On the Road again

Our summer of work has finished and it’s time for us to hit the road again! It’s still only August so we decide to travel in the UK for a few weeks. We had dreams of the Scottish Highlands but as we have to be in Portsmouth for Luna’s jabs at the start of September, we decide on Northern Wales instead.

After an epic cross-country drive from Sandringham, we reach the A55 and find a great pubstop in Halkyn at the Britannia Inn, where we receive a warm welcome, buy a cold pint and find a great spot with beautiful views for the night. The next day we get up early to push on. We have arranged to meet friends at a campsite in Rhosneigr so that is where we will start our visit to Anglesey. The campsite is very exposed but well-located, close to the little village and the beach. It’s blowing a gale and our friends’ tent struggles in the wind, even with Rex parked in front as a windbreaker. We have a nice time with beach walks, a beer or two and a BBQ before admitting defeat in the howling wind the next day.

We travel to South Stack on Holy Island next, where we find nowhere to park up as it is very busy. Our first experience with high season travel… And a reminder why we don’t tend to do it. We find a lovely little Certificated Site (CS) however, just down from the lighthouse. It’s perfect with views across the bay and only £12 per night (£15 with EHU). We walk along the cliffs, trying not to get blown away. We walk to Elin’s tower where we learn about birds with the RSPB, and to the lighthouse. It’s a lovely place but it’s still too windy. The next day, luckily, the wind dies down and we both go exploring again. There is so much history in this place; an Iron Age settlement, an Iron Age Hill Fort and a Roman Watch tower. Communities have lived here for thousands of years. Perhaps it is now less inhabited than before, with only the odd farm dotted around. We felt we were back in our element, on a rugged coastline with a beautiful coastal path to walk.

Our next stop is near Church Bay where we find a little camping field with a cold shower and a toilet. For £10 per night it’s fine with us. It’s near the coastal path and in walking distance of the hamlet of Church Bay. We decide to explore the coastal path to the north-western corner of Anglesey with views of The Skerries with its lighthouse and back again.

The hike was beautiful. The coastline was dramatic with the rocky outcrops and all the colours of the heather and other flowers and plants all over. Millions of blackberries slowly ripening in the sun. We found a spot behind a rock to have a little break. We made some instant coffee with the jetboil and sat in the sun enjoying the quiet all around us. A kestrel was hunting for its lunch. We watched it dive again and again into the long grass. Next we saw a little head peeping over the top of a little rocky mound… We wondered what it was. A grouse! Keeping its distance and keeping an eye on us. We started walking again and soon we saw grouse were all around us, hidden in the grass, hard to see in their colours. On our way back we came across a dairy farm where the cows were just coming in from the fields. We’ve never seen so many cows. They all walked along the path and it went on for miles! The whole day was truly wonderful.

We would’ve stayed longer in the camping field, but bad weather was coming in and we were at the bottom of a sloping field. Fearing getting stuck with big Rex in a soggy field, we decided we would have to move. After a short drive, trying to find a carpark we’d seen on our hike, but failing to find it as we’d taken a wrong turn, we ended up in a quiet, secluded lay bay. It would do for tonight. It turned out to be quite an interesting spot with some ancient standing stones just alongside. The rains kept coming and we had a quiet night in.

The next morning we moved on to Cemeas for a look around the village. It’s a nice little place and we had a little walk around the bay and the high street, stopping for some coffee and cake. After a chat with the beach warden, we decided to move to Bull Bay as he recommended a good spot for an overnight stay. At bull Bay we didn’t quite find the good spot the warden had told us about, although he did seem to think we were in the VW van so perhaps he hadn’t considered the size of Rex. However we found an absolute little gem in a disused pub carpark. A perfect spot for the night! Here we found ourselves sitting on the cliff in the wind watching porpoise hunt off shore. A lovely way to spend an afternoon. Still the weather was bad and the rain soon started again.

Although we had planned to see more of Anglesey, by now we had had about enough of the weather. We got on the road again and after a brief stop in Beaumaris for a coffee break we decided to leave Anglesey behind and head back to the mainland. Time for chores. A hunt for some food for Luna and some new hiking shoes for us led us eventually to Betws-y-Coed where we perused all the outdoor shops, found new boots and finally found some sunshine as well.

Of course, we had to try out our new walking boots. The lady in the shop recommended a lovely walk to a reservoir, Llyn Elsi. Good opportunity for us! After a short steep climb, we found a nice path to the reservoir, with a walk all around it. It was beautiful and a good trial for the big hike to come tomorrow as we walk up Snowdon!

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