My journey back to Anglesey the previous evening had been an easy one and again I had arrived on site to find my tent exactly as I'd left it four days before. As soon as I had transferred my few bits and pieces from the van to the tent I had taken the dogs for a walk round the site then settled in for what was left of the evening. I woke in the morning to sunshine and a blue sky streaked with white cloud so it looked like it would be another nice day for photographs, though I was in no rush to go out - although I still wanted to go to Port Meirion I had decided to stay local as there was a place on the island that I really wanted to see. After taking the dogs for their first walk of the day I had a leisurely breakfast, went across to thank the guys who had kept an eye on the tent for me during the week, then spent most of the morning pottering about. The back of the van was starting to get a bit untidy - God knows how as there's only ever me in there - so I decided to do something about it before it started to look like a mobile jumble sale. It was mainly just camping stuff and once it was sorted out and stacked neatly in the space behind the seats the van looked a whole heap better.
It was lunchtime when I finally set out, and my first stop was at a car boot sale just out of the village on the way to Llangefni. I had actually forgotten all about its existence until I was approaching the field where it's held, though I didn't think it would be worth stopping, but I was quite surprised to find a great majority of the stalls still there so it was worth having a look round. I wasn't really looking for anything for myself but a friend of mine needed a dog cage and I had said I would look out for one when I was on my travels - and I couldn't believe it when I saw one on the last stall I looked at. But it wasn't to be, as it had just been sold to someone else. Damn! If only I'd walked round the field the opposite way that would have been the first stall I looked at and the cage would have been mine - I don't know who Sod is but I really think there should be a change in his law!
My second stop was at Asda in Llangefni for a few bits and pieces then I headed for Aberffraw and the place I wanted to see. When I was talking to my cousin Dave's wife Hilda the weekend before she had asked me if I had been to the Church in the Sea - I had to admit that I'd never even heard of it let alone been to it so she had told me where it was and how to get there, and it sounded so fascinating that I just had to take a look. It was exactly as the name implies, a church in the sea - an ancient chapel built on a small island and reached by a rocky causeway from the beach, but at high tide it was completely surrounded by the sea. My route from the main road took me through Aberffraw village and down a narrow winding lane in the direction of the sea, and as I rounded a bend I got a view of where I was heading for - a bay with an island in the middle, on top of which sat a small white-walled chapel. A bit further along the lane widened out a little before coming to an end almost on the beach - there were several cars parked on the grass verge and as it looked like that was the only parking place I pulled in behind the last vehicle in the line, clipped the leads on the dogs and set off to explore.
The beach at the end of the lane was very rocky but a little distance to my right a long stretch of sand swept round in a curve to the headland on the far side of the bay. The tide was in but on the turn and I could just see a couple of small sections of the causeway exposed - hopefully it wouldn't be too long before the whole of it was clear and I could walk across to the church. Starting at the left side of the bay I walked all the way round to the right, pausing every so often to take a photo or two and at one point actually walking into the water, which was amazingly clear. About halfway along the beach I came across the outlet of a freshwater stream - for some reason it didn't flow from the fields and straight across the beach, it came through an enclosed concrete tunnel built at ground level and with a heavy cast iron sluice gate at the end. The beach immediately in front of the sluice gate had been sectioned off with some corrugated iron edgings and the stream flowed under the gate and into this section, forming a shallow pool - to be honest I thought the whole thing looked ugly and spoiled what was otherwise a nice bay, but the dogs liked the pool and spent a good couple of minutes paddling about.
When I reached the far side of the bay I looked back the way I had come and could see that the top of the causeway was now fully exposed and there were some people already making their way across so I set off back that way. I had to pick my way carefully when I went across the causeway as many of the rocks were slippery with seaweed but I made it without mishap and finally reached the rocky base of the little island. A steep flight of stone steps led up to the top of the island which was just a flat expanse of grass with the chapel towards the landward end. There was a wooden bench seat set against each of the gable end walls and set in the grass a few yards from the building was a single gravestone with a posy of artificial flowers placed on top, weighted down by a chunk of rock. The chapel was closed but on the door was a notice saying that it is used for summer services a few times each year and that arrangements can be made in advance to view the inside at other times. I was quite surprised to learn that the chapel is actually still used, and had a vision of a line of elderly people all dressed in 'Sunday best' and carrying bibles picking their way carefully across the causeway. Curious to know what the inside looked like I stood on the bench seat at one end and peered through the window - the glass was very dirty but I found a small patch clear enough for the camera lens and managed to get a reasonable photo.
The people who had crossed the causeway before me seemed to have disappeared and I had the island to myself so after walking all round the perimiter and taking a few photos I sat on the bench in the sunshine, taking in the view and enjoying the peace and tranquility while the dogs mooched about in the grass. I don't know how long I sat there but I began to feel peckish after a while and decided it was time to head back to the van, so calling the dogs I made my way down the steep stone steps and back across the causeway to the beach.
It was a pleasant drive back to Benllech and the camp site and once the van was parked at the side of the tent I fed the dogs and set about making myself some sort of a meal. It was only sandwiches and a brew, with a piece of cake for 'afters', but it was enough - and my philosophy is that I don't cook when I'm at home (well, very rarely) so I'm certainly not cooking when I'm away! An evening with the tv and my laptop followed my meal, then just before darkness fell I took the dogs for their last walk of the day. As I snuggled down into my bed later on my thoughts returned to the Church in the Sea; even though I've been to most places on Anglesey I had been totally unaware of the little chapel on the island until a week before when Hilda had mentioned it. I was glad she had as I'd had a lovely afternoon out and got some nice photos of a quaint little place I would otherwise probably never have known about.
- Hi! I'm Eunice and I live in Bolton, Lancashire, with my two dogs Sophie and Sugar and an assortment of cats - well it used to be Sophie and Sugar, now it's Sophie and Poppie. I first began camping back in 1997 when my then partner took me to Anglesey for my birthday weekend. We slept in the back of the car - a hatchback - using the cushions off the settee at home as a mattress, and cooked and brewed up on a single burner camping stove. The site was good, the views were great, the weather fantastic and I was completely hooked. Following that weekend we got a two-man tent and some proper accessories and returned to Anglesey two weeks later, then over time we progressed to a three-man tent followed by an old trailer tent, then a new trailer tent, a campervan and finally a caravan. When my partner decided that the grass was greener on the other side of the street - literally - in April 2009 and I suddenly found myself alone after fifteen years, I decided there was no way I was going to give up camping and caravanning if I could cope on my own. This blog is the story of my travels, trials and tribulations since becoming a solo camper - I hope you like it