Last weekend Ste and I escaped with the dogs for some R and R on the island of Anglesey in North Wales. We left after work on Thursday night, and three hours later arrived to the most spectacular huge silver moon shining out over the inky black sea down below us. I tried to take a photo, but you get the idea.
Next morning I awoke to the very same view, this time in technicolour. How’s that for a first glance out at the world each morning?!
We were staying at Ste’s family’s caravan, which is in a really lovely park perched on the clifftops above Benllech, a huge sandy bay on the north side of the island. Best of all, there is no internet and barely even any phone reception, so a weekend there really is a weekend away from it all. We had a lazy awakening on Friday, making coffee in bed and reading, and staring out at that lovely view. Once we had some breakfast, we headed out with the dogs for a walk along the coastal path, which winds along the side of the park along the cliff tops.
The day started off beautiful and sunny, but as we walked a thick, salty fog rolled in off the sea, and before long everything had turned grey. Realising this wasn’t the best weather for a slightly precarious cliff-top dog walk, we headed back and Ste looked out his old mackerel fishing gear.
It’s a bit late in the season for mackerel, but once he’d got out his old rods and found some new line, he decided he didn’t care and went off down to the rocky headland anyway. The dogs and I went with him, but they soon got bored of exploring and lay down for a snooze.
I decided to do the same, on a big flat rock. Despite the clouds it was actually really quite warm, and lying there with my eyes closed and the sun warming me, listening to the sounds of the waves crashing down below, I could have been on a beach somewhere hot and sunny. I forgot how much I love the sound of the sea and the smell of the sea air. I grew up near the south coast and my cousins lived in a small village by the sea, so we spent many a long summer day as children playing on the beach, or in winter taking the dogs for windswept walkies along that same sand. It was a great feeling just to relax and enjoy the moment.
At least, it was until Billy decided that his preferred perch was across my stomach. That dog has sharp elbows.
Ste was hoping to catch a couple of mackerel to barbeque later on, but thankfully (I am allergic to fish!) he didn’t, so we were forced to walk to the pub in Red Wharf Bay for supper. As we set off along the beach with the dogs, the sun was starting to shine through again as the sea fog receded back out over the water, and the light was beautiful.
Because the tide was still quite high, we couldn’t walk all the way along on the beach, but had to cut through on the footpath around the headland, which drops down at the end of the bay. The Ship Inn is a lovely historic pub, complete with open fires, wood beams, and, when we arrived, what seemed like most of the village! Since we had the dogs we decided to sit outside and admire the view as the fog curled away over the mud flats, bringing all the little boats into focus as it went.
Ste got his seafood after all – he had stuffed crab, served with huge slabs of soft granary bread, washed down with some local ale, and I opted for a lovely warming lamb and barley stew, because by that point the sun had started going down and there was a definite chill in the air. Since it was so warm when we left, we had neither of us worn coats. The real cue to head home though was Billy, as ever. His thin whippet coat doesn’t keep him all that warm and the sight of him sitting there shivering forlornly is just too pathetic. So we drank up and headed back down to the beach. The tide was out, and the hundreds of people walking earlier had all disappeared, and in the dusk it was just the four of us on the beach. We let the dogs off to race around, killing seaweed and gallivanting through puddles, having a great time, as we walked hand in hand back along the rapidly darkening beach, thankfully moonlit enough to see the biggest pools and streams. The lights of Benllech were glowing very welcomingly in the distance, and by the time we got home we were all chilly and ready for bed.
Saturday dawned beautiful and sunny once again and after another leisurely breakfast of pancakes with blueberries and skyr (for me) and maple syrup (for Ste), we went off for our long walk along the coastal path.
The views are just beautiful, with the path clinging to the cliff tops. We stopped a couple of times and just sat, admiring the huge expanse of sea in front of us, with the dogs sniffing contentedly around us.
Later we headed up into the village. Ste was in search of some more line for his fishing rod because despite the lack of results he’d enjoyed himself so much he wanted to go again, but sadly the tiny tackle shop in the village appeared to be closed for the season. Although there was an ‘Open’ sign on the door, the lights were off, it was locked, and there was a pile of post building up on the doormat. Instead we had a longer dog walk, before coming home to get the car and drive over to Amlwch to spend the afternoon with Ste’s grandparents.
Later that evening we got to visit another part of the island – RAF Valley, to catch up with my lovely friends Gaëlle and Adrian at their new home there. Gaëlle is always sharing the most beautiful photographs of Anglesey, I think she should work for the tourist board, but by the sounds of it she has quite a lot on her plate at the moment already (including her own blog about adjusting her career to fit with life as a military wife). It was lovely to see them and their rescue greyhound Brandy, who has settled into her Welsh life beautifully by all accounts. Having them close by is another great excuse to make more time for long weekends there next year.
Sunday morning was another cliff-top walkies, before heading home to Yorkshire.
It was a perfect couple of days away from it all, just the four of us (the cats wouldn’t like the sea I don’t think) and so relaxing. I even read an entire book from cover to cover in the couple of days we were there, which I haven’t done in forever. I’m already looking forward to our next weekend there early next year, and maybe exploring some of the pretty little villages a little further afield. Gaëlle tells me there is an amazing ice cream place in Beaumaris…
Have you been to Anglesey? Any tips for our next trip?