Anglesey: land of druids

Breakfast at the B&B was decent. I had poached eggs on toast, some fruit and some green tea, and was done and dusted by twenty past eight. Nikki texted to say her breakfast was taking a while so I walked into town with my luggage, met her and then we set off for day two of our Welsh adventure.

Nikki had already been out exploring as she was awake so early. She saw the fairy glen, which she said was pretty and idyllic. I’d had a bit of a walk before breakfast too but only for about fifteen minutes, heading down to the river and taking some photos.

I was alone in this gloomy forest and I can’t help but think of Midsomer Murders or Touch of Frost, or a billion other UK crime dramas. I didn’t stay long, as I’d given myself the creeps. It was breathtakingly beautiful down there though.

Our first stop of the day was St Digain’s church in Llangernyw to check out a yew tree which is the oldest in Wales and one of the oldest living things in the world. It’s between 4000 and 5000 years old. Staggering!

We rewrote our plans after visiting the yew tree as it had taken us longer to get there than expected. Roger, our sat-nav, couldn’t find the place we needed to go so we had to drive aimlessly for a bit and then I got reception on my phone so could find where we needed to go on Google Maps. So, after the tree, rather than heading south for a bit, we headed north to the coast to get on the lovely and wide Wales Expressway. We were going to Anglesey, home of the druids.

We crossed the bridge into Anglesey then went around the northern coast to Penmon to visit St Seiriol’s well. There were a few other tourists there, checking out the old and the new church, the dovecote (which was really impressive), and then the well (which was less so). By then it was lunchtime so we went further up the road to the point, looked at the lighthouse and had soup and cake at the cafe there.

From there we went to Bryn Celli Ddu Burial Chamber, a very ancient mound that has had something on it since forever. First a circular ditch, then a stone circle and eventually this mound. We parked the car and walked next to a field full of cows for five minutes until we reached the mound. I really liked it. It’s fairly well maintained (the grass is at least) and there’s a stone out the front with old engravings on it. You can also go inside it.

After this mound, we went to check out another one called Barclodiad y Gawres, which is built overlooking the ocean. There’s a beach here where people were spending their day (I don’t think anyone was in the water though), and after a bit of a walk along the cliff, you come across a burial mound. It’s been heavily restored with bricks and concrete but there are some old pieces still there inside. I really enjoyed the view and the sea air.

From here we drove to Holyhead, which is on the far west of Anglesey, and from there to South Stack Cliffs to try to see puffins. The sat-nav took us along more windy and narrow streets but we eventually made it. There are about 400 steps on South Stack Cliffs that take you down to the bottom and across to South Stack Island. On the steps, you can bird watch as there are a lot of sea birds here. Sadly there were no puffins that we could see.

I went down to the bottom of the steps but didn’t go across to the island as there’s not much out there. I then ran up 100 of the steps, and struggled up the remaining 300. I have very little stamina for cardio-vascular activity.

South Stack Cliffs was our last stop together for the day so we drove to Bangor early so I had plenty of time for my train and so we could get some food. We didn’t find a pub easily so we made the very sad decision to eat in the cafe at Morrison’s. It filled a spot but was definitely nothing spectacular.

Nikki dropped me at the station and we said our goodbyes. It’s been a great five days together, especially as it had been over a year since we’ve been together. I’m also very grateful that we’ve got the kind of friendship where we can be around each other so much over five days without killing each other. She’s now off to explore more ancient sites around Wales. Only three more months until we see each other again. (Oh god, only three months until the wedding!)

I caught the train from Bangor to Crewe at 7pm and then changed trains at Crewe for Euston London at 9:30pm. Initially I thought the train wouldn’t get in until quarter to midnight, meaning I’d have a real problem getting back to Jackie’s before the trains stopped. Thankfully, the time I had was wrong and got into Euston over an hour earlier than initially thought. It still took a while to get home with all the train and bus changes but I did get home before midnight.

Just as an aside, I took over 1000 photos over two days. Plenty are double-ups and errors, but still.

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