the two planes are quite different from each other.
I made two jumps and unfortunately the second did not end with a very great landing. Just metres from starting the second stage flare I dropped what felt like about half a meter which resulted in me landing on my knees and not my feet. Ouch! I still have a lot to learn about landing in zero-wind conditions 🙁
It definitely is my fault as the parachute is quite stable and forgiving to my mistakes so you should deduct from this that it is NOT “idiot proof”. The good thing I found about the parachute is that I am slowly getting the hang on the packing. Not long ago, in Prečna, the packing was a nightmare and the only respite came from the last pack of the day, when the increased evening humidity helped with wrangling with the still relatively new parachute material of my Atair Dragon 170.
Razmere v hiši, kjer živim trenutno, so bile malo preveč »zanimive« in še ponavljajoči se kiksi lastnika (landlorda) so mi šli že pošteno na živce. V lokalnem časopisu sem že nekaj tednov iskal morebitno novo lokacijo in si jih tudi nekaj ogledal. Na koncu pa mi je bilo še najbolj všeč stanovanje v čisto novi hiši nedaleč od kraja, kjer trenutno živim.
Ponujeno mi je bilo ali stanovanje v pritličju ali stanovanje v 1. nadstropju. Zaradi lepšega razgleda (oz razgleda sploh) in boljše razporeditve prostorov, sem si izbral zgornje stanovanje. Je dvosobno (oz. po britansko »enospalnično«). Najemnina je seveda nekoliko višja sedaj, a kaj je to za veterinarsko plačo – ne pozabit, da so veterinarji tu razmeroma dobro plačani, pa čeprav sem trenutno na »začetniški« plači.
Pa še nekaj o stanovanju. Nahaja se v kraju oz. urbani vasici Johnston, ki sodi pod Haverfordwest. Nahaja se okoli 50m stran od prometne ceste A4076, ki povezuje mesti Milford Haven in Haverfordwest. Od slednjega je oddaljeno okoli 5km in do službe rabim okoli 5 minut, če je promet redek. Jeseni, ko se spet začne šola, zna biti precej drugače, na kar so me opozorili sodelavci, ki se redno vozijo v službo iz te smeri. Bom pač moral poiskat kakšen obvoz ali pa se odkidat pol ure prej.