Nicola Porter Blog

A week off and Serene day out in Wales

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Hello everyone, last week I explained that I wouldn’t get much artwork done, but I did none at all, I was away from my desk all week but that didn’t stop me thinking about it, and its not difficult to feel inspired while out in nature. I’m always stopping to admire some plant or creature and I absolutely love going somewhere I’ve never been before like we did on Wednesday.

The night before, one of the Awesome Ian’s friends mentioned Hollingworth Lake in Littleborough and I realized that I’ve never actually been there! I’ve lived back in the area since 2000. (I was actually born in Littleborough hospital and lived in Rochdale till I was 3) But I’m ashamed to say that I never even thought about visiting.

We decided that night, it was about time I saw it.  We didn’t have a great deal of time because we had an appointment to get to. We did get a nice walk and some great fish & chips. I’m pleased we went and really looking forward to exploring all around it next time.

Thursday saw us getting up early and travelling to Wales. The plan was to go and see the Ospreys at the Glaslyn Wildlife center near Porthmadog. It took us a lot longer than we thought to get there because traffic was really slow after an incident, but we did get there.

Unfortunately we didn’t see much of the Ospreys, Mum and kids stayed in the nest and we think Dad was off fishing.  There is a viewing point with scopes set up so you can view the nest but that day it was difficult to see very much apart from the odd flurry of movement. The birds are protected and obviously if the viewing platform and visitor center were closer to the nest it would scare the birds off. So we are very lucky to be able to see them at all.

It did give me a great opportunity to test out the optical zoom on my camera and to be fair, I’m pretty impressed with it. It’s only a little Fuji bridge camera but I think its great. Here are a couple of photos so you can see what I mean.

This is the view from the visitor center


And this is it fully zoomed in on the nest. (You can see more with the scopes)


Hopefully you can see what I mean – I have to vastly reduce the size of the images for this blog page so that the file sizes are reasonable.

I would definitely recommend a trip to center if you’re in the area during breeding season and I would absolutely recommend having a look at their Facebook page and website. They have a remote webcam set up on the nest with a live stream on the site, the view of the birds with that is exceptionally clear.

There are loads of bird feeders around the visitor center too, I took a picture of this cute little fella who kept getting inside one of the feeders. Apparently he just didn’t want anyone else having any of that fat ball. One of the staff members said they took him out a few times but he just got straight back in again!


Before we got there I had no clue that the Glaslyn Wildlife Centre is on the Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railway, right next to the Pont Croesor Stop. There are only a few trains passing through everyday and we didn’t think we would see one but just as we were having a brew back at the car, we heard a whistle and rushed back up to take some pics.

Sadly I didn’t have time to get my camera out of its case so only managed a couple on my phone. It’s such a shame because if I had got a shot of the whole engine it would definitely be my next painting project. I’ve no idea what kind of engine it is (apart from the fact it’s narrow gauge) but it is a pretty one.


The rest of the day the awesome Ian took me on a very scenic tour of that part of Wales, It is flippin lovely!

We worked out when we got back that Ian had driven for a total of 8 hours that day, no wonder he was tired. He’s awesome!

The rest of our week off was just as busy:

Friday was National Beer Day! Yay! Of course we had to celebrate that! In fact we celebrated in 6 different pubs. I could write a lot more about that but this post is already quite long (and it would make us look even more like the beer hounds we obviously are).

Saturday, we were back out in one of those pubs to watch the Rugby. England got beat by the Springboks, again.

Sunday was Father’s Day so we went to spend some time with my Dad. Poor fella has been in hospital since Thursday with a gall stone that’s causing infections, he’s feeling a bit better today thankfully and will hopefully be home again in a couple of days.

That’s it then, back to work today (I’m sat here in my dressing gown waiting for my work clothes to dry) and hopefully I’ll get to do some pastel painting tomorrow. 

Before I go, I just want to say, a big thank you to everyone on Facebook who helped me last week when I asked you check the font on the blog to see if was legible.  Thanks Guys! As far I know it’s fine now but if there are any issues please let me know.

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