Date walked: 30th July 2014
Distance: about 12 miles
Map used: OS Explorer No.262: Anglesey West
At the start of these walks on Anglesey I flew from Cardiff to Anglesey Airport near Holyhead on the excellent Citywing service.
A good nights sleep at my Bed and Breakfast (Ambleside) was followed by an intimate breakfast in the landlady’s kitchen. A good cooked breakfast – I’m a convert to poached eggs; this one was a tad over-cooked. But again no fruit was on offer (there is clearly a shortage on Anglesey).
I was at the edge of the town when I realised that I had left my flask of Special Brew (one sachet of hot chocolate, one of milk, two of coffee) in the room. I decided to leave it; I think I must be mildly phobic about not wanting to re-trace my steps. Rhosneigr must be built on a rocky outcrop since the beach backed by dunes that I had approached the town by yesterday continued on the other side.
After about a mile of beachside walking the land rose a little and I made a small deviation to visit the restored chambered cairn of Barclodidad y Gawres.
Most ancient buildings have been restored in some way so I suspect that if somewhere admits to being restored, “reconstructed” might be more accurate. There wasn’t a lot to see.
The monument is situated near the top of a promontory which was followed by a deep inlet and the beach of Porth Trecastell.
As I approached the beach three men passed me with their fishing gear, heading for the low cliffs.
Having rounded the beach, the well-worn gritty track continued to keep near to the sea, climbing gently. This was easy walking on what was becoming a pleasantly warm day.
It was around here that the path is diverted inland to pass by the north side of the Anglesey Motor Racing Circuit. I could see that a good few people had ignored this diversion so I kept to the coast (natch).
My alternative route passed the back of a disused firing range, its rusty apparatus for raising and lowering the targets left to rot.
After the range a chain link fence blocked the way. It had clearly been breached and repaired. Although the fence extended to the cliff top, it wasn’t difficult to swing round the final post and continue on the now faint path.
I climbed a little higher and found myself on a wide gravel track; I know I wasn’t supposed to be there but it looked like it was going somewhere so I took it.
The track ran along the bottom of a grassy bank, which I climbed to find myself looking through a chain link fence down onto the racing circuit.
My walk around the circuit continued for half a mile; I half expected to be challenged by someone but the few people I saw strimming the grass seemed disinterested in my presence.
Consulting my map I could see that the coast path takes the route of a track which I could now see over to my right. Here I did need to climb over a bank of tyres and a fence to get onto it but needs must as they say.
The track led down to a narrow pebbly beach. In the middle of the little bay a pretty little whitewashed church stood on top of a walled enclosure that was itself built onto a rocky island. It was quite perfect.
The island is called Cribinau and the church is called in Welsh eglwys bach y mor (“the little church in the sea”) .
Out to sea I could make out the Lleyn Peninsula hills though the hazy atmosphere. I had that sense of peacefulness which we often attribute to place but really must come from within. I grasped that moment, took off my boots and socks (always a good thing to do periodically on warm days) and absorbed the view.
In the clear water below a large red blob caught my attention. Though moving slowly in the water, it was obviously doing so intentionally. A jelly fish – and a big one, at that.
I got out my binoculars and tracked its progress though the water.
Binoculars still in hand, further out to sea I picked up a pair of seals, heads still and turned towards the shore. Were they as fascinated by me and I was by them? On a nearby rock a pair of Oyster Catchers were closely monitoring the exploration of one of their chicks. This felt like a very special place. But perhaps it was the fact that I had stopped for a while that allowed me to see more.
With some reluctance I put my socks and boots back on. The path turned inland now and headed up the estuary that leads to Aberffraw.
I found a shop in the village but there had been a run on ice cream which was a deep disappointment. A lolly was not an acceptable substitute so I settled for a cold can of fizzy drink. I didn’t see much by the way of facilities in Aberffraw but it boasts a fine chapel…..
…..and a sweet little packhorse bridge.
It was very warm now and I still had several miles to go so I made a decision that I would forego walking back down the estuary and along the beach and shaved a mile off the day by keeping to the little road after the bridge that divides the dunes.
In half a mile I was re-united with the official path. To the south are several miles of coast which appear to be under the control of the Bodorgan estate who have clearly not agreed access.
It’s a shame that this part of the coast is denied to walkers but at the same time I was glad to be in this quiet lane, shaded by trees.
To the right was a wall that had been made with a rough crenellated top and with regular rectangular peep holes. Dozens of them.
I had several theories for these holes. One, that they were made of of consideration to their cows, to give them a view of the passers by or perhaps they were to satisfy the curiosity of the hoi polloi, or perhaps the estate felt that their workers were under-employed and just wanted to make the job of building the wall more complicated.
The lane takes a right hand turn where it reaches the A4080 and heads south-east towards the Malltreath sands. Leaving the lane just before reaching the estuary the path passes by the sewage works and then skirts by a few properties before re-claiming a coastal view.
On the other side of the estuary was tomorrows walk through Newborough Forest. For now I needed to find my Bed and Breakfast.
I was staying at Syn y Mor which was situated right opposite the Estuary and received a very friendly welcome but no bikkis. So having showered and changed into my glad rags I read for a bit before going out in search of supper.
The Royal Oak was deserted and was not doing food. I left the landlord to the telly. The Joiners Arms didn’t even look open and was a miserable looking place from the outside. The popular choice appeared to be the chippy, the food taken back down to the street to the tables by the bridge that crosses the estuary. I went with the masses. The fish and chips were on the right side of ordinary. Having feasted I went back to the Royal Oak for a couple of (non cask but OK) pints, my company then, half a dozen local ladies out for their regular bingo night. I couldn’t face the excitement.