To begin 2018 we were back in Anglesey to complete the second section of the Coast Path on the island. We all stayed at The Hotel Cymyran which was close to the village of Valley and near Valley Airfield. Although the buildings shook when the jet fighters took off, it didn’t concern us too much as we were out most of the time that they were flying.
We drove up to Anglesey the day before we were due to start walking – it’s a long way!
25 April 2018 – Wylfa to Church Bay: 8.5 miles (13.6 km) =255m -255m
We took four cars to Church Bay and Benji’s Taxis, a mini-bus, drove us to the start point at Wylfa. As last year construction work was for the new power station was ongoing and we had to find our way around the site on diverted footpaths.
We worked our way down to a flat stone bridge alongside the Felin Cafnan corn mill, soon reaching the pebbly beach at Cemlyn Bay. The beach can be crossed at all but the highest tides. Behind the beach is a lagoon which is a haven for wildlife, especially the Arctic Tern. We continued to Hen Borth (Old Gate) and onto Trwyn Carmel Head. A group of rocks called the Skerries and a lighthouse could be seen in the distance.
From Carmel Head we continued to the Ynys Fydlyn rock formation, an island comprising twin coves and an arch. It was then a steep climb around Porth y Bribys and onto the cliff top which comprise some of the oldest pre-Cambrian rocks in Wales. Eventually the Path lead down to Porth Swtan (Church Bay). Swtan refers to “whiting” and there is a restored thatched cottage which is now the Swtan Herritage Museum.
26 April 2018: Church bay to Beddmanarch bay – 10.3 miles (16.5 km) +134m -142m
This section was not as elevated as the previous day. As it is divided by the Alaw Estuary which is unsafe to cross, the Path took us inland along its banks full of wildlife. We crossed the new ornate bridge before following the opposite bank with majestic views of Holyhead Mountain in the distance. On reaching Valley we crossed over the Cymyran Strait to Holy Island on the Stanley Embankment. Locally known as The Cob, it carries the railway, road and cycle/footpath. Over on the other side we walked through Penrhos Coastal Park at Beddmanarch Bay where our cars were parked.
27 May 2018: Parys Mountain
Today we had a day off. Did we sit around the hotel and have a relaxing day? Of course not, we went for a walk, but it was somewhere very special. It was the spectacular Parys Mountain, one of Britain’s largest volcanoes (extinct) and mined for copper ore since the early Bronze Age, nearly 4000 years ago. By the 18th century more copper ore was shipped from Parys Mountain via Amlwch than from anywhere else in the world. Much of it ended up in Swansea, also known as Copperopolis. Copper Kingdom and The Sail Loft in Amlwch Port are both well worth a visit.
We drove to the car park and spent the rest of the day walking round the mine workings admiring the amazing colours and then had lunch in Amlwch Port at The Sail Loft.
28 April 2018: Beddmanarch Bay to South Stack Car Park – 8.9 miles (14.4 km) +382m -327m
From where we stopped walking the day before at Beddmanarch bay we walked through the remainder of Penrhos Coastal Park onto the port of Holyhead. At this point we were about half way round Anglesey. We made our way round the port and past a Roman Fort to Holyhead Mountain. This was probably one of the most attractive parts of the Coast Path with its wild and unspoiled landscape.
Passing an Iron Age Hill Fort we eventually reached the famous South Stack Lighthouse and Ellin’s Tower, a popular vantage point for bird-watchers which is owned by the RSPB. We could have had an optional walk down to the lighthouse but the thought of an additional 400 steps down and then back up was just too much for us after a strenuous walk.
29 April 2018: South Stack Car park to Rhoscolyn – 10.3 miles (16.6 km) +251m -301m
After South Stack to Trearddur Bay the landscape changed and leveled out into small beaches like Porth Darfach. After Trearddur Bay the Path became rugged again with interesting and unusual rock features created by the pounding sea. We followed the Path up to Mynydd Rhoscolyn and stopped at St Gwenfaen’s Well. In the Middle Ages people believed that the waters had healing powers. From the well we made our way down to Borthwen where our cars were parked.
This had been a demanding 38 miles over four days walking. It had all been well worth it as we walked around the diverse coastline of Anglesey. The bonus was Benji. As he drove us round the island he was full of stories and anecdotes. The good news was that when we return next year it will be much flatter.