June Ramblings

Wimbledon and the World Cup are both well under way and June and the longest day have been and gone in a flash of sunny days and strawberries. With a last minute holiday to Pembrokeshire to plan (more on this later) it’s been a bit of a quiet month on the home walking front. Don’t worry – we more than made up for it in Wales!

Strawberries and raspberries

A perfect pre-Wimbledon haul of garde fruit!

We kept things simple in the pre-holiday run-up, visiting old familiar strolls and rediscovering our garden which is gradually being cleared of building clutter from the last year of work. This has led to a bit of a resurgence of interest in our back-garden wildlife and as the weeds have been cleared and the plants and vegetables have sprung to life we have discovered all manner of mini beasts and birds!

All of this coincided conveniently with National Insect Week and so we even started making our own insect hotel! It’s still a work in progress – we need some canes to finish it off – I’ll keep you posted!

Of all our discoveries, Roo has been most fascinated by the moth chrysalises we unearthed. With the help of a sawn off end of a bottle she was able to watch her find go through its transition before releasing it back out in the garden. The whole process is now etched firmly in her mind – a great little project to help her learn about life-cycles.

Our late May trip to the Royal Bath & West Show threw the spotlight on the plight of our bees and bumblebees and so we set out to learn a little more about them next. We’ve been fortunate to have loads of bumblebees on our raspberry plants and Roo spent plenty of time observing them with me as well as helping me to identify them as we took part in the Great British Bee Count. If you’ve not already taken part then please do – you can download a free app or take part online and it’s a great way of getting the kids outdoors and learning about nature.

Harlequin ladybirds mating

No sign of a decline in Harlequin Ladybird numbers in our garden then!

Not all our insect discoveries were  welcome ones. We found our garden had been overtaken by invasive Harlequin ladybirds, which as this photos shows, are only going to be growing in number. The squirrels made short work of my brand new bird feeder and even the cats also decided to join in with our insect finding theme, coming home with ticks. I have to admit I have spent more fun evenings than the one I passed trying to hold down a squirming cat whilst trying to fully remove its blood sucking parasite hitchhiker!

Early June did see us sneak in a long weekend to the West Country. We discovered new walks in old stamping grounds in the Chew Valley with a lovely little wander near the ancient standing stones at Stanton Drew. A great couple of days in the Cotswolds also saw the long-overdue addition of that region to the walking map, with tantalising glimpses across to Wales from up on Selsley Common giving us a taste for our upcoming holiday. Hopefully we can get back there again soon to try out a few more Cotswold walks!

Striding out on Selsley Common, Cotswolds

Striding out on Selsley Common, Cotswolds

Back home again, some hedgerow foraging produced a good haul of elderflower. They are to me a true sign of early summer and Roo had great fun helping pick them. In the kitchen she helped me to make a batch of elderflower cordial – a great success! The same cannot be said of my first attempt at elderflower champagne which I left lingering too long unbottled in the shed!

After that it was all go-go-go for our week away in Wales! Whilst Roo is a pro at car journeys, we were a little apprehensive about the 4 hour road trip with our 4 month old. She hasn’t read the chapter in the baby book yet about how all babies should be rocked to sleep within seconds of the engine being switched on (worked such a charm with Roo) and instead prefers to howl along for large stretches of the drive.

A walk in Hungerford

An evening stroll in Hungerford to watch the sunset on the longest day of the year.

With this in mind we decided to embrace ‘slow travel’ and took all day to dawdle our way to Pembrokeshire, stopping for a wander in the Brecons. It was a formula we repeated on the way home, taking in spectacular Henrhyd Falls – the setting of the Bat Cave from The Dark Knight Rises. There might have been a little bit of pretending to be Batman going on I confess. My GPS tracker did some very odd things indeed that day – something that’s never happened before. Must have been Batman locking down the cave from intruders….

Behind the waterfall and Henrhyd Falls

Looking out on a scene from a fairytale from behind Henrhyd Falls

As for Pembrokeshire – well we had a blast! If you have not yet visited this beautiful part of the world then you really must! It’s a perfect place for young outdoor families as there is plenty of kiddy stuff to do – countless sandy beaches, castles and days out but there is also a lot of family friendly walking too. The more adventurous can try watersports like kayaking or give the local speciality sport of coasteering a go which seems to involve pretty much everything!

We had a fantastic week staying in our little self-catering cottage in northern Pembrokeshire. We got in loads of walking, dinner at purportedly Cerys Matthews’ local pub ¬†and my personal highlight – a trip to see the Puffins on Skomer Island. On top of that the weather was so sunny that we all came back with a tan! Yes – this is Wales I am talking about!

Strumble Head

Finishing off a very a very sunny & outdoor day at Strumble Head lighthouse.

The only downside is that I now have ten walks to write up not to mention posts on all our days out and adventures! This has not been helped by Baby who has decided now is the perfect time for a growth spurt and has transformed into a koala, making progress on the work front pretty slow! On the upside, it does mean that I’m getting in some good review time for my ongoing big sling trial!

With that I’d better get back to it I suppose…Look out for lots of Welsh themed posts coming soon and do link up your posts sharing your favourite June adventures below!


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