The Borthwen brickworks, Porth Wen, Anglesey, photgraphed by Charles Hawes

Wales Coast path: Amlwch to Cemaes

August 2, 2015 · 11 comments

Date walked: 13th April 2015

Distance: 8.5 miles

Map used: OS Explorer 263: Anglesey East and OS 262: Anglesey West

A bag was being transferred between accommodations by Anglesey walking Holidays. They charged £16 a day to transfer one bag (their minimum charge, which would have covered two bags).

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Breakfast at the Dinorben Arms was a solitary affair in rather bleak surroundings. After yesterdays soaking my walking clothes and waterproofs had all dried out but my boots were still a bit damp; the landlord had tried to be helpful by stuffing newspapers in them as they sat on a radiator. Not a good idea (although I remember doing this years ago). It just stops the moisture from evaporating.

Still, it wasn’t raining and with a fresh pair of socks and knowing that I only had a short walk today, I started off in a reasonable frame of mind. Amlwch didn’t improve much on better acquaintance. The former Bethel Chapel was looking very sad, overlooking an equally sad-looking street.

Bethel Chapel, Amlwch, photographed by Charles Hawes

Bingo Hall?

Jonahan Meades would probably have sardonically (when is he anything else) described the old water tower as Brutalist; I was delighted in writing this up to discover that there is a Water Tower Appreciation Society that tells you all you might want to know about this particular example.  I liked it.

Water Tower at Amlwch photographed from the Wales Coast Path in Anglesey by Charles Hawes

They don’t make them like this anymore

More difficult to appreciate was the view back towards the abandoned bromine and dibromoethane production plant which this tower had served, the only redeeming feature being its turquoise ducting.

Bromine extraction plant photographed from the Wales Coast Path in Anglesey by Charles Hawes

I wonder why they haven’t rusted?

  Looking out to sea from this rocky path I could see the diminutive Yns Amlwch.

Yns Amlwch photographed from the Wales Coast Path in Anglesey by Charles Hawes

 Ahead was Bull Bay and in less than a mile the path joined the A5025 for its route into town.

View to Bukll Bay photographed from the Wales Coast Path in Anglesey by Charles Hawes

Love all that yellow!

I didn’t see anything to make me want to linger here and after passing the hotel the path resumed its cliff-top meandering.

 View north from near Bull Bay photographed from the Wales Coast Path in Anglesey by Charles Hawes

 Some of these cliffs were quite impressive….

Cliffs near Bull Bay photographed from the Wales Coast Path in Anglesey by Charles Hawes

….. but what really excited me was the sight of the former brickworks on the far side of Porth Wen.

View to the Borthwen brickworks, Porth Wen photographed from the Wales Coast Path in Anglesey by Charles Hawes

The path takes a route above the brickworks but I wasn’t going to miss out on exploring this industrial archeology .

The Borthwen Brickworks photographed from the Wales Coast Path in Anglesey by Charles Hawes

A steep and narrow gorse-lined track passes the massive chimney and brings you into the heart of the complex.  And it is absolutely fascinating. I would have loved to have had some explanatory boards about how it all worked, but surprisingly there were none.

So I am going to present you with my “best of” selection of images and let them speak for themselves..

The Borthwen Brickworks, Porth Wen, Anglesey, Wales photographed by Charles Hawes

 

The Borthwen Brickworks, Porth Wen, Anglesey, Wales photographed by Charles Hawes

 

The Borthwen Brickworks, Porth Wen, Anglesey, Wales photographed by Charles Hawes

 

The Borthwen Brickworks, Porth Wen, Anglesey, Wales photographed by Charles Hawes

 

The Borthwen Brickworks, Porth Wen, Anglesey, Wales photographed by Charles Hawes

The Borthwen Brickworks, Porth Wen, Anglesey, Wales photographed by Charles Hawes

 

The Borthwen Brickworks, Porth Wen, Anglesey, Wales photographed by Charles Hawes

 

The Borthwen Brickworks, Porth Wen, Anglesey, Wales photographed by Charles Hawes

 

The Borthwen Brickworks, Porth Wen, Anglesey, Wales photographed by Charles Hawes

 

The Borthwen Brickworks, Porth Wen, Anglesey, Wales photographed by Charles Hawes

It was hard to drag myself away from such an extraordinary place.

The Borthwen Brickworks, Porth Wen, Anglesey, Wales photographed by Charles Hawes

The onward route climbs  to the top of the hills  through the grassed over quartz quarries that fed the brickworks. The sea at Hells Mouth provided  a welcome moment of calm from all this visual stimulation.

Sea near Hells Mouth photographed from the Wales Coast Path in Anglesey by Charles Hawes

Calm, calm, calm

Ahead, the first view of the nuclear power station at Wylfa offered promise for tomorrows walk.

View to the Wylfa nuclear power station photographed from the Wales Coast Path in Anglesey by Charles Hawes

Today’s natural landscape still had some cliff views;

Dinas Gynfor photographed from the Wales Coast Path in Anglesey by Charles Hawes

on the top of Dinas Gynfor this landscape was not improved by the ugly remains of a lookout tower built to commemorate Edward VII’s coronation.

Lookout post at Dinas Gynfor photographed from the Wales Coast Path in Anglesey by Charles Hawes

Some history is not worth saving

More man-made work was to follow.

Porth llanlleiana clayworks photographed from the Wales Coast Path in Anglesey by Charles Hawes

Someone’s had fun making those curved walls

From just after this promontory the path drops steeply to Porth Llanlleiana, where the shell and chimney of an old porcelain factory sits very comfortably in a little valley.

This was turning out to be a great day for ruins.

Porth Llanlleiana clayworks photographed from the Wales Coast Path in Anglesey by Charles Hawes

A further mile or so of undulating grassy track provided many more views of Wylfa and over to the left  a rather pathetic installation of wind turbines which probably occupies the same footprint of its nuclear cousin to produce a tiny fraction of its power output.
Wind turbines near Porth llanlleiana photographed from the Wales Coast Path in Anglesey by Charles Hawes

The church and graveyard of St Patricks at Llanbadig must have been an unwelcome location for horses charged with the task of dragging any hearse and its occupant up the hill from nearby Cemaes.

St Patricks church, Llanbadig, photographed from the Wales Coast Path in Anglesey by Charles Hawes

As I passed the wall of the churchyard I noticed that several remnants of wreaths were strewn down the cliff face, no doubt whipped over the wall by strong winds rather than wayward mourners.  I went in to inspect some graves (the church was locked) and was delighted to find several stones with the stylized tree that I have admired many times in graveyards since I reached north Wales.

Gravestone in St Patricks Church, Llanbadig photographed from the Wales Coast Path in Anglesey by Charles Hawes

Translation John?

Wylfa was still a mile and a half away, but it began to dominate the seascape.

Wylfa power station near Cemaes photographed from the Wales Coast Path in Anglesey by Charles Hawes

Due to be finally decommissioned at the end of 2015

I kept to the cliff tops rather than take a brief road section, passing through a couple of fields with some friendly young cattle.

Cattle near Cemaes photographed from the Wales Coast Path in Anglesey by Charles Hawes

Maybe they like my smell?

On the way down to Cemaes I passed one more construction – a lime-kiln probably.

Lime kiln near Cemaes photographed from the Wales Coast Path in Anglesey by Charles Hawes

The car park serving the beach was closed off ; a group of fluorescent clad men deep in conversation seemed disinterested as to whether I walked across it anyway.

Cemaes car park photographed from the Wales Coast Path in Anglesey by Charles Hawes

Some problems are just so complex it needs a lot of brain power

I liked Cemaes. The road crosses the river Wygyr in the middle of the village. The main street of local shops feels very untouristy, although I imagine that tourist income is important. Several buildings are quite brightly painted, the Bethel Chapel being, unusually, the most ostentatious.

Cemaes High Street, Anglesey, Photographed by Charles Hawes

Them chapel folk have a sense of fun

I was staying at very highly rated Bryn Padrig Bed and Breakfast towards the far end of the High Street. My bag was waiting for me in the hall and the owners couldn’t have been more friendly, providing me with a piece of cake in my room to have with a cup of tea.

Showered, refreshed and changed I went out to enjoy the early evening sun on the harbour. What a great little walk that had been.

Cemaes harbour, Anglesey, photographed by Charles Hawes

 

 

 

 

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Ian Thorpe August 2, 2015 at 7:45 am

A great Sunday morning read as always, Charles. Like you, I particularly like the images of the brickworks – splendid rust!

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Charles August 2, 2015 at 1:30 pm

Thanks Ian. Very much looking forward to featuring you in the not too distant future!

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Marice Bertorelli August 2, 2015 at 9:25 am

The grand hall of the brickwork factory is splendid. Do you think it was the firing kiln? Great walk xxx

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Charles August 2, 2015 at 1:26 pm

I don’t know but I suspect it might be for drying the bricks. The kilns were the round things where I took a pic from the inside looking out. I just loved this place. Yes, one of the best and most interesting so far!

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John August 2, 2015 at 10:57 am

Some very atmospheric photos today. And nice to see a cow with your haircut!

As to the translation, First bit’s easy: “In loving memory of Margaret, beloved wife of Thomas Hughes of Bryn Mair, Cemaes, who died on 23 September 19?? aged 51 years.” But you knew that, didn’t you?

The next bit is difficult to read and I can only make out snippets out of context. “Un siriol llawen” would literally be “One who was joyful and cheerful” but I can’t make out the rest of that line nor first word of next line but the rest translates as “good deeds throughout the area”. Then “Dros y gorwell” is “Over the horizon” but again, I can’t make out the next word though the final “hi” is “she” so “She [did something] over the horizon.” The final line is literally “To the fair company beyond the flood” but probably refers to the river Jordan (as in Psalm 66) as the word “flood” is over-used in the King James Bible. The few missing bits would, of course, allow a more meaningful, as opposed to literal, translation of the whole. I wondered if the [did something] might be departed, passed, travelled etc., but the word I can’t read in line 3 doesn’t look like any of those. I wonder if this is actually part of a poem known in that district or to the family, though I haven’t heard it before.

Then another easy bit: “Also of the said Thomas Hughes who died on 27 February 19?0, aged 78 years.”
Can’t make out the italics at the bottom at all, apart from “o galon” – “of/from the heart”.

And I think the trees on gravestones are representations of the weeping willow, as a symbol of both mourning and renewal.

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Charles August 2, 2015 at 1:10 pm

John,thanks so much for this sterling effort. Very impressive. And I think the consensus about the gravestone tree the last time I mentioned it was a Weeping Willow. Which looks right, too. As for the cows haircut, well that hadn’t occurred to me, so perhaps it just thought I was one of the clan.

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Paul Steer August 2, 2015 at 8:36 pm

Very impressed by John’s translation. My favourite photograph is of the factory with the curved walls – makes a very pleasing composition.

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John August 2, 2015 at 9:14 pm

Thank you, kind sir. It’s a fact that being bilingual does not equate to being a translator. We can translate literally but a proper translator will be aware of all sorts of things (dialects, local idiosyncrasies etc) that we crachach are not. I can only guess at the real meaning of the words on that gravestone. But they were written (carved) with love. That depth of feeling is something no-one in a later era can guess at.

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Charles August 4, 2015 at 12:19 pm

He’s good isn’t he. Thanks for your fav shot vote. Crawled on my hands and knees for that one.

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Ruth Livingstone August 3, 2015 at 10:07 am

Wonderful photos. Love the mix of industry and natural beauty.

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Charles August 4, 2015 at 12:20 pm

Thanks Ruth. I think my favourite walks are those that have combined our industrial heritage past and present with the natural landscape.

Reply

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