Last of the summer adventure days in the north and west
Hello again after another two-week hiatus. For the time being, at least, this fortnight notes rhythm is suiting me better in terms of available time and writing energy.
Home in Cheshire
Over the past week I spent some time back at the family home in Cheshire. Every time I return it feels like the town as grown at least another soul-less housing development in place of the open countryside I used to traverse for exercise and dog-walking. The town's now almost unrecognisable! It's incredible how many long-term memories are triggered whenever I visit home. Despite over a decade since my dog passed away, I still half expect her to come running up to greet me at the door whenever I arrive.
Over the first weekend visiting, we drove up to Lancashire's foody and drink capital, the small town of Clitheroe. We explored its many independent shops and cafés, including the Holmes Mill food hall that's a treat for the eyes, let alone your taste buds! Lunch included freshly prepared sandwiches and ground coffee, much coffee! Our chosen coffee blends from the menu included Columbian and Kenyan choices, which were served up in generously sized and filled cafetières at Exchange Coffee Co.
We also made a brief stop after at the very upmarket village, Whalley, taking in Whalley Abbey and the spectacular Whalley Viaduct built in 1850 with no less than 48 arches.
We made a couple of visits to Wales and Shropshire over the two weekends. First up was a hike up to Montgomery Castle with its free access and uninterrupted views over the Welsh borders. Nearby we also explored Presteigne. This quaint little border town in Wales has a rich music and arts scene, with a vibrant range of independent shops, cafés, restaurants, and pubs. Fun cycling-related fact off Wiki: Presteigne hosted the World's first competitive electric bicycle race.
Returning to England, next on our day trip agenda was Shrewsbury. I've been here dozens of times before throughout my childhood. I always find it pleasantly nostalgic to visit Shrewsbury. On this occasion we'd lunch at the recently opened, award-winning Ginger & Co where I'd the Nourishing Bowl of flavoured humus with a mixed salad including chilli edamame beans and tahini sauce followed by raspberry oat delight.
Shrewsbury's held up quite well to past and present recessions. More so now than ever before, the town has exploded with new cafés and restaurants in place of chain stores. The coronavirus pandemic of the past two years gave us one good thing, and that's more street space for eating and drink on in many towns and cities, which has thankfully been retained here on a permanent basis.
Retracing part of the route we took to Ireland earlier this summer, we once again made the two-hour journey along the A55 west to the Welsh island of Anglesey, but only for a day trip. We stopped for an afternoon refreshment of tea and homemade cakes sitting outside at the very atmospheric Ann's Pantry in Moelfre.
For most of the day we drove the full circuit of the island and made some stops along the way to admire the beautiful coastline, beaches, and rich geology dating back hundreds of millions of years ago.