Back from Anglesey – and I definitely need a new tent!

I arrived home late yesterday afternoon from my holiday on Anglesey; weather-wise the eight days had been a bit of a mixed bag, with two days of rain and a day-and-a-half of grey cloudy sky, but the other days were full of sunshine and blue skies and also quite hot.  Other than a few weekenders who arrived last Friday and left on Sunday the camp site was very quiet and I was the only one in the field where I’d chosen to pitch – the peace and quiet were absolutely blissful.
The start of the holiday wasn’t without it’s problems though; if I’d thought that getting a rip in the side of the tent a couple of weeks ago was a disaster then this was a catastrophe of Titanic proportions. I’d got the tent up and was in the process of pegging out the guy lines when it decided to give up the ghost completely – there was a horrendous ripping sound and a huge – and I mean really huge – tear appeared right along the top. The tent was definitely dead this time but luckily I had a back-up plan, which will be explained on my other blog, so it didn’t affect the holiday too much.
My out-and-about days produced plenty of good photos including various animals, birds and flowers, and I even found a couple of places which I’d never been to or seen before. I finally found a beach I’d been looking for for several years and at another beach I managed to get myself cut off by the tide, though fortunately I was able to wade the few yards back to dry land. The dogs had to swim though, and while Poppie was okay with that Sophie wasn’t too impressed. On Monday, armed with a tin of black paint and a couple of artist’s brushes, I took a walk to Tyger’s memorial stone near Rhoscolyn and repainted the faded lettering engraved on it – I really needed a finer brush but it didn’t look too bad, and no doubt by next year it will have faded again so I can do it better next time.
A couple of the grey days were spent on the unsuccessful hunt for a new tent and on one of the days I got a free meal and coffee at the Morrisons cafe in Caernarfon. I also visited my cousin, who I managed to track down at my second attempt, and I spent a good couple of hours with him and his wife, catching up on our respective news over a coffee or two. The sunny days produced some lovely sunsets and glorious colours in the late evening sky and the bedtime dog walks were spent rabbit spotting as there were loads of them hopping about round various parts of the camp site. Early morning yesterday saw me walking the dogs along the nearby beach and at only 6.30am we had the whole place to ourselves; after breakfast a final fling before packing up to come home was a photography walk round Parys Mountain.
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Nefyn beach – finally found after several years
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Amlwch harbour
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A lake on Parys Mountain
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A random garden at Amlwch
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Garden flowers at Porth Dinllaen
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Lesser black backed gull at Holyhead port
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Late evening sky over the camp site
With well over 200 photos taken during the eight day holiday, and the hot sunny days making up for the dull ones, my much-needed time away was very enjoyable in spite of the tent giving up the ghost at the start. My back-up plan had worked out well enough that the demise of the tent didn’t really spoil things so all in all it was a good holiday. Now all I have to do is sort out my photos and update my other blog – it may take a while!

Off on my travels again

Tomorrow morning (Monday) I’ll finally be leaving for my usual summer camping holiday on Anglesey. I should really have gone early yesterday morning but a very mentally taxing couple of days where I felt like my brain was going to explode and shower the whole area with mush has meant that my trip has been somewhat delayed. The van is all packed up – in fact it was never unpacked from last weekend, I’ve just added a few more things to what was already in there – so all I have to do now is put my personal stuff in and I’m away.
To be honest, just at the moment I’m so tired I don’t really feel like going anywhere but I’ve been looking forward to this holiday and I need it so come hell or high water I’ll be on the road sometime tomorrow. I’ll be gone for eight days and I won’t have any internet access but when I get back I’ll write about the events of the last few days – and be warned, it’s a long story!

A discovery walk on the Llyn Peninsula

Linking up with Jo’s Monday Walk this week, this is one I did while camping on Anglesey the year before last, and not only was it a very enjoyable walk but it also gave me a very delightful and unexpected surprise when I discovered something I’d previously been completely unaware of.
As always, when I’m on my travels I never go anywhere without my AA map book, and having consulted it before leaving the tent that morning I decided to go off the island and explore part of the the Llyn Peninsula. Marked on the map book was a place called Morfa Nefyn and a beach which I’d never previously been to, so I decided to check that out for any possible photo opportunities. Nefyn itself was quite a large spread out village with the main road running through it and I fully expected to see a sign for Morfa Nefyn somewhere but there was nothing, though I did eventually see a sign for ‘beach’ pointing down a long straight lane so that’s the way I went – and ended up in a golf course car park.
With no other signs around I was totally at a loss but as I stood wondering which way to go a couple who had obviously just finished a round of golf came to their nearby car, so I asked them where the beach was and was told to follow the gravel track across the golf course and a fifteen minute walk would take me to it. So off I went, and with the blue sky, sunshine and great views over the coastline to my left it was a very pleasant walk. Eventually the track split into two and down the short steeply sloping tarmac part to my right I could see a beach – I’d found what I thought I was looking for, but it was far more than just a beach.
A view from the golf course
The track took me down behind a row of cottages on my left and at the bottom of the slope, almost on the beach itself, was a small parking area with just about enough space for half a dozen cars. When I emerged onto the sand I discovered a tiny and very pretty little hamlet with the cottages, three or four houses set in a small courtyard, and a pub/restaurant with an outside dining area, all set at the base of the cliff and within just a few feet of the beach – it was such a quaint, unexpected and out-of-the-way place offering plenty of photo opportunities and I was really glad I’d found it.
Porth Dinllaen
Cottages and Ty Coch Inn
After spending quite some time wandering about taking photos I found a footpath leading round the headland at the end of the beach; there was a house in the distance at the water’s edge so I decided to go round as far as there. The footpath was quite narrow in places with bits of the edge missing where it had crumbled into the sea but I reached the house without mishap and after taking a few shots I retraced my steps back to the beach.
Instead of going back up the track to the golf course I walked along the sand; four tractors with trailers were parked just above the high water line and once I’d got past those I had the beach almost to myself. Eventually my way was barred by a small headland jutting out into the sea and a path took me off the beach and through a tiny enclave of half a dozen cottages before leading me back onto the sand further along the bay. I was just hoping that there would be a way from there back to the golf club car park otherwise I would have a long walk back the other way but I needn’t have worried; the beach gradually became more populated and eventually I came to a concrete slope leading up to a tarmac lane, and after passing several houses I came out at the start of the long lane leading up to the golf club.
Looking back at Porth Dinllaen – what you see is what you get
Another house at the water’s edge
Morfa Nefyn beach
Just up the lane was a cafe with a few tables outside; it was a good opportunity to stop for coffee and cake before returning to the van and it also gave me a chance to find out the name of the quaint little seaside hamlet I’d discovered. The beach I’d just come from was Morfa Nevyn, the one I was originally looking for, though somehow I’d missed the sign for it, and the hamlet was Porth Dinllaen. It seemed it was quite a popular little place, though I didn’t recall seeing it in the map book so a quick check when I got back to the van confirmed that it isn’t shown on the map.
My walk, clockwise from yellow spot
Thinking back later on I was glad I’d missed the sign for Morfa Nevyn beach; Porth Dinllaen couldn’t be seen completely from there so if I’d found that beach first I may just have taken a couple of shots of it without going any further, and I would have missed a nice walk and some good photo opportunities in one of the most unusual places I’ve ever been to.

Anglesey Coastal Path – the White Arch and Tyger’s memorial

Linking up to Jo’s Monday Walk this week, this is a walk I’ve done twice in the last couple of years. One of my favourite places for camping is Anglesey – I’ve been there two or three times a year almost every year since 1997 – and this particular section of the Anglesey Coastal Path features the White Arch and a memorial stone to brave Tyger. I’d previously found the story of Tyger in a book about Anglesey; it said that in 1819 a Liverpool-bound ketch, sailing through a thick mist, struck the rocks off the coast near Rhoscolyn and sank. Only Tyger, the captain’s retriever, seemed to sense the direction of the shore and with the ship’s boy clinging to his collar he swam half a mile to safety then swam back to aid the captain and the other two crewmen. Thanks to Tyger they all reached the shore, but Tyger himself was so exhausted by the ordeal that he died on the beach in his master’s arms. The courageous dog was buried on the nearby cliff top and a memorial stone placed on his grave. I thought it was such a lovely but sad story that I wanted to seek out Tyger’s memorial and see it for myself.
My walk started at the small car park just behind the main beach at Rhoscolyn, and a footpath from there joined the Anglesey Coastal Path and skirted the northern end of the beach, taking me past two smaller back-to-back beaches and through a small hamlet of houses before hitting open fields and grassland. Across the first field the land rose sharply ahead of me with ‘steps’ up the hill cut into the earth; when I got to the top I could see the coastguard lookout station ahead of me and when I turned round I was rewarded with a good view of Rhoscolyn beach, the hamlet I’d just come through, and Rhosneiger in the distance, with the Snowdonia mountains in the background.
Borth Wen beach, Rhoscolyn
Looking back to Rhoscolyn with Rhosneigr in the distance
From the coastguard lookout I got a lovely view of Seagull’s Islands and the Rhoscolyn beacon; the terrain went downhill again from there and a bit further on I came to the ancient St. Gwenfaen’s Well. A nearby drystone wall went up over the next hill and the path followed it closely for quite a distance, with the terrain and the coastline becoming more rocky as I went along. Down the other side and ahead of me was Pink Bay, so called because of the pink colour of some parts of the cliff face, and the path skirted round this cove and over another short incline before crossing more open and less rocky land
Seagull’s Islands and Rhoscolyn beacon
St. Gwenfaen’s Well
A very rocky coastline
Pink Bay
Information I’d been given told me that the White Arch and Tyger’s memorial were in close proximity to each other and once I got past Pink Bay I wouldn’t be far from either of them, though I would have to look for Tyger’s stone as it wasn’t immediately obvious. I walked on a bit further then ahead of me and to the right, a distance away from the path, I saw a long line of stones, possibly the ground level remains of a wall, crossing the open land; other large stones and boulders were dotted about here and there but the shape of a certain one caught my eye so I went over to take a look. And that was the one I was searching for – Tyger’s memorial. With no indication anywhere that it was there, anyone not knowing Tyger’s story would quite easily continue along the designated path without ever seeing it.
A large slab of stone with a flat surface, it had been turned on its end and sunk into the ground. It was less than 3ft tall and had a simple inscription chiselled into its surface, though there was no indication as to who Tyger was or why the stone was there. Situated where it was, close to many others of the same kind, it was a very ordinary piece of stone but it signified so much. From there I made my way over to the cliff edge and I didn’t need to walk far before I found the White Arch, and though a big part of it was in shade it was still worth taking a few photos. I even met a couple of friends in the form of two white goats which were wandering along the cliff top.
The White Arch
Two ‘escapees’ from the herd on Llandudno’s Great Orme
When I’d taken all the photos I wanted I went back to spend a few minutes at Tyger’s memorial; sitting on the grass in the warm sunshine with my own two dogs at my feet, I thought about Tyger and the reason why the memorial was there. Growing about twenty yards away were several large patches of wild flowers so before I left I went across and picked a small posy then laid it in front of the stone in memory of a very brave dog who gave his life to help his master and crew.
Tyger’s memorial
I didn’t know how far it was from the beach car park to Tyger’s memorial – and I still don’t in spite of trying to find out from several different sources – but I guessed it to be about two miles, although because of the undulating terrain and meandering path it seemed to be longer than that. So it was another two miles or so back to the van but in the sunshine it was a very pleasant walk and anyway the distance didn’t really matter – I’d found Tyger’s memorial and I’d got some good photos so I was more than happy.