For my birthday I was lucky enough to receive a voucher for a photography workshop with harvest mice. It was a really thoughtful present from Ian, my partner, especially as structured photography has taken a bit of a back-seat over the last year. I have taken loads of pictures during my year out, but I haven’t spent that much time thinking seriously about photography.

Although my birthday was in August, a combination of my travels and Dean’s popularity meant that we couldn’t arrange the workshop until October; but finally we set a date. I was down in Devon with friends…


Pirate, one of the dogs who lives in the exclusion zone

A personal account of visiting the animals living in the exclusion zone.

One of the most moving and upsetting scenes in the recent HBO Chernobyl series was when the liquidators (clean-up crews) were sent to deal with the animals in Pripyat after the Chernobyl reactor disaster. I should know. I watched that episode twice. Due to confusion in downloading the series to watch in India, I accidentally started on Episode 4 (which features these scenes). When I finished that episode I was highly confused and wondered if the whole story was going to be told in flashbacks. Then I realised…


Rex grooms Vince’s freckles

Visiting The Primate Trust Centre in Goa

It was the evening before our final day at the WVS Hicks ITC veterinary centre in Goa, India. Vince, the American vet who was also volunteering there came rushing into the office to find me, as there were monkeys in the trees in the centre of the compound. We’d seen monkeys a long way off in the jungle behind our apartment and frequently heard their calls, but this was the first chance we’d had to see them close up.


I’m currently in India at a veterinary centre and neutering clinic. It’s run by the Worldwide Veterinary Service, a UK charity who have outreach projects all over the world. They work with all sorts of animals including dogs and cats; working donkeys and horses and wildlife.

Here at WVS Hicks ITC in Goa, they have a sterilisation scheme for street dogs and dogs who are privately owned by low income families. The male dogs are castrated, and the female dogs are spayed, so there is no risk of unwanted puppies. Some of the operations are performed by their own resident…


The Mission Rabies team and volunteers

I’ve been out for a morning with the Mission Rabies vaccination team in the Indian province of Goa, which was a fascinating experience. I joined the team along with another vet, a vet nurse and three vet students. We left at 6.30am but it took us a while to get to the rendezvous with the team as it’s monsoon season and the main road was flooded.


This is a list of what I took and needed for a long distance walk of one hundred and ninety-one miles and thirteen days. It’s intended to remind me what I actually used, to prevent me overpacking for my next walking holiday. I hope it will be useful for others as well.


An account of walking the 177 mile long-distance trekking route between Prestatyn and Chepstow, along the Welsh-English border, in 12 walking days.

Day 12 of this walk can be found here.

In unexpectedly sunny weather, we set of out of Monmouth, across the Wye and, you guessed it, up a hill! We went up the longest hill of the day to the National Trust properties at Kymin. There’s a viewpoint with a great panorama of Monmouth and an interesting and unusual temple celebrating Britain’s naval victories; miles from the sea.


An account of walking the 177 mile long-distance trekking route between Prestatyn and Chepstow, along the Welsh-English border.

Day 11 of this walk can be found here.

It was raining when we woke up and continued to rain, getting heavier and heavier whilst we breakfasted. As we left the B&B I was (finally) wearing my hated waterproof trousers and in my most waterproof (but least breathable) jacket, with the underarm vents fully opened. Sporting a cap with my hood pulled up over the top and gaiters under my waterproof trousers. I was hot. However, given the choice between soaked and sweaty, I picked sweaty.


Wild ponies in the Black Mountains, Brecon Beacons behind

An account of walking the 177 mile long-distance trekking route between Prestatyn and Chepstow, along the Welsh-English border, in 12 days.

Day 10 of this walk can be found here.

We met a two lovely Swedish ladies over breakfast at our B&B. They had flown over from Sweden, spent a day in Cardiff and travelled up to Hay on Wye and were just realising how much of Wales there was further west of them (most!). They were delighted by the number of pubs and restaurants in the UK which were dog friendly as they said that dogs were only allowed in the outside spaces of such places in Sweden.


Badger-faced sheep (middle), with defensive stamping from the ewe nearest the picture!

An account of walking the 177 mile long-distance trekking route between Prestatyn and Chepstow, along the Welsh-English border, in 12 days.

Day 9 of this walk can be found here.

We waved goodbye to Ian who had stayed with us at Thirty-Six, in Kington and were glad to find the local Spar was open. We’d forgotten that it was Sunday and as such, most of the shops wouldn’t be open until at least 10am. We would have survived on bananas and cereal bars for lunch, especially after the meal the night before, but sandwiches seemed psychologically better. We had enjoyed an excellent evening meal in The Stagg Inn at Kington, with good company, which set us up for another day’s…

Rachel Thomas

Vet, likes all things animal. On a grown up gap year, travelling, exploring and discovering. Loves to find & share new things. LARP & science @rachel.wildwinter

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