The Team

The TravPad team is Graeme and Lukas.

We both enjoy travelling and have done so widely and in a number of countries.

Graeme live and works as a lawyer in London and Lukas has a painting and window restoration company in southern Sweden. 

Back in 2000, they met in Sheffield. Lukas came backpacking from the Middle East to visit friends there and met Graeme who was living with them – he was studying at the time. They became firm friends. 

Years later, Graeme came to visit Lukas in a small town in Southern Costa Rica. While hitchhiking down a dusty road one day, Graeme wanted to know how far it was to the next bar. This led to talk about travel guides and how important ‘local knowledge’ was. They were both disappointed at the lack of published local information out there and discussed service they both wanted to see from travel sites in the future. 

They quickly decided that rather than waiting around, they’d have a bash at doing it themselves. They shook hands and that was the start of TravPad.

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We’ve used various social and traveling sites and we believe we know what travellers want; that is to get the local knowledge about a spot and then put it all in one place. You know, where to sleep and eat and what to see. This is what travelling and social websites should offer – not a chance to show off and make other people feel sad – about mutual cooperation and the free and easy exchange of information.

We hope TravPad will offer an alternative to the more mainstream and more ‘polished’ sites. We, like many other travellers, know what existing sites lack and we also know what services are missing for us. We suspect that’s probably the same problem for other people. 

We think that travelling is about getting into the society you find yourself in. We believe the special experiences happen when you “get behind the scenes”. We know the special memories are formed when you get to know the things that the locals care about.

We aren’t happy with the way things are. We want to change things. We want to build something useful and unique. That something is TravPad. This is the philosophy behind the project.

We just started and we will add more features to the TravPad project.  We started out with the Point of Interests (POI), the foundation of the site. Later we will add the social elements, like being able to hook up and hang out with local guides, sharing accommodation and hitching available rides.

Stay with us to see. It’s a big project but we think it’s going to be fun!

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Kristine, Li and Graeme in Costa Rica. The day we started to talk about what would later become TravPad.

So. Where is the Berlin Wall Now?

The wall divided the city of Berlin. It was dragged down and the pieces are now scattered around the world.

I’m very young. What was it?

Construction of the Wall

The Berlin Wall was a … well, it was a wall wasn’t it? It was in … hmm. .. ‘Berlin’. That’s the easy bit. It divided Berlin into East and West. That’s the geography bit. The political bit’s more complicated.

Following the war, there were four Allied Powers supervising the reconstruction of Germany. Berlin was divided into four parts, each supervised by an Allied country. Three of them had a falling out with Russia. The three decided that it was time to combine the non soviet parts of Berlin for ease of reconstruction – West Berlin. Russia went it alone with its ‘piece’ – East Berlin. This essentially created a conceptual melting-pot of two opposing political philosophies; capitalism (West) and communism (East). There were then problems as some people did not consider themselves capitalist and some did not consider themselves communist. This led to people attempting to leave Eastern Berlin. The emigrants happened to be young and educated. This needed to be stopped. How to do it? A whacking big wall. Work commenced in 17 August 1961 and took approximately 3 months to build. A massive expanse of land was cleared as a ‘no man’s land’. Those attempting to escape over the wall were shot.

Due to a leak of people from East Germany into a bewildered Hungary in 1989, and then into Czechoslovakia, the political ideology began to show cracks. Demonstrations began and ultimately, this led to the border between East and West being opened again. What started as a tentative, cautious souvenir collection by some, by taking bits of the wall (using chisels and sledgehammers) to ‘have their piece of history’, mushroomed into full scale demolition by mobs of sometimes angry, sometimes jubilant Germans – happy to be reunited. The wall was torn down. Some bits found themselves in entirely different parts of the world – even in different continents. Now, they stand, on quiet streets and in public parks as a symbol and reminder that attempts to segregate people with either physical or abstract barriers, can never endure.

Lovely. So I’ve been patient. I’ve read that. Where’s the travel bit? Where in the world is the wall now?

In short, all over the world. This symbol is so potent that it is now present in all continents on the planet and in almost every country on earth. Here are the more obscure placements:-

Madrid, Spain

The pieces to be found in Madrid now form part of a fountain in the leafy Parque de Berlín. The plaque explains that these segments are a present from the City of Berlin to the City of Madrid.

Urinal Backing, “Main Street Station” Hotel, Las Vegas, Arizona

Cape Town, South Africa

A large slab of wall has even made it to Cape Town. This one lives at the end of St George’s Mall, in the middle of the city:-

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Lesser Known Dragon Hotspots of Europe

© The J R R Tolkein Copyright Trust 1937, 1966

Everyone loves a dragon. I think there was a time in my childhood when I thought they were real. Just very, very rare. That’s right – they used to hang around with the unicorns. Oh, how my literally ‘fantastic’ world was shattered when I was told, rather aggressively, that they didn’t exist (that conversation might have taken place last week).

But, did they exist? Were they simply very big eels with bad breath which existed in the middle-ages – eels that someone told a bit of a stretcher about down the local tavern to his drunken mates to show off? “Yeah, slayed a dragon down near Black Pond yesterday. Fierce brute. Fiery breath. Nearly did for me”. And the reality? Some fat bloke in armour wrestling an eel in some grass. Perhaps we’ll never know. Anyway, here are some of the dragon hotspots of Europe, where the mythology is strongest.

The Wawel Dragon, Krakow, Poland

A 16th century drawing of ‘Smok Wawelski’ (The Wawel Dragon) in its cave in the rock – on which Warsaw Castle now sits

On Wawel Hill, in Krakow, Poland, is a huge hill with Warsaw Castle perched on top. The medieval city of Krakow – and Poland’s original capital – meanders around beneath it.

Many different stories exist. This is just one of them. When that place ‘was all just fields’, stories would be told to wide-eyed children of a fearful beast which dwelled in an overgrown cave somewhere in the rock. The creature was known to carry off a sheep or two here or there, perhaps a man or a child on occasion. It had to stop. Yet no-one was a match for this ferocious monster. Until a shoemaker called ‘Krakus’ had a pop at it. He basically fed the dragon a poisoned sheep. Once the slithery character had been killed, the locals made Krakus king. They built him a castle and renamed the area Krakow in his honour.

A small statue of him and the dragon can be see on Sienna Street, Krakow. A collection of huge bones, suspended above the entrance of the castle are said to be the bones of the dragon.

Nowadays, beneath the citadel, you can see a statue of the beast outside of the cave supposed to have been its lair. It breathes fire every few minutes (thanks to some natural gas and a nozzle in its mouth).

What’s more, you can even make it breathe fire by sending an SMS with the word ‘SMOK’ to number 7168.

See the location on TravPad here.

The Sockburn Worm, Durham, England

A heady image of the Sockburn Worm (‘Worm’ is local dialect for Dragon) and the knight who slayed it, Sir John Conyers

In the most southern part of County Durham, there’s a curious loop in the River Tees – at this point, it seems Durham is bulging as far south as it can – like an inflating balloon – into the southern neighbouring county of what used to be part of Yorkshire.

‘The Sockburn Loop’ with Sockburn Hall at the top right, within the loop, and on the site of the earlier Norman hall

This area is ancient. The ‘loop’ which has been formed in the river, encircles an area of land which is only entered by land at the ‘neck’ of this loop. This entrance to the wider territory is small – less than a quarter of a mile across. The current owners of the hall are restoring it and do not seem to encourage tourism. This just makes the area more enigmatic.

Sockburn was an area ravaged by a “…worm, dragon or fiery flying serpent…”. This story was said to have inspired Lewis Carroll (who grew up at the nearby village of Croft) to write his ‘Jabberwocky’.Although the details of the scrap between the knight Conyers and the unlucky beast are scant, the remnants of what is supposedly a myth are suspiciously rich and numerous. The spring where the dragon used to bathe is still there and visible.

The Spring in which the Dragon used to bathe

The ‘Grey Stone’ beneath which lie the remains of the beast is still also partially visible. There is an effigy of Sir John Conyers in the ruined and ancient church there, with the dragon wrapped around his feet, as it must have been for centuries.

The Conyer’s Falchion, Durham Cathedral Treasury

The extremely rare Conyer’s Falchion (a type of old sword and the best surviving example of its type in the world), used to actually slay the dragon, still exists and can be seen in Durham Cathedral treasury (see location on the TravPad map).

Read more about this fascinating area on TravPad here.

The Dragon’s Well, Brinsop, England

The Dragon’s Well

Given the actual importance of what is said to have happened here, the fact that most English folk haven’t even heard of this place is staggering. Even I hadn’t heard about it until a few months ago.

For the tiny village of Brinsop was the location of the epic battle between a knight called St George and a now quite-well known dragon. The knight has become the patron saint of England. The dragon could only hit ‘A-List’ historical/cultural-celebrity-status by being killed.

St George, in stained glass, St George’s Church, Brinsop

Like the Sockburn beast, this dragon based itself near a water-source in a grassy meadow in the village. Plainly, the villagers didn’t like it roaring around, breathing on everything, burning their crops and eating their sheep. And their relatives. George was called in. And he slew it. And that’s a very long story, told in a very tiny nutshell. The stone shown above, buried in a meadow just south of the small churchyard of – yes, you guessed it, St George’s Church – marks the spot where the creature was said to have been killed. See the location on TravPad here.

The Dragon Bridge, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Dragon on Dragon Bridge, Ljubljana, Slovenia

The reason the bridge has dragons on it is simply because the Greek hero Jason (and his sword-happy argonauts) supposedly killed a dragon not too far from the city.

Fresh from relieving the Colchians of their golden fleece (and reportedly killing a dragon which had been guarding it), Jason legged it, only to be pursued by a huge army. In an attempt to give them the slip, he took a turning up the River Danube, on up the River Sava and eventually up the River Ljubljanica almost to its source. They took the boat to bits, marched it across to the Adriatic and carried on their way. Somewhere between Ljubljana and Vrhnika these cheeky mythological chappies encountered a marsh. Guess what was living in the marsh? Yes, a dragon. Having battled a substantial number of monsters already, this wee swamp-beastie was dispatched without breaking into a sweat.

It is now immortalised by one of the dragons on the bridge.

If you have any dragon related spots, please either tweet them to us, send us a comment on this blog, or place them directly on the TravPad map!

Ever Been Told to “Go To Hell”?

You’d like that, wouldn’t you? Well you can’t go. You can stare into it, but you can’t go. But you can go to ‘Heaven’.

The accessible entrance to ‘Heaven’, ringed in red

For these are the names of two dramatic caves on the southern Turkish coast reached by a winding mountain road from the town of Narlikuyu. In Turkish, they are named ‘Cennet Çökügü’, or simply Cennet (‘Heaven’) and Cehennem Çukuru, or Cehennem (‘Hell’). They are interesting for those who like geography (particularly caves) and also those who like mythology. The mythology of these two places are fascinating.

Heaven involves a descent into a valley, or a pit. Down over 400 steps, the air gets colder and everything seems still, the cavern opens out in front of you. Birdsong bounces off the walls of the valley, giving a slightly disorientating feeling. Keep an eye open for the hundreds of pieces of cloth which have been tied to the tree branches – visitors exhibiting religious ritual. Continuing the walk over to this enormous wound in the rock makes you feel very small indeed. The valley is over 100 metres wide and almost 100 metres deep. The mouth of the cave yawns in front of you. The big shock is when you see what’s in the cave though.

A Byzantine Chapel poking its nose into everyone’s business

Yes, that’s right, it’s a 5th century Byzantine Chapel – you really can’t move for them these days. It’s called the Chapel of the Virgin Mary, and we’ll see how that came to be there, later.

Heading past the chapel you go further into the cave. A table and chairs have been rigged up to provide somewhere for a bit of a rest. Not at the top – at the bottom.

It’s not possible to go right to the very end of the cave, as last reports indicate that it was blocked off by a barrier. But beyond this barrier is a free running underground stream (videos of this underground water source can be found online). In winter, when there’s more water running here, the stream can be heard as quite a distinctive roar apparently. It was this noise which convinced ancient peoples who visited the cave, that within the depths of this dank place, lived a monster (see the note on ‘Typhon’ below). The chapel mentioned above was so placed to try to neutralise and defend against the threat posed by this monster.

The viewing platform, hanging over the entrance to Hell

Going back up, into the burning sunlight, thoughts turn to ‘Hell’. Wandering over and away from Heaven, this cave is a massive sinkhole. The floor of the cave is inaccessible. The bottom of this huge chasm, or pit, is some 130 metres straight down. Apparently, there was, at one time, a steel ladder which led to the bottom of this pit, but there were no signs of this. The best view you can now get is from a steel viewing platform which is positionedslightly beyond the lip of the chasm, and overhanging the drop. Not for the faint hearted.

The sides of Cehennem look scorched. This is where the mythology comes in. The King of the Gods Zeus, was said to have battled Typhon, ‘The Father of All Monsters’ – a creature with over 100 serpent heads. Getting the upper hand on this slippery devil, Zeus threw Tyhpon into Cehennem, where the beast remained imprisoned. The scorch-marks are said to have been caused by Typhon’s fiery breath, in its rage, unable to escape.

Epic battle between Zeus and Typhon

So, as you can see, in this case it really is easier to get into ‘Heaven’ than it is to get into Hell.

See a video, said to be of the stream in the depths of Cennet HERE

See where this place is on a map over at TRAVPAD

Rushton Triangular Lodge

Like Triangles? Then Don’t Miss This Place!
 
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A cross section of this quirky and fascinating building would show a triangle. In fact, a lot of the features of the building – including windows – are made up of triangles.

Now for most people, this is quite interesting, as its design is rare. For some other people – computer types – particularly fans of a ‘video game’ (showing my age there) called Zelda, this place is even more intriguing. The windows are in the shape of a ‘trinity’ (called the ‘triforce’ in that game, but enought about that) and when the sun shines through them, it looks quite something.

It was designed by Sir Thomas Tresham (father of one of the Gunpowder Plotters) and constructed in the late 1500s.

Tresham was Roman Catholic and that’s why the number three Imageis all over the place here. The ‘three’ (most illustrated by the triangle here) symbolises the Holy Trinity (the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit). There are three floors, trefoil windows and three triangular gables on each side. The three walls are 33 feet long. Each wall has three triangular windows. There are three gargoyles.

On the entrance front is the inscription ‘Tres Testimonium Dant’ (‘there are three that give witness’), a Biblical quotation from St John’s Gospel referring to the Trinity.

Opening times are generally between 11:00am and 4:00pm, except on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, when it’s closed. Tickets cost £3.20 for an adult, £1.90 for a child and concessions (OAPs and students are £2.90).

See this Point of Interest on TravPad

Or Follow Us on Twitter @TravPad

Our Favourite Waterfalls

Iguazu Falls, Brazil/Argentina, South America

Quite terrifying waterfall (“big water”) on the borders of Brazil and Argentina. It falls around 269 feet.

The fall is made up of hundreds of smaller waterfalls, depending on rainfall. In terms of surface water flowing over the falls, Iguazu Falls is over twice as large as the perhaps more famous Niagara Falls.

It’s been featured in both Bond and Indiana Jones films – not to mention Miami Vice.

Legend has it that an ancient god planned to marry a beautiful woman. She spurned the almighty for her mortal lover. They both foolishly paddled off together in a canoe, looking forward to some ‘together time’, banking on the fact that the god was probably going to be a good sport about it. You guessed it, no, no he wasn’t. In rage, he sliced at them on the river, creating the waterfalls and condemning the lovers to an eternal fall.

Go to this Point of Interest on TravPad

Grande Cascade de Gavarnie (Gavernie Waterfall), France, Europe 

The highest waterfall in France, plunging a powerful 420 metres.

A stunning waterfall, set in even more jaw-dropping surroundings, the Gavernie Waterfall is a temperamental beast. In the hottest of summers, it’s a torrent. In winter – even with a sniff of a cold breeze, it just stops flowing.

This is largely due to the fact that it is sourced from the glacier above it – in actual fact, on the Spanish side. The waters sink underground, then surface on the very lip of the fall, before thundering down into the rocks below.

Go to this Point of Interest on TravPad

Skógarfoss, Iceland, Europe

Immense waterfall, which hides a mystery treasure

The Skógarfoss is one of the biggest waterfalls in the country with a width of 25 metres (82 feet) and a drop of 60 metres (200ft).

According to legend, the first Viking settler in the area, “Þrasi Þórólfsson”, buried a treasure-chest in a cave behind the waterfall. The legend continues that, after a particularly cold summer, when the ice-melt wasn’t too great, the waterfall had a reduced flow – incredibly rarely. One of the rings of the treasure-chest became visible. A local bravely climbed up and grabbed for the ring, found it, and clung on for dear life. Eventually, the handle of the chest could not hold his weight and broke free from the chest. The ring was allegedly given to the local church. The old church door ring is now in a folk museum, a few hundred metres away where it can be seen.

A particularly amazing option – and one not to be missed – is the fact that you can camp on that patch of grass you can see to the right of the picture. This means that the rumble of the falls lulls you into your slumber and the clean, iced, crisp smell of the glacial waters assaults your nostrils when you awake.

Go to this Point of Interest on TravPad

McWay Falls, California, North America 

Possibly one of the most beautiful settings for a waterfall on the planet. This waterfall isn’t big, and it isn’t powerful. But just *look* at it … 

It is actually correctly called a ‘tidefall’ and is rare in that it empties directly into the ocean. Not many waterfalls have this feature.

The drop is quite modest to some of its American cousins, but the sheer beauty of this fall and the cove in which it empties makes this little place quite special.

Go to this Point of Interest on TravPad

Steinsdalsfossen Waterfall, Norway, Europe 

The waterfall is only 50 metres high and is best visited when glacial melt swell the waters. It is one of the most visited waterfalls in Norway because of a rather unusual feature.

Steinsdalsfossen leaps right over the edge of a cliff, and also over a path, on which pedestrians can wander underneath it. Looking up, you can plainly see the hundreds of tonnes of water thundering just past your head, whilst keeping your feet completely dry.

Go to this Point of Interest on TravPad

Wild Swimming – Do as you’re told and ‘blank’ the cold

So. It’s spring already. Another drought is here, hosepipes lower their noses in shame as they slither off in humiliation, directed by an index finger towards the garden shed. However, don’t be put off. It is April – month of showers and deluges. We believe that, much like putting the washing out on a sunny day, writing about having a great time splashing around in the sunshine will cause a deluge. Think of this article as a contemporary  equivalent of a rain dance.

If, like us, you don’t want to waste the very few weekends and sunny days we may have, come ‘summer’, then ignore the ponderous shoe-scuffing of the rainclouds and get planning now.

First, the complaints

For a nation surrounded by water, we don’t really spend enough time in it. “But it’s collllldddddd” you whine. Well, for starters, nobody’s suggesting you jump in the North Sea off the coast of Northumberland (although plenty of people do). There are plenty of isolated pools, rivers and lakes dotted around. After a couple of days, these bodies of water get warm. Not ‘Sunday-night-hot-as-you-can-take-it’ bathwater style hot, but warm enough to swim; between 15-20 degrees centigrade (swimming pools are often around 28 -30 but hardly ever more than that). Once you’ve got used to the initial chill, you really do feel the heat of the water – it’s just a little hurdle to get over first.

Sorry, what now? ‘Dirty’ I hear you say? Rubbish. So long as you’re not jumping in a muddy brown canal with an old Ford Anglia and a shopping trolley poking out above the surface of the water, you’ll be fine. A lot of rivers, waterways and lakes are now very clean. As always, it’s best to rely on local knowledge of bathing spots; no-one wants to joyously bounce off for their first experience of wild-swimming, only to put their foot down for a rest and stand on a bear trap or a mine. That really would widen the boundaries of the meaning of ‘disappointment’.

And no, believe it or not, you’re not likely to surface from an adventurous 2 minute underwater ‘otter-thon’ directly into the gaze of an angry farmer with a shotgun up your nostril. So long as you don’t wander into a fishing river, or into a private estate (even though you can swim at the river at one of the biggest – Chatsworth House in Derbyshire), then you can flipper around fearlessly.

“Wild Swimming”. Even the mention of the words together conjure up images initially imprinted upon us from countless kids’ books from childhood. Drifting along in a deep, slow-moving river, swirling under leafy trees – the whole water sparkling manically from the sunlight punching through the canopy – and sprawling out on a soft, green, grassy bank afterwards.

These pools and ponds, lakes and rivers absorb heat directly from the sun over a number of days. The sun also heats the ground and the rocks around the water. The water then takes heat from its surroundings. And you get to drift around in it.

Here’s our guide, containing a hand-picked and polished selection of some of those best spots.

ENGLAND

Slippery Stones, Derbyshire, England

This place is a pretty remarkable plunge pool – a bit awkward to get to – but worth it. Make a day of it. A small stream winds down through a valley, and, just before dropping into a deep pool, the water has to run over large flat stones which make up the stream bed. Here, the stream is only a couple of inches deep, and therefore gets superheated by both sun and stones as it tumbles. It is these stones which give the area its name.

(photo courtesy of ‘WildSwim.com’)

It does get busy – especially after a couple of hot days when the locals know it’s hot enough to take a dip.

Get there:- The co-ordinates are SK 168 950. During the week the road is open up to Kings Tree (SK 167 937). At weekends, perhaps a little unfairly, that road is shut. You have to park at Fairholmes and get the bus/ cycle or walk. If you’re on the bus, being dropped of at ‘Kings Tree’, you follow the forestry road for half a mile up the valley. Cross the stone bridge and follow the riverbank up for about 200m. You’ll see the stones and the pool. Look under ‘activities’ at the northern end of ‘Howden Reservoir’ at www.travpad.org.

Near the Bridge, River Thames at Clifton Hampden, Oxfordshire

Don’t worry – you’re not going to catch anything. This is the River Thames but, at this stage of its life, is not quite the same beasty (or containing quite the same ‘beasties’) as that which flows past the Houses of Parliament. Here, the river is clean and peaceful, way upstream from any nastiness.

Photo © Jimmy Whittaker

Here the river winds its way through rushes and past grassy banks. On those banks are little pubs and cafes. Nice.

Getting There: From Oxford train station, take the number X3 bus to the Chatham Road stop. Look out for Green Gables.

Durdle Door, Dorset

Yes, it IS the sea. After we said you didn’t have to and everything. Anyway, the appeal here is the amazing limestone arch which steps out into the sea.

The arch is private property – meaning you can’t go onto it – but the ground and beach upon which it rests is accessible to the public. Next door are numerous other coves – including the quite beautiful Lulworth cove. The grottos there can be explored both above and below water (bring some snorkelling gear).

Getting There: Take the train to Wool railway station. The station is approximately five miles away from Lulworth Cove. From there, you can either get a taxi (get their number so you can ask that they come and collect you afterwards) or one of the many and frequent local buses.

Outney Common, Suffolk

The River Waveney winds along the border of Norfolk and Suffolk through Outney Common. This is a two-mile expanse of green meadow studded with wildflowers, grazing cows and hedgerows; the whole scene looks pretty much like something off the front of a chocolate box.

Swans, herons and kingfishers can be seen on the river and, in the summer beautiful damselflies, butterflies and dragonflies. The river is also frequented by canoeists, so keep your eyes peeled, less you receive a bounce on the bonce from one of these silent drifters. A gorgeous, very English, place to swim.

Getting There: Beccles is the closest station to Bungay. Local transport can be arranged from the station.

WALES

The Blue Pool, RhossiliBay, Gower, Wales

A beautiful tidal pool – in reality a large rock pool –  which heats up quickly, with stunning surrounding scenery. The cove, and pool, is only accessible on foot. You have to wait until the tide is out.

Photo Copyright D Start

Getting There: Walk across the Llangennith sand dunes, or from Burry Holms at the northern point of Rhossili bay. Perhaps the surest way to get there is to head for Llangennith and look out for signposts in the village to the pool. Remember to take a towel. (www.travpad.org)

The Blue Lagoon, off Horshoe Pass, nr Llangollen, North Wales

you’ll find the Blue Lagoon. Only for experienced swimmers as it is 12m (about 40ft) deep. Not really suitable for kids – it really is deep. Swimmers and divers haunt the pool always, You can dive from about 20ft from various ledges in the quarry wall. It’s not quite as warm as the one in Iceland though. The water is fresh and clean and can be cold. As ever, ACCLIMATIZE FIRST!

Take some snorkelling gear; as the pool is clear, you can make yourself dizzy with vertigo (strangely) by looking downwards watching the cliff disappearing beneath you. The copper sulphate content of the water is likely to give it it’s colour. As long as you wash at some point afterwards, this is not harmful.

Getting There: From Llangollen take the A542 towards the Horseshoe Pass. Park at the Ponderosa Café. Walk directly opposite up into Golwern Quarry in the second of the large Holes.

Llyn Idwal (Lake), nr Capel Curig, North Wales

Crystal blue, small lake, much loved by locals. The lake lies in the ‘hanging valley’ (nothing to do with ropes or death, don’t worry) of Cwm Idwal. It may be small, but is  big enough to lose the crowds here.

Getting There: Really best visited by car. From the town of Capel Curig, head North Westerly on the A5 until you see the lake ‘Llyn Ogwen’ (King Arthur’s sword Excalibur is said to be hidden in this lake). Keep driving with the lake on your right until you get to the car park at Ogwen Cottage (at the end of Llyn Ogwen). Follow the signs, on foot, from there.

Catching the drift? Want to know more? Get out there and enjoy your summer. TravPad will be posting more snippets of things to do for summer next week.

In the meantime, here are some useful links for your dolphin-esque summer exploits:-

http://www.wildswimming.co.uk/photohighlights.html

http://wildswim.com/