…the day we went to Bangor. But what a long day it was. Very enjoyable though, and the SOTA didn’t even start until the following morning.
Now what is the most perfect way to begin the bank holiday weekend? How about running the XYL to the airport? Can that be beaten?
Well, so it was, and an almost Gerald-esque get-up was at 4.45am on Saturday morning, so I could drive Marianne to Ringway. She was spending a few days in hospital with her dad in Larne, Co. Antrim (now happily making a very good recovery from his operation on Friday), so there was I with the lads to entertain for the weekend. Which I did, although I just can’t bring myself to add up the cost!
After returning from the airport run, we got our cases and rucksacks packed, and got in the car. First port of call was Knutsford for the fair. I had promised Liam a few rides and a look around, so we spent an hour attacking each other on the dodgems and eating burgers and corn-on-the-cobs.
Continuing westwards, we drove to Chester, and the Deva Stadium for Chester City v Macclesfield Town, the last match of the season for two teams now safe from relegation and therefore nothing to play for. And it showed. After one rocket against the crossbar from a certain John Rooney (younger brother of Wayne) in the first half, the players on both sides seemed to call it a day for the season and saw out the remaining hour or so at a rather pedestrian pace. Mind you, I couldn’t blame them. In contrast to the forecast of three days’ heavy rain over the bank holiday, the sun was blazing in to the Deva Stadium in oppressive fashion.
Westwards again, this time on the A55, after securing three beds for the night at Bangor Youth Hostel. Approaching Kinmel Bay, we 'phoned Roger MW0IDX and called in for a drink and chat for about an hour or so. It was nice to meet Roger’s XYL Sue for the first time and have a look at Roger’s shack and guitars, while Jimmy and Liam played ten-pin bowling on Wii.
After that most pleasant interlude - and sensible rest from driving having been up since the early hours - we were on the road again, but only a short distance to our rendezvous for dinner - the Bengal Palace restaurant in Colwyn Bay. This is a favourite of ours, and we weren’t disappointed.
We checked in at Bangor Youth Hostel, a new one for Jimmy and I, but not for Liam, who had been here on a school trip in recent years. The boys went more or less straight to bed. I sat with other hostellers in the lounge attempting to stay awake while watching Match of the Day. I failed, gave in and hauled myself up to bed during the highlights of only the second featured game.
No SOTA on the outing yet! We very nearly did Hope Mountain GW/NW-062 after the match, but thought better of it. But at least we were now on the doorstep of our target hills ready for tomorrow - or so we thought!