Driver: Daniel Smee
Monday 2nd July The day dawned bright and warm as had the many before us in this warm spell. This week's job was to pick up at St Barts school in Newbury and take them to Aberystwyth for the week. 6:45am I arrived at the school to pick the group up. After loading the coach I was very warm! Too hot for that time of day! Our trip took us along the M4 motorway and across the second Severn crossing into Wales. After a brief stop at Magor services for some breakfast and a trip to the loo we came off the motorway and headed up towards Abergavenny. Through the town centre and onwards to our next stop at Builth Wells for a quick toilet break and a stretch of the legs by the river. Onwards through the mountains of Wales and through many places I can only dream of pronouncing correctly, we arrived at our lunch stop just north of Aberystwyth, Ynyslas sand dunes. After being told I could park on the beach I was a bit dubious as I didn't want to get my 18 tonne coach stuck on the sand. We did it last year in a double decker, so we went for it and what a view. The parking area was firm under tyre and led to a couple of breathtaking photos.
After an ice cream and a walk across the dunes we boarded the coach again to go up to Borth Bog. Parked at the side of a quiet but straight road the group left me to sit in the heat whilst they walked down the gravel track to the bog. After an hour or so the group returned, some covered in mud from the bog. Our next and final destination for the day was Aberystwyth university where we would be staying for the next 4 nights. After dinner and unloading the coach it was time for a rest.
Tuesday 3rd July. Again the day started warm and dry with temperatures expecting to be around 30 °c. After breakfast and collecting the lunch boxes for the group. We took a steady drive up into the mountains along some winding, tight and sometimes very hilly lanes going past a couple of wild fires along the way. We shortly arrived at our first point of the day. The old abandoned lead mines in the valley just outside Cwmystwyth. Very windy down here with the wind whistling through the valley taking the edge off of the heat Again some outstanding views and a perilous climb up the loose lead on foot gave me these fantastic photos.
After completing their work for the day we took a steady drive along more tight twisty roads back to Aberystwyth university via a welcome stop at a nearby supermarket to get some refreshments and some supplies. A short day out on the coach today, but plenty of time for some chill out time in the sun in the afternoon and evening and watching the England match in the lecture theater in the evening.
Wednesday 4th July Another hot day, leaving the university at 0930 we took the short drive back to Ynyslas to park on the beach. The group were working on the beach and in the sand dunes all day today. A quiet day today with not much driving. At 1600 it was time to head back up to the university for dinner and some free time in the evening.
Thursday 5th July A short day today, taking the group from Aberystwyth university down to the sea front at Aberystwyth. And back up to the university in time for lunch. The afternoon consisted of lectures at the university for the students and some more down time for me, getting ready to head back to England and home tomorrow. As darkness fell over Aberystwyth university. I was asked to join the group for moth hunting and then bat watch, before heading back to my room to make final preparations for the drive home in the morning.
Friday 6th July The day began overcast and somewhat chilly compared to previous mornings but soon began to warm up.
After leaving Aberystwyth university, we headed back to Builth Wells for a quick toilet stop by the river. Then back on the road again back to Magor services for lunch before getting back on the motorway heading back over the Severn Bridge and back to school. A good week was had by all.