Another nice early morning saw me heading to Anglesey for a second weekend - the van was still packed up from my previous weekends away so figuratively speaking all I really had to do was roll out of bed and roll into the driver's seat! I'm sure my family and friends must think I'm totally nuts driving round for several weeks with a van load of camping gear but I didn't see the point of unpacking it from one weekend just to pack it up again for the next.
The drive down was easy, trouble-free and very pleasant in the early morning sunshine - that was till I got to the far end of the third tunnel which takes the A55 along the North Wales coast. I entered the tunnel in blue sky and sunshine but emerged into grey sky and fine but heavy rain - the tunnel is only about half a mile long so I couldn't believe there was such a drastic change in the weather in so short a distance. The coast road at that point runs parallel to Anglesey just off shore, and looking across to the island I could see that it too was shrouded in grey sky and rain - certainly not the sort of weather I wanted for my weekend but there was nothing I could do about it so I just had to continue to the camp site and hope it would soon clear up. And it didn't help when Dave, the warden, told me that the weather had been glorious all week - that wasn't the sort of thing I really wanted to hear just then!
After paying my fee for one night I drove up onto the top field and selected the same spot as before. I didn't really fancy pitching the tent in the rain so I sat in the van for a while to see if it eased off but eventually I had to face facts - I was pitching in the rain and I was going to get wet! Fortunately it didn't take too long to put the tent up though I still got quite damp doing it, so to save getting totally soaked I decided not to bother pegging it down other than the four corners; I would just let the weight of my bed, portable loo and everything else keep it in place till I put some pegs in later if and when the rain stopped. Once I had got everything sorted out I made myself a much-needed brew then grabbed my 'emergency' umbrella from the van and took the dogs for a walk round the field. There was no sign of the rain stopping and nothing I could do while it continued so when I got back to the van I decided to retreat to my tent to read my book and snatch forty winks if I could.
It was almost noon when I finally emerged, and though the sky was still very grey it had at long last stopped raining, so the first job was to peg the tent down properly while I could. Then I had to do something with my hair - it had been lovely and curly when I left home that morning but after getting wet earlier on it had now dried into something resembling a plateful of overcooked spaghetti. With only a brush and a can of hairspray at my disposal I managed to make it look halfway decent, then I had a look at the map book in an effort to decide where to go. There was no hope of any decent photography with the sky as grey as it was so I opted to drive into Beaumaris, have a look round the shops and search out something for lunch, and if the weather improved later on I would think of somewhere else to go then. So with a quick check to make sure the tent was secure, and the dogs safely in the back of the van, I set off.
I had only just left Benllech village when I noticed in my rear view mirror that there was a police car behind me - now under normal circumstances that wouldn't bother me but I knew from the past experience of being a passenger with someone else driving that the North Wales police, especially those on Anglesey, are very keen and will pull you over for anything, even if it's nothing. I wasn't doing anything wrong though so there was no reason for them to follow me, but I drove for several miles and the car was still behind me so I began to wonder - and I was even more convinced that I was being followed when I made a left turn at a set of traffic lights and they were still behind me. I was just waiting for the inevitable flash of blue lights to pull me over when I passed a small country police station on my left - and looking in my mirror I saw the police car pull into the driveway. Phew! - I wasn't being followed at all, they were returning to base which just happened to be along my chosen route! So breathing a huge sigh of relief I continued on my way and reached Beaumaris with no further incident. Driving into the huge grassy sea front car park I picked a spot at the far end where it wasn't very busy then took the dogs for a walk along the nearby headland so they could run off some energy before I went to look round the shops.
Beaumaris is only a small town so it didn't take long for me to look round. About halfway along the main street was a cafe with a take-away section so I treated myself to pie, peas and gravy and took them back to the van, where I made my own mug of tea and dined in comfort overlooking the sea and the hills of Snowdonia across the water. By the time lunch was finished the clouds were beginning to lift and brighten and the sky didn't look quite as grey so I decided to drive along to the spot where all the postcard and calendar photos of the Menai bridge are taken from and take my own shots, which I had never had the opportunity to do before. There's a handy lay-by at that point so I pulled in there and leaving the dogs in the van I walked a few yards up the slope and took in the view - with the clouds and the still-grey sky it didn't look anywhere near as nice as it does in the sunshine but I took a few shots anyway and made a mental note to return another time in better weather.
From there I drove back towards Benllech but the further away I got from Beaumaris the brighter the sky was becoming and patches of blue were beginning to show through the clouds, so I drove on through the village and continued northwards to the little town of Amlwch and its small fishing port, which was another place I hadn't previously been to. Driving past the port itself I came to a car park on the headland, so leaving the van there I clipped the leads onto the dogs and went back down the hill to explore. The inland sky was still very grey but out to sea it was beginning to clear and the sun was starting to break through, so it looked like there was a chance I could get some reasonable photos. Towards the bottom of the hill the road split into two - the upper road which I had just driven along and the lower road which ran along the harbourside so that's the one I took, walking right to the very end towards the village. A couple of fishing boats were docked in the outer harbour and on the quayside were piles of fishing related paraphernalia, while the inner harbour contained a mixture of small fishing boats and pleasure craft.
After wandering round the end of the inner harbour I went up the slope and returned to the van along the upper road. I had found this little port to be rather a quaint and fascinating place, and one which I would return to for further exploration in the future.
Back at the site I parked the van next to my tent, then leaving Sophie and Sugar in the back I walked the few minutes to the supermarket in the village to get a sandwich and a cake for tea - I could have driven there and parked but it was just as easy to walk. That's one thing I like about that camp site, it's only a few minutes away from the shops. With the sandwich, cake and a brew sorted out I spent the evening relaxing in the van with my book and the radio on low, then just before it went dark I took the dogs for their final walk round the field. After locking the van and settling them onto their beds in the tent I snuggled down into mine - it was much earlier than I would normally go to bed but the early morning start and the sea air had taken their toll and I was ready for sleep. Weather-wise the sky had finally cleared and the evening had ended in sunshine, so as I drifted off I had metaphorical fingers crossed for the following day to be nice.
- 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