I woke that morning feeling rather too warm, and when I opened my eyes I realised why - the sun was shining directly onto the tent and I was being slowly cooked! Peering out of the ventilation panel I could see blue sky and fluffy white clouds - it was a lovely morning and not one to waste, so after a quick coffee to kick-start the day I took the dogs for a walk down to the beach. The tide was out so once I had got away from the dog-free area I let Sophie and Sugar off their leads and went right out to the water's edge where I walked along the smooth flat sand as far as the next small bay before turning round and retracing my steps. There was just a hint of a breeze coming off the sea and the water lapped the sand in small ripples - with the warm sunshine and blue sky it was a perfect morning, and if I could have had just one wish it would have been to be able to live by that beach and experience the same thing every morning for the rest of my life. But unfortunately reality intervenes and it was getting time for breakfast so I made my way back up onto the promenade and headed back towards the camp site. And that's when I was 'accosted' by Cyril.
Now, trying not to be disrespectful, Cyril is what you might loosely term 'the village idiot' and I first met him several years ago in the seafront cafe. In his 60s and a couple of sandwiches short of a picnic, he goes round the village doing odd jobs for people - and if you ever get talking to him you can never get away. He speaks in a slow drawl and I've always had the urge to put a key in his back and wind him up! Unfortunately he saw me before I saw him - or rather he saw the dogs - and as he likes dogs he stopped to talk to me. At first he didn't recognise me as it had been three years since I last saw him but after jogging his memory he remembered me - and when he realised I was on my own he was all over me like a rash! Urgh! - I had to suddenly remember that I was expecting a phone call and I had left my phone in the van before I could get away. He's harmless enough I suppose but having him pawing at me like an impatient puppy wasn't funny, so I made a mental note to look out for him if I went to the beach again and steer well clear of him if he was anywhere around!
After escaping Cyril's clutches and getting back to my tent in one piece I made toast and a brew and had a leisurely breakfast while sitting in the sunshine and studying the map book. A UKCS member had recommended a couple of places to go so once I had found them on the map and figured out how to get to them I tidied away the breakfast things, put the dogs in the back of the van and set off to explore. My first port of call though was the car boot sale on the showground, which I had been to two weeks before - it's a good sale and I could never have a weekend on Anglesey without going there. I wasn't looking for anything in particular but I did end up buying a couple of things - a picture of a kitten which looked just like my Tiger when she was young, and a new and very large beach bag, which would hold all my clothes, magazines and personal possessions needed for a camping weekend. It wasn't something I'd ever thought about buying - Asda carrier bags are good enough for me! - but it was cheap and it was my favourite colour, red. And it also went with the interior of the van - now how mad is that, you buy a bag because it matches your vehicle!
From the showground I drove a couple of miles up the A5 then turned off onto the road to Rhosneigr, but instead of going down into the village itself I continued further round towards the coast and finally arrived at Cable Bay. There was a large, rough-surfaced car park adjacent to the road and although it was busy I could see there was plenty of space so I pulled in there and parked up. The car park was backed by a narrow stretch of low dunes and a couple of paths led down onto the beach - it was obviously a very popular place with surfers and bodyboarders, and even though the tide was out there were still a few wet-suited people out in the waves.
From the car park I walked out along the headland to my right - the camp site warden had told me about an ancient burial chamber which was up there so I thought I would take a look. Apparently it's the largest Neolithic tomb in Wales, but when I got there I must admit to being a bit disappointed - if that's the largest then I would hate to see the smallest. A short outdoor passageway led to the gated entrance - it would have been possible to go inside (for a fee) but the gate was locked and there was no warden around. Anyway I could see most of the inside of it from the gate, so I just took a couple of photos from there.
From there I walked back along the headland to the car park, stopped at the van to give the dogs a drink, then followed the path to the headland on the other side of the bay, stopping to take photos as I went. The path was quite overgrown in places and got narrower the further I went - at one point it skirted the edge of a very long steep drop onto the beach so I put the dogs back on their leads for that bit. They are both very inquisitive and I didn't want any accidents.
On my way through the car park I had noticed an ice cream van parked near the road so as I walked back to the van I stopped off there and treated myself to a large 99 with the whole works - Flake, raspberry sauce, nuts and coloured bits. Diet? What diet?? When I had eaten that and given the dogs another drink I set off for my next port of call, Aberffraw, which was only a couple of miles along the road.
Aberffraw village is at the head of a long river estuary and a short lane led down from the main road to a large parking area near the river. After finding a space and parking up I took stock of my surroundings - behind me and to my left were open fields and a farm, to my right was the narrow river with the village at the far side across a quaint stone hump-back bridge, and in front of me was a large expanse of marshland backed by high dunes which separated it from the beach. I had been informed that it was quite a walk from there to the beach and it would be easier to follow the river rather than go through the dunes, so as I didn't fancy doing an impression of Dr. Livingston in the African jungle that's just what I did. It was a very pleasant walk and I was quite surprised at just how much sand there was along the river - in fact the river really had a beach of its own which got wider as I got nearer to the main beach. The river itself was very low, with several small fishing boats leaning at crazy angles on the sand, and it would have been perfectly possible to paddle across to the other side. When I got to the end the view opened up in front of me - a vast expanse of beach, and in the distance the hills of Snowdonia with a swathe of low-lying cloud over the top. The tide was right out; in fact it was so far out and there was so much beach that it was hard to believe that the sea came in far enough to fill up the estuary and allow those boats to sail in and out. I wasn't going to walk out to the water's edge though, I had walked far enough, so I sat for a few minutes in the sand near the dunes while the dogs explored, then made my way back the way I had come.
Back at the van I sat for a few moments pondering where to go next - Newborough beach further along the same stretch of coast was somewhere I wanted to explore, but having been there a few years previously I knew there was a very long walk involved to get to it, and I wouldn't really have time to explore properly so I decided to leave that for another time and make my way back to the camp site, stopping off at Stermat on the way.
Now in case you think I've gone nuts and Stermat is a town in a foreign country, I have to explain that it isn't a place, it's a large store. In fact there are two of them, both on the A5 - one is at Valley, on the way to Holyhead, and the other is near Llanfair PG - and a stay on Anglesey isn't complete without a visit to one of them. They sell everything, from chocolate through household and camping stuff to paint, gardening and DIY stuff, and their prices are good too. I love having a good browse round and will very often find something which I've never been able to find anywhere else, or I'll end up buying something that I didn't realise I wanted till I saw it. So off to Stermat it was, and I headed for the one near Llanfair PG as that was the nearest and also on the shortest route back to the camp site. And it didn't let me down when I got there - I found a set of four red mugs and a gorgeous office-type waste paper bin with a picture of two cats on the side, so I was a very happy bunny when I came out. From there it didn't take too long to drive back to the camp site; on the way through the village I stopped at the petrol station supermarket to get a sandwich and back at the tent I made a brew to go with it - time to relax for an hour or so before I started packing up to go home.
It was 7pm when I left the camp site for the last time, and just like before I drove down to the beach to give the dogs a final walk before the journey home. As I parked on the promenade I had a good look round for Cyril but thankfully he was nowhere to be seen so I was able to get down onto the beach without being waylaid. There were a few more clouds around than earlier on but the sun was still shining and the view across the bay was really clear - and even though I must have photographed it many times before I still took another couple of shots. There was no-one around other than two people with a dog in the far distance, and no noise except for the gentle lapping of the sea on the sand and the cries of the gulls soaring overhead - and out at the water's edge there was just me and my two little dogs in a little bit of paradise.
I didn't know when I would get back to Anglesey again - in a few days time I would be pet sitting for three weeks and my next two camping holidays would be taken elsewhere, but my love of the island and its beautiful scenery would certainly guarantee a return in the not-too-distant future.
- 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