2012: Friday Walks, Ynys Llanddwyn

Off to Wales for this week’s walk. Ronnie takes us to a magical island.

Normally our Friday walks take place relatively near to where we live. So we can spend most of the day walking and enjoying ourselves. But today we decided to go further away. On a walk that we know is special. We first did it three years ago, just before Sarah had some major surgery. It’s in her book, but we’ve not written about it on here before.

It’s about a ninety mile drive from Liverpool. Around the North Wales coast, past Bangor and first left after crossing the Menai Straits to the island of Anglesey, Ynys Mon. Then around the southern coast of the island to the village of Newborough. This was set up in around 1280 by the brutal English invader Edward 1 as the new forced home of inhabitants from elsewhere on the island, as he wanted to build himself a castle and a new home, Beaumaris, where they used to live. (Edward went on to become the ‘Hammer of the Scots’ – he just didn’t like us Celts did he?)

Newborough (or Niwbwrch as it is in Welsh) these days is just a small village, and we turn left again at its centre, drive through a pine forest and park by the sand hills at the edge of the sea.

Off we go, into the sand hills

Lunch first today, funny how driving makes you hungry.

Then plant identification breaks out.

Sarah’s been careful to bring her Collins Complete Guide to British Wildflowers with her today. She knows we’re going somewhere special.

And then, like always on this walk, we pause. Because we know that we’re about to have our breath taken away. When we emerge from the sand hills.

Wow. Newborough Warren and the mountains of Snowdonia.

And from now on, this isn’t the kind of walk where you’re always looking ahead to the next thing. We’re always looking behind too, at the mountains and the clouds, as they hide them, shadow them, and reveal them.

We’re making for Ynys Llanddwyn, a small island in the opposite direction from Snowdonia.

In the distance, Ynys Llanddwyn.

Though in truth , it’s only an island for an hour or so a day, during the highest of tides.

The island shelters this bay from the open sea, like a lagoon.

Reaching the island we see how the sea is outside of the lagoon.

Going up on to the island there’s a notice board telling some mythical tale about why the island is a magical place, involving one of the 24 daughters of some king. All nonsense. But it is magical, a celebration of nature and geology.

The rocks we are now stepping up onto are pre-cambrian. Amongst the oldest things on earth, at least 550 million years old. And the thin, sandy soil on the rocks is home to thousands of nesting birds. And millions of wildflowers.

Up onto the island, looking back at Snowdonia.

And down at periwinkles in a rock pool.

Through the gate and along the path.

Surrounded by wildflowers.

The most bluebells we have ever seen in one place. A perfect haven for these dark blue native British species.

The book.

Bluebells are the most obvious wildflowers, but they’re not alone. And Sarah is soon having a feast of identifying with her beloved book. ‘It’s rare, but it’s plentiful around here!’ she keeps exclaiming, crouched down as another treasure is discovered.

Spring Squill, ‘rare but plentiful!’

And we reach the beach at the far end of the island.

At peace.

Sarah gazes out at Snowdonia, the Llŷn and Ynys Enlli in the distance.

Then we make our way back, along the path on the stormy sea side of the island.

And back into the peaceful lagoon. Where someone’s taken her boots off…

And is paddling in paradise.

We’ve been here for hours now. Walking, filming, photographing, identifying and reading. And it’s such a perfect day we don’t want it to end. Or not yet anyway.

So we drive down the coast a bit.

To Rhosneigr, a place where we’ve camped in summers past.

And where we know a brilliant pizza shop, Aydins. So we get our pizzas and end the day having our tea, gazing still at the magical celtic coastline.

4 thoughts on “2012: Friday Walks, Ynys Llanddwyn

  1. jbaird

    Magical, indeed! I loved every one of your mystic pictures. Lagoons always intrigue me, as do those sea waters reflecting the light so brilliantly. Keep it coming. xx

    Reply
  2. Amanda Luson Cheetham

    I think I might have worked out how to respond to this stunning walk, your photograhs have an immediacy which bring one straight to the spot. The bluebells are gorgeous, how I love that blue and what is it about islands that is so appeaing? This island takes one away from the present and back into another time.Lovely !xx

    Reply
    1. Ronnie Hughes Post author

      Really good to hear from you Mandy, welcome to here. This really is a very special island, strangely like Iona, but much quieter. Or it was until we started writing about it! xx

      Reply

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