The journey down was easy and I made good time, in fact I got there sooner than I expected which was too early for the site warden to be around. I didn't know how long I would have to wait - I couldn't drive straight onto the site because of the barrier - so I parked up in the waiting area and took the dogs for a walk round while I looked for somewhere nice to put my tent, preferably with a hook-up point available. I found a very pleasant corner not too far into the site so I decided to carry my tent across and start setting up - I could pay for my pitch later when the warden was around. However, just as I was getting the tent out of the van a guy came across and asked if I wanted to drive through - he turned out to be the warden's brother who had a static van near to where I was going to pitch, he'd recognized me from when I've been there before and was willing to open the barrier for me. That saved a lot of hassle and within a couple of minutes I was parked on the pitch and putting the tent up, while the dogs stayed in the back of the van out of the way.
When everything was finally sorted out I went to see if reception was open - it was, so I paid my fee for the two nights I was staying and got a pass for the barrier, then it was time to get some breakfast. Although I could have made some toast and a brew I fancied something a bit more substantial - I had noticed last time I was there that a new cafe had opened up in the village so I decided I would drive down there and give it a try. The cafe is in a small group of shops with a car park set back off the main road so at least I could leave the van where I could see the dogs while I was inside. I ordered a small all-day breakfast with a milky coffee, it was very nicely cooked and was just enough for me - any more and I wouldn't have been able to eat it all.
With the inner woman finally satisfied I called in the nearby Spar supermarket and picked up a free tide table from near the counter. A great majority of the photos I have of various places on Anglesey have all been taken when the tide has been out, simply because that's the way it was it the time, so my mission for the weekend was to revisit some of those places and take some more photos with the tide in - assuming of course that high tide would be at a convenient time. Back at the tent I put my chair in the sun and with the dogs on their bed in the shade of the van I sat down to study the tide table. It would be just my luck that high tide for later that day would be too far into the evening but it turned out to be mid afternoon, so I had plenty of time to relax before I went out and plenty of time for taking photos when I was out. Next I had to think of where to go - there was a place near the Menai bridge called the Belgian promenade, which I hadn't heard of until recently, so I decided to have a look round there and also cross the Menai bridge on foot, which I had never done before.
Just down the road from Menai bridge is a Waitrose supermarket with a car park so I decided to leave the van there while I explored - and to justify being there I went into the store and got a couple of magazines and something for my tea later on. With the dogs on their lead and the camera round my neck my first port of call was the bridge itself - and what a fantastic views I got. It was so clear that I could see right along the Menai Straits in both directions, and although I couldn't take any photos to the south as I was shooting directly into the sun I got some great shots looking to the north. The edge of the little town was spread out in front of me and immediately below me was a large grassy area at the water's edge - further along I could see the white pier at Port Daniel and in the distance on the other side of the straits was the pier at Bangor on the mainland. Of all the times I've been to Anglesey that was the first time I'd seen the Menai Straits from the bridge and I was really impressed with the view.
Once I'd walked the full length of the bridge and back again I set out in search of the Belgian promenade - set back off the road close to the bridge is the Anglesey Arms pub with a small parking area in front of it and leading from there was a narrow lane heading steeply downhill towards the straits. Down at the bottom I was very pleasantly surprised by what I found - there was indeed a pedestrian promenade, tree-lined on one side and separated from the shore by a stone wall on the other side. Almost below the bridge there was a rather unusual house - the bottom half of it was stone and the top half was timber, and it was built right at the water's edge. I just hope the owners have a very good damp proof course installed!
The promenade followed the contours of the land and round a bend was a cove and St. Tysilio's church on Church Island, which was linked to the promenade by a walled causeway. The church itself was situated to the left of the little island and a very pleasant and well-kept sloping graveyard with a war memorial at the top occupied the rest of the land. Following a narrow path from the gates I made my way round the edge of the island to the church, stopping at one point to look back towards the bridge and take some photos - and it was then that I saw, tucked away in a corner underneath the trees, a very tiny grave. It looked to be quite old and I assumed it was the resting place of a baby, but when I looked at the inscription on the headstone I was surprised to find that it was modern, dating from 2002, and with the name of E.T. it must have been someone's pet. Cat or dog, who knows, but there was a fresh pot plant on the gravestone so it must have been much loved and remembered. I couldn't go into the church as it was closed so I climbed the slope to the memorial at the top of the cemetery and took a few photos, then made my way down and headed back along the causeway and the promenade to where I'd left the van at Waitrose. Although the parking there was free there was a time limit and I didn't want to go over it and find that a supermarket official had given me a ticket.
From Waitrose I drove through Menai Bridge town itself and headed towards Beaumaris. The road ran parallel to the straits although there were houses and trees between it and the shore, but as I rounded a bend I caught sight of a brilliant view through the trees and that was it, I just had to stop. Luckily there was a bit of a lay-by up ahead so I pulled in there and walked back along the road to take some photos. I'd actually taken a few shots along there several years previously but the tide had been out at the time - this time, with the exception of a few small islands and sandbanks, the place was full of water. It made such a difference to the view and I got some great photos.
I was so pleased with the shots I'd just taken that I couldn't wait to get back to my tent and download them to my laptop to see what they were really like. It was getting on for tea time by then anyway and I was feeling rather peckish so I abandoned my idea of going to Beaumaris, turned the van round and drove back through Menai Bridge town to pick up the main road back to Benllech. Once back at the tent I made a brew and a couple of sandwiches then connected the camera to the laptop and downloaded the afternoon's photos - and viewing them afterwards I thought the last few just had to be some of the best I've ever taken while on Anglesey.
I spent most of the evening sitting outside the tent, reading a magazine and watching the camp site world go by, then as the daylight started to fade I took Sophie and Sugar round the site for their last walk of the day. An hour of tv followed then I made a final brew, and with the dogs already settled on their beds I snuggled into mine with metaphorical fingers crossed for another great day to come.