Bridge in Holyhead, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Wales Coast Path:Church Bay to Holyhead

August 16, 2015 · 20 comments

Date Walked: 15th April 2015

Distance: about 15 miles:

Map used: OS Explorer 262 – Anglesey West

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I had stayed last night at The Loft at Pen-Y-Craig – one of the best places I have stayed on this entire walk.

The Loft at Pen-Y-Craig, Anglesey, photographed by Charles Hawes

I would have liked to stayed much longer

I am not the most sociable person first thing in the morning so I was glad for once to be making my own breakfast. Victoria (who had offered to bring me a cooked breakfast) had given me fresh duck eggs the night before which I boiled.  I indulged myself in some Coco Pops, and with fresh coffee and some toast I was well set up for the day.

I had accommodation booked at The Black Lion Inn at Llanfaethlu, which  is only a few miles away and two miles inland;I could not find anywhere half way to Holyhead and the place sounded great. Last night I decided to get the walk finished the next day and bus it back to the pub.  That would allow me as leisurely a day as I wanted for my final day on Anglesey.

I knew that this was not going to be the best of walks and to make matters worse it started to rain not long after I set off.

By the way, I discovered weeks later what I had done to the camera that it was taking poor pics in low light. I had inadvertently set the sensitivity to its lowest setting. This would give the best quality in good light but it meant that I was getting very slow shutter speeds in low light, hence camera shake (wobbliness if you like). Here endeth the technical lesson.

I picked up the path by the cafe. It continues as yesterday left off, keeping quite close to the low cliff tops.

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A bit misty but that’s Holyhead Mountain on the horizon

After a mile or so it touches the road briefly, avoiding a couple of properties where in one a large boat lay rotting in a field.

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It must have taken some effort to get the boat there.

At Porth Trefadog steps descended to the beach providing an opportunity to inspect whatever was deposited on the last high tide, but I found nothing to keep.

Porth Trefadog, Anglesey, photographged from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Not a very nice beach walk today

There was a small caravan site at the end of the beach which did nothing to cheer me up.

Caravan site at Porth Madog, photographed from The Wales Coast path on Anglesey by Charles Hawes

Porth Tywyn-mawr came next, its broad sandy beach, shunned on this dull day.  At the far end of the beach a large caravan park occupies acres of land, reaching out into Holyhead Bay.

Porth Tywyn-mawr, Angelsey, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

That’s the chimney of the aluminium works in the distance. It’s closed.

I was required to walk through it, and it struck me as more ugly than most of the many such sites that I have so far encountered on the path.

Caravan site at Porth Tywyn-mawr, Anglesey, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Why choose such horrible shrubs?

In the drizzle it was depressing…..

Caravan site at Porth Tywyn-mawr, Anglesey, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

…..soulless.

Caravan site at Porth Tywyn-mawr, Anglesey, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Low tides with rocky foreshores can feel like bleak places and on this dull day the deserted Porth Penrhyn-mawr felt rather bleak.

Porth Penrhyn-mawr, Anglesey, photographed from The wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

I’d probably be quite happy to walk it on a sunny day

As I crossed the low lush hill that separates this bay from the next, it began to rain in earnest.

View to Traeth y Gribin , Anglesey, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Well watered fields?

At the bottom of the hill near the beginning of  the beach that becomes the sandbanks of Traeth y Gribin  the rather pathetic garden of  Penial Dowyn did nothing to lift my spirits.

Penial Dowyn near Traeth y Gribyn, Anglesey, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Perhaps this bed marks a grave of a disliked pet

Consigned to a muddy patch, the cows didn’t seem very happy.

Field at Penial Dowyn, Anglesey, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

It felt a sort of back-end-of-cow-day

Then, despite the weather, things began to improve. I enjoyed looking out over the tapestry of  water and sand of the beach.

Traeth y Gribyn, Anglesey, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

I liked the worm castes particulalry

There were parts where the back of the beach was made up of a beautiful collection of small pebbles and shells.

Traeth y Gribyn, Anglesey, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

But best of all were the outcrops of rocks, that just had to be photographed despite the rain and which prompted me to think for the umpteenth time that I should improve my knowledge of geology.

Traeth y Gribyn, Anglesey, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Outcrop at Traeth y Gribyn, Anglesey, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Outcrop at Traeth y Gribyn, Anglesey, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Church Bay to Holyhead-25

Before these rocks finished the path turns sharply east, there being no way to cross what was left of Traeth y Gribin. It was a soft and boggy mile and a half along the banks of the Afon Alaw.

Traeth y Gribin, Anglesey, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Not TOO soft

It would have been longer, but for a new bridge that has been built across it half a mile short of Llanfachraeth.

Bridge across the Afon Alaw near Llanfachraeth, Anglesey, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

I was very glad to see this bridge.

And a jolly nice bridge it was.

Bridge across the Afon Alaw near Llanfachraeth, Anglesey, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

The only down side was that I then had to walk about a mile on the other side of the estuary and the path was narrow mostly and very wet.

The muddy estuary of the Afon Alaw near Llanfachraeth, Anglesey, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

I think the signing let me down as I approached Newlands Park – a small settlement built on the shore and where the path should have given me a direct route to the A5 and the Stanley Embankment. Instead I had a dreary detour through its backstreets.

Newlands Park, Anglesey, photographed by Charles Hawes

At least the road was quiet

When  I reached the embankment that joins the mainland to Holy Island I could see where  I was supposed to have arrived there.

View from the Stanley Embankment, Anglesey, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Perhaps it wasn’t a very interesting bit, anyway

The path runs alongside the A5 now over the Stanley Embankment– constructed to Thomas Telford’s design and completed in 1823. Half way along a sluice contains rushing water that channels the tidal flow – to what end I am unclear.

The Stanley Embankment, Anglesey, photographed from The wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

It’s probably not called a sluice.

At the far end a toll house has been converted into a tea room but I didn’t want a cake enough to face taking my wet gear off and putting it back on again, so I plodded on.

Converted Toll House at the Stanley Embankment, Anglesey, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Too near the finish to stop!

Heading north off the far side of the embankment the path now enters Penrhos Coastal Park,  owned by Anglesey Aluminium Metals Ltd, and where Tiggy Puss, Tinker and Sooty are buried amongst other much-loved pets.

Pets graveyard at Penrhos park, Anglesey, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

That problem with camera shake is very noticeable here, sorry.

Out see a ferry was leaving Holyhead for Ireland and the long breakwater came into view.

Church Bay to Holyhead-44

Signs of man’s earlier occupation were passed in the form of a little harbour with a stone arch….

Church Bay to Holyhead-46

…. and then a fortification called The Battery.

Church Bay to Holyhead-49

It seems that it might be a folly.

The path is runs along the back of Penrhos beach on a tarmac surface, giving a good view just across the road to the now defunct Aluminium works.

Thye Aluminum works, Holyhead, photographed from The Wales Coast path by Charles Hawes

On the far side of the beach, the path faithfully keeps to the coast for the last half mile into Holyhead. It passes open fields at the back of a suburb called Morawelon, the residents of which seem to have great difficulty containing their rubbish.

Rubbish in the hedgerow at Morawelon, Anglesey, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Not the nicest of finishes to the path

Winding around the back streets, the path arrives at the ferry terminals….Ferry terminals at Holyhead, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

… and takes the road around them….

Ferry in port at Holyhead, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

…..to arrive near the ferry entrance, where a rather fine old building has seen better days.

Church Bay to Holyhead-57

To complete my circuit of the island I took the bridge that crosses from the ferry, though the train station and into the town.

Bridge connecting the ferry terminal to the town, Holyhead, photographed from the Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Very smart: quite unlike Holyhead

I recognized the waymark signs at the far side of the bridge …..

Bridge connecting the ferry terminal to the town, Holyhead, photographed from the Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Waymark signs both both the Wales Coast Path and the Anglesey Coastal Path; very democratic

….but this wasn’t quite where I had started the walk so I followed them into the town centre, crossing  over the main road where I remembered climbing a metal flight of steps onto the bridge last July to get my bearings.

So there we are; the 125 mile Anglesey Coastal Path completed. (The Friends of the Path subsequently sent me a certificate and a very nice brooch which I shall wear with pride ).

Friends of the Anglesey Coastal Path brooch  photographed by Charles Haswes

Now I needed to find a bus stop to take me back to Llanfaethlu where I was staying at the Black Lion Inn. This was not easy. Travel information at the station could not tell me and after wandering round the streets I was none the wiser. Time for an internet search on my phone. This turned up my bus and told me that it called in at the Ferry Terminal, so I traipsed back there and the bus stop there had the number on the post.

I had time to get a coffee from the station cafe and waited for the bus. It didn’t come. More wandering about the town until I came across several bus stops one of which claimed to have a bus due in half an hour that would take me to Llanfaethlu. When it came I complained to the driver that the bus was supposed to call at the ferry terminal but he said that it might have done a few years ago but didn’t now. DOH!

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I don’t want to disorientate you but I will finish the Wales Coast Path tomorrow- Monday August 17th, when all being well, I will pitch up on the canal side of the Dee just outside Chester in the afternoon. So raise a cheer and a glasss to me that night. I will, of course write up posts for my last 6 day stint in due course.

 

 

 

 

 

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Neil August 16, 2015 at 7:17 am

Morning Charles.
There are some wet drizzly caravan strewn walks I’m happy to have missed. But enjoy reading safely indoors with my mornings coffee. Some great pictures though, despite your shakes.
So, will raise you a glass tomorrow afternoon to celebrate your Herculean effort. Email us, your loyal followers, just before your last few steps, so if we get it in time, we can celebrate your acievement with you.
Cheers 🙂 xx

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Charles August 16, 2015 at 2:51 pm

Good afternoon! Have arrived in Flint after a very pleasant stretch by the Dee estuary. I will certainly be tweeting at the end but just for you I will email, too. Should be about 3pm

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John August 16, 2015 at 9:57 am

From your intro I was expecting more examples of the new blur talent you showed recently but, at least when viewing the post in Outlook, the evidence of shakes is much less than I expected though the pet graves clearly stirred your emotions and your tears covered the lens. And there is something distinctly odd in having a mobile home attached to what looks like a very immobile, pebbledashed concrete shed! Pleased that you got certified (long overdue!).

So roll on tomorrow (unless people are reading this the day after when it will be roll on yesterday. Or if read in 5 years …). I’ll have to read through the whole “walk” to remind you of the bits you promised to walk again for reasons such as imminent changes and poor map reading.

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Charles August 16, 2015 at 2:55 pm

It’s amazing what a bit of jiggery-pokery can achieve for the shakes. I wonder if NRW do certificates? I will ask. Though I guess if they read this they will withhold any such honour until I have met your demands.

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Anne Wareham August 16, 2015 at 10:20 am

Blimey. Can’t decide whetehr thisw as just too miserbale and not a sheep in sight, or whether some of the wonderful pics, which rock, (which rock?) make up for it! XXx

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Charles August 16, 2015 at 2:57 pm

Are all these misspellings a subtle way of suggesting that I have been sloppy again with my proof reading? Glad you like the rocks.

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Anne Wareham August 16, 2015 at 3:07 pm

No – it was me being sloppy with my typing!

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Charles August 16, 2015 at 6:00 pm

Shocking. John will be on at you.?

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John August 16, 2015 at 7:02 pm

Nope. (Probably a case of the morning after the night before anyway). You told me Anne’s got a strong left hook! And she keeps a bread knife in the garden! Anyway, my typing’s bad enough at the mo thanks to a stiff (but unstitched) finger.

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Paul Steer August 16, 2015 at 2:48 pm

Your skill in lightroom shows through here Charles. I will be in work tomorrow – so I raise my mug of tea to you now for the triumph of showing the great the bad and the ugly of the Wales Coastal Path. I hope you complete it in style. I think Anne may have had too good a holiday – judging from her reply.x

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Charles August 16, 2015 at 3:00 pm

Thanks. And for the tea-toast for tomorrow. I don’t know about completing it in style. I’ve been carrying everything this week, so don’t have a suit and tie. Or even fresh pants in my bag. Maybe I’ll get some chocolate.

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Neil August 16, 2015 at 4:07 pm

You need to find somewhere that does toast. ,!!

Yes. Obvious joke. But a final picture of you raising a toast would round it off nicely

🙂

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Charles August 16, 2015 at 5:58 pm

Honestly, the end is no where near anywhere that does ice-cream, let alone toast.

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Anne Wareham August 16, 2015 at 7:12 pm

The END is a bit of a bloody anti-climax, really, isn’t it? That’s rather poor planning. There ought at least to be a mega caravan park.

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Marice Bertorelli August 18, 2015 at 7:45 am

Finished by now then! What an achievement! Well done and thanks for taking us with you
Have really enjoyed the photographs, drol comments and general quirkiness xxxx

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Charles August 18, 2015 at 4:38 pm

Yes, luxuriating in the Chester Grosvenor hotel and thinking about what I might do with all those words and pics. Will try and be as entertaining with the Cambrian Way but I suspect I’ll mostly find everywhere beautiful and will miss the caravan sites.

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Russ August 19, 2015 at 7:18 am

Charles, well done and makes for a great read. Thank you

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Eleanor September 30, 2016 at 11:08 am

We’re so lucky in the Wales to have some amazing beaches. Our coastal path is somewhere everyone must visit if they ever get the chance. Shaun Faulkner is doing exactly that, whilst running a marathon every day 30 consecutive days. He’s raising money and awareness for people with Asperger’s, which is a really great cause. You can follow his challenging (and very picturesque) journey here – http://paramountinteriors.com/blog/wales-coastal-path-challenge-the-first-15-days

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Charles October 1, 2016 at 12:11 pm

Thnaks for the comment and am quite happy for you to plug this cause

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Eleanor October 3, 2016 at 11:54 am

thank you!

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