68. Valley to Trearddur Bay

Today’s walk would be interesting in that I would be passing through Holyhead, a place I had visited twice before, the first to get the ferry to Ireland and the second to climb Holyhead Mountain. I would be almost climbing Holyhead mountain today, but not quite. I am not sure why they call it a mountain, at 220m its not even 1000ft high.

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Sunrise over Valley

I park at my end destination at Trearddur Bay. I am a bit annoyed at having to park, out of season, when close-by free-parking is not properly signed. Anyway, it is still dark when I catch the 6:13 #4 bus to Valley. Its only a 12 minutes bus ride to Valley and its still dark when I arrive and start walking. I decide to use my head torch, although it is getting light very quickly now. I am treated to a beautiful sunrise.

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Ferry terminal at Holyhead

The path winds around the coastal park at Penhros, with the large chimney of the aluminium works ever present. I pass through a residential area of Holyhead before emerging at the entrance to the ferry terminal. I walk towards the train station, passing through and on to an amazing stainless steel and glass bridge which passes over rail tracks and a busy road.

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Stainless steel bridge Holyhead

Holyhead or Caergybi is just beginning to wake up as I pass St Cybils churchyard, which is the start/end of the Anglesey Coastal path. I am actually on Holy Island, an island offshore Anglesey, although it has a fixed causeway and bridges. I head towards the rocky area of Holyhead Mountain and begin to climb up a rough track. I pass below the summit of Holyhead Mountain, I can see someone on the summit, I am not inclinded to re-visit the summit. Eventually, I arrive above South Stack lighthouse and look down on the amazing location. I remember coming here as a young undergraduate Geology student at Liverpool University in 1975. I remember watching the sun set over the Wicklow mountains.

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The magazine store for explosives at the old quarry

Today I am looking across the sea to a Stena line ferry setting sail for Dublin. After passing South Stack,   the path swings SSW, heading towards lower ground and through fields full of grazing sheep. The final few miles to Trearddur Bay is a combination of road and cliff top walking. The sun is out in full now and it has turned into a lovely day.

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South Stack Lighthouse

Made excellent time and did the 16 miles in 4.75 hrs

 

 

 

 

Distance today = 16 miles
Total distance =   1024 miles

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67. Cemlyn Bay to Valley

As I drove to Valley (or Y Fali) I witnessed a beautiful sunrise, with lovely blue skies, although I knew from the forecast it was going to cloud over later on. I parked in a quiet residential street, close to the nearest bus stop on the A5, just before the start of the causeway across to Holyhead.  I caught the #61 8:02 to Tregele.  As with my previous walk I was then faced with a walk of some 1.5 miles down to Cemlyn Bay.

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Day-Marks near Carmel Head

On my last trip to Cemlyn Bay I turned right and headed east, today it would be left and west. At the end of Cemlyn Bay is a rather strange house  with huge walls resembling a prison or castle. I later found out these ‘fortifications’ had been built by a Capt. Vivian Hewitt, an aviator, bird watcher and a bit of an eccentric by all accounts.

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Ornate wooden kissing-gate at Porth Swtan

I passed two large white ‘Day-marks’ which when aligned warn of an offshore reef. Further navigation aids include the lighthouse on the Skerries, a few miles out. The first objective of the days walk was Carmel Head, which was easily attained, however, on rounding the promontory the geology changed becoming very rocky. Apparently, this is due to Precambrian rocks thrusting over younger Ordovician rocks. The Precambrian gneiss found here is probably the oldest rock in Wales.

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Looking across to Holy Mountain and Holyhead

As I rounded the Carmel Head, my whole view changed with views across the bay toward Holy Mountain and Holyhead.  I could see a Stena Line ferry just arriving from Ireland and preparing to berth at Holyhead. It was quite surprising that as I walked along the coast there were frequent warnings of the potential for large bow-waves from the ferries, although I did’nt see any.

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Elegant footbridge near Llanfachraeth

Poor signage at Tregafon left me walking on the beach around the headland, which was a nuisance. I made quick progress as it was quite cool as autumn was approaching fast. At Traeth y Gribin, due to a small estuary, I had an inland detour of about a mile. The detour led to an an impressive footbridge which enabled  me to continue on the oppostite banks of the tidal river. As I crossed the bridge I had two rather frisky horses with me for next the mile or so, who thought it was very amusing to come running past me at speed! 16 miles in 5.5 hours.

Distance today = 16 miles
Total distance =   1008 miles

66. Cemlyn Bay to Amlwch Port

I chose to do this section primarily due to the absence of any reasonable public transport further along the route. So this was quite a short walk of 13 miles.

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Y Wylfa nuclear power station

I drove to Amlwch and parked close to the bus stop in Amlwch (pronounced Am-Luck, with ch as in the Scottish loch). I caught the 6:55 #61 Arriva bus which dropped me off at the Douglas Inn, Tregele. I was then faced with a 1.5 mile walk down a quite road to Cemlyn Bay. Not long after getting off the bus, I was amazed to see number of demolished and fenced-off properties. Apparently, this was the doing of the nearby Y Wylfa power Station, for “Research” purposes or something like that. It all looked a bit of a mess really and I don’t think the locals were best pleased with this decimation.

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The chapel and graveyard at Tyn’n-llan

Soon after leaving Cemlyn Bay, Y Wylfa dominated the skyline for the next 5 or 6 miles. The footpath is poorly signposted around the power station and eventually leads you to the nearby town of Cemaes Bay. Quite early on my legs were feeling rather tired, its not the weather ( which quite cool and overcast) or the terrain. The tiredness disappears soon after. It is very quiet in Cemaes Bay, with very few people about.

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The old porcelain works at Llanlleiana

About a mile outside of Cemaes Bay, I passed the small chapel and graveyard of Tyn’n-llan which is virtually on the path. A number of ‘up’ and ‘downs’, which are a bit of a shock after all the level walking, as I pass the ruins of the old porcelain works at Llanlleiana and a mile further on the old brickworks at Porth Wen, both relics of a once busy industry.

Eventually I came to Bull Bay (Porth Llechog) which does not seem to have much, do or see, just seaside houses.

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Andy Whitfield as Spartacus

As I approach Amlwch Port I think of the actor Andy Whitfield, who was born in Amlwch and played Spartacus in the popular satellite TV series. Although, not to everybody’s taste, it was a series that I watched and enjoyed. The sad tale here is that at just 39 Andy was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin Lymphoma and died in 2011. He left a wife and two children. His parents still live in Bull Bay today.

I am had a bit of a scare entering Amlwch, as I had dropped my specs and hurridly retraced my footsteps some 400m back along the path to find them!

I managed the  13 miles in a leisurely 4.25hrs

Distance today = 13 miles
Total distance =   992 miles

65. Llanddona to Amlwch Port

I knew this was going to be a tough day, not only because of the distance, but the weather forecast was for high temperatures.

I had to use Menai Bridge as my Point C as there is no direct bus service between my two walk points. I drove early to Menai Bridge and parked close to the bus terminus. I caught the #53 bus to Llanddona and walked 2 miles out towards  Brwdd Arthur where I rejoined the WCP.

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Stranded vehicle

As I walked along Red Wharf Bay, the going was easy and flat. The sun had yet to rise high in the sky, so it just lovely and cool, but sunny. The path made use of a small concrete seawall which had a handrail for short section.

As I came to Red Wharf Bay I could hear a car alarm going off. The alarm was incessant and I could just make a car out in the bay, up to its axles! I spoke to a dog walker who told me  that it was abandoned overnight by some clowns who got stuck… instant karma!

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Vintage car advertising The Ship Inn at Red Wharf Bay

I continued to walk along the beach to Red Wharf Bay itself and continued to Benllech and then moved onto Moelfre. Just outside Moelfre is a memorial to the steam clipper Royal Charter which foundered on the rocks just a hundred yards away in 1859 with the loss of 400 lives.

There is a lovely beach at  Traeth Lligwy and this is where I found the second outdoor painting by Anthony Garratt. To be quite honest I could not see any difference between this one and the one I saw at Penmon Point. I never did see the remaining two paintings on my journey around Anglesey.

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The Isle of Anglesey Coastal Path sign

The sun had risen in the sky and it was getting very warm. As I made the inland detour of Traeth Dulas towards the A5025 I was flagging. Fortunately, a pub was on the coast path, The Pilot Boat Inn. I decided to get some respite from the hot sun and get myself a nice pint of shandy. Knowing that perhaps two shandies was not a good idea I asked for a pint of orange squash, which the young girl did not charge me for! Perhaps she felt sorry for me?

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The Pont Lynas lighthouse

I  went slightly off route around the Bodagon Estate which had a large inland diversion. When I emerged back at the coast the geology had changed to something more akin to North Cornwall, with more ups and downs and rougher  terrain which meant I started to slow up. I was glad to finally pass the Pont Lynas lighthouse as I knew Amlwch Port was not far away. The port at Amlwch has seen much better days, but was very busy in its heyday. My bus did not go for another hour so I had another pint of bitter shandy in the Adelphi Arms.  I caught the #62 bus back to Menai Bridge. About 22 miles in 7.25 hours.

Distance today = 21.5 miles
Total distance =   979 miles

64. Llanddona to Bangor

My first section on  Anglesey which would see me returning for a number of trips covering some 132 miles of the WCP.

I drove very early to Bangor and parked in a free car park near the Beach road. I then walked into the town to catch the #53 bus at 6:07 to Llanddona. Llandona is not on the WCP and required two miles of road walking to get to the WCP. I asked to be dropped off at corner just before the bus turned around. The driver was a miserable old git, which I put down down to the early hour of the morning!

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Black Point Toll by Anthony Garratt

My actual WCP part of the walk started at Bwrdd Arthur, which offered great views back across to the Great Orme and further north-west up the coast to Benllech. The path stayed more or less inland all the way to Penmon Point, where I visited the Pilot House and observed some artwork. The painting on display was by an artist called Anthony Garratt whose ” Outdoor Gallery” would display 4 paintings made outdoors at different sites across Anglesey. The painting would be removed at the end of October.

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Penmon Dovecote

The majority of the route back along the southern shore of Anglesey was on tarmac. I passed trough Penmon Priory and had a look in the Dovecote.

I managed to walk along most of the foreshore towards Beaumaris, which was quite muddy in places. Beaumaris was quite a charming little town, with impressive castle ruins and a number of colourful but quaint shops.

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Colourfully decorated bicycle

Upon reaching the edge of the town, the WCP was diverted up a parallel side road which continued virtually all the way to Menai Bridge (which is also known as Porthaethwy). The diversion was due to a number of sections of the road having no footpath or verge to escape traffic. It is a occurrence that will occur many more times on this path.

On reachingMenai Bridge the path diverted down to the small piers where the Oceanographic research boats are tied up.  I was soon walking below the Menai Bridge itself and what a wonderful structure it is!! Almost 200 hundred years old and still carrying traffic. A fantastic piece of engineering.

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The iconic Menai Bridge

I cross the bridge and walk back towards Bangor. I walked past Bangor City FC footbal ground and then through a nature reserve which had a bewildering path structure with continuous up and down steps of 6 steps or more. I took 5.5hrs to walk the 17 miles.

Distance today = 17 miles
Total distance =   957.5 miles