71. Newborough to Menai Bridge

This was to be my final leg on Anglesey and I was looking forward to an easy stroll in this late sunny autumn day.

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Stepping stones over the Afon Braint

I arrived early in Menai Bridge town to find the long-stay car park closed.  I tried another car park, this one is also closed also– it was full of fair ground equipment! Anyway, I find a quiet street and save myself £3. I catch the #42 bus and get dropped off right on the path at the roundabout at Pen Lon.

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I know the feeling!

Its quite a chilly start but I am soon warming up and heading towards the Menai Stait coastline. I am confronted by a set of huge stepping stones that enable the Afon Braint to be crossed. The sun begins to rise and it gets quite warm as  I walk along a small a tarmac road. I can make out the town of Caernarfon across the Menai Strait, knowing I should be there in two more trips..

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Nelson’s statue looking west along the Menai Strait
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The double-decker Pont Britannia bridge

Unfortunately, I am not on the coastline long before a big detour inland to avoid the NT property of Plas Newydd and another big property. Not much time spent on the coast in this section! I follow the main A4080 to the outskirts of Llanfair Pwllgwyngll where the path skirts down to the waters edge. I passed Nelsons monument on the tidal part of the strait and climbed up a small hill to a church which has a memorial to the people who died in the building both the old bridge and new Pont Britannia  bridge. The path passes under the Pont Britannia, which is very impressive when viewed from below. The path hugs the coast for a while before climbing back up onto the road, before skirting back down again to the coast as I entered Menai Bridge. Not a very satisfying walk with persistent diversions and detours. I covered the 14 miles in 4.5 hrs.

Distance today = 14 miles
Total distance =   1074 miles

70. Rhosneigr to Newborough

This section involved two walks, a long one and a short one, puncuated by a bus ride! I drove to and parked at the Llanddym Island parking spot in the Newborough Forest. I arrived at 8:30 but  no-one was at the toll booth to take the £4 parking charge. There were many other cars parked, mainly joggers and dog walkers. I asked a lady when I’d parked my car  and she said there was no machine, so at that time you did’nt pay. I did see  when I returned to the car park at about 16:00 a lady locking the toll booth up and leaving.

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Rhosneigr in the distance

To get to Rhosneigr I walked towards Newborough along the WCP, when I reached  the A4080, at the Pen Lon roundabout I caught the #42 bus to Aberffarw; where I changed buses and caught the #25 for a short hop to Rhosneigr.

When I arrived in Rhosneigr the first thing I could hear was the noise of engines from the Angelesy Racing circuit some 3 miles away!

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Barclodiad y Gawres tomb

The first couple of miles was easy beach and cliff-top walking before I came to my first port of call, the Barclodiad y Gawres, the largest Neolithic tomb in Wales. A metal gate blocks further investigation, but it is sometimes opended for guided tours.

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The church of St. Cwyfan on Cribinau
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Malltreath

The noise from the motor racing circuit increases as I get closer and the path makes an inland detour to get around the circuit. I see many marshalls, but cannot see any of the action until I emerge at a small bay called Porth China. I can see that motor bikes are being raced, as part of the circuit is now visible. I also noticed the small tidal island of Cribinau, with the 13th century church of St. Cwfan. As the tide was out, I visited the small church. Apparently, the church was once connected to the mainland, but erosion of the boulder clay made it an island. The remaining portion of the island and graves has been protected from further erosion by a stone wall around its perimeter. Unfortunately, the church was locked when I visited. It was kind of strange having motor racing a few hundred meters away, while I was sitting on this lovely tranquil island.

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Snowdonia and the Lleyn from Ro Bach beach

I round a small headland and followed the Afon Ffraw into  Aberffraw, the ancient capital of the Kingdom of Gwynedd. The Afon Ffraw was tidal, but today I could have simply taken my boots off and walked the 6 steps across. I opted to stay until the bridge and walk back alongside the opposite bank.

After the small beach of Aberffraw Sands the WCP sweeps inland for a large detour around the Bodorgan Estate, which is notable for having very few public footpaths on its Estate. The large detour takes the path directly into another small village, Malltraeth. It was here that attempts were made in the 19th century to reclaim land lost to the sea by building a large wall, The Cob, along which I walked. My next section was Newborough Forest, which is huge , although Forest tracks hold no great appeal to me. After 3 miles of forest walking I emerge onto the beach at Ro Bach. I could walk out to the attractive island of Llanddwyn, but it has been a long day and I am tired. The beach is very busy and crowds are enjoying the late autumn sunshine.

Distance today = 20 miles
Total distance =   1060 miles

69. Trearddur Bay to Rhosneigr

I parked at the free car park at the library in Rhosneigr. I caught the early #25 bus to Caergeiliog. After getting off the bus I had all of 30 seconds before the #4 to Trearddur Bay arrived. It’s not that this is a really frequent service, I was just lucky because my first bus was late.

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Looking towards Anglesey Airport at Traeth Llydan

The weather had begun to clear from raining most of the night, to blue clear skies by midday. The walking was very easy along the coast, which was quite flat. I passed close to Rhoscolyn keeping half an eye open for the third of Anthony Garrartt outdoor paintings.

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Four Mile Bridge

I arrived at Traeth Llydan and could easily see Anglesey Airport across a tiny water course. However, I was still on Holy Island  and I now had to make a large detour north towards Four Mile Bridge. The route was predominantly on roads and had little of interest to offer. Four Mile Bridge is the name of the village that sits alongside a bridge that connects Holy Island with Anglesey.

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Exposed breached old causeway

I cross the bridge and pass a couple of farms. My luck is in at Penrhyn-hwlad where a low tide has exposed an old breached causeway. The causeway was easy to negotiate and saved me about a kilometre of walking around the inlet. I pass under and around the landing beacons and lights and finally around the airfield perimter before walking last couple of miles along beach. Took 4.75hrs to cover the 16 miles.

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Looking ahead to Rhosneigr

 

 

 

 

 

 

Distance today = 16 miles
Total distance =   1040 miles

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

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