Rhos and Return

The second site on Anglesey is Rhos Park, on the edge of a village called Pentraeth, which lies on the Easterly coast of the island. The park is being taken over by a big company and straight away it is clear that it is tailor made for statics and permanent caravans. In fact, we are to be the one and only tourer on the site throughout the stay and the sole campervan, occupying the one hard-standing pitch on the entire site. Our fellow guests here are mostly from nearby Liverpool and surrounding areas, rather than Wales, which we have found to be commonplace on Anglesey. As Friday progresses the site comes alive with revellers making the most of the long bank holiday weekend, bringing their children, dogs and carfuls of paraphernalia.

We get lucky here with a convenient pub a short stroll along the main road, although the road is busy! The pub serves acceptable pub grub, too.

We still have sunshine for walking the coast path here, at Red Wharf Bay and it’s a huge contrast to the path at Trearddur Bay, following the bay at ground level and requiring a fair bit of leaping and avoiding streams and puddles under our feet. I’m glad of my new walking boots here! But it’s also wonderful fun and feels intrepid. At last the path rises up through a wooded area and emerges by a crazily busy pub, which we by-pass, heading up and around a vast rocky outcrop and through some more woods, onwards until we climb up from the beach at Bellech in great need of a cup of tea. Bellech is gifted with several fish and chip shops and a Tesco Express, but no coffee or tea shop- or at least, none open by 4.30pm. Foot-weary, we locate the bus stop and ride back to site. Then it’s down to the pub for a beer and a meal.

It’s warmer next morning. We make our way down to the bay again, intending to follow the path in the opposite direction, but the afternoon is hot, we’ve walked for about seven days and the path lacks the thrills of the other way, so we abort and opt for a rest day! Back at Rhos our neighbours are packing away and disappearing and we’re set to move again in the morning.

We have a look at Beaumaris, on the Menai Strait overlooking Snowdonia. It’s an elegant, pretty town and thriving, in stark contrast to Holyhead. It has a pier and also a beautiful castle with a moat. The tall, terraced houses overlooking the water boast well tended gardens. The busy High Street offers all kinds of treats for tourists including Italian delis and swanky hotels and we leave with some delicious pasties for our lunch.

After crossing the iconic Menai Bridge we have a scenic drive through Snowdonia, although it appears that half the population has opted for a day out in the national park. There isn’t so much as a bubble car space left anywhere to park, let alone a campervan, so we have to be content with a wait for a coffee stop until we’re almost out of Snowdonia.

We travel all the way down to Tewkesbury, where a pub stopover with a cheerful landlord awaits. We can stay overnight in the car park if we have a meal, which is not onerous!

Next week we’ll be off on the next trip…and to more islands…

Grace is also known as the novelist, Jane Deans. Her new novel, The Conways at Earthsend is now out and available from Amazon, Waterstones, Goodreads, W H Smith, Pegasus Publishing and many more sites. Visit my author page on Facebook: (1) Jane Deans, Novellist, Short Fiction and Blog | Facebook

Anglesey. Beauty and the Beast.

We leave soggy Porthmadog on a much sunnier day and make for our next location on the Llyn Peninsula, Aberdaron. It’s a scenic drive, wilder than the journey so far, with rolling hills populated mainly by sheep, the few communities spread out and not large. Our site is a field, lies at the top of a steep hill and is on a working farm, but has wonderful views out across the bay. Having set up, we venture down the steep hill to the tiny hamlet of Aberdaron, a collection of dwellings, a couple of pubs, a couple of shops, one or two cafes and a bakery, divided by a rocky stream. On this bright Saturday evening the tiny village is teeming with people, sipping beer, eating ice creams or having coffee in the late sunshine. It’s too busy for us to get a table outside and we are sternly directed to a table in a back room where we have a beer in solitary splendour- not an uproarious experience. Then it’s a steep slog back up the hill to the van!

Next day is…wet, slowing enough for a drizzy stroll down to the village and around in the late afternoon. Next morning is…wet. But the in the afternoon it dries up and the sun is out, meaning that we can stride out along the coast path which has access opposite the site. It’s undulating and green, the views beautiful. There is an exploding profusion of wildflowers after all the rain. We walk as far as the headland, where Bardesy Island can be seen and wander back through the lanes.

En route to the next destination we decide to see Port Meirion, a strange, Italianate village famous for being the location for eccentric, 60s TV series, ‘The Prisoner’. The yo-yo weather has turned warm and sunny again, which is ideal for a visit to this place- so touristy that tickets for entry must be bought! It is all pristine and immaculate so perhaps the ticket price is valid. The vast car park, however is free and an ideal spot for lunch, after which we are off again and after a quick look at Carnaervon, which has an impressive, gigantic castle.

Then we cross the Menai Strait to the Isle of Anglesey, a UK spot I’ve never visited, which adds to the enjoyment. We head for our site at Blackthorn Farm up in the corner of the island. It’s fairly isolated, although well-placed for walking the Angelesey coast path. Almost all of the fellow guests here have permanent, sited caravans and visit for holidays, as we see when the weekend comes.

For our first full day we set off to walk to Trearddur Bay, the coast path a marvellous walk past rocky chasms and across buttercup meadows. It’s beautiful [and for me, unexpected]. The sun shines, the path is undulating but not gruelling and we arrive to Treaddur where a few dozen people are enjoying the vast beach. There is a lifeboat shop, an ice cream van and almost nothing else for tourists, which is just fine by us. We trek back via the road and by the time we’ve returned we’ve walked eight and a half miles.

There’s no Holy Grail in the shape of a nearby pub or restaurant. Next day we opt for a stroll into Holyhead, Anglesey’s main town and port, and a gateway for ferries to Ireland. The route is along a pretty lane and then a footpath across fields. The walk is the best part, poor Holyhead revealing a town which is in dire need of revitalisation, as the depressing High Street shows, with more than half of shops redundant. Holyhead is not pretty, with row upon row of pebble-dashed terraces leading down to the dismal docks.

Next day we’re off to our second Anglesey site at Pentraeth…

Grace is also known as the novelist, Jane Deans. Her new novel, The Conways at Earthsend is now out and available from Amazon, Waterstones, Goodreads, W H Smith, Pegasus Publishing and many more sites. Visit my author page on Facebook: (1) Jane Deans, Novellist, Short Fiction and Blog | Facebook