Monday, January 07, 2013

My First Day in England and Moel Famau

Jubilee Tower, Moel Famau, Wales
Jubilee Tower
Well, my flight to England was uneventful, just as I like it. The flight to Amsterdam was on an Airbus A330 which was so quiet I didn't need my sound cancelling headphones. I was really amazed. Also it was fairly short, as these things go being just about 7 hours. 

The airport at Amsterdam is quite nice and clean. On my way to Kennedy my glasses had fallen apart so I went about the whole process of getting on and off the plane in a sort of Mr. Magooish squint. At Amsterdam there was a sunglass store who not only fixed them but would not take an Euro for it. Interestingly, McDonalds at the airport does not have the hash browns we've come to expect.

Anyway, after a 4 hour layover, I caught my flight to Manchester Airport which was only an hour.  I like Manchester Airport.  It's not so crowded or impersonal.

My sister and Dave picked me up and we toddled off to Chester for lunch followed by a nap followed by dinner followed by a nice night's sleep.

Sunday morning started out gray and if not exactly foreboding, not a day you'd like to be out mucking about in. However, as the morning wore on the sun peeked out and we decided  to go for a walk at Moel Famau in North Wales. It's the tallest mountain in the Clwydian Range.  Its name means Mother Mountain.

Moel Famau trail map
Moel Famau trail map
There are several trails up the mountain and many of them connect to other parks in the range.  It is in what the English call an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. They are not kidding. From the valley you start in near Loggerheads to the summit topped by Jubilee Tower is a constantly shifting view of deciduous and pine forest topped by grasslands. You should  be able to click  on the picture of the trail map and zoom into see the actual trails.

View from Jubilee Tower looking towards Liverpool
View from Jubilee Tower looking towards Liverpool

The walk we picked was about a 5.5km one with a rise
of 280 meters. It took almost exactly what the guide said it would or 2.5 hours. As we arrived it started to get cloudy and cooler which actually made the day more pleasant because it was, at times, a hard climb. Especially at the last bit.

 It was cool and breezy at the top so we only stayed a little while.  Still, it was surprising  to me just how many people were out and managed the climb including the tiniest of tots to some fairly elderly people. It isn't the hardest of climbs but is challenging enough that I  wouldn't have expected so many people to make it to the top.

The Jubilee Tower was built in 1810 to commemorate the golden jubilee of George III. Thomas Harrison of Chester designed it as an Egyptian styled obelisk to be built in three stages. The tower was never completed and in 1862 a strong storm blew it down. It was partially removed for safety reasons and the sturdy base is all that remains.

The trip down was far easier than the one up, I must say.  The trip home was short and followed by wine and cheese. Brilliant!

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

A New Start for the New Year

Psssssssssssshhhht!  Screeeeeech! Kaa-chunk! HMMMMMMMMMMM!

Well, it's a new year.  2013 to be exact and I'm resurrecting the sailing life.   Not that I haven't been living it - I have, or to be perfectly truthful, not too much sailing but building a marine service business here in Stamford, CT.

More about that:  Here's how to build a business very quickly:

  • Find something you like to do
  • Approach people who need that thing done
  • Show up on time
  • Do what you say you'll do and maybe a little more
  • Charge a reasonable price - which is not necessarily what the market will bear
  • Communicate with your customers 

Sounds simple, huh?  You'd be surprised.  Anyway, I like working on boats and that's what I do now, at least until wanderlust takes over again and I have to leave.

You might wonder why I haven't been posting at all.  To be honest, I had nothing to say, and might still have nothing to say but I'm hoping that's not the case.

Innisfail at Solomons Island, MD
In the intervening two years I've done some very cool things and been a captain on a TowBoat U.S. as well as several deliveries including a 91 ft Trumpy and a lovely 42' custom picnic boat.  More about those when or if the mood strikes.

Also during the last couple of years my sister and I have met our four half brothers and their family.  That's been pretty wonderful and has really opened our eyes to the whole other family thing.  Very nice.

Soon I'm heading to the UK for an extended stay where I'll be hiking in Wales and Scotland and perhaps Ireland.  So, the real reason for resurrecting this blog is to record those travels as well even though there's no sailing involved.

Finally, there are projects I want to do on Pelican that are fairly simple but will enhance her usefulness and will be fairly inexpensive.  Since I plan to go cruising again, I need to bring her back to cruise readiness.

With that said I'm off to a New Years celebration!

See you on the water.