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Subject Topic: Anglesey Coastal Path
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Message posted by privatehudson15/5/2010 at 5:29pm
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OK folks, here's a record of my travels in Anglesey, I'll post each of the 7 days separately and there will be quite a few photos. First however a little bit of background.



The path is 125 miles long, starting and finishing at St Cybi's Church in Holyhead. It goes through most of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on the island and only has two major breaks, one at Plas Newydd and the other at Llanfachtaeth. I visited Anglesey for a weekend break last year and found out about it at the Tourist Information Office in Llanfair. They produce a handy guidebook about the path but for reasons that will become obvious later I found the O/S maps 162 and 163 of more use. Being from Liverpool I have chosen to name each day after a Beatles song that matched the events or my mood by the end of it.

Day 1 - Yellow Submarine

I arrived by train and made the short walk up to St Cybi's church. Built inside the remains of an old Roman Fort the church itself dates in part back to the 13th Century.



I set off at about 11:30 aiming to finish at Trearddur by the end of the day, meaning I was following the path counter-clockwise. The path goes through the Breakwater Country Park and rises pretty steeply as it heads towards Holyhead mountain. The route up the mountain is easy enough and the view back towards Holyhead is well worth it.



Next came South Stack lighthouse which dates back to 1809. You can usually go inside this and climb to the top, but I didn't really have the time so moved on.



A little way after this as I came to a footbridge over a small stream and my foot slipped. I put one foot down into the stream but landed on a slippery rock and fell in. The weight of the rucksack held me back and it took me about 10 seconds to release the straps and get back out again. Although I had not been in any major danger the guidebook I was carrying was ruined and I realised with some horror that my camera had gone under the water at some point.

I did a quick check of the rucksack, fortunately most of the items were undamaged (mostly due to the Exped drysacks I bought just a week earlier) apart from some paperwork that listed some details of the campsites I was staying at. The camera was another matter, it would come on but nothing worked properly. I quickly removed the batteries and tried to dry it out. The guidebook was ruined but the O/S maps survived intact.

After cursing loudly and then kicking the footbridge in frustration I set off again and arrived at the campsite, Bagnol Park in Trearddur. Its a nice place with some unusual wooden carvings dotted around the site (this photo and most of those for the next two days were taken using a cheap mobile camera that I bought a week before I left).



I set up the tent, had a quick meal and then went to bed, praying that my camera would work tomorrow.

Post last edited on 15/05/2010 21:51:44

Message posted by privatehudson15/5/2010 at 9:40pm
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Day 2 - Help!

The morning came but the camera still wasn't working, so I was again left using the mobile phone camera. I was starting to worry, its a 140 superzoom camera that I really couldn't afford to loose. My Dad knows a lot more about them so I spent most of the day trying to get through to him without much luck.

The destination for this day was Rhosneigr, a small village about 14 miles away. The terrain remained much the same for the first part of the day with the path following a rugged coastline.





I also passed a lot of sheep, some of whom seem to have got ideas above their station in life.



Shortly after this came a patch of marshy ground which inevitably I blundered into whilst checking the O/S map, managing to soak the jeans and socks I was wearing. The path then crosses four mile bridge area and heads south towards RAF Valley, skirting the beach as it heads towards Rhosneigr.

I arrived at the campsite early and had time to set up the tent and have a meal before finally getting through to my parents on the phone. My Dad suggested putting the camera under a jacket next to my body whilst I was walking to dry it out. By this time the LCD screen was showing signs of condensation, so I was getting worried, and tomorrow was the first 20 mile day...

Message posted by jfdiyes15/5/2010 at 9:58pm
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Wonderful!

We spent a week on Anglesey, based near Beaumaris, just after Easter & walked quite a few bits of the Coastal Path. The Island is stunningly beautiful, can't believe we'd not been before.

It was heaving it down & blowing a hooley when we were at Rhosneigr - looks like you got better weather!

Can't wait to hear more!



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Message posted by privatehudson15/5/2010 at 10:22pm
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Day 3 - Magical Mystery Tour

At the start of day 3 I decided to try something different. The previous day I had got lost twice without the guidebook. I knew that Rhosneigr had a train station, so if I could get down to Llanfair early enough I would be able to get another copy, catch the train back and still have time to complete the walk to Newborough. That was the plan anyway, and to a point it went well.

I arrived at Llanfair at around 8:35 only to find that the tourist information office opened at 9:30. After sitting around twiddling my thumbs for a while I went into the office to find they didn't have any copies of the book on the shelf. Upon asking they told me they are issuing a new copy this year, and withdrew all the old copies in advance of this. Some Einstein apparently thought that it was a good idea to do this in one of the two months they suggest its best to go rather than say January when no-one is likely to be requesting a copy urgently!

Returning to the station I discover that the next train back is nearly 2 hours away. Realising this I had a choice, loose even more time or come up with a plan B. Looking at the map I realised that if I could walk from Llanfair to Newborough and around Newborough forest today I could walk from Newborough to Rhosneigr tomorrow, catch the train back to Llanfair and then walk on to Beaumaris, tomorrow's destination. I went with that plan, it was either that or go home and I didn't want to give up so easily.

The walk to Newborough was pretty nice, passing through small villages and farmland. It restarts in that area at a place called Moel-y-Don, a former crossing point for English armies engaged in fighting the Welsh on the mainland in the 13th Century. Today its mostly holiday cottages and the boats do not got very far.



This next photo demonstrates why a guidebook or O/S map is essential on the path. Although it is for the most part well signposted you cannot rely on the signs alone. The lamb seems to know where its going though...



Walking through farmland can be dangerous though, although fortunately for me this sign was either out of date or a farmer's joke since there was no sign of any bull in the field.



Shortly before Newborough is a set of stepping stones that I was VERY careful when I crossed them. Fortunately there was no repeat of the earlier dunking this time.



At Newborough I dumped the rucksack and set up camp before heading off into the nearby Forest. If you've never been its well worth a visit. It's a huge pine forest that even has red squirrels. I saw one of them for the first time here that day but sadly wasn't fast enough to get it on film.



Anyway that's all for now, hope you like the photos. I'll try and post some more tomorrow if people are still interested.

Message posted by Tigermouse16/5/2010 at 12:43am
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Yes, please do continue, this is fab. I've been a lover of Anglesey since my OH - now unfortunately ex - first took me there in early June '97. We stayed at John Hewitts camping fields at Benllech for two nights, the weather was fantastic and I was hooked from that moment. Up to last year, when we split up, we went every year, some years twice or even three times, and I've never got fed up of it. I'm really missing it now though, and as I can now drive I'm hoping I may be able to manage at least one weekend there this year. Meanwhile I'll look forward to your next instalment and more photos of a beautiful island.

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Message posted by Mrs. Bonce16/5/2010 at 7:54am
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Great photos! We love Anglesey as well, I have been going there since I was a child. We have stayed recently at several sites near Holyhead and went to South Stack on a very hot day last June (one of the few!)

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Message posted by privatehudson16/5/2010 at 11:46am
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Day 4 - A Hard Day's Night

Today would involve a hike of about 14 miles to Rhosneigr followed by a train ride to Llanfair and a hike from there to Beuamaris. Unfortunately shortly after packing up and setting off I found that my right walking boot had developed a major problem meaning it would probably need to be replaced. The nearest outdoor shop I knew of was in Bangor so I decided to get the train there instead and then get the bus back to Llanfair later. Also my camera had started to work again, full marks to Dad for that one!

After passing along a causeway to Maltraeth the path again returns to farmland. On the way I saw an unusual site, in the grounds of a large abandoned farmhouse was an enormous pile of some sort of seashell.



From here the path crosses a large area of dunes on the way to Aberffraw.



Aberffraw is a lovely small village with a great local post office/shop. It really is like something out of a time machine - think something like Open All Hours only with friendly staff.





Shortly before Rhosneigr is Barclodiad y Gawres, a chambered cairn Neolithic burial chamber. As I understand it although these are common in Ireland they are quite rare over here.



I then arrived at Rhosneigr station only to find that the next train was not for 90 minutes. With nothing to do other than sit I had a rest in the shade and watched the air-sea rescue helicopters pass overhead every few minutes.



The trip to Bangor was uneventful, I got a new pair of boots and was back at Llanfair by about 5pm. The path picks up again (after the break for the Plas Newydd estate) at a statue to Nelson down by the Menai Strait.



After this I passed under the Britannia Bridge which carries both rail and road transport. Originally built in 1850 it was extensively rebuilt after a fire in the 1970s.




Next came the Menai Suspension Bridge designed by Thomas Telford and completed in 1826. It has been altered since then but stands as an astonishing testament to the man's abilities.




Finally came Beaumaris where I had a room for the night at the Liverpool Arms Hotel. If you've not been here before I highly recommend it. The pub has lots of nautical memorabilia along with old paintings and drawings of ships. After a good large meal I settled down for a good night's sleep in a comfortable bed...

Two hours later I was woken up by someone having a loud conversation in the street outside. I tried to ignore it and was just drifting off when there was a hammering on a door followed by more talk. This ceased abruptly and I managed to get back to sleep. Half an hour later the process repeated itself, this time going on for another 5 minutes. I wasn't sure if it was the Liverpool Arms they were knocking on or not. It stopped abruptly again then came one last time at 2:30am, waking me up again. By then I was awake and didn't get back to sleep until about 3:30am, just 3 hours before I had to be up again.

It turns out that two people staying at the pub had managed to "loose track of time" and hadn't got back by midnight, so were locked out. Someone eventually must have rang the emergency number as they were eventually let in (I learnt this from overhearing a conversation at breakfast which included the two people locked out).

Its worth noting that they didn't get back to the pub until about 1:30am, so they weren't exactly just a little late. Frankly I would have happily told them to sleep in a bus shelter!

Post last edited on 16/05/2010 11:54:43

Message posted by Hacksaw Bob16/5/2010 at 7:14pm
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Following on nicely from "Floggitt's Blog", more great pictures (and narrative)from Wales - brilliant!


Message posted by beefysmum16/5/2010 at 10:17pm
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Loving these blogs , keep it up please , fab photos .
I would have missed this one altogether if somebody hadn't linked to it off floggits blog. I never look in the backpacking section .

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Debbie

Message posted by privatehudson17/5/2010 at 9:12pm
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I'll try to post more information later tonight or tomorrow but thought it best to respond to some replies first.

jfdiyes:

Yes the weather for the most part was gloriously sunny. Sadly I get sunburnt so fast I spent most of the holiday slapping on sun cream in a futile attempt to counteract this. I generally prefer warm sunny but not too hot weather myself. It rained twice but not a great deal whilst I was walking so I generally stayed pretty dry when I wasn't falling in a stream!

Tigermouse:

I agree the island is a gem, I'm not sure I could go there that often since I prefer to kind of see something new each holiday but I could certainly do with revisiting some of the places I passed through like Newborough. It would be ideal for a quiet weekend to "get away from it all".

Mrs. Bonce:

I wanted to go up South Stack but I was running out of time that day, plus I was knackered from the route up Holyhead mountain. Its not a difficult route but I'm more used to flat ground walks around where I live.

Hacksaw Bob/Beefysmum:

I wasn't even aware of that thread before you guys mentioned it, that's a very interesting blog.

Anyway the next day's theme is "I'm so tired". Thanks for the kind words and replies so far and I'm glad you've enjoyed things.

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Message posted by Fudge5918/5/2010 at 1:16pm
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Thank you for taking the time to write this up and post the photos  - very enjoyable!


Message posted by pokerpal18/5/2010 at 11:43pm
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I'm enjoying it too, love the writing style

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2nd-5th April-Fron Farm, Mold
30th April- 3rd May
Riverside, Southport
14th-16th May-Riverside, Southport
28th-31st May-?


Message posted by privatehudson19/5/2010 at 10:27pm
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Day 5 - I'm so tired

Getting up wasn't easy on this morning due to the bad night, and I was finding that the day or so that I'd had to walk on the damaged boots had done my feet no good at all. Fortunately I was able to acquire plenty of painkillers in Beaumaris before setting off for this day's target, Llanellian (in the north eastern most part of the island above Nebo on the map)



This section of the coastal path really lives up to its name, often running parallel to or actually on the beach. Very soon I fell foul of the uneven ground, falling over and bashing one of my shins on some rocks.



Soon after this the tide was coming in too fast and cut off the route entirely. Fortunately one of the houses with "PRIVATE LAND!" signs all over it was being renovated by some builders. One of them let me through onto the private road and I was able to keep going.

Next came Penmon Priory, which dates back in part to 1140.



Then Puffin Island seen from afar.



Before moving on from here I must say a word about a photographer named Pearl Bucknall, whose house is right next to the coastal path. She kindly provides a tap for walkers to refill their water bottles at no charge. I didn't have time to stop and view her range of photographic prints but it would be remiss of me not to thank her in some way. Take a look at her work sometime, she's quite talented.

Link

A major feature of this side of the island is Red Wharf Bay which the coastal path skirts.



Some time after this my camera went on the blink again. Although it would still take photos and seemed to have dried out the LCD screen went haywire and was unusable. I decided to leave any more photos until it could be dried some more. The mobile phone camera once again became the backup but I took relatively few photos as I passed through Benlech and Moelfre.

The closer I got to Llanelian the more I began to realise that I was running out of time. Shortly after Moelfre I realised that I had three choices, either continue on the coastal path and reach Llanelian well after nightfall, move inland onto a main road and reach Llanelian before dark but bypassing a major section of the walk, or find a nearby campsite and resume the path tomorrow. I eventually chose the latter, winding up at a place called Tyddyn Isaf for the night.



The owner expressed surprise that I'd set up the tent at the bottom of a hill as far away from another tent as possible. I explained that I simply couldn't face going back up the hill before the morning, I'd just about walked enough for one day, but tomorrow would be just as far.

Message posted by privatehudson22/5/2010 at 5:45pm
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Day 6 - Helter Skelter

Today began early again, so early in fact that I managed to disrupt the owner's breakfast, although he was still fairly friendly about it. As you can probably tell from the last photo in the previous post my camera was playing up again. This time the LCD screen seemed corrupted, so I let it dry out a bit more but without success, so as the remainder of the operations worked I chose to continue using it through the small viewfinder.

A couple of hours after leaving the campsite I came to yesterday's destination - Point Lynas with its bay and lighthouse.



Shortly after this I took a wrong turn whilst passing through farmland and managed to end up trying to follow a path along a steep wooded slope. I managed to struggle through but wished for the hundredth time that I hadn't lost my guidebook



The path then skirts Parys Mountain with its quarries before winding up in Amlwch where I had lunch.





This particular part of the coast as it passes Cemes is nice and rugged with numerous caves.



Just past Cemaes is the Wylfa Nuclear Power Station. Its worth noting the abandoned building in the foreground, these are quite common in that area.



From here the weather got worse with strong winds and light rain combining with high tide to drive me inland in places. Along the way I passed a farmhouse and although exhausted I resisted the temptation to use one of the chairs they'd left out...



Finally I reached Church Bay, today's target, named after the church to St Rhudladd.



I ended up at the first campsite I saw, too tired to care that it was basically just a field with a tap in one corner. Quite frankly that was all I needed, along with a good nights sleep. Just after I finished setting up the tent the heavens opened and it didn't stop raining all night. I was hoping the weather would improve since I didn't fancy walking the last 14 miles in miserable conditions.

Message posted by privatehudson25/5/2010 at 12:26am
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Day 7 - The Long and Winding Road

When I awoke the rain was still coming down in buckets which meant I was rather reluctant to leave the tent or start packing. Initially I just did what I could inside and hoped the rain would hold off. Eventually it did stop for about 30 minutes and I was able to get everything packed away and head off.

The weather didn't improve very much for the first hour so I didn't take very many photos in that time.



After that though things started to look much brighter and I could see Holyhead Harbour in the distance with its regular ferry traffic.





The path then moves inland again, passing through Llanfachraeth on the way to Valley and the Stanley Embankment. The latter is another example of Thomas Telford's ingenious work (not bad for a largely self taught son of a Shepherd!)





At the end of the embankment is another of the toll houses that Anglesey has dotted around it.



The path then passes through the Penrhos coastal park and then passes the large Anglesey Aluminium works.



Shortly after this it re-enters Holyhead, a sight for sore eyes (not to mention feet) after 7 days. The walk concludes at St Cybi's Church.




Message posted by Tigermouse25/5/2010 at 12:35am
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Some lovely photos again there. I love that toll house, I could really fancy living there. Did you see the pets' graveyard behind the house in Penrhos coastal park?

-------------
Tigermouse


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