Mini adventure: dragons and beaches

I’m a big fan of the concept of mini adventures, or micro adventures as Sebastian Solberg likes to call them. The idea is simple:

It’s easy to get bogged down by all the day-to-day pressures and get stuck in a continuous cycle of work and life commitments. However, having new experiences and pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone on a daily basis is essential for growth, balance, and happiness.

A microadventure is close to home, overnight or a couple of days, cheap, simple, and most importantly a lot of fun!

This is something I plan to do a lot more of in 2017 as I’ll go into in another post – but this post in particular is about a mini adventure I had back in September. I’d seen on facebook that there was a dragon touring Welsh castles over the summer. Anyone who knows me knows I love dragons (so much I wrote a couple of books about them), plus I’m a big fan of castles. At the time the dragon was just about to head up to distant, dangerous north Wales… and although I’m sure it’s a lovely place, it’s a ridiculously long drive for a day trip. I noticed it was coming back down to more reachable lands later in the summer and made a note in my calendar.

So in September I grabbed a road trip buddy and we headed off for a 2.5 hour drive across the Severn bridge, paid our toll and got accepted into Wales. The weather was amazing (missing it now!) and finally we reached Kidwelly Castle. It’s inside a tiny village that still has its original gates and everything is very well preserved. Just through the entrance there are doorways to dungeons and rooms with giant fireplaces you can climb inside, plus a couple of museum-like rooms with the history of the castle.

Then… it was dragon time!

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14317327_10211252064840765_5056942843557978497_nAfter paying our respects (/posing for selfies) we carried on exploring the castle. We spent about three hours there, hunting out all the rooms and climbing to the top of the towers and inside ovens (watch your head with that oven…) We also learnt quite a lot about Gwenllian, a Welsh princess who was beheaded at the castle by Normans in 1136 after raising an army against them.

I’d bought a new lens (20mm, f1.7 for micro 4/3, if you’re interested…) for my camera a couple of days before and was very excited to try it out in preparation for Canada & Iceland… as you can probably tell by the photo-heavy nature of this post. Have some more!

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We bade farewell to the dragon and her castle (having been informed that all Welsh dragons are female) and started back east – but not into England yet. Growing up, I had many holidays on the south coast of Wales in Gower. It had been two years since I had last visited and knowing I would be passing it anyway, the opportunity was too good to miss.

After eventually finding a parking space on Mumbles pier, we had ice cream sundaes at Verdi’s (another staple of my childhood) then went on to the beach and rockpools. There was much less beach than I remembered due to high tide, so of course the only sensible thing to do was clamber up a sloping cliff to see if there was any more beach on the other side. The answer was no – but we did get an incredible view (and a somewhat scary wind blowing over the top of the cliff ) for our efforts, before finally having to come home to reality.


When more holidays aren’t possible because of time & money constraints, going on a mini adventure somewhere local is an ideal alternative. Besides – what more could you want than dragons, castles, beaches and ice cream?

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