Dear Father and Mother,
Thur. 28 June 1973
The fact that I am at this moment attempting to keep up the unequal correspondence is entirely due to my having been fortunate enough to obtain four lifts which got me from New Quay YH to here in good time.
I discovered at about Cardigan that I'd left some washing behind but a kindly lady who runs a B&B (in opposition to the YH) offered to collect it and post it to London. So now I'm sitting under a cloudless sky watching my ferry (ship?) come into port, I know where my next meal is coming from (the café across the road) and am at peace with the world.
Many people here have told me Ireland is the last place on earth they'd visit at present but I carry on undaunted. Only thing is, I'll have to throw away all my clarinets, hay and contraceptives before I get to Rosslare at about 1730. I haven't checked with TAP because I decided I'd go to Ireland anyway, though I'd very much like to visit him. If I have time, I'd like to return via Belfast, Isle of Man, Liverpool, Chester (EJF?) and straight through to London. If time runs short, I'll then take a bus from London to Frankfurt (£12.50).
Immediately after writing to you last time, I hitched down through Glasgow to Carlisle, seeing Gretna Green only from the motorway. I'm sure a lot of these places would only be a disappointment to me if I returned at this stage , so I have decided to break new ground this time and allow time and memory to romanticise some new places. Also, my philosophy of travel has altered somewhat. I find it interesting to sample the flavour of a place by, for example, eating and drinking with the locals in a pub, instead of rushing around looking at the tourist sights. When the Welshmen in an Aberystwyth pub found I wasn't English, they informed I was "one of them (one of us)".
Just to make a liar of myself, I visited the Carlisle Cathedral (orig. Norman), museum, art gallery and Castle (where Mary Q of Scots was interned for some time). The Quilkeys picked me up on Saturday and for a couple of days we toured the Lake District (nothing new to you). Even in Britain's highest rainfall area, the weather was kind to us. The YH at Ambleside at the head of Lake Windemere was a beautiful ex-hotel with "wart-wall" carpets etc. (at 80P, rather more expensive than usual). We took a dinghy out for an early-morning row on the lake (free) to make the most of our stay. The ruggedness of some of the hills and passes in the Lakes surprised me.
From there we crossed to the Yorkshire Dales, stayed a night in the old rectory at Linton (now a YH), visited Bolton Abbey (disappointing after Fountains) and went on to Blackpool which we found every bit as horrible as we hoped - the most abominably kitsch resort within our experience.
We had a short look around Chester (not convenient to contact the old gentleman) and found it vied with York as the most attractive city we'd seen in England. We toured along the north of Wales (Conway, Bangor) and spent a night in a woodland YH near Betsw-y-coed. Next day, after skirting Snowdon, visiting Caernarvon and Harlech, they left me at Shrewsbury.
Yesterday I hitched to New Quay, enjoying a 3-hour trip on the Vale of Rheidol Railway along the way. I love this coast of Wales - almost as good as New South Wales.