I’ve never been to Wales. Next week I’ll sort that out, assuming all goes to plan.

I have an ice hockey meeting in Sheffield on the Friday.

Downtown Sheffield

Downtown Sheffield

For a business trip of that distance I wouldn’t drive usually – it’s 296 miles and close to 5 hours.

Train would be better, but it’s a tricky place to get to from here. It would mean changing train at least once and maybe twice. I could fly to Manchester and take the train from there, but I’d end up spending 4-5 hours travelling anyway.

So, I decided to drive and add on a leisure part to the trip. North Wales is as far south as Sheffield.

I’ve booked two nights in the Tyn Y Fron bed & breakfast in Betwys-y-coed, close to Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon, to us English speakers).

Tyn Y Fron



If the weather is right, I can climb the mountain. If it isn’t, more prosaic sightseeing will be plan B.

There’s plenty of that in the area – Conwy, Caernarfon and even Llanfairpwllgwyngyll on Anglesey. Its full name is Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch.

Good Investment

Good Investment

My Welsh is progressing nicely. I’ve been able to say “good morning” (bore da) for a while, although I don’t get much chance to use it in Scotland. My other word (yes, I have two) is popty ping. You’ll be able to work that out for yourselves, right?

I’ve never been to Mull or Iona either. Opposite direction. North west instead of south west. I’ve just booked a trip for June to right that wrong too.

A three hour drive to Oban. A Calmac ferry to Craignure on Mull – 45 minutes. Then a wee drive across the island (an hour or so) to Fionnphort (pronounced “finn a fort”) right on its most westerly point.

Final Leg

Final Leg

Two nights in the Seaview Bed & Breakfast there.


Fionnphort is where you get the ferry to Iona, so I can go across whenever it suits me.

No mountain climbing planned – although it can never be ruled out. I do want to visit Staffa to see Fingal’s Cave and Lunga to see the puffin colony. Those boat trip(s) depend on the weather, so I’ll have to wait and see.

Ulva (population 16) is another island off Mull which I may try to visit. In June we get 18 hour of daylight, so it’s the weather and my stamina levels which are the main limiting factors!

Mull is in the Gaelic speaking part of the country so it will be madainn mhath instead of bore da.

ⓒ iain taylor 2016

[Editor’s note:- Popty ping is slang for a microwave oven]

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