The Anglesey Coastal Path 2014

Day Four: 11th April

Weather: Sunshine and clouds, turning chilly later and a little grey to finish the day.

Route: Malltraeth to Brynsiencyn - 15 miles


Last night it rained, but only after I’d been to the chippy and got back to the B&B. The owners had nipped out for a meal elsewhere and told me to help myself to whatever I needed. So I nipped upstairs, puzzled at the stair gate as the owners were well past childcare date, and went into the kitchen for a plate for my chips. Grrr said the Rottweiler, parp said my bottom as I made a sharp exit downstairs. I sat in the conservatory munching my food as the rain pattered down on the roof – thankful it hadn’t arrived earlier...

...and in the morning all semblance of moistness had gone, leaving me with a morning that had a softness of light to it, and lurvely blue sky to enjoy once more. A good breakfast despite the presence of a large Rotty under the table – I should have kept the Gruffalos bollix to feed her with. Packed lunch collected it was ready for the off into another dry day starting with a mile steady plod across a flood defence embankment. There was a little lake behind the embankment and a horse stood posing at the far side, giving a reflection that my camera couldn’t do justice to, but I tried, oh how I tried. The estuary of the Afon Cefni is wide, sandy with some salt marsh at it’s edges, and as I turned into the old plantation of Newborough Forest it was like stepping into another place. It reminded me of the many jobs I’ve been to where the road to the rig is a gravelled track through the trees, and with the strong dappled sunlight I could have been somewhere Mediterranean. There were one or two flooded areas of path which had me scrambling around looking for a diversion amongst dead branches and fallen trees, and I assumed that was a result of the heavy storms we have had during the past winter. But without the need to rush a gentle amble soon brought me back on track and as I reached the southern end of the forest one of those happy sublime moments occurred, where the trees thinned enough to glimpse the mountains of Snowdonia and the Llyn Peninsula beyond and bright light bounced off the fine sand, giving a real feel of the seaside of warmer climes.

Out through the trees the beach beckoned, as it did to many other tourists who were out enjoying the sun walking from car park to Llanddwyn Island and back again. I sought refuge in a peaceful spot in amongst the pillow lavas exposed on the beach, and settled back to enjoy my lunch with Chris Isaac’s ‘Wicked Game’ playing in my ears – he and Helen Christensen could well have made the video for that song on this very beach – must have been difficult for him though with her behind him, skin to skin while he tried to strum away and sing.

The views over to the mountains were still a little fuzzy and a strong wind was blowing, cool enough to don another layer. After admiring a few more rocks I cast a glance over towards Llanddwyn Island, thought about walking over there, then dismissed it as there were too many people around the place. I found the walk across the sands towards the main car park quite hypnotic, but woke from my minds slumber as I reached the main car park. Plenty of people out and about and a tea wagon as well as an ice cream van – a very welcome diversion and always good to take on more fluids. Off the beach the path wandered through more forest, along a sandy floor before emerging on the eastern side, with the views opening up once more with Snowdonia very prominent across the dunes. Plenty of Welsh Ponies out and about to keep the vegetation in check and promote the right habitats for the local wildlife. Soon enough it was back out onto a quiet lane that ran into Pen-Lonand the model village. There was a caravan site here and a small restaurant, and as I strongly agree in helping the local economy I stopped here for a pint of the local brew – very welcome as my right leg was giving me a lot of pain again – probably mostly due to carrying a heavier pack (lesson learnt yet again).

Another small highlight was at the end of a long lane with a set of stepping stones over the Afon Braint. I had checked that the tide was out, and thankfully it was because at high tide I don’t think it would have been possible to cross dryshod. At low tide it was a piece of cake, but the green seaweed growing around the top showed how far up the water usually comes. A few more narrow lanes, rapeseed oil fields, derelict buildings took me down to the coast on the Menai Straits and good views of Caernarfon across the water.

A change of direction now and the route took me to the NE, initially along a pebble beach which led to the old Mermaid Inn. No longer a pub but a fine private residence with it’s own dock and pier, painted up a nice shade of mint green. The last couple of miles were on quiet lanes and I phoned the B&B to ask whereabouts in the village they were –

‘do you know the red post-box?’ (say this with a welsh accent – gives a better sense of the conversation)
me – ‘no that’s why I’m phoning you’,
‘well turn left when you reach it’,
‘do you know the crossroads?’
Doh – me – ‘I’ll call again if I get lost’

As it happens the red post box was there and I did turn left, and the owner also turned up in his car asking if I was the lost hiker? Nice gent then offered me a lift to the B&B but like all Magnus Magnusson walks I said ‘No thanks, I’ve started so I’ll finish’, and as I watched his brake lights disappear beyond the next corner I thought ‘You plonker Rodney’ A truly cracking days walk yet again, and I only wished my knees agreed with me.

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 the view along Malltraeth Sands. Very peaceful this morning

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two canoeists set out on calm waters. The B&B is straight across the water, the Rotty not bothered I'd gone

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the best part of a mile across a flood protection barrier separates Malltraeth from Newborough Warren

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fantastic reflections and still water

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the horses just stood and rested

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I wished my camera had more of a zoom range

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but there are some interesting pictures of upside down skies

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looking across the salt marsh and Malltraeth Sands

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Newborough Forest ahead

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a wet stormy  winter and low lying land, has left some impassable sections and a wander through the woods followed

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which was very pleasant once I'd worked my way through some denser growth

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out of the forest and onto the sands - it could be the med here. Blissful in the sunshine

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Snowdonia providing a backdrop beyond the sands at Ro Bach

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Llanddwyn Island was just behind me, but I didn't make the diversion. Ahead in the distance is Newborough Warren

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I had lunch sat among the 'Pillow Lavas'

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it's very popular and a steady stream of walkers take the air from the nearby car park. Snowdonia looking splendid from here.

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at the eastern edge of Newborough Forest is Newborough Warren

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it's grazed by Welsh Ponies to try and restore / maintain the habitat. Snowdonia at it's best today

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after a brief refreshment stop, it was down the lane towards a river crossing - the tide was out again.

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stepping stones across the Afon Braint

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the high tide mark isn't far short of the tops of the stones

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farm tracks and lanes led back to the coast

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with views across to Caernarfon Castle and the Nantlle Ridge beyond

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some shore side walking took me along to the old Mermaid Inn, which disappointedly isn't an Inn anymore

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A last look towards the hills before trying to find the B&B up several lanes

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