Tuesday 5 September 2017

Travel Tuesday: Llanthony Priory

My inspiration for Tuesday Tens has dried up somewhat. I swing between things I'm looking forward to, things I'll do when I'm not at work and things on my to do list. Nobody wants to be reading that every week. They might pop up every now and again (if you're lucky) but I have a new Tuesday trope now: I'm going to share my travel adventures with you. I always have plenty to say about my holidays but I'm usually too busy being on them to say it.

In April, I managed to tear Mr Z away from his office for long enough to go camping in Llanthony Priory, east Wales - and if you just said, 'Camping? In April?' then you are not alone.

(Yes, that's our tent. No, we didn't exactly choose that colour. On the website it was blue and brown. We couldn't send it back because, as usual, we'd left it late to order it and we didn't have time.)

It wasn't exactly a campsite. More of a field with a tap in it. There was a public toilet round the corner, and we witnessed two groups of (presumably) DofErs camping in the corner of the field, rising early and striding off. We nearly ran one group of them over, a couple of hours later, when we'd finished our leisurely breakfast and were driving off to Hay-on-Wye for the day. Imagine a bunch of fed up looking teenagers in anoraks on this road.

This is the view from Gospel Pass which is flipping gorgeous. The pictures aren't enough: please go there. The other side from these is very hilly and it looks like a great place for clamber one day when it's neither too hot nor too cold. The grass had that heathy, springy quality to it and the ground was a myriad of small hillocks, though I have no idea why.

Hay was very nice. Charming. Small. How do they squeeze that whole festival in there?

I only bought two books, though Mr Z's presence was a heavy moderator.

The priory itself was surrounded by these noisy things and their parents. They were spray painted in pairs of symbols so that it was easy to work out which lamb went with which ewe. This was a happy family.

This grassy bank, however, wasn't sure about it.

In truth, the sheep were the noisiest things around. The place is very tranquil and wedged at the bottom of two steep hills, so there's no phone signal or anything. An ideal getaway if you don't mind roughing it or have a better camping set up than we do. There's a pub that does nice dinners and a cafe that looks like it does nice breakfasts, and another pub in the priory ruins, which we didn't visit. There's a B&B there too, if you really can't face camping. 

I did enjoy the ruins. I was reading Bring Up The Bodies at the time and Cromwell was just drawing up the plans for dissolution of the smaller houses, so it was very timely. This priory was built next to the church built on the site of St David's 6th century cell, which is still standing, so it is a good historic place to visit. I'll avoid spamming with masses of photos of crumbling arches and pillars. It was very photogenic, though.

Mr Z and I did a photo shoot for our first album cover.

It did rain on the first night but Mr Z had invested in a new double sleeping bag and we therefore weren't cold. We may be a little old for sleeping directly on the ground now, though.

This is a good place to visit on
 a long bike ride, I'm led to believe. Nephew Z visited a few months back with a friend: they biked there and back from Bristol in three days. He did nearly fall asleep during Sunday dinner, it must be said.

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