Saturday, 14 July 2018

Anglesey by car

Tue 10th Jul  Tetchill to Anglesey by car

Packed the car, and left Hugo with his timed feeder and without his plastic collar, so that he could use his cat flap unhindered.

We set off via the A5 through Llangollen, Betws-y-Coed, to Bethesda, where we paused for a drink and a light snack.  We crossed the Menai Straits on the Britannia Bridge, originally opened for rail traffic in 1850 by Robert Stephenson. It had a second level added, which opened for road traffic in 1980.  We followed Vicki ‘s clear instructions, and ended up at Heatherbrae, their home near Malltraeth mid afternoon.

We had a look around the house, seeing all the modifications and extensions they have made since James visited once before in 1970.

The RAF must have known we had arrived, as they gave us a fly past.

Fly past

We went for a walk along the seashore with Andy, seeing Oyster Catchers, Curlews, and Little Egrets. We returned via a footpath where there was a lot of attention from biting insects.

The view from their house towards Snowdonia

We had a lovely barbecue in their garden in the evening.

No boating today

Wed 11th Jul  Anglesey

After breakfast with a stunning view, we all got into Andy’s car for a sightseeing tour.

The breakfast view


We drove in a North-West direction up the coast, pausing first at Aberffraw to visit the Church in the Sea, or St Cwyfans.  This was built in the 12th century on a promontory.  Erosion caused the promontory to become an island, and a seawall was built in 1893 to prevent the church being washed into the sea. The previously grey church was whitewashed in 2006. A fuller history is here.  

The Church in the Sea

Andy Vicki Hazel

Andy and Vicki

From there we drove to Holy Island, which is attached to Anglesey by a bridge. We visited Rhoscolyn, where Andy had memories from childhood, and we stopped for a light lunch at Trearddur Bay.  We visited South Stack, an important nesting site for guillemots, razorbills and puffins, as well as a place to see kittiwakes and fulmars.

Guillemot nesting site

Near South Stack

We found some cinnabar caterpillars on some ragwort. These used to be very common, but in recent years we have only found one group each year.  The yellow and black caterpillars eventually become red and black moths. We saw a moth on the Staffs and Worcs near Penkridge at the end of May.

Cinnabar caterpillar

Cinnabar moth

There were lots of interesting flowers and plants, in particular, a white flower that resembled cauliflower.

White flowers

We drove through Holyhead and back to base for another lovely meal at Andy and Vicki’s.

No boating today.

Thu 12th Jul  Anglesey

This morning we went boating. Well, it’s what boaters do, even when they are not on their own boat.  Andy and Vicki have a small yellow boat with a forward cabin and open stern, powered by an outboard.  It is anchored in the river estuary, and can only be used when the tide is in. It involves a bit of paddling to get the boat ready and to get aboard.

Today’s boat

Andy in the water


We therefore set off early, before breakfast, and travelled downriver against the flow of the incoming tide, in Malltraeth Bay.  At one point we saw dolphins, but sadly they don’t hang around to pose for the cameras.  We also saw a flock of puffins flying past.

Dolphins dodging the camera

We cruised to the other side of Llanddwyn Island and back. Lighthouses here help navigators find their way to mouth of the Menai Straits nearby.

Llanddwyn Island

Under way

Back at the house we had a cooked breakfast to set us up for the rest of the day.

We then set off in our hired car to explore other parts of the island.  We went to Moelfre where we visited the lifeboat station. James gave a Canal Ministries leaflet to the very helpful volunteer there.

Lifeboat station

Moelfre lifeboat

The RNLI volunteer

We paused for an ice cream before getting back in the car, as it was very hot.

Vicki Andy Hazel with ice creams

We  moved on to Black Point where we had views of Puffin Island and Llandudno. We had bara-brith in a cafe there before backtracking to visit Penmon Priory, with its monastic fish pond and holy well connected with St Seiriol.

The priory


Norman arch and ancient cross

St Seiriols Well

A hut circle by the well

Vicki Hazel Andy

There is also an impressive dovecote which accommodates nearly 1000 pigeons.  It is easy to see how the term “pigeon hole” came about.  There is a large pillar in the centre, with steps up the outside. Apparently they used a ladder from the top of the pillar to gain access to the pigeons.

The pigeon house

Steps up the pillar

The hole at the top

Pigeon holes

We had booked a meal in Beaumaris, and we were early, so we wandered round looking in shop windows, and having a pre dinner drink. We then had a very pleasant Tapas meal before returning to Heatherbrae.

The unfinished Beaumaris Castle

No narrowboating today.  About 7 miles sea cruising. No locks, bridges or tunnels!

Fri 12th Jul  Anglesey back to Tetchill

We said farewell to Andy and Vicki.  We have had a great time on Anglesey.

Andy and Vicki

We returned in our Enterprise car pausing first at Tesco in Bangor, then taking the A55 to junction 17, where we made a short detour to see the old town of Conwy.  Sadly the castle was under scaffolding, but we came upon the fortification walls for the old town.

Old walls in Conwy

Back on the A55 to junction 27, where we headed south via Ruthin, where we paused again to visit a butcher (sausages and bacon) and baker (bara brith) and a cafe where he had a welcome coffee. 

Further south, we came through Horseshoe Pass, an impressive road through the mountains.

Horseshoe Pass

We found our way to Aldi in Llangollen, and then returned to the boat to unpack.  Hugo was back on board within two minutes of our arrival, and seemed very happy to see us.  He had eaten most of the food we left him, on a timed dispenser.  The fridge was still cold, although the boat batteries needed charging, so we ran the engine.  We returned the car to Enterprise after a quick visit to Morrison’s in Oswestry for some bits we couldn’t get in the other stores today.  We were then delivered back to the boat.

We found some boneless ribs in Aldi!

James walked up the lane to Tetchill to post some cards, and had a quick chat with Roger through the window on the way back.

No boating today.

Next: Cellar Church on Sunday, then either to Llangollen or down the Montgomery. We are not sure yet.

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