Coastal Walking on Ynys Môn, Isle of Anglesey, Wales

South Stack Lighthouse, Irish Sea, Isle of Anglesey

South Stack Lighthouse, Irish Sea, Isle of Anglesey

Holyhead, Isle of Anglesey, Wales

The Isle of Anglesey, or
Ynys Môn in Welsh, is a combination of flat, rural countryside and rugged, seaside cliffs.

The island is historically associated with the Druids, and today its primary businesses are agriculture and tourism. Over 70% of its population are native Welsh speakers.

Driving west to Holyhead, we were struck by how quickly the landscape changed, from the hills and mountains of Snowdonia on mainland Wales to the sheep and cattle fields of Anglesey.

Driving west on the A55, Isle of Anglesey

Driving west on the A55, Isle of Anglesey

Getting There – Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch

After going over the Menai Strait onto the island, one of the first places you come upon is this well-known town,
commonly shortened to ‘Llanfair PG’. (It’s pronounced ‘Clanfair PG’, since the double ‘L’ in Welsh is spoken like a hard ‘C’.)

The town’s full name means St. Mary’s church in the white hazel near a rapid whirlpool and the church of St. Tysilio of the red cave.

Llanfair PG is a shameless tourist destination, proud of having invented its name in the 1860’s to attract publicity and become the longest railway station name in the UK. It reminded me of Gretna Green in Scotland, one of those ‘gateway to xxx’ places found when you enter a new region or country. Llanfair PG also has the biggest tourist shop we’ve ever seen.

Entry to biggest tourist shop we've ever seen

Entry to biggest tourist shop we've ever seen

I’d read about Llanfair PG for years, and was glad to see it once for its novelty value. We joined the other visitors in buying a few postcards and souvenirs, then moved on.

Llwybr Arfordirol Ynys Môn
(Isle of Anglesey Coastal Path)

At the western end of Anglesey, we left the A55 as the landscape became increasingly rugged and hilly. It has that wonderful feel of water being close by, even if you can’t see it yet.

Near Holyhead, Isle of Anglesey

Near Holyhead, Isle of Anglesey

In the limited time we had to walk here, we decided to do part of the Isle of Anglesey Coastal Path.  This is a 125-mile coastal route still being developed, and follows much of the island’s coastline.

Public footpath, Isle of Anglesey Coastal Path

Public footpath, Isle of Anglesey Coastal Path

Clive especially wanted me to see area around the South Stack Lighthouse, where he visited over twenty-five years ago.

South Stack Lighthouse

South Stack Lighthouse, Irish Sea, Isle of Anglesey

South Stack Lighthouse, Irish Sea, Isle of Anglesey

This was the highlight of the day for me.

Many visitors park near the lighthouse, then make the long climb down (and back up) the zig-zag steps and onto the spit of land where the lighthouse stands.

Clive has fond memories of his daughter, at age four, showing what he calls early signs of her determination, insisting she was capable and joining her parents on the long climb down and back up again, all by herself (well done, K!).

We had a magnificent view from the coastal path above South Stack, and could see ferries on the Irish Sea going to and from Dublin. Clive took one of the ferries from Holyhead to Dublin in his backpacking days, but on this day we just enjoyed watching them from a distance. It was a bit hazy, but Clive says on a clear day you can see all the way to Ireland.

Late afternoon clouds rolled in, and we drove back east along the northern coast of the island, knowing it has potential for a lot more walking and exploring of its hillsides, bays and beaches.

Along the coast near Holyhead, Isle of Anglesey

Along the coast near Holyhead, Isle of Anglesey

Maybe we’ll return to Anglesey another time. Until then, we’ll remember its beautiful coastal scenery and how much we enjoyed seeing South Stack Lighthouse and watching ferries crossing to and from Dublin on the Irish Sea.
 
My next post will be about the mountains and lakes of Snowdonia, on the mainland.

Wikipedia Isle of Anglesey
Isle of Anglesey Coastal Path
Llanfair PG Official Site

4 Responses

  1. Just breathtakingly beautiful Caroline. So enjoying your trip even if I am not doing any walking and sitting here behind my computer!

  2. Gosh, that is really lovely.

  3. The sky is so gorgeous! Beautiful place.

  4. Thank you, Lilly, Linda and Nadege.

    It really is a beautiful country!

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