Monday 12 June 2017

Penmon, Isle of Anglesey: 8 - 12 June 2017

Thursday 8 June 2017
We woke to a work-time alarm at 0545, a bit of a shock to the system for a pensioner and a drop-out!  We were out and at the Polling Station for opening time at 0700; it was already quite busy.  Back for breakfast, load up and a drive to Anglesey through wind and rain.  We stopped off at the Waitrose in Menai then on to the house sit, near the village of Penmon on the Isle of Anglesey.  We've visited Penmon Point a few times and also parked alongside the Menai Straits on the odd occasion, so know the area quite well.

The cottage we're housesitting was down a long, narrow country lane.  Parked up, we were warmly and enthusiastically welcomed by Jess the golden retriever and Meg the springer spaniel!  We had a good, thorough handover with the owner, including doggy routines, before she left for a long weekend.  Car unpacked, we quickly changed into walking gear, grabbed the leads and headed off to take both dogs for a walk.  We were soon crossing the fields towards Penmon Priory, where we stopped to take a look at St Seiriol's Well.  We followed the road down to Penmon Point and on to the pebbly beach.  Jess had sniffed out the sea and nearly dragged Cathy into the water!  Both dogs had a good swim; Meg was content with a couple of dips but Jess really didn't want to get out.  It took a while to entice her out and back into her lead, before we followed the coastal path back along the peninsula, crossing several fields before returning to the cottage.  We'd already been briefed to give the dogs a hose down on return and that they wouldn't be that keen!  But they were fine and were soon rubbed down with a towel and back in the garden for a well-earned treat. I popped into Beaumaris for a couple of bits while Cathy lit the log burner in the upstairs living room, with views over the hills on one side and the sea on the other.  The dogs had a good snooze followed by their dinner, while we had a lamb and veg stir fry.  The forecast for tomorrow is better, so we'll take the dogs out for another good walk.  Once we'd eaten we spent a good half an hour outside with Jess and Meg playing pull the rope and chase the ball, plus Cathy gave them both a good brushing; it was blowing a hooley so the hairs soon disappeared, no doubt to become nesting material for the myriad birds.  They really are lovely dogs - Meg (the springer spaniel) is fairly quiet and reserved, but loves a cuddle. Jess is more of a handful and likes to play tug of war and 'test the waters', but is still a lovely, friendly dog.  When out for a walk she's very much the 'mother hen' checking to make sure we're all still there. We're all weary tonight so I think we'll all sleep well, ready for another day by the sea.

Views towards the Great Orme

Lovely view from our en-suite bedroom

Play time!

More play time!

Friday 9 June 2017
What an amazing, chilled out day!  It was peacefully quiet last night and we slept well, although woke up early.  I was first up, fed the dogs and sat in the kitchen enjoying a cup of tea in the peace and quiet.  Madness had descended overnight with the general election but I feel far enough removed from it here not to harp on about it.  We enjoyed our breakfast and took the dogs out for their first walk, down a footpath through an ancient forest with a stream flowing down the middle of the small valley.  It was cool but full of life, with lots of vibrant greenery and and abundance of birdlife, butterflies and bees.  The path took us down to the clifftop but no further, so we had no choice but to reverse our route back up; Meg was let off the lead and, in true cocker spaniel style, enjoyed racing up and down the valley and through the streams.  Close to the top we bumped into Ken and his border collie - Millie, who we both met briefly yesterday.  We had a good long chat - he was fascinating to listen to.  He grew up in Knutsford (like Cathy) and moved to the island about 20 years ago, having had to give up work due to failing eyesight.  He now renovates old organs in a man-shed in his garden. We mentioned visiting a place called white beach and he told us some of the history of the old quarry by the beach and how to get there.  Jess had other ideas though, dragging us back towards the cottage, so we went back to have a brew and play tug of war in the garden for an hour (while cooked a chicken for later).

Refreshed, we took the lanes and eventually branched off along the coastal path.  This particular stretch was lovely - along old field paths, through wildflower meadows and past old Welsh cottages.  Ken's directions were spot on and we eventually walked the final stretch down a single track road which ended in a small National Trust car park at Fedw Fawr.  We followed the path down and white beach appeared to our right, with Puffin Island in the foreground and the Great Orme in the distance - what a beautiful spot!  We let Jess and Meg off their leads and they soon disappeared down the path and steps to the pebbly beach.  They were both in the sea by the time we reached the bottom, enjoying a welcoming cool off.  Cathy was soon to follow (with a 'whoop' as the sea was a bit chilly!) and it was funto see them all swimming together. I took a few videos and photos then joined them in the sea; it WAS cold but I eventually got used to it and was whooping with the best of them!. We hadn't taken any swimwear or towels with us, so we swam in underwear and dried off in the sunshine afterwards.  The dogs continued to play in the sea and on the beach, as we explored the strand line and rocks.  It was the sort of place you could arrive early in the morning with chairs and a picnic and spend all day without seeing another soul. After a great swim, we dressed and reversed our route, enjoying the warm sunshine back through the fields and along the quiet lanes.  This part of Anglesey so reminds us of the secluded villages of France; not only the lack of traffic but the quiet lanes and stone cottages.

Back at the cottage, we showered and changed and I prepared our dinner - the cooked chicken, some new potatoes boiled and served with mint from the garden, plus a salad and a dijon mustard, raspberry vinegar and olive oil dressing, all washed down with a bottle of Portuguese rose wine.  Once we'd eaten I fed the dogs; Jess is on special, hypoallergenic food and Meg is on normal dog food. They were clearly ready for theirs as it was gone in seconds!  Now sat in the upstairs living room, both dogs are crashed out after their busy day.  I'm blogging (of course) and Cathy's learning some Greek via Duolingo.  Later, a pot of coffee and some bara brith beckons.  What a lovely relaxing day; for the first time I felt properly retired, enjoying a holiday-type existence on what is (for most people) a normal working day.  The weather forecast for tomorrow is dire - wind and heavy rain - so I think it'll be an in day; maybe I'll bake some soda-bread and watch the clouds scurry across the sea. It's a hard life!

Meg loves the streams

A short calm period

Our first sight of white beach

Come on in - it's lovely!

Kindred Spirits

Puffin Island plus the Great Orme

Reminds us of France

Dinner outside

Saturday 10 June 2017
Less done today due to the weather - very windy with occasional wet spells but still very warm.  After breakfast I popped into Beaumaris for some shopping.  I was back in the Little Chilli Shop, buying some dried chillies - smoked chipotle, habanero and kashmiri - plus some fresh tumeric. Back at the cottage we headed out with the dogs for a walk to Penmon Point, only this time the reverse route.  Jess was most dis-chuffed at her lack of sea swim time, but it was an ebbing tide and perhaps not so safe.  We were pretty wet by the time we got back, so a brew and some TV was called for.  I cooked dinner later - chicken fried rice - then the dogs had theirs too. After that the sky cleared although it's still blowing a hooley, so we played outside with the dogs for a mad half-hour.  Now inside, I'm watching the high white clouds scud across a blue sky.  Tomorrow is set very windy still but with less rain.  It's also National #2minutebeachclean day, so we plan to combine a first visit to Llanddona beach with a bit of a clean up.

Sunday 11 June 2017
Today has been a windy day - a very windy day!  Anglesey is known for the wind and it really hasn't let up all day (and is still going strong!).  I don't think it's dropped below 40mph all day and probably gusting way above 50mph.  But the sun shone so the combination of sun and wind has left us not only battered a bit but also very brown!

We packed a lunch for our day trip.  We wanted to visit Llanddona beach to do a #2minutebeachclean.  It's a no dogs beach at this time of the year, so we had to leave Jess and Meg at the cottage.  It was only about 15 minutes in the car, with the final mile or so down a 25% steep single lane road (in fact all the roads were single lane) - at the bottom I saw a sign for a road climbing at 35% - not one for the bike!  There's a large free car park by the beach with some toilets.  We grabbed our bags and walked up and down the beach, picking up litter - mainly plastic bags, plastic bottles and drinks cans, but also a child's shoe and some socks.  We also found some nylon fishing net, which we kept to take home for the garden.  We walked a little further towards Red Wharf Bay, but the very strong wind resulted in us being sand blasted, so we turned back to the car park.  Beach clean done, we drove back up the steep lane and headed for the small car park above white beach; it was quite full but we managed to squeeze into a space.  There were a couple of people on the beach this time, but it still felt empty.  We enjoyed our lunch sat on the (unforgiving!) pebbles down by the sea, then had a wander around, again filling a bag with rubbish.

Jess and Meg were pleased to see us and after a brew and a game of tug the blanket, we took them out for a long walk.  We stuck to the lanes to start with and again came across Ken and his dog Millie, stopping for a good chat.  It turned out he used to be the rent collector the the house Cathy lived in in Knutsford - small world.  We took a footpath and made our way down to the village of Llangoed, walking through the nature reserve including visiting Castell Aberlleiniog, a small ruined castle on top of a hill surrounded by a large but now overgrown moat.  We carried on through some lovely wildflower fields with small copse of young oak trees, before returning to the lane and walking back up the road through Penmon towards the cottage.  On the way we met a lady walking the other way with a border collie; she recognised Jess and Meg and we had a brief chat.  Everyone is so friendly here.

Back at the cottage Cathy kept the dogs occupied outside while I prepared a spanish tortilla and salad.  She then came in with a package of newspaper containing 5 small mackerel. The neighbours were chatting to her and mentioned they'd caught them off white beach this morning; the same beach we sat on for our lunch.  So the parcel was passed over the fence and I quickly cleaned them - what a kind thought.  We enjoyed them grilled with sea-salt and eaten with our hands like sardines, followed by the tortilla and salad - a lovely meal. Cleared up, showered and dogs fed, we're now relaxing in the upstairs lounge as the wind continues unabated, with the occasional sharp shower hitting the velux windows in the roof.  We're both tired so I don't think we'll be late to bed, ready to pack, clean up and hand this lovely cottage and the dogs back to the owner tomorrow.  We've had a very relaxing few days in a beautiful part of Anglesey.  We'd not really explored this area much before, but the countryside, quiet deep lanes with high hedgerows, plus the many paths and lovely beaches really remind us of Cornwall.  It's only served to reinforce our wish to move to the island.

Llanddona Beach

There were loads of sea anemone shells


Castell Aberlleiniog

Lovely neighbours gave us some mackerel


  1. Another good read, we have just returned from Bakewell, next stop Carsington Water near Ashbourne. Maybe next year we will have a blog title , Iona goes to Anglesey.

    1. We do like the Peaks but are always drawn to the sea. Anglesey is nice given the mix of countryside, beaches, cliffs and mountain views.


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