A Welsh Adventure

As I sit here on this quiet Thursday evening, back home in Canada but still drinking tea like a Brit whilst editing photos from my latest travels (UK, Iceland and Hawaii), I can't help but think it's time to finally launch a blog to remember my adventures by.  I've been meaning to start a blog for the last three years, really... Albeit, I'll admit it's true I did once run a blog written in the perspective of my dog (and for 6 years running, nonetheless), so I cannot say I am entirely inept when it comes to the artistry of whipping up an enjoyable written post.  It has just simply taken me this long to push aside (temporarily, at least) my dear friend Procrastination and actually sit down to begin writing out my experiences, thoughts, adventures, and awkward moments all in one small space on the internet - which shall be this blog, I suppose.  Mind you, as a photographer, there will no doubt be times (er, most of the time) when I prefer to put my writing brain at ease and simply let my photos speak for themselves.  And with that being said, here comes my first blog post, with many photos indeed!

In May of this year I embarked on an epic month-long journey to, firstly, visit my friend Sarah in the UK, and secondly, to explore Iceland.  Today I will share my photos from the UK, particularly in Wales.

Quick back-story: About 8 years ago, before I fully discovered the art form of photography, my entire being and passion went into dogs.  Drawing dogs, playing with dogs, reading about dogs, walking dogs, cuddling dogs, everything dogs... And then I discovered the internet.  (Boy did that ever change my life, eh?).  Within a few months, I had joined countless dog clubs and websites, created dog forums, become a dog blogging fanatic, and was making adorably cheesy dancing dog music videos and trick training tutorials on youtube with my fuzzy little boy, Sparky (and if you didn't already realize how much of a dog nerd I was, and still am; now you do).   It was at this time that I "met" Sarah.  Equally as dog nerdy as I, we instantly became the best of friends, inspiring each other endlessly as we grew up training our dogs on opposites sides of the world.  Fast forward 4-5 years (2010), my Sparky won a Canada-wide talent contest, the prize allowing me to fly across the world for my first time to finally meet my best friend (and her Border Collie, Samson) face to face in the UK.  I have since flown back twice more to visit (and Sarah to Canada, too!), the most recent time being May of this year.  

Samson, chilling atop a hill-top rock in Wales.

Samson, chilling atop a hill-top rock in Wales.

This year, I arrived in Manchester as usual, indulged in British chocolate and tea, helped Sarah walk dogs through weather that couldn't decide whether to rain or shine, and then - perhaps my favourite highlight of the visit - went to Wales to holiday in an old stone cottage on a farm, with Sarah, her fiancé Matt, his parents, and the dogs (Samson and Teal).  Surrounded by green mountains and hills, and with an ocean view in the distance, the farm quickly became one of my new favourite locations ever visited.  We went trekking daily across the farmland and over the hilly countryside, through strong wind, rain, fog and shockingly even a little sunshine!  

Me (left), Sarah (right), and Sam in the middle.

Me (left), Sarah (right), and Sam in the middle.

Being animal lovers, we found it rather a delight to stay on a farm with horses and about 2,000 sheep.  I have never in my life seen so many young lambs and their mothers wandering the hills surrounding the cottage.  I loved watching the lambs run and play together, each with their own characteristic "baahhhh"-ing voices.  They were all absolutely adorable!  Though I learned that with so much new life, there comes loss as well... On one day, Matt's parents noticed a very young lamb in one of the fields, too weak to stand up and feed from it's mother.  A rescue mission ensued.  While Sarah carried the lamb, Matt and his dad rounded up the mother on the quad bike, and we brought them to the cottage yard.  The poor lamb was so weak, and everything we tried to help it feed was not working... it soon became apparent that our little friend would not make it.  Tears were shed as we learned the down-side of farm life.

Nonetheless, most of the other lambs, with a little help, thrived!  Sarah and I soon became the care-takers for the week of the lambs that could not be fed from their mothers.  Although they were at first shy, our little friends soon learned that our voices meant food, and their enthusiasm at feeding time was priceless!

Aside from hanging out with sheep, we also went castle exploring in Wales.  It was strange to me to realize such old castles actually do still exist... Which perhaps sounds silly, but I am not used to anything so extraordinarily old here in Canada. Exploring down the old dark corridors and up the steep spiral staircases into the towers (where we made friends with a seagull, dubbed Terrence) made me feel like I was thrown way back into medieval time.

...Back to the farmland life!  One of my favourite moments was when I got to take a roll on the quad bike used for herding sheep.  That was pretty dope.

Almost every day during the week we braved much wind and rain as we adventured across the fields and up the hills and mountains, making friends with sheep and horses along the way.  There were so many beautiful places, and the viewpoints from the top of the hills were incredible.  Here's a few snaps taken during our daily adventures around the land...

Of course, most of my focus went to the dogs. Samson and Teal are two of the most gorgeous, photogenic pups I have ever met (next to my own, of course).  I'm hatching a plan to steal these boys back home with me next time I visit the UK.  Hopefully no one will notice them missing when that time comes.

As this post draws to a close, I need to say that I could not have asked for a better week spent in Wales.  Being able to simply enjoy life with my best friend, the dogs and the gorgeous scenery was more than I could ever ask for, and it's left me feeling incredibly thankful.  I'm already saving up for yet another return visit!

Sarah, Samson and I.

Sarah, Samson and I.

From Wales, we went back to Manchester for a few days before we said our goodbyes as I left for Iceland, where many more adventures ensued.  So prepare yourselves, as I have many new photos and stories from that country that I will be sharing very soon. :)