Hot, hot, hot in Chester and Llangollen

Train strikes are upon us again and I had to alter my plans and swap my ‘home’ and ‘home from home’ weekends. Avanti West Coast drive me insane. They cancelled my 15:35 Chester to London Euston direct service for the third time in a row, blaming staff shortage. I hear a lot of people missed the recent Coldplay gig in Wembley because of delayed trains. Absolute shambles.

Still, I had a nice weekend at home, and enjoyed what was probably the last of this summer’s heatwaves. I hoped it would be slightly cooler in Cheshire; it wasn’t. I steered clear of the city centre on Saturday. It was the Pride day in Chester but I just couldn’t bear the crowds and noise on such a hot day. Instead I walked the Chester Greenway to Mickle Trafford: there were lots of ripe and very sweet blackberries everywhere and quite a few people picking them. I stopped at Waitrose on my way back and bought the most delicious gazpacho – lunch sorted!

On Sunday I went to Llangollen, a cute, retro-chic Welsh town very popular with visitors all year round and extremely popular in the summer… I wanted to have a mini picnic by Horseshoe Waterfalls but there was not a chance in hell for a quiet spot with literally hundreds of sun worshippers on the river shore so I made a sensible choice and sat down in the nearby Llantysilio church graveyard. One can’t beat a nice graveyard, really ­čśë

On return to Llangollen wharf I decided I quite fancied going up the Dinas Bran hill. It would be windier and cooler up there, I thought. Well, it wasn’t, not until I was right by the ruins that I could finally feel some breeze. It was so hot on the exposed, steep slopes I actually regretted it half way there, fearing that I would faint and lie there helpless among the sheep, but I carried on. I had a massive sense of achievement afterwards. Everyone has got their own Everest, they say ­čÖé

I stayed there, sitting on nice, cool stones for a good 45 min, in splendid solitude – apart from one young couple there was not a soul nearby.

A lovely kitten was more interested in eating grass than acknowledging my presence ­čśë

Sunday was a rest day (half a day – the second half was spent travelling down South…did I mention I hate Avanti West Coast?!). I did more research on the Tatra Mountains and I have a much better idea now where I am actually going. I pray that Arriva bus drivers don’t join their striking railway brethren on the day of my flight and that the Luton Aiport will have enough staff to load our luggage et cetera. I am so chuffed about going to the proper mountains, come rain or shine!

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