Friday July 31
Today, we had a late morning and took our time leaving the hotel. We prepared our own breakfast of cereal and yogurt in the room and walked across the parking lot to a MacDonald's to grab a coffee 'for the road' before beginning to drive south to Wrexham.
We stopped to buy sandwiches from a Marks and Spencer shop at a services lay-by along the M74, and continued toward the Lake District. We stopped briefly at Pooley Bridge on the north shore of Lake Ullswater to take a photo to send to Joyce (a summer destination during their grammar schools days). Following our short stop, we continued around the lakeshore and followed the road up to Kirkstone Pass to look for a picnic spot. It began to rain as we drove up from the valley and was pouring as we reach the top of the pass. Nevertheless, we stopped at the top and ate our picnic lunch in the car before driving down into Ambleside and along to Windermere to meet up with the M6 south.
All was well on the M6 until we started to get close to Liverpool. The motorway information signs indicated that there were potential slowdowns ahead, and they were right! We spent an hour or so in a very long traffic jam -- a result of a Friday afternoon migration of people heading somewhere in midsummer!
We arrived at our usual Premier Inn in Gresford (near Wrexham) to find that a new extension wing had been added since last year. We were given a room in the new wing and were happy about that (apparently, this wing had only been open for a week or so).
We rested for a short while before driving to the Trevor Arms in Rossett to meet cousin Tony and Leah for dinner. Their son, Ryan, did not come as he and his girlfriend Joanne had just returned from a trip to Anglesey. We had a nice meal and caught up on the news about Danny and Eluned. We went back to their house for a coffee where we saw Ryan and met his girlfriend. We did not stay too long as Heather still had her cold.