Traeth Lligwy to Moelfre by the Coastal Path

The first morning of our holiday, on Saturday, we were greeted by a fine sunny day with a stiff breeze. So after breakfast we got our boots on and set off to take a walk along the coastal path.

First of all we needed to get down to the sea. We could either walk along a minor road, or take a path through the fields. We decided on the latter. It took us across fields and wodland, under a tunnel of trees

and heathland

It took about 20 minutes to reach the beach at LLigwy. The tide was out revealing an expanse of fine red sand.

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Looking over to the north east we could see a tower standing on the small island of Ynys Dulas. At first we thought it was a lighthouse but a quick check on the internet revealed that it was a shelter, built in 1842, for stranded sailors wrecked on the rocky shoreline.

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A couple more views over the beach, looking back as we set off over the low cliffs, following the coastal path towards Moelfre.

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There was stiff breeze resulting in a rough sea with waves breaking on the rocks below

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After a while the path cut inland a short distance as access to the private cove of Porth Forllwyd, with it’s small harbour, wasn’t allowed.

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I zoomed in on the little harbour, stranded high and dry at low tide.

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Carrying on, we could see the Great Orme in the distance

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We diverted off the path to take a look at the monument to the Royal Charter a steam clipper, sailing from Melbourne to Liverpool , which was wrecked on the rocky shoreline of Porth Alerth, which we had just passed, on 26 October 1859 during a major storm. despite the efforts of the people of Moelfre, only 41 of the 452 passengers, many of whom were returning with their finds in the Victorian goldfields, survived. It’s tragic to think that they had travelled all the way across half the word only to meet their end a short distance from their final destination.

Carrying along the path we approached the shingle beach of Porth Helaeth

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where visitors had created little pyramids of rocks and pebles.

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We approached the headland

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and spotted this installation so went for a closer look

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the art work, Bryn Wylfa (Lookout) , designed by a local artist, Keith Shone, is

a modern piece of work reflecting the island’s history – the three standing stones representing different periods of Ynys Mon, the prehistory, the bronze age and the influence of the Celts, while the stainless steel represents the industry and the modern age all set within circles of Anglesey marble, the geology of the land.

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From the headland we had a good view of the small island of Ynys Moelfre

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and across the sea to the mountains of Snowdonia

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The wavs were crashing on to the rocks below

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A little further on we reached the village of Moelfre, passing the lifeboat station where we deposited a small donation into the collection box.

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The coast of Anglesey is notorious for ship wrecks. Ships sailing to Liverpool pass the island (we saw quite few out on the horizon during our stay) and many have met their end on the rocky shoreline.

A short distance from the lifeboat station we reached the statue of local hero, Dic Evans, depicted looking out to sea in front of the RNLI exhibition centre. He was coxswain of the Moelfre lifeboat and played a leading role in rescues of of the Hindlea in 1959 and the Nafsiporos in 1966. He was awarded MBE and two RNLI Gold medals. Retiring in 1970,he passed away in 2001 at the grand old age of 96.

The statue was created by Sam Holland. On her website she tells us

cast in fine art bronze. He stands 7 ft high and weighs approximately 400 Kg. The plinth is a granite boulder kindly donated by Hogans’ Gwyndy Quarry. The plinth alone stands 5-1/2 ft high and weighs approximately six tonnes, making the sculpture an imposing 14 ft high.

http://www.samholland.co.uk/dic-evans.html
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Following the Covid-19 protocol, we had a look around the RNLI information centre

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Reaching the village, we stopped at the local siop (Welsh spelling!) to purchase a few items. We’d intended to grab a bit to eat, but on a sunny Saturday the pub and the local cafe were busy with a queue outside, so we didn’t linger.

We took a different route to return to our accommodation, walking inland to take in some other points of interest. That’s the topic of my next post.

Porth Dafarch

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Several times of year, for my work related trips to Ireland, I dash down the A55 across Anglesey to board the ferry to Dublin at Holyhead. I never get the chance to see much of the island other than what I can see through the car windscreen. Holyhead isn’t a pretty place. It’s very much a working town without much work available, and that shows. Last week I was staying at Anglesey Outdoors, a campsite just outside Holyhead and it was something of a revaluation. After I’d checked in the campsite and settled into my Pod (I was “glamping”, I’m getting soft in my old age!)

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as it was a beautiful evening I decided to have a wander out to the coast, which was only a short distance away at Porth Dafarch. Arriving at the beach I had a wander along the cliffs. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.

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The Giant’s Causeway

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The rain had eased off by the time we reached the Giant’s Causeway – a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the most well known and popular site in Northern Ireland. We arrived early to try and avoid the crowds, but there were still plenty of people milling around. The coast here is owned by the National Trust and can be accessed free of charge, but most people head for the Visitor Centre. It’s £9 to park and access the Visitor Centre but as National Trust Members we were exempt! So we parked up and stopped for a brew in the café before setting off down the path towards the main attraction.

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Tourists have been visiting since the late 17th Century but the site received international attention when Dublin artist Susanna Drury made watercolour paintings of it in 1739. We saw a couple of these displayed at one of the National Trust properties we visited later in the week. Engravings made from the work were widely published, increasing public awareness.

Watercolour by Susanna Drury, 1739

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The causeway was formed during the Tertiary period 62/65 million years ago during a long period of volcanic activity.  Three episodes of lava outflows occurred here known as the Lower, Middle or Causeway and Upper Basalts. Lulls occurred between the outflows as is evident in the deep inter-basaltic layer of reddish brown ‘lithomarge’ which is rich in clay, iron and aluminium oxides from weathering of  the underlying basalt.  The causeway area would have been situated in a sub tropical region at that time, at about the latitude of northern Spain, experiencing hot and humid conditions.

The hexagonal columns of the causeway occur in the middle basalt layer…. The fascinating pattern that we see in the causeway stones form as a result of rock crystallization under conditions of slow cooling. This usually occurs when the flow is thick or when it fills a depression such as a river valley (as at the Causeway). (Source here)

There’s a more detailed, but accessible, explanation of the geology here.

 

 

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Of course, there is another explanation

After spending some time walking over the causeway stones we set off for a walk along the coast following the way-marked route that would take us along the side of the cliffs, past some of the interesting rock formations and then up a steep path to the top of the cliffs and then back to the visitor centre

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This formation of massive basalt columns, set into the cliffs above the causeway, is known as the Organ as it’s said to resemble the pipes of the said instrument.

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Looking back towards the Causeway from the path

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Another formation is visible in the distance, known as the Chimney, for obvious reasons.

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The cliffs are susceptible to landslips and we reached a dead end – it wasn’t safe to proceed any further so the final section of the path along the side of the cliff face was closed off

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We retraced our steps and about halfway back to the causeway stones took a steep path to the top of the cliffs. This route would have been originally used by women carrying kelp up from the beach. It was processed and then used as a fertiliser, for bleaching kelp and as a raw material for various chemical processes, such as soap and glass making. It could also be used as a foodstuff.

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Looking down on the causeway from the top of the cliffs

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Views across the bay – looing east

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and west

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We arrived back at the visitor centre at about 12:30  to be greeted by a heavy downpour so ducked inside.

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The visitor centre was packed. The car park was more or less full with cars and about 9 or 10 coaches. However, we managed to find a table in the café and grabbed something to eat. By the time we’d finished the weather was picking up so it was back to the car for a drive further along the coast.

Another walk along the shore in Sunderland

During our short break in Sunderland last weekend we stopped for a couple of nights with a relative who lives near Roker Park, close to the south end of the beach that stretches north to Whitburn. On Sunday, we wanted to visit some other family members who live in Marsden, not far from the Souter lighthouse. It was promising to be a nice day so we decided to walk the few miles along the coast. When we attempted a similar walk over the Easter weekend, we were thwarted by a very heavy downpour. But this time there were no problems.

It was sunny when we set off but when we reached the Prom sea mist was rolling  obscuring the view of the south pier and lighthouse

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It was rolling in and out on the wind, making for some atmospheric views of the beach.

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As we proceeded north, the mist was dispersing and “burnt off”

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although it was still lingering somewhat out at sea.

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At the end of the beach, we followed the path along the cliffs passing several smaller coves. We spotted this man made circle of stones in one of them.

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After spending a few hours with our relatives we set back, retracing our steps.

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It was a beautiful day, if a little chilly down on the beach due to the sea breeze

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The local council are doing a lot of work renovating and refreshing the prom

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The tide was in when we reached Roker

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And the mist had gone – so we had a clear view of the south pier and lighthouse from the prom.

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A walk along the shore at Sunderland

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Over the weekend we went up to Sunderland for a family celebration. We stayed in a nice B and B on the seafront at Seaburn and found some time to take a walk along the coast. Although it’s very much an industrial town, Sunderland has a fantastic beach and coastline stretching from Roker through Seaburn and then on to Whitburn.

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We walked along the prom from Roker as far as Latimers fish shop and cafe, at the edge of Whitburn, where we stopped for a bite to eat. Service in the cafe can be rather slow, but the seafood is excellent.

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After finishing our meal we set off back along the coastal path intending to walk as far as Souter lighthouse.

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But when we reached Whitburn high school, dark clouds looming and we thought we’d better set back to our B and B. Unfortunately, not long after we turned back the rain came don. That’s an understatement. It was raining heavily and the wind blowing from the south meant we were walking into it so got rather wet.

Only a couple of hours later the rain clouds had passed over and e were treated to a bright interlude and a blue sky and North Sea.

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The tide was in by now and the waves were battering against the Prom

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