Dear Rosie, Lauren, Stan, Jake, Rowan and Maisie,
Wheels within wheels – I’m trying to complete my circumnavigation of The Island Of Anglesey, and thought this last trip would have done it, enabling me to concentrate on finishing the Walk around Wales, and in turn Britain.. It was well planned, arriving by train at Bodorgan, with campsites forewarned and bus services primed for shadowing and replacement duties, and a fair weather forecast with tides to suit me, and only needing to walk about 30 miles to complete, albeit part of that with the proverbial kitchen sink on my back. As it was, I walked 33 miles, some mostly in the right direction but due to an unusual crop of events ( Gollum, bulls, unexpected rain, bus delays and iffy pubs), I still ended up about ten miles short in what we will call two full days walking. (Half of Day one was on the train and half of day three was on the train AND a replacement bus service).
Using the distances given by The Cicerone guide to Walking The Wales Coast Path, I compute that I have to walk another 172 miles from Menai Bridge to Aberystwyth – the notional Finish and Party Venue. Add to that the remaining distance from Saundersfoot to Aberystwyth, 225 miles and I have only just under 400 miles left to complete the whole Wales Coast Path – assuming I don’t get lost. Could be all over in thirty plus days!
Meanwhile, closer to home, the transition from Arriva Trains morphing into Transport for Wales seems to have gone smoothly – unlike the timetable changes down South. The snail experiment is paying off and I’m learning not to take anything unnecessary, like spare clothes and food, and taking more rests as this allows the blood back into my arms. I haven’t yet found the most comfortable position for the new rucksack straps that allow proper circulation. And Millets is due further consultation after the self inflating sleeping mat was a bit of a let down.
Anyway – there was progress on The Wales Coast Path – Map by Courtesy of Ordnance survey with the usual Scarlet Worms indicating my progress – it’s slow going on Anglesey – I had hoped to complete this trip but the above listed unusual events got in my way .. I wonder if you collect all these maps with incremental progress highlighted would you form a flip chart animation. Oh! I forgot!! There’s probably an App…. I found something completely by accident that produced a map of all the photos locations, but I didn’t nail it down and now it’s escaped.
Refer yellow dot on the first map, which was the first camp above – Look to the left of the last fencepost, one lonely blue tent at Awelfryn Campsite, Newborough Forest, Anglesey – with Snowdonia on the horizon! I camped one night here to allow me to explore the delights of Newborough Forest and Llanddwyn Island. The second night I camped at Treborth Hall on the mainland, nearby The Menai Bridge – no photos for that one – I arrived in darkness and left in haste! I saw no one there also… spooky. Yes it was a bit! Especially with poor street lighting. And the kitchen sink can’t run that fast.
Instead, I’ll throw in for free my Overall Progress around Britain Map, pending Brexit and Scottish Independence, it’s a work in progress? Am I going to have to unleash those tartan worms from Berwick and Carlisle soon? Better consult Nicola?
You may notice a crisp new look to some of the pictures. I have a new camera/phone which is running me in for a trial period, and with my blog upgrade, I think I’ve cleared the way for another 100 Episodes.
Only trouble is, I’ve got several hundred new procedures and passwords to sort out first. At the very least, you’ll now be able to believe most of the photo captions; they tell me my location, which was fine until I pressed the wrong button and the format changed. Fortunately I had the old camera/phone to fall back on. Recharging was a nightmare! Leads everywhere, but Transport for Wales trains are pretty generous with their recharging points.
And I’m still sorting out which was the right button. And if you think writing the blog is a doddle, with two cameras, it’s twice as hard. And a bit random. Like “save” doesn’t actually mean your several hours of graft are safe guarded – it means log on again tomorrow and see if you can find where we’ve hidden your verbiage!
Now the journey unfolds with pictures-
READY; SET; GOGOGOCH
Leaving Knighton Station and arriving Bodorgan, Anglesey. About 5 hours later. As is now a tradition on the train, I devour one of Mr Tom Pugh’s excellent meat pasties and two of his pork pies and several muesli bars to while away the time, store up energy and lighten my load.
Stopping for traditional lunch along the Welsh Coast Path at Malltraeth and Afon Cefni heading for Alwelfryn Camp.
After setting up camp, the end of day one saw me doing exploratory walks round the forest edge and heading towards Llanddwyn Island. Total walking today 11 miles mostly with a full load. Will sleep well tonight.
Day two, Saturday, my main walking day, was to resume and complete the circuit of The Forest and visit the Island and move off the campsite before lunch
.Very early morning forest and approaching Llanddwyn Island awaiting sunrise. low light levels. This new camera is good.
On the Island and its lighthouse.
Sunrise – told you it was an early start.
From the Island I completed the forest circuit firstly via the dunes and then venturing into the forest itself. Now all I had to do was join up the gap between here and Menai Bridge.
I found Treborth Hall Campsite and set up the tent again and then I began what I hoped was the final stretch from the forest to Menai Bridge. Or vice versa. I chose to catch the 42 to my start point of yesterday’s finish. Unfortunately one didn’t appear for 90 minutes, When it did, although obviously I was at the head of the queue, I gave way to two older ladies who appreciated the gesture. Unfortunately the bus driver didn’t like my £10 note for a £3-70 fare. I gazed at the change in his till and couldn’t comprehend? He wasn’t serving change and I wasn’t getting off. Impasse.
Until one of the ladies I had deferred to on boarding appeared at my side with change. She exchanged something in Welsh with the driver? My Welsh Fairy Godmother?
The bus ride thereafter was right out of Alton Towers – making up for lost time. I hung on until my stop; and thanked the driver profusely on disembarking. He said something back! Which I didn’t quite catch….
I walked to my start point on The Wales Coast Path at Clwt-gwlyb south of Newborough heading for Menai Bridge with the time approaching five o’clock and the light fading. No room for any more delays.
Reaching the stepping stones at Afon Braint. I had been uncomfortable for about an hour since restarting the walk.
Shortly after crossing the stepping stones I confirmed I was being followed. I turned to take a quick picture and my footpad ducked down behind a fencepost on the other bank, reinforcing my suspicions. I followed the WCP track beyond the river and kept to hedgelines until I craftily deviated off the track and hid in the bushes, ostensibly taking shelter and having some food. Shortly after a Gollum-like figure dawdled by unaware of me immersed in the hedgerow, and headed off to The Wales Coast Path. I rapidly packed up and headed back the way I came, only to meet a farmer who was wondering what was going on. I told him and he showed me a short cut to the main road near Dwyran – the A4080. I aborted the trip and waited for a bus and hoped serendipity would resume normal service – the timetable said one was due 6-30pm – it was very nearly that now! But I was way off my own schedule. And low and behold a number 42 turned up and took me back to The Antelope at Menai Bridge a mile from my tent. After dodging a hefty drunken affable departing customer falling through the front entrance, I thought I deserved a three course pub meal and all the trimmings, and selected accordingly from the bar menu. A long wait ensued, while they served everyone else in Wales and eventually got my change right on the second attempt, however hungry I was I wasn’t feeling welcome, so I cut my losses and had a quick soft drink and a bowl of chips. Soon I was back under cover of dark to try locate my tent only a mile away. But now very, very spooky. Hope the torch batteries last.
The next day I needed to get back across the Menai Straits and to Llanfair P G Station to catch my train home at 10-49am. Very early start to pack up and load up and stagger across the bridge. But just enough time to fall into a very posh hotel and order breakfast coffee at the other, posh, end of Menai Bridge (there’s a Waitrose). The staff were very pleasant this early on a Sunday morning. I resolved to patronise this establishment upon my eventual return. But on resuming walking, it had now begun to rain.
Menai Bridge and Brittania Bridge both cross the Menai Straits – the Wales Coast Path joins them together. So does the A5. Totally differing hospitality either end of the Menai Bridge.
This gate separates the two..
But beyond the gate there be a bull…
Seems placid enough doesn’t it? Not so – in the middle distance beyond the black cow is a less than friendly bull. He is guarding a WCP Waymarker – my route goes right alongside him. He is definitely not a friendly Hereford Bull and no way was I getting any nearer to find out what he was! Feeling paranoid, I abandoned the mapped route and took to the busy A5 running parallel. Until I got to Llanfair Pwllgwyngyll station. Where my train was due to pick me up and take me home.
Llanfair PG IS VERY TOURISTY I’ll let the pictures do the talking
Turns into a bus which turns into Knighton Station