Liverpool, Manchester and Superlambanana’s

There’s nothing like driving for 30 mins along a winding coast road before realising you’d left the tent pitched back at the campsite to ruin your morning. Let’s blame the World Cup final fever (beers) the night before and the fact that the shower block was so far away we decided to drive, forgetting we’d left the tent to dry out in the sun. Heading back we had the tent down and packed in 5 mins and decided to take a different route inland through Snowdonia rather than drive back the way we’d already come. We’d planned to hike the supposedly challenging (and scary to those afraid of heights) Horseshoe Trail to the summit of Mount Snowdon (the highest peak in Wales) via the kinife edge trail of Crib Gogh

Wales countryside
Welsh countryside

Alas Mother Nature did not have the same plan and we opted to keep driving as the visibility was non-existent and the rain and wind without proper wet weather gear (we were supposed to stop in at Blacks to spend Sarah’s work leaving present voucher on the Friday before we left but got road blocked by the Jagerbombs…) would have meant we’d end up cold, wet and miserable without being able to see anything. A decision we’re happy we made after a 17 year old girl fell 230ft (miraculously surviving with cuts and bruises) and two other hikers died in falls the same week. They may not be the tallest but these are some pretty dangerous mountains hikes so we can only say don’t take them lightly. The UK aren’t well known for way finding signage in the moutains and when the fog rolls in (which it will) you’re basically blind.

Moon rising
Full moon rising

We made the obligatory stop off at Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch on the island of Angelsey (famously home to Prince William and Kate Middleton until baby George came along). The town was supposedly renamed in 1860 to win the Guinness Book of Records longest name in the UK, which in Welsh means 

“St Mary’s church in the hollow of the white hazel near to the fierce whirlpool and the church of St Tysilio of the red cave”

Heading back across the 1826 Menai suspension bridge (Angelsey’s first connection to the mainland) we passed by a little island in the middle of the stream and what turned out to by an old fish weir, used to trap fish at low tide, and drove out to Llandudno pier and around Marine Drive, which had some spectacular views and some gale force winds.


John Rymans Library, VIP access - Manchester.
Interior of John Ryman Museum, Manchester

It would be rude to leave Wales without trying out some locally reared Welsh lamb, so we made a detour to Bodnant Welsh food shop in the middle of nowhere. Chatting to the butcher we were then unable to walk away without buying a freshly cut steak of the prime Welsh black beef. Turns out Welsh black is a native cattle of Wales, on the endangered natural species of Wales list, and one of the only pure bred cattle’s left in the world. Back on the road Sarah managed to buy the shittest coffee of the trip to date, one pound powdered cappuccino’s in plastic cups from a small independent service station. Pretty sure it’d been there for years as the powder didn’t blend and we had to drink it lumpy. 


'A case history' sculpture, Hope Street, Liverpool UK
‘A case history’ – Liverpool

Street Art
Street art, Liverpool

Finally we made it to Liverpool and headed out on the town, first stop the infamous Cavern Club. It’s a little disappointing to note that today’s Cavern Club is actually a replica, with the original being torn down in 1973 to make way for the Merseyrail underground. But this is made up for by the fact it was reopened in 1984 after being rebuilt with many of the original bricks and to the same plans as the original, which the Beatles made famous after they played here almost 300 times. It’s a bit touristy and they stopped serving early (it was a Monday night) but the atmosphere and the live music means it’s definitely worth a visit if you’re in town. Back on Mathew Street, which gets away with what London can’t – open windows, open doors and live music galore – we found ourselves crashing a black tie after-party at the Rubber Soul bar, watching another live band avoid the expected Beatles covers for a more Pink Floyd vibe. Good times.


Tracy Emin quote inside Liverpool Cathedral
‘I felt you and I knew you loved me’…by famous UK artist Tracey Emin, Liverpool Cathedral

Waking up with the first hangover of the trip we hunted down the closest City bike stop (Liverpool have only recently acquired their own version of London’s Boris Bikes) and for a bargain £3 each headed off site seeing. First stop was Liverpool Cathedral which is impressive, if only for the fact that there’s a neon sign inside under one of the stained glass windows, with bright pink letter’s in Tracey Emin’s handwriting saying ‘I felt you and I knew you loved me’, installed as part of Liverpool’s 2008 turn as Capital of Culture. For those who don’t know, Tracey Emin is a well known British artist who is more well known for her controversial pieces titled ‘My bed’ and ‘Everyone I’ve ever slept with’…hardly pieces you’d install in a cathedral, which makes this piece that little bit more awesome.

There’s also a great sculpture piece on Hope Street by titled ‘A case history’. A couple of stacks of suitcases and bags, if you look closely you’ll see each piece of luggage has a tag with the name of a famous Scouse from history. Stop by and see how many of them you’ve heard of.  

Street Art
Street art, Liverpool

Now for those of you who are wondering what drugs we were on when we came up with this blog title, a Superlambanana is a famous 17ft tall bright yellow Liverpool statue of a, well, Superlambanana! It’s the artists take on genetically modified food and is meant to represent a lamb cross with a banana.  As part of the 2008 Capital of Culture celebrations Liverpool commissioned and scattered 125 miniature replicas around town, some of which you can still see today. A bit like Liverpool’s version of the international Cowparade statues but with a way cooler name. I guarantee if you say Superlambanana’s out loud it’ll make you smile. We made a pact on day one that we would try not to eat McDonalds for the whole trip, so made our first stop of the trip for Mcdrinks only. Let’s see how long this lasts. Day 4 and counting…


Superlambanana statue, Liverpool UK
One of Liverpools famous Superlambanana’s

Tonight was spent in Manchester, eating the best fish and chips we’ve had in the UK in 8 years (thanks Leo’s Fish Bar), spending 20 minutes driving around one way streets to buy a 78p pint of milk and experiencing (depending on who you ask) the best (Sarah) or worst (Matt) hostel showers ever at Ashton House hostel. Set in what looked like an old gym locker room were four back to back computerised shower rooms installed, randomly, in the middle of the room. Nothing in Matt’s shower worked, while Sarah enjoyed the steam triggered opaque screen, choice of waterfall, handheld or sit down back massage water stream (or a combination!), individual inside light and a working FM radio. Not bad for a hostel shower!

Manchester has some interesting characters, which we think can be perfectly summed up by the man who approached us at the traffic lights, either completely high or pissed out of his brain, and proceeded to chant to us

‘Ah yes I like it, scary monster, super freaks!’

over and over again. But it turns out they also had some normal nice guys, which was demonstrated by Ian at the John Ryman library, who after spotting us taking loads of photos offered to take us behind the ‘no entry’ gate for a unique upstairs view.

John Ryman Museum
Spectacular interior of the John Ryman Museum, Manchester

John Rymans Library, VIP access - Manchester.
Spectacular interior of the John Ryman Museum, Manchester

He then gave us some insight into the history and the design of the place, pointing out that the artists responsible for all the detailed carvings inside (and there are over 500) were given free reign, leading to a crazy mix of standard leaf and floral details intermixed with dragons, dogs and some sort of weird bats and luck dragon type creatures. It really is a unique space, and with free entry and regular events (Halloween movie screenings, occasional live music etc…) if you’re in Manchester we’d highly recommend a visit.


John Ryman Library - Manchester
John Ryman Museum, Manchester

John Rymans Library, VIP access - Manchester.
John Ryman Museum, Manchester

 We weren’t as impressed with the People’s History Museum, but as it’s also free (or by donation) we made a quick visit. There’s some interesting displays but it’s all focused at people during the Industrial Revolution with a special display on WWII which we found a little boring. Drive time again and as we’re camping the next two nights we made a stop off at The Bulls Head pub in Milnthorpe to charge everything. Little did we know that the sketch on the wall of the man who looked like he was wearing a dryzabone is actually based on several ghost sightings in the pub. It made Matt’s day when the Samuel Smiths pub up the road The Blue Bell (the only one in the area) was finally open at 5:30pm so we stopped in for a few beers and a chat with the locals. 

Ashton House, Manchester
Ashton House, Manchester

Two of the oldest pubs in Manchester
Two of the oldest pubs in Manchester

A long way down the Borrowdale valley in the Lake District is Seathwaite farm, a working sheep farm which has basic facilities for camping and hikers, including awesome hot showers! Set right in the valley with a decent sized waterfall cascading down, for £10 a night for two people in a tent this is the perfect place for anybody looking to hike Scafell Pike.

Beginning of the hike up Scafell Pike
View from Borrowdale farm along the route to the summit of Scafell Pike

Looking for more photos? Check out our Flickr page here!


One response to “Liverpool, Manchester and Superlambanana’s

  1. Pingback: Coastlines and Cathedrals | Si, con queso por favor·

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