A Holiday with Family – Fishing, Balloon Glow and The Big Pit
Our family summer holiday moved into it’s next phase, following on from cycling to John O’Groats to Lands End and then a day or two on Bodmin Moor we were now at my parents house in South Gloucestershire for a couple of days. We arrived at around lunchtime on Wednesday afternoon and had arranged for my Dad to take Morgan fishing at a local lake. The were going to go on their own at first but Morgan wanted me to go with them so off we went, leaving Anna to relax on the sofa!
The lake was one that a local farmer had recently opened to the fishing association that my Dad is part of and was apparently well-stocked with carp. My Dad hadn’t fished it much before and there were quite a few rules about who could fish it and the permits and licenses you needed. This meant that I couldn’t actually fish, but Morgan being a child could as long as he was with my Dad who had the necessary permits. I therefore was just am onlooker.
My Dad helped Morgan set up a carp pole which seemed fairly straight forward and then out went the bait. We tried a few bits if luncheon meat as bait when fishing on the bottom, but also bread on the surface and managed to catch fish with both techniques. It was god for Morgan to finally catch something as we’ve had no luck so far, but it also seemed a little too easy here. Morgan had fun though and enjoyed his fishing with Grandad. I quite enjoyed watching them as well and had a nice little stroll around the lake at one point. There were loads of carp just basking in the sunshine on the other side of the lake so when they had finished fishing we all went for a walk around the lake so that I could show them where they were.
Of course, Morgan now wants to do some lake fishing at home in Wales, so I might just have to buy a rod and line license so that I can take him.
The rest of the day was spent with my family, eating dinner and relaxing at their house.
One of the reasons for coming to this part of the world was to see the International Balloon Fiesta at Ashton Court. Having lived next to Ashton Court during my childhood I had of course seen it loads of times, but Anna never had and had been wanting to for years. The First part of it, the evening Balloon Glow was scheduled for tonight. We did think about sending the day there but instead decided to do some geocaching first and then head up to Ashton Court in the evening. There were quite a few local geocaches that we hadn’t yet looked for so we loaded up some likely looking ones to my phone and headed out.
We did a couple in the lanes around Kingswood and Wotton-Under-Edge and then headed off to Ozleworth whre we found a geocache following a little walk through the estate. It was a lovely day and a nice walk too, past the large Ozleworth House and through some of the surrounding parkland which was full of grouse. Morgan thought they looked like little dinosaurs scurrying around in the undergrowth and it did fell a little bit ‘Jurassic Park’ like! The cache itself was in a bit of woodland overlooking a lovely lake.
We then popped into Wotton-Under-Edge where we bought a picnic lunch and then headed off to a nice little riverside walk where we stopped for our picnic. Morgan and I went for a walk and played pooh-sticks whilst Anna snoozed in the shade and then we set off in search of more geocaches.
The next cache involved a walk up a steep hill and into some woodland above Watery Bottom. The highlight of this cache were the huge Wood Ant nests in the woodland. They were as tall as me and meant that the whole of the wood was literally full of ants. It’s hard to describe how impressive they were both in the size of the nests and the numbr of ants, but in the end they pretty much drove us out of the woodland as they would bite if you stopped walking.
This cache and the one in Ozleworth where part of a series called Cheeky, 1,2 and 3, with the coordinates of the third one being gained from the previous two caches. The geocaching.com website had a special ‘7 souvenirs of August’ event running which was a challenge to find different types of cache during August. We had already found a Traditional Cache, a Letterbox Hybrid Cache and had done a Puzzle Cache that morning. Finding the third in the ‘cheeky’ series would give us a multi-cache and another souvenir. Morgan had decided he wanted to get as many souvenirs as possible so we had to try to find this one as well.
We parked just outside of Wotton-Under-Edge and started the mile walk to the cache location. It took us past a lovely mill-house with a large mill pond in the back garden and then out into the Gloucestershire countryside along a lovely little path. Morgan had learnt the rude version of ‘English Country Garden’ earlier in the day so sang it and made up new verses all the way, but we eventually got to the cache location and found the cache. With the log book signed, we had just enough time to get back to my parents for dinner.
We then headed off into Bristol to do battle with the traffic heading to Ashton Court for the Balloon Fiesta. Having lived in this part of Bristol for years I knew my way around though so soon found a suitable parking spot and we joined the throngs walking to the estate. I think Morgan was a little surprised by the number of people and the amount going on, but once there we found ourselves a spot to sit and waited for dusk to fall and the balloon glow to begin.
It was good for Anna and Morgan to see some air balloons up close and we all enjoyed a nice evening in Ashton Court with the balloon glow and fireworks display as the highlights. By the time we joined the massive crowds of people leaving Ashton Court and got back to my parents house though it was close to midnight and we were all very tired. We had planned to get up at 4am in order to go back to Ashton Court for the mass launch in the morning, but changed our minds before going to bed. In a way it was a shame to miss the mass launch as the conditions were perfect and close to 150 balloons were launched, but less than our hours sleep after so many busy days just wouldn’t have been ideal, especially as we were driving home later that day as well.
The Big Pit
Instead of going to the mass launch, we had a slow start to the day and breakfast at my parents before we headed off in separate cars towards Blaenavon and the Big Pit National Mining Museum. We had been planning to go here for a while and now was our chance. It didn’t take too long to get there and we soon met my parents in the car park. Blaenavon is actually another World Heritage site, the third we had visited in the past few days. First was New Lanark, then Coalport and now Blaenavon.
The main attraction of the big pit is the underground tour of the mine and I have to say it was really well done. The tour guides are all ex-miners and the one we had was really good. He certainly knew his stuff, was really good with the children and was funny too. His charisma certainly improved the tour and if all of the tour guides are like this then I can certianly recommend the visit. It’s all free too which is amazing.
After the underground tour we had some lunch and looked around the other exhibitions and museum displays. There was also an Earth Cache here which would give us yet another Souvenir so we were busy looking up the answers for this as well. We also found a quick traditional cache whilst there too. It was then time to say our goodbyes and we headed off home to West Wales and my parents headed back to England.
Another phase of our holiday was over and we were homeward bound. We were hoping to have a couple of days at home to chill and continue our holiday though before going back to work at the beginning of next week.