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ANGLESEY COAST PATH

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South Stack to North Stack [4¼ miles]

The Maps

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The Route



The Walk

We enjoyed our visit to Anglesey in May so much that we decided on a return visit and stayed in the adjoining property to the one we stayed in before.
South Stack lighthouse
Today we were going to do a bit more of a walk on Holy Island and so we drove to the car park by the visitor centre at South Stack and headed off along the coast path. As we retraced our steps of the earlier walk with a few minor variations I suggested to Geri that as the weather was so good, that today we might try going up to the tig point on Holyhead Mountain, to which she readily agreed - also, it would be a cracking place to stop for coffee.
Heading towards North Stack
>When we got to a suitably close point on the path we made a right turn and started to climb. On the map the distance looked quite short, and so it proved to be. One or two places the path seemed to vanish, and then appear again. Occasionally it got quite steep and we had to tread carefully, but after hardly any time at all we gained the summit and took in the spectacular view from the summit whilst having our coffee.
The trig point at the summit

Panorama looking east to Holyhead
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Panorama looking west to South Stack
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We decided to head north from the summit rather than retrace our steps down the rocky path of our ascent even so the going was quite uneven underfoot, and much care was needed as we descended. We came across several walkers and mountain bikers as we headed to North Stack. We spoke briefly to a biker who had ridden out from Holyhead and we asked if he'd had many tumbles. He grinned and said "Oh yes" and shortly after we parted and he headed off down another path he did a spectacular fall, and quickly got up and off he went again - we shook our heads.
North Stack
>We arrived at North Stack and inspected the fog signal station and quaint Trinity House Magazine, built in 1861, where shells for the warning cannon were stored. These buildings now house a bird watching observatory. The house and buildings date back 200 years. It faces SW and looks across the magnificent Gogarth Bay towards South Stack Lighthouse. Whilst we were there we ventured right out to the point and looked back to the cave beneath the cliff where a pair of seals were peacefully swimming. It was also an opportunity to take a good look at the fog signal building itself.
The old magazine building
The foghorn building
2 seals lazily swimming below North Stack
Closer view of the foghorn building
It was time to move on and head back to South Stack. On the way we found a great location for our lunch break overlooking Holyhead harbour.
Lunchtime view of Holyhead harbour
Finally, and with the help of my gps we made up a return route to South Stack car park. We felt pretty tired and were amazed to discover that we had only walked 4½ miles - it seemed such a lot more.

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Amlwych to Treath Dulas [7⅓ miles]

The Maps

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The Route



The Walk

The path wends it’s way above the rocky shore, with the landmark of Trwyn Eilian and the lighthouse dominating the view ahead.
Trwyn Eilian and the lighthouse
Within the hour we were in Porth Eilian, with the lighthouse ever closer. Fortunately, a short climb up a quiet lane took us along to the lighthouse (currently up for sale). This unusual and distinctive lighthouse was designed by Jesse Hartley, engineer to the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board from 1824 to 1860.
The entrance to the lighthouse complex
The lantern
The lantern is 15ft in diameter and a cast iron lower wall and rectangular glazing bars take the height to 12ft. A nearby jetty is sometimes used by Mersey Pilots to guide waiting ships into the River Mersey.
The Mersey Pilot's jetty
We have reached a bit of a landmark landmark as the northern coast was now behind us as we turned the north eastern corner to start on the east coast. We celebrate by stopping for a coffee in the sun looking back to the lighthouse.
Our coffee time view
The views were hazy and it was difficult to discern how far we could see but we were able to make out Puffin Island and, well to the east, the outline of the Great Orme.

At Porth Helygen we continued along the coast to Trwyn Cwmrwd where, at Porth yr Aber, we spotted an eider duck on it's own amongst the herring gulls, and then, a little distance away a strange looking duck. At first I though it was a grebe, but with a red beak, a black tufted head and a white neck with a sort of browny chest, it's identity remained a mystery until we got back to our accommodation, where a check of the books showed it to be a red breasted merganser.
The eider duck ...
... and the red breasted merganser
The coast path now turned inland to bypass the Llys Dulas country estate along a pleasant lane that eventually arrives at shore with just short and confusing section alongside a swampy estuary back Stu's car. As we had not stopped for lunch we took the opportunity mess up his car with our crumbs and whilst were there small flock of shelducks landed in the estuary - a perfect end to our final day.

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Holyhead Mountain - South Stack [2.94 miles]

The Maps

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The Route



The Walk

Today's walk was short due to the fact that the weather was closing in. We spent a while exploring the birdlife at South Stack around the lighthouse and in the bird observatory. Whilst there we were told that we might spot puffins near to the lighthouse. At the time we didn't see any puffins, but we did see a pair of rock pipits foraging near to the observatory.
South Stack
Leaving the bird observatory
We set off with the imtention of going to North Stack and then making a circular tour back. The path was well marked and very rocky underfoot.
Heading away from South Stack
Our goal was clearly in view for the first part of the walk.
East Mouse islet just offshore
North Stack
But as we go further along the weather began to deteriorate. As we got closer to North Stack we took a coffee break in the lee of a building with a grand view looking east over Holyhead harbour.
Holyhead harbour from above North Stack
The weather had definitely started to turn, and as the summit of Holyhead Mountain vanished in the mist we decided to turn around and take the shortened return route back to the car park where we met up with the rest of our party. Geri's sister Ginny excitedly announced that she and Brian had spotted puffins and would show us where. We stopped for a quick hot drink and a slice of cake at the cafe and then set off to the lighthouse. Whilst waiting outside for everyone to get together a chough decided to give us a close up as he pottered around the grassy area by the cafe.
The Coronation Tower, and a place to stop for coffee
What ARE they looking at?
We went down the steps to a convenient viewing spot. Suddenly Ginny spotted 'her puffin' and we all caught a good look at this comical little bird standing by a burrow.
Our puffin
Shortly after this we saw another puffin - such a great reward, and our grateful thanks to Ginny - Ace Puffin Spotter 2016.

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Cemaes to Amlwch Port [8.59 miles]

The Maps

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The Route



The Walk

This section of the Anglesey Coastal Path is one of the most stunning and starts from Traeth Mawr, the main beach in Cemaes Bay. Leaving the beach the path ascends a steep set of steps and follows the cliff path around Trwyn y Parc headland to Porth Padrig, Saint Patrick's Bay.

Trwyn y Parc headland
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approaching Porth Padrig
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Stu negotiates the kissing gate at St Patrick's church
The next headland offered us a chance to go right to the tip of Llanbadrig Point. We went through the smart wrought iron kissing gate at the small church of St Patrick and after a gentle climb headed towards the point then returned to the church and followed the churchyard wall and fenceline on our right past Ogof Gynfor heading toward Porth Llanlleiana. The 'Coronation Tower' on the headland is clearly visible as we approach. This former lookout tower on Wales' most northerly point was built in 1902 to commemorate the coronation of Edward VII.
Approaching Porth Llanlleiana with the 'Coronation Tower'<br>on Llanlleiana Head, the most northerly point in Wales.
East Mouse islet just offshore
The ruined stone buildings at Porth Llanlleiana come into view, they consist of a roofless stone built structure and a large stone built chimney nearby (the works produced porcelain from deposits of china clay found on Llanlleiana Head). The buildings lie in a deep cleft in the hills and the path down gave us a great view of the long climb up to come.
The old buildings at Porth Llanlleiana and the climb ahead

Looking back at Porth Llanlleiana after the long climb
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The Coronation Tower, and a place to stop for coffee
A few more ups and downs as we pass Hell's Mouth and then path became slightly easier underfoot, with less of the earlier undulations. We could see ahead the WT mast and navigational aid on the summit of Torllwyn.
Hell's Mouth
First evidence of works above Porth Wen
The WT mast and navigational aid on the summit of Torllwyn
At Porth Wen there are the remains of a brickworks, opened at the turn of the 20th century to make refractory bricks for use in the steel industry. The bricks were exported by sea from the works' own harbour. The remains are slowly decaying, but the 'beehive' kilns are still easily identifiable.
Porth Wen bay
Porth Wen - the remains of a brickworks
We then followed the coastline away from Porth Wen to the wide sweep of Bull Bay. The end of the walk didn't go quite as planned in that the map I had with me took us to the wrong car park. Poor Stu was wondering if we'd ever find his car after being offered helpful advice from a local who stopped to ask if we were lost - this might have been apparent from the fact that Stu was standing in the middle of a road rotating gently on the spot:

Helpful Local: "Are you lost?"
Stu: "Er yes, we're looking for an overflow car park."
Helpful Local: "Well the school is just there and the library is further up the road."
Stu: "Yes but we're looking for this overflow car park."
Helpful Local: "So where do you actually want to go?"
Stu: "Back to our car."
Helpful Local: "Sorry, but I can't help you there."

But he tried - didn't he? Anyway, after a bit of messing around we did eventually get ourselves back on course thanks to Sue's memory "We've been here before" and "We passed this place this morning", and after another ¾ mile arrived back at the car, much to Stu's relief.

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Hendy to Cemaes [8.96 miles]

The Maps

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The Route



The Walk

This is the island’s remotest coastline. We parked at Hendy and retraced our steps of the previous day regaining the coast path near Porth y Hwch.

We came to Ynys and Llyn y Fydlyn. Ynys y Fydlyn is a pair of stacks, behind which lies a bar and the freshwater lake of Llyn y Fydlyn where we saw a pair of Canada geese and their young swimming peacefully.

Ynys and Llyn y Fydlyn
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Canada geese with their young
The Skerries from Llyn y Fydlyn
We climbed up onto the headland with the Skerries (Ynys y Moelrhoniaid) and West Mouse (Maen y Bugael) about 4 miles off shore. As we rounded Carmel Head we saw a chimney ahead together with what we later discovered to be a pair of navigation beacons known as The White Ladies - 45ft tall markers in a line, with a third on the small island of West Mouse. They point to the coal rock, a sea level rock which can just be seen on the lowest tides and is 1½ miles offshore.
The 45ft high 'white ladies'
Something catches Geri's attention
A few ups and downs took us to Porth Newydd, and on to Hen Borth. Continuing eastwards we eventually came out onto Trwyn Cemlyn where we turned right, passing the commemorative plaque marking the 150th anniversary of the first lifeboat launch on Anglesey in 1828.
Plaque marking the 150th anniversary of the first<br>lifeboat launch on Anglesey in 1828<br>Wylfa nuclear power station in the background
Through the car park at Cemlyn West we headed left around the walled enclosure to the crossing of the outlet of Cemlyn lagoon and along the shingle bank causeway, stopping to admire the home to the only breeding colony of sandwich terns in Wales and which is the bird depicted on the Anglesey coast path signs.
Sandwich terns at Cemlyn lagoon
The going along the shingle bank was hard work, and it was quite a relief to get to the end, however the sight of all those terns had lifted our spriits.
The shingle causeway at Cemlyn bay
We followed the coast to Wylfa Head where the Wylfa Nuclear Power Station dominates the landscape forcinh us to turn inland to skirt round the facility. At the nearest point to the power station the sound of crackling and lound humming is quite alarming as was the un-nerving sensation of passing beneath huge power cables supported by the first pylon. Wylfa was commissioned in 1971, it was the last and biggest of the Magnox stations to be built. After nearly 45 years of successful and safe operations, on 30 December 2015, Wylfa Nuclear Power Station closed down. The site is now in the defuelling phase and the decommissioning will take several decades.
Wylfa Nuclear Power Station dominates the landscape
We came down through woodland and emerged onto a lane where we turned left to cross a field eventually arrived to walk along the promenade around the bay to Cemaes harbour to the car park. We had to agree it had been a thoroughly enjoyable and interesting day.
Sunset at Rhosneigr
This evening we spent a happy hour on the beach outside our accommodation, enjoying the beautiful sunset over Rhosneigr and stooping over in the search for tiny cowrie shells. Once started, the search became quite addictive and all of us found numerous examples of the minute shells.

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