Sunday, 20 May 2012

Anglesey – day 2: Holy Island (Ynys Gybi)

Rhosneigr High Street

We ambled out of sleepy Rhosneigr, along the High Street composed of a handful of bars, restaurants, and cafes, as well as a creperie, gift shop and...


... Convenience Store. Without a car we had placed a lot of hope in the groaning shelves of the only supermarket in town. As you can probably guess, that hope was misplaced, unless you're partial to a selection of cold meats that is.

Holyhead Mountain from Holyhead suburbs

We caught the train to Holyhead and set out for South Stack. After failing to find the footpath out of town we settled for the road...
 

...which turned out to be a blessing as the verges were overstuffed with flowers.


At this point, something happened against our better judgement. We were enticed from the road to climb Holyhead Mountain. We really should know better by now, we have plenty of experience of being distracted, of aiming for landmarks that look close but are in fact a lot of hard walking away.


But on the other hand, a summit is a siren call to human nature and our desire for conquest. Who were we to deny it.


Of course what we thought to be the top, was not the top, but we made it eventually – all 220m to the summit. Not huge by any means, but the highest peak on Holy Island, and taller than anything to be found on Anglesey. As ever, the views were worth it, especially looking over Holyhead, and the UK's longest breakwater snaking into the sea.


Continuing west, we came off the mountain and were pleased to see some orchids in the heath.

South Stack (Ynys Lawd)

Hot and sunburned, we reached the large visitor centre of South Stack. There were cakes, but nothing too tempting, so we pushed on for our first view of South Stack island. The crumpled, orange cliffs were inundated with sea birds as well as a couple of rock climbers starting out from sea level. [Jump to South Stack]

Gogarth Bay

Doubling back from South Stack to Holyhead Mountain provided a stunning view along the coast to North Stack.


An old fog warning station can be found on the headland next to North Stack. It's a truly amazing spot – the actual fog warning at the end of the garden has been converted into a kind of summerhouse.


The sign outside suggests the artist's (Philippa Jacobs) studio is up for sale. I couldn't think of a nicer place to paint.

North Stack (Ynys Arw)

North Stack itself is a bit of a disappointment after seeing the dramatic headland next to it. I'm not sure if it can be classified as an island as a sheep will certainly have trouble living there. However, it is a substantial block and home to many seabirds. Also, we had walked way too far for it not to be added to the list.

Ynys Wellt

Oh dear, another grey rock for an island, which to be fair, were a lot less frequent in Wales than in Scotland. The culprit here is Ynys Wellt.

Salt Island (Ynys yr Halen)

We were running out of time to make our train, so the last section looping back to Holyhead was rushed. I just about managed to grab a shot of Salt Island from a distance. Just a few weeks earlier we boarded the ferry to Dublin from here. Anyway, we missed the train but ended up having a hearty meal in the Venue Walkway. There's not a great deal of choice in Holyhead for dining, so the Venue Walkway goes down as our recommendation for its good location, large portions and a menu showing some imaginative tweaks to good pub staples.

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