Cockpit of the Citywing fllight from cardiff to Anglesey, photographed by Charles Hawes

Just to reassure you that it was not being flown by a robot

 Date walked: 28th July 2014

Distance: about 12 miles

Map used: OS Explorer No.262: Anglesey West

*************

Having reached Bangor on my last walk I had a dilemma: how to deal with Anglesey. Clockwise? Anticlockwise? And starting from where? In the end my decision was made by my choice of how I got to the islands (for Anglesey really comprises several islands). To get to Menai Bridge by road would be  a four hour drive at least, and although such a drive cross-country is beautiful I felt that I had seen quite a bit of this scenery to date.

I remembered that there was a flight from Cardiff to near Holyhead from Citywing. The timings were perfect. A 7.40am flight on Monday would touch down at 8.40, giving me a whole days walk and on Friday the return flight would leave at 16.40, also allowing me to have a day’s walk.  At around £120 for the return flight and free parking at Cardiff airport this seemed like a bargain. So I booked up four nights Bed and Breakfast and crossed my fingers for decent weather.

I had never been in such a small plane. Twin turbo-prop engines, and with just 25 seats, it nevertheless felt perfectly stable as we climbed over the west coast. Before reaching our cruising height I was able to clearly make out the Aberthaw Power Stations.

View over Abertham Power Station, photographed from Citywing flight from Cardiff to Anglesey by Charles Hawes

It was a wet day when I walked passed there and I got attacked by a dog

  Later I had a good view over Aberdovey.

photographed from Citywing flight from Cardiff to Anglesey by Charles Hawes

As we descended over Anglesey we passed Llanddwyn Island, which I would circumnavigate on day 3.

Llanddwyn Island photographed on a Citywing flight from Cardiff to Anglesey by Charles Hawes

It was fun to see where I was going to be going

We touched down within a few minutes of our expected arrival time. Anglesey Airport terminal comprises a single storey little building with a check in desk, one for car hire, toilets  and a vending machine – and a telly of course, to keep you irritated/entertained. Five  minutes after arriving I was in the tiny car park wondering how I was going to get to Holyhead. Somehow I didn’t see the bus stop and I begged a lift from a guy picking up a car. He dropped me at a bus stop about half a mile along the road where a chatty woman was also waiting for a bus that would arrive shortly for Holyhead. It went via the airport!

It was around 9.30am when I got off the bus and headed for the coast. I took advantage of  a minor detour to pass though St Cybi’s churchyard.

St Cybi's church, Holyhead, photographed by Charles Hawes

If you read the link above you’ll know that this is the site of a Roman fort

Holyhead back streets were unremarkable but the town boasts the longest breakwater in the United Kingdom (1.7 miles).

The breakwater at Holyhead, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Far too long for this pic, even with cropping

Just near where the breakwater joins to the mainland stands the fabulous ruin of Soldiers Point, built in 1848 as a residence for the engineer in charge of the alterations to Holyhead harbour. As I walked past the extensive ruins I met a couple who had stayed there in the early 70’s when it was a hotel. There are several cottages behind the main building; they told me one has a baptismal font in it.

Soldiers Point, Holyhead, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

How that extension ever got allowed is beyond me.

 The back of the property faces a coarse pebbled beach and the path follows this to Porth Namarch, part of the Holyhead Breakwater Country Park.

Beach near Porth Namarch,photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

It’s a very common sea side weed but I can’t tell you what it is

At the far side of the bay the landscape changes dramatically.  The rocky, heather-clothed headland is backed by  the steeply rising Holyhead Mountain. These are Pre-Cambrian rocks – some of the oldest in the UK and a source of great excitement to geologists and climbers.

View to Holyhead Mountain from the Wales Coast Path near Holyhead, Anglesey, photographed by Charles Hawes

Its amazing how quickly a landscape can change when you are going so slowly

 Someone has placed some pretty mosaics of some birds by the path.

Bird mosaic in the South Stack Nature Resrve, Anglesey, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Tern?

After passing below some dramatic white cliffs ……

Cliffs on the edge of Holyhead Mountain, Anglesey, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Rock was quarried here, so this may be a spoil heap.

……the path climbs towards North Stack on carefully laid stones, passing a peculiar shrine that no one seems to know much about.

Shrine near North Stack, photographed from The Wales Coast Path on Anglesey by Charles Hawes

Any offers?

Out to sea, the ferries to and from Ireland were doing a brisk trade.

Ferries off the coast at Holyhead, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Fun the way that I tried (and failed) to make it look as they were about to collide

North Stack was good value for a mooch around.

The magazine and old fog warning station at North Stack, Anglesey, photographed from The Coast Path by Charles Hawes

As you can see, it was a jolly nice day

Next to a socking great house (the OS map has the bay below the sheer cliffs below called Parliament House)…

House on North Stack, Anglesey, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Quite pleased with this pic

…. was a C19th magazine (where shells for a warning canon were stored).

magazine on North Stack, Anglesey, photographed from The Wales Coast Path on Anglesey by Charles Hawes

I could tell it was a magazine cos it says so.

At the far end of the promontory the remains of the array of fog horns was only accessible by climbing over the low wall.

Fog warning station on North Stack, Anglesey, photographed from The Wales Coast Path on Anglesey by Charles Hawes

Which I did, of course.

The path climbed steeply from here, providing a view to the lighthouse on South Stack.

View to South Stack Lighthouse from The Wales Coast Path, photographed by Charles Hawes

A bit misty but it was a mile away

The path passes the rather insignificant remains of a Roman lookout point and then becomes a bit of a highway.

Path on South Stack, Anglesey, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Perhaps the volume of visitors necessitates this rather “in your face” surface

It then drops down to a WWII lookout point above the lighthouse.

WW2 lookout above South Stack lighthouse on Anglesey, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

I stopped here for a cup of coffee (just saying)

It was a long way down to the lighthouse from here and the path zig zags down the hill to near the little bridge that connects it to the mainland.

South Stack Lighthouse, Anglesey, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

It’s still a working lighthouse

From near the lighthouse the path stays near the cliff top to Ellin’s Tower.

Ellin's Tower  near South Stack on Anglesey, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

 Plaque on Ellin's Tower, south Stack, Anglesey, photographed by Charles Hawes

This rather squat little C19th memorial building is now occupied by the RSPB. Inside you can stare through telescopes in hope of seeing puffins (not today).

Inside Ellin's Tower photographed by Charles Hawes

There are pictures of Puffins, though

Above here a dead-end road deposits car-bourne visitors by a cafe but I had resolved not to over-indulge with cake on this trip so I kept away from temptation. The path takes the road which rounds the bay (rather delightfully called Abraham’s Bosom) and then returns  to a wild stretch of rocky pre- Cambrian coast again which forms part of the South Stack Cliffs Nature Reserve.

View to the South Stack Lighthouse from The Range photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

View back to the lighthouse

 The cliffs are relatively low here, bringing the gently lapping soundscape of the sea back into play.

The South Stacks Cliffs Nature Reserve, photographed from The Wales Coast path on Anglesey by Charles Hawes

I love it when the path keeps close to these dramatic parts of the coast

 Over  the next mile there was rocky cove after rocky cove.

View across the South Stack Cliffs Nature Reserve, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

The South Stack Cliffs Nature Reserve, Anglesey, photographed from The wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes 

Then a new sound drowned out the waves when  a Search and Rescue helicopter appeared and then swept overhead. I knew that they were based at nearby RAF Valley - which shares the runways with Anglesey Airport).

Search and Rescue helicopter over South Stack Cliffs, Anglesey, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

After several “misses” I was pleased to have got this shot

The helicopter made several noisy circuits  before coming to a halt about 20 feet above the cliffs. And there it stayed, to the eye completely still, for so long that despite its novelty I got bored of nothing happening and carried on walking.

Search and Rescue helicopter over South Stack Cliffs, Anglesey, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

This was clearly an exercise. A  few minutes later the helicopter rose a little and a figure appeared from its side and then slowly dropped earthwards on a rope and was deposited on the cliff top.

Search and Rescue helicopter over South Stack Cliffs, Anglesey, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Squint hard and you can see the dangling person

 Across the bay I could see my destination of  Trearddur but I still had a couple of miles to go.

View to Trearddur from South Stack on Anglesey photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

The flora of the coastal paths don’t often do dramatic displays but I passed a wonderful carpet of a low growing white-flowered plant that I couldn’t name.

Flora on The Wales Coast Path near Trearddur Bay, Anglesey, photographed by Charles Hawes

Any suggestions?

Several coves and inlets later I spied a pair of girls in one who had clearly decided that beaches were not for them.

Cove near Trearddur, photographed from The Wales Coast Path in Anglesey by Charles Hawes

According to the dictionary I wasn’t being a voyeur

Shortly afterwards the little beach at Parth Dafarch came into view and with it the sound of excited children joined the calling of the gulls.

Porth Dafarch, Anglesey, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Whoopee, I can see an ice-cream van

Just before the beach a small posse of static caravans occupied a little gully; in one I could clearly hear a woman crying. Which was quite uncomfortable. There was nothing I could do but it is always disconcerting to be aware of someone’s distress but at the same time unable to respond.

The wall at the back of the beach carries two memorials and a poem (a bit pants IMHO).

Memorials at Porth Dafarch beach, Anglesey, photographed from the wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

And probably not even legible at this resolution

I’d had nothing to eat since a croissant at Cardiff Airport so I reckoned that I deserved an ice-cream and a sit.

Porth Dafarch, photographed from The wales Coast Path, Anglesey, by Charles Hawes

And a People Look, of course

From Porth Dafarch the path alternates between keeping to the headland and  short sections by the road.

On one rocky outcrop stands a massive house in an Arts and Crafts style.

Arts and Crafts house at Trearddur Bay, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

My Bed and Breakfast lady said it is known locally as “Smellies” as it is owned by people called Smiley

The beach at Trearddur Bay was busy and needing lots of signs.

Trearddur Bay, Anglesey, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

All essential reading for the beach visitor

The very helpful volunteer at the RNLI shop gave me directions to my Bed and Breakfast (which was just along the promenade). It was a warm afternoon and time for a snooze.

Holyhead to Treadur bay-104

Holyhead to Treadur bay-105

Holyhead to Treadur bay-106

I was staying at Ingledene Bed and Breakfast and was very pleased with my ground floor room facing the sea. It had a toilet and wash basin but no bathrobe; the bathroom was upstairs so I took my change of clothes with me, enjoyed a long hot shower and then dressed for the beach. And then undressed back in my room and had a snooze.

I ate at Seacroft that night, just 50 yards from the B&B. A nice looking restaurant with rooms, it has decking and tables outside, an inflexible payment system and at least one rather brusque member of staff. I enjoyed my burger and glass of Chardonnay. And then had another glass.

It was a beautiful evening so having equipped myself with a big bar of chocolate at the local Spar I returned to the promenade to watch the sunset. Here I was entertained by a runner who ran along the promenade, then walked a bit and ran again. And did it again. And again. And again.

The Promenade at Trearddur Bay, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

It took six attempts to get this

 Bed time.

Sunset at Trearddur Bay, Anglesey, photographed by Charles Hawes

This one taken on my phone

{ 10 comments }

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Copyright Charles Hawes (2012)