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Suggestions for Hiking: Wales, Scotland or Ireland
Old 03-23-2017   #1
ktmrider
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Suggestions for Hiking: Wales, Scotland or Ireland

In August, 2014, my daughter and I hiked the West Highland Way from Glasgow to Ft Williams and then spent a couple weeks exploring the Isle of Skye and Edinburgh. I carried an M9 with 21/35/90 (all small lenses). This was a hiking trip, not backpacking as we had a company transport our luggage hostel to hostel so we only had to carry small day packs.

I am looking for another hiking adventure. Unfortunately, this will be a solo trip as my daughter is in grad school for physical therapy. I am thinking about departing from Fort Williams in Scotland and hiking about 150 miles over 14 days to the north coast. I have found a company that will do the baggage transport thing and make all the appropriate reservations along the way. However, they offer the same service in Wales and Ireland but the hikes are shorter so am looking for input.

And the Leica M9 was sold several months ago. This trip will be all film. My favorite film Leica is now the M5 which has bumped the M2 out of first place. I am planning an M5 body with 50. I may throw a 21 and 90 or 135 in the luggage but will hike with only the 50. Ten to fifteen rolls of ISO color print film would probably suffice.

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Old 03-23-2017   #2
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Wales and particularly Scotland have magical colors so I would get film that will bring that out.
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Old 03-23-2017   #3
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Ektar 100 or Porta 400?
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Old 03-23-2017   #4
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Having done most of the long distance walks in Scotlnad my favourite is still the St Cuthberts way thats only 100km so a nice easy one over a long weekend.
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Old 03-23-2017   #5
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If you come to Wales let me know, can meet up. Look up Brecon Beacons / Pen Y Fan, for moderate hikes or Snowdonia if you want to go up a mountain. I'm in Swansea.
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Old 03-23-2017   #6
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Check out the Wild Atlantic Way in Western Ireland. In particular, look at the Ring of Beara and south.
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Old 03-23-2017   #7
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Hi,

This should give you a good idea of the long distance paths in Wales;-

http://www.ramblersnorthwales.org.uk/distanceEN.htm

You'll find a lot of castles in Wales of all shapes and sizes, plus a lot of small and not so small preserved railways. And, of course, friendly people and glorious scenery.

Regards, David
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Old 03-23-2017   #8
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Sounds like an awesome trip. I like the idea of only hiking with one lens, good call. I'd also hike with a small tripod (i use a table top type) and a self timer equipped camera for shot with you in the landscape since you'll be on your Pat Malone. I'd budget an average of 2-3 rolls per day, but take 5 on any given day in a JCH small film holder.
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Old 03-23-2017   #9
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The Isle of Mull in Scotland is FANTASTIC. Beautiful drives, too, after you get off the ferry. I'm not much of a landscape photog but I went nuts on Mull. And the people were nice. I stayed in the oldest hotel in Britain, which is in the town of Dervaig.

I also love Portmeirion, in Wales—the small weird Italianate village where the TV show The Prisoner was filmed.
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Old 03-24-2017   #10
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Hi,

I'll second that about Mull, if you only visit one of the islands of the North West coast of Scotland then it should be Mull.

Skye is best viewed from the mail boat from Mallaig going to Eigg, Rum and Canna (I hope it is still running and taking passengers). To get to Mallaig you catch a train from Fort William and can get a steam hauled one if you time it right. It goes along the well known route to Hogwarts Academy.

The steam hauled train is called "The Jacobite" BTW and a search will inundate you...

If I was immensely rich, I'd travel from London to Fort William on the sleeper service from Kings Cross (where you can be photographed with a trolley going through the wall to platform 9¾). Then "The Jacobite" to Mallaig and a hotel for the night and the mail boat the next day, another night in the hotel and then back to Fort William and then make my way along the NW coast to Ullapool, the Summer Isles (boat trip again) and so on. It's worth it just to see some of the finest displayed mountains in Europe and some magical scenery. Alas, I'm not that rich but I may have a cunning plan...

Regards, David
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Old 03-24-2017   #11
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My daughter is a BIG Harry Potter fan! We did all that stuff 2.5 years ago including the studio outside London. She bought a wand and carried it for the next two months through Europe. We spent a week on the Isle of Skye and did the steam train.

I am really torn between Wales and Scotland.
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Old 03-24-2017   #12
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A totally biased suggestion: Wales.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ktmrider View Post
My daughter is a BIG Harry Potter fan! We did all that stuff 2.5 years ago including the studio outside London. She bought a wand and carried it for the next two months through Europe. We spent a week on the Isle of Skye and did the steam train.

I am really torn between Wales and Scotland.
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Old 03-24-2017   #13
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Have you considered Cornwall? Amazing cliffs; beautiful coves; gorgeous villages.

We're not really part of England: the last time we invaded them was during the Anglo-Cornish War in 1549.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 03-24-2017   #14
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Share the routes that the company's suggesting for both Ireland and Wales
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Old 03-24-2017   #15
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I am just a bit hesitant on Ireland as my daughter wants to take us (parents) there when she graduates from physical therapy school next May. Do not want to spoil the trip so to speak.

I have just started investigating possible trips. I get the walkhighlandway newsletter and picked this company out of their suggested list primarily because it listed trips outside Scotland. I don't care for lugging a 40 lb pack so was looking for a company to transport luggage and make the necessary lodging reservations. The trip is now looking like it will be in the Aug/Sept time frame as June is too soon so I am heading to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area for two weeks in the back country.

Anyway, this thread has produced some great suggestions already. The company has suggested the offas dyke path, wye valley walk, glyndwes way, or pen broke shire for possible routes in Wales.

And the ramblersnorthwales.org site is great. Again, many great suggestions and will be spending time at the computer to narrow down the choices.

It is curious that my black 50f1.4 Nokton weighs less then my chrome 50 Summicron.
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Old 03-25-2017   #16
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Hi,

If it will help, Scotland is majestic and Wales is pretty with lots of walks, coastal paths, Bara Brith, rivers and waterfalls and castles from when the evil Normans were trying to subdue us.

Hire a car, learn what "ARAF" means, and you could see the lot in about 3 weeks, with breaks of a day or two to walk every now and then. I shall be in the Wye Valley and later on the Pembrokeshire National Park this year and maybe Snowdonia as well (probably a week in each).

I'd also recommend the ¼" map of Wales, only these days they call it the "OS Travel Map No 6 Wales / Cymru". Anyway, worth buying now for armchair travel and planing. Open it up on a table top and you get a sort of bird's eye view.

One last point, Wales is not as big as people think.

Regards, David
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Old 03-25-2017   #17
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If flying from the US, I am assuming London is the international airport. Airfares from Dallas are amazingly cheap right now at $520 round trip. One great thing about Britain is the abundance of public transportation so also guessing a train from London to Wales would be easy to find.
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I vote for Wales
Old 03-25-2017   #18
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I vote for Wales

Dear kmtrider,

I only say that because many years ago I belonged to fishing message board. One of the most active participants was a Welshman living in the USA.

He posted many pictures taken on his trips back home to visit family and friends and fish. I was positively taken by the ruggedness and stark beauty of the Welsh backcountry lakes and streams he hiked in to fish.

No matter where you decide to go, have fun and record a lot of memories.

Regards,

Tim Murphy

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Old 03-25-2017   #19
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Offas Dyke is in effect the old border from about the 8th century, should have varied countryside. The Wye Valley walk might even be part of it.
Pembrokshire would take in a rugged coastal wander, similar to Roger's description of Cornwall.
Looking at Glyndŵr's Way, that takes in some stunning places... visited that area a couple of years ago... fantastic countryside
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Old 04-08-2017   #20
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Still Searching

I still have not made a decision on which trail or even which country to hike in this fall. Due to a lack of accommodations, I have decided to go at the end of August or even early September.

I am wondering if northern Scotland would be too cold at the end of September. My daughter and I did the West Highland Way in August, 2014, and ended up buying an extra pile sweater for use on our trip.

Is there much difference between Scotland and Ireland and Wales. I don't mean culturally but physically. I suspect northern Scotland would be the wildest and perhaps least populated.

There is a 85 mile hike starting in Dublin called the Wickwire Way and I am thinking about it as it seems to be a loop and starts near an international airport. Is anyone familiar?

Which country has the best food? I know that is very subjective and I did try haggis when we were in Scotland. I am also a fan of scotch whiskey but honestly when we were hiking a beer was so much better at the end of a 15-20 mile day.



By the way, have you all heard the joke that hell is where the politicians are French, the police German and cooks English. And I would add where Trump is president.
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Old 04-13-2017   #21
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Hi,

Can't comment on weather in Scotland's far north but I have often been to the north of England in October and November and the same for Wales. No problems when walking and it often gets too hot.

Food is pretty much the same and that includes Ireland but local knowledge helps a lot. I blame freezers and microwaves and that includes France, I'm sad to say but once our host in France took us to the supermarket where the local cafe bought the local speciality in large tins for about 5 or 6 Euros and that was a nice souvenir...

London (Heathrow) is convenient for south Wales but for mid Wales Birmingham International Airport is OK.

Here's a link about the rail network http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/ and there's a PDF map in it somewhere. This is also very useful but you can start dreaming about grand tours and forget why you started looking http://www.seat61.com/index.html#.UsmYabS8uUM

In your shoes I'd not know how to decide between the three countries and England as well.

Regards, David
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Old 04-13-2017   #22
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Another option is the English Lake District which has many beautiful lakes with many documented fell walks, pretty towns & villages and the views are spectacular. There are many small hotels with high standards. Local buses are a convenient way to travel around the district. http://www.lakedistrictonboard.com/bus-attractions.html
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Old 04-13-2017   #23
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Three great choices in my opinion but if you may visit Ireland later I'd take that out of the equation. I've enjoyed stays in both Scotland and Wales -- but decades ago -- and would hesitate to suggest one over the other.
However, being partial to single malts...well, you can see where that's going. Oh, and Wales, or some parts, used to be 'dry' on Sundays except for 'bona fide' travelers at their hotels. I have no idea if that's still the case.
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Old 04-13-2017   #24
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Thanks for the update. My plans are still in a state of flux. I need to be home for six weeks this summer to take care of the house while my wife is in Alaska and Hawaii. But before and after, I can do anything I want.

Now, I usually do a couple foreign trips or wilderness trips each year. I was planning seven to ten days solo in the Boundary Waters canoeing but I am 64 and have a couple stents. My brother in law just had a coronary and luckily the ER was close and my best friend just had open heart surgery. So, do I really want to spent time away with only my dog to call for help?

Instead, I have decided to try out a new motorcycle and a two week trip from Texas to the north shore of Lake Superior. There are people all along the route in case something happens (I am doing that trip in early May).

Now, this fall I am still looking at a long hiking trip. Obviously, there are plenty of people all along the routes I am looking at and hiking without a 40-50 pound backpack is heavenly. Unfortunately, the US does not have anything comparable to the trails in Scotland, Ireland or Wales. However, a friend just returned from the Galapagos and is shouting praises about that trip.

From the US, the cost of hiking in Great Britain or Ireland or spending a week to ten days in the Galapagos is similar. And my sister and her partner want to do a fall foliage motorcycle trip in New England and eastern Canada. They ride Harleys and I ride a BMW (most of the time).

So, thanks for all the information. I will make a decision soon and let the group know. Both hiking and the Galapagos are equally attractive.
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Old 04-13-2017   #25
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"Is there much difference between Scotland and Ireland and Wales. I don't mean culturally but physically. I suspect northern Scotland would be the wildest and perhaps least populated."

"There is a 85 mile hike starting in Dublin called the Wickwire Way and I am thinking about it as it seems to be a loop and starts near an international airport. Is anyone familiar?"


Perhaps you mean "the Wicklow Way" - which is a series of paths and trails that start in or near Marley Park in Rathfarnham a well-to-do suburb in the south of county Dublin, the trail rises into the Dublin and Wicklow mountains and come down into a small village in county Carlow. You can of course loop back at any stage to Dublin - no need complete the whole route.

Dublin Airport is in North county Dublin which is not near the start of this walk. Dublin Airport now has many direct flight to various parts of the US and many airlines serve these routes. Shannon in county Clare is the only other airport that has transatlantic flights and is more useful if going to visit the west coast of Ireland.

Note however that Dublin is an expensive city to stay and to eat out.
The most common element linking the 3 places you mention is the wet and windy weather which can happen all year round.

Also remember that in Ireland we use the Euro, but in Scotland and Wales they use their own version of Sterling - the notes are different than you would see in England. In Northern Ireland it is fairly common to see both Euro and Northern Irelands own version of Sterling.

The Wild Atlantic Way is a new (about 2 or 3 years established) series of walks and trails but stretch from the coast of Cork in the deep south all along the western seaboard right up to Donegal in the far north of Ireland.
A lot of resources and investment and indeed marketing were made available for this new tourist attraction. Whereas the Wicklow Way is much older and parts of the trail fade away... it doesn't have the same mass tourist appeal and is usually used by local and knowledgeable hikers.

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Old 04-14-2017   #26
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Hi,

You've no idea how much I have been thinking and worrying about this!

The problem is that some of the Welsh walks are great but only in Spring time, others are not really Welsh but them I wondered about the Offa's Dyke path where it twice crosses Glyndŵr's Way and can't help thinking that you get a lot of good scenery, towns etc in by making it a circular walk.

Having thought that I then found this:-

https://www.contours.co.uk/walking-h...yndwrs-way.php

and you might like this as a starting point for more decisions...

http://www.visitwales.com/things-to-...walking-hiking

Regards, David
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Old 04-14-2017   #27
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Thanks David. I have actually been corresponding with Contours. They have logistics support in all three countries I am thinking about.

So, a tropical set of islands floating around weird and exotic animals or hiking in possible wet and windy conditions. Both sound very, very attractive for someone who lives in the desert.
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Old 05-15-2017   #28
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I finally found the travel company which my daughter and I used in 2014 while hike the West Highland Way. It is Absolute Escapes in Edinburgh and prices are just a bit cheaper then Contours.

Anyway, I have narrowed the choices to the Coast to Coast trail in England. It is 180 miles and rated the second best hike in the world (by who I don't know). Offa's Way in Wales which is 177 miles or combining the East Highland Way and Speyside Way in Scotland for about the same distance. If anyone here has any personal knowledge of any of these hikes I would like to hear from you. Time frame is mid September as I am hoping that would allow for fall foliage.

Am leaning toward the Coast to Coast hike but Scotch is my favorite whiskey and the Speyside Way has a lot of tasting rooms in distilleries along the way.
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Old 05-16-2017   #29
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Hi,

My money's on the C to C and you should buy Wainwright's original (1973) book and study it as he created the walk and announced it in the book. It's also an excellent souvenir*. It was updated in 2010. See this link:-

https://www.wainwright.org.uk/coasttocoast.html

You can buy whisky in the evening, after walking...

BTW, I can think of a lot of diversions from the trail, if you have the time or inclination.

Regards, David

PS Edited as book's date was wrong.

* There's several books you might confuse with the original, it has a very bright orange (theme on the) cover and is handwritten.
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Old 05-16-2017   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ktmrider View Post
Am leaning toward the Coast to Coast hike but Scotch is my favorite whiskey and the Speyside Way has a lot of tasting rooms in distilleries along the way.
<pedant>
In Scotland it's whisky not whiskey (Irish/American spelling) :-)
</pedant>

:-D

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Old 05-21-2017   #31
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However you spell it, I like it (perhaps a bit too much).
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Old 05-21-2017   #32
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The area around Snowdon is spectacular (much better than Snowdon itself).

Google Crib Goch if you're not afraid of altitude and some scrambling!
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Old 05-21-2017   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ktmrider View Post
However you spell it, I like it (perhaps a bit too much).
Hi,

Why waste time walking? Spend the weeks on Jura and Islay, you may decide to move there so only buy a single ticket there...

Regards, David
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Old 05-21-2017   #34
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Am coming more and more to the Coast to Coast walk across England. 190 miles at my age?
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Old 05-21-2017   #35
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A bit over twenty years ago we started our honeymoon in Wales and would go back. My wife bought a low cost panoramic camera that we used here and there and it was amazing. I'd think 15mm and the 50, but that's me.

Let us know what you choose and share the stories and results.

Safe travels.

B2 (;->
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Old 05-21-2017   #36
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Barra to Butt, outer Hebrides. Hp5 all the way
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Old 05-21-2017   #37
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With Welsh ancestry from my mother's side I always dreamt of Home Rule for Wales for some strange reason, although I am thoroughly Canadian.
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Old 05-22-2017   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ktmrider View Post
Am coming more and more to the Coast to Coast walk across England. 190 miles at my age?
Hi,

I said earlier that Wales is pretty and it also has a lot of interesting castles, preserved railways, scenic walks, waterfalls, impressive mountains, glorious sandy beaches with impressive sunsets, Bara Brith and bi-lingual road signs.

So it doesn't have to be all walking. Many places like Conway in the north are worth the visit just to spend a day walking the town walls, admiring and exploring the castle and so on. You could also spend a day photographing and walking the waterfalls in the south and so on. And in the middle is Cadair Idris where you can stand and watch RAF transporter planes like the Hercules fly around and below you...

Regards, David
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Old 05-22-2017   #39
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Bara Brith.... one very good reason to visit right there
And No.8 rock
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Old 05-22-2017   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rodt16s View Post
Bara Brith.... one very good reason to visit right there
And No.8 rock
Hi,

For the benefit of our North American cousins I'll add that it's like báirin breac, only Welsh, but more or less the same basics.

Regards, David
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