Friday 25 May 2012

Anglesey – day 7: Rhoscolyn

Bargains Galore, Holyhead

For our last full day in Wales, we caught the train to Holyhead once again. This time we had two wetsuits packed into the rucksacks in the hope of finding the perfect spot for a final dip. We had to wait a while for one of the few buses a day that would take us to Rhoscolyn, so we sat outside The Venue cafe and nursed a coffee while watching the local inhabitants. The High Street had more energy with the sun shining, everyone seemed to stop and chat to each other, everyone seemed busy. Holyhead had come alive!

The White Eagle, Rhoscolyn

After being dropped at Rhoscolyn, we made our way to the beach. The famous White Eagle was already busy as we passed at midday. On another occasion I would have been sorely tempted to see what the fuss was about, but funds were low and we had a different aim in mind.

The beach at Borthwen

For some reason we found the beach at Borthwen disappointing. Most days it would have been perfect, but we had been spoilt over the week. To make matters worse, it was busy. Again, not that busy, but for Anglesey, too busy. The place was popular with small boats and kayaks as well as sunbathers. We decided to keep the wetsuits in the bag.

Ynys Traws

The island of Ynys Traws provides a nice focal point to Borthwen bay.

We sat under a sheltering tree and enjoyed the cool breeze as we ate our lunch, before heading off on the coastal path.

Porth y Corwgl

But we didn't go far. As soon as we picked up the path we found exactly what we were looking for: a sheltered, shallow cove, framed with craggy rocks that would be ideal for snorkelling. Porth y Corwgl could have been airlifted from Greece and no one was on it.

Ynys Traws

But before I could unleash the wetsuits a charming old lady called me over from the terrace of her house. I thought she was going to say the beach was private, but she did nothing of the sort. In fact, after a brief chat she asked if we'd like to see her garden, which happened to be an island, Ynys Defaid. It is private, and the family leave it to run its course for the wildlife. As soon as we stepped through the gate, the low blackthorn was covered in webs, probably from moths. It also gave a great view of nearby Ynys Traws, which she called Rat Island, apparently due to its shape rather than its inhabitants.

T crosses to Ynys Defaid

This short bridge and gate carries the dividing channel. T stands on the far side, which certainly looked like an island and may be called Ynys Defaid.

Ynys Defaid

This must be the most perfect spot for a house. Out on its own spit, with its own island, sandwiched between two bays. As we explored, the red arrows gave a spectacular performance overhead in practice for the jubilee celebrations.

Rhoscolyn Beacon

Rhoscolyn Beacon stood serenely on its rock. Our host remembered the American soldiers shooting their guns at it during WWII, to no effect.

Ynys Defaid observation tower

An observation tower is at the end of Ynys Defaid, looking out across the sea.


After that unexpected highlight, we readied ourselves for the water. It was so hot in the cove that at one point we didn't think we'd need the wetsuits. That thought lasted for as long as it took to get our feet in. The water was freezing. Once in, we discovered scores of tiny jellyfish, freshly hatched I guess, moving around in the cove's margins. Their tentacles were like silk threads and their translucent caps pulsed like Christmas decorations in the sunlight. They were mesmerising but also slightly appalling in their lack of control, near invisibility and potential to sting. Just as I was getting out I saw the mother-ship, bobbing in the shallows like a plastic bag.

Cooled down and invigorated, we were ready to hit the path to Trearddur Bay. It seemed a long way in the heat of the afternoon, but the coastline was spectacular.


Near Porth-y-Garan a rash of static caravans have spread to the very edge of the island.

The Seacroft bar snacks

The final stretch of the coastal path follows the road into Trearddur Bay. The Seacroft offered some much needed refreshment.

Trearddur Bay

Trearddur Bay was nice, but we definitely made the right decision to snorkel at Rhoscolyn. Ironically, as T walked along the beach she stepped on a tiny jellyfish and proved that they do sting.

Trearddur Bay

We caught the bus back to Holyhead and the train back to Rhosneigr for our last night on Anglesey. It had been a brilliant, if exhausting week, that had surpassed our expectations. It had become one of our favourite islands and we still hadn't seen anything of the interior, the north or the east. As we always seem to find ourselves saying, we will have to come back.

1 comment:

Dr Zaira said...

beautiful places! i'd love to travel there someday...