Anglesey Coastal Path: walking for Cath day 1

Today we walked about 12 miles from Treaddur Bay to Holyhead, as part of our 2-day walking marathon raising money for the Brain Tumour Charity, in memory of our friend Cath. It was a long, day, but the scenery was stunning and the weather was glorious… I like to think Cath sent the sunshine, together with a breeze to stop us over heating.

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I woke up with a hangover. We stayed at Sarah and Dave’s in Llanfairynghornwy (try saying that after a few drinks!) in the North West corner of Anglesey. Their garden overlooks fields towards the coast, and it was just perfect, sitting outside, eating, drinking and chatting, and watching the sun set, while the dog, cat and chickens kept us amused. I was enjoying myself so much, I didn’t realise how much I’d drunk. Oops!

We got up at about 7.00, had breakfast and lots of tea (to get rid of my hangover!), made sandwiches, packed our rucksacks and left. Yesterday, Sarah had been organised and left a car at her work place in Holyhead, where we’d end today’s walk, so we just had to drive to the car park in Treaddur bay this morning. I should introduce us… we are, from left to right, Mandy, Martin, Sarah, John and Louisa.

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We set off in high spirits, enjoying the scenery and the sunshine, pleased that it wasn’t too hot. The coastal path went along the road for a while and I was pleased when it turned off onto a footpath undulating above the rocks then down onto the beaches. The grassy banks were covered in wild flowers. Beautiful!

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At Porth Dafarch, the ladies took advantage of the public toilets while we could. Then we all grabbed a snack and watched a group of kayakers launching. Typically, John recognised one of the group, who we’d done a level 3 course with a few years ago! We can’t go anywhere without him meeting someone he knows and having a chat!

CoastalPath-10070.jpgWhen we set off again, we followed the kayakers progress as we walked around lots of small bays and coves. The water was so clear and inviting, but we had a long day ahead of us. No time for a paddle!

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We kept seeing masses of caterpillars in the bushes, all wriggling and squirming! I think they may have just hatched from a nest in the sunshine, but I’m guessing. the bushes will be covered in butterflies soon.

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After a couple of hours, South Stack lighthouse came into view so I decided it was time for a selfie. I had to balance my camera on a couple of rucksacks, but it worked ok.

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After that, it seemed to take a long time for the lighthouse to get any nearer. The path took us inland for a bit and, finally, we started the climb up the road to Holyhead Mountain. On our way, we briefly saw Sarah’s hubby Dave who was doing some search and rescue training. We were also amused by a pig in a meadow. We all thought it was real, until we realised it wasn’t moving!

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We stopped at the RSPB cafe , where we treated ourselves to huge ice creams or cakes and topped up our water bottles. Then, after about 4 hours, we finally reached South Stack.

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After South Stack, the path became rockier and steeper, and was much harder on our legs. It was also very windy on the mountain, so some of us pulled another layer on. We could see for miles, back where we’d come from, and towards North Stack ahead of us (the white buildings on the rocks in the top left of the photo).

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We were glad to get to the top of the mountain, but then found out that the downhill wasn’t as easy as we’d expected, but was steep and rocky. Nevertheless, after 5 hours we reached North Stack. Getting a bit tired now, we rested for a bit and enjoyed Mandy’s treacle toffees.

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Thankfully, we didn’t have too far to go now, although we did still have a couple of difficult uphill and downhill sections, much to our disgust! We could see Holyhead though, so we kept plodding, putting one foot in front of the other, dreaming of a cold beer.

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Finally, after about 6 and a half hours we were at the pub. Although we still had a bit further to go to get to the car, we treated ourselves to a drink to celebrate day 1 and toast Cath and another friend, John, who hadn’t been able to join us.

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We picked up some fish and chips on the way home, after which we showered then congregated in Sarah’s snug, where Martin opened a bottle of champagne and we raised another toast to Cath. The picture on the chair is John, our absent friend who was with us in spirit.

Dave lit the fire and we sat and chatted until we we couldn’t keep our eyes open any more.

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What a brilliant day! We were pleased to see that we’d had more donations as we’d walked, and dared to hope that we might raise £1500. Maybe tomorrow!

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