I woke that morning to another gloriously sunny day and yet more wind; there was no sign of life from the dogs so I allowed myself the luxury of a 'lie-in' before the sun shining on the van made it too warm to stay in bed. First was a dog walk round the site then bread in the toaster and the kettle on for a brew while I decided where I would go for the day. My mind turned to Chris, the guy I had met on Pentraeth beach a couple of days before - although at first I hadn't given any thought to his suggestion of meeting up I now seriously considered it. He seemed to be a nice guy and we had a lot in common, and although I'm always happy to be on my own with the dogs it would make a nice change for once to have the company of someone else. So I decided to ring him - but although I searched all round the awning, the van, and my pockets and various bags, I just couldn't find the piece of paper with his phone number on. Murphy's Law had decreed that I should lose it! Typical! And having finally decided to get in touch I was quite looking forward to the idea of some male company on a walk, but with no other way of contacting him that idea was knocked firmly on the head, so I decided to start off at the car boot sale on Anglesey showground then head towards Holyhead and take it from there.
There weren't as many stalls at the car boot as on previous occasions but that wasn't surprising in view of how windy it was. I wasn't looking for anything in particular, just browsing really, but there was nothing that metaphorically jumped out and shouted ''buy me!'' so for once my money stayed in my pocket. After my wander round the stalls I took the dogs up to the far end of the showground where there was plenty of space with no-one around and let them off the lead for a good run round. At one point they both disappeared into the long grass at the side of the path and when they finally re-appeared they both had very black legs - they had found what must have been the only mud-filled ditch on that part of the showground! Another run round the field though and they had soon dried out, and back at the van a quick brush down got rid of most of the mud before we hit the road again.
Driving towards Holyhead took me to Penrhos Coastal Park, another place I had been to a few years before but never revisted. The land is owned and managed by Anglesey Aluminium and the car park there is free - it's a very popular place and many people go just to park up and chill out while looking at the view. I was quite surprised to find a large catering van - Pete's Burger Bar - on the far side of the car park (it hadn't been there the last time I visited the park) and as my breakfast had worn off by then I decided I would get something to eat. A sign on the van window proclaimed "We don't do fast food, we do good food as fast as we can" and I briefly wondered how true that was. I ordered a coffee and a cheeseburger with onions, and took them back to the van - and I have to say that the sign on the catering van was right. The bun was a good size, the burger itself was very tasty, there was plenty of cheese on it - not just one pathetic little slice as is usually the case - and the onions were cooked to absolute perfection. And the whole thing had been wrapped securely in foil, which made a nice change from having something handed to me on top of a pathetic serviette with the onions dropping out all over the place. Now I've eaten many cheeseburgers over the years, bought from many different places - some have been good(ish), one I had a couple of years ago was really awful, most of them have been mediocre, but this one just had to be the best I've ever had - and at £3.20 for that and the large coffee it was hardly OTT on the price. I was well impressed, and made a mental note that whenever I was in that area of Anglesey in the future I would purposely stop off at Penrhos and get a cheeseburger.
So with my hunger satisfied I let the dogs out from the back of the van and set off to explore the country park. Just across the car park was a very attractive pond with several ducks and seagulls swimming around, and just past the catering van a tarmac path led through a large and very pleasant grassy area with yellow gorse bushes in full bloom and which bordered the stony beach. Further on was a private house set in its own grounds and the path turned to the left there, skirting round the back of the house - and there in a quiet corner under the trees was a small pet cemetary with gravestones inscribed with the names of people's much loved pets. There was nothing to say who owned the little graveyard or whose pets they had been, but being the animal lover I am (though not wanting to seem morbid) I spent a quiet few minutes there just reading the names and dates on the stones. Then it was on along the path and back out onto the shore, where another few minutes walking took me to a sandy bay with a house built out on a rocky promontory - the path continued, and had I followed it far enough I would probably have ended up in Holyhead, which wasn't that far away, but there were other places I wanted to go to so I turned round there and made my way back to the van.
My next port of call was South Stack on the far west of the island - on my one and only previous visit there the weather had been very cloudy so I was looking forward to seeing the area in the sunshine. Consulting my map book and committing the route to memory I drove into Holyhead and out again, following a long and winding narrow country road (there's two song titles in there somewhere!) till I came to South Stack and its two car parks. The one at the top of the hill had a cafe but I chose the lower one, and after paying for a ticket I took the dogs and set off to explore. The whole area is a designated RSPB nature reserve very popular with birdwatchers and I saw several people with binoculars slung round their necks. Walking uphill in the direction of the lighthouse I turned round to look at the view behind me - yellow gorse grew in random patches among the greenery, clumps of purple flowers emerged from cracks in the rocks, and in the far distance beyond the island were the hills of Snowdonia on the mainland. In front of me was a square white tower and down on its own rock below the cliff was the lighthouse itself.
Having the dogs with me meant there was no way I was going to tackle the four hundred or so steep steps down the cliff to get to the lighthouse so I decided to see what the white tower was all about. It was actually called Ellins Tower and it had been set up by the RSPB as an information and viewing centre - intrigued, I hitched the dogs to a rail by the door and went in to have a look. It was very modern inside and a staircase led from the ground floor up to a balcony which ran round three sides of the tower and had large viewing windows at strategic points. Several telescopes and sets of binoculars on tripods were set up and trained on various points on the cliffs or out to sea; one of the staff on duty invited me to have a look, telling me which part of the cliff I would be looking at and what I would be seeing. The first telescope I looked through was trained on some guillemots on a cliff ledge, but it was the second one which gave me the biggest thrill - trained on a spot about a hundred yards from the base of the cliff I had a close-up view of a pod of porpoises playing in the swell of the sea. How brilliant was that! I never thought when I went in there that I would be looking at porpoises through a telescope. It was fascinating watching them and I could have stayed there for ages but with two little dogs waiting for me outside I soon had to leave.
By then it was almost 6pm but I had nothing to rush back to my awning for and in spite of the wind the weather was still good so I decided to drive down to Trearddur Bay which wasn't too far away. The road closely followed the coast for much of the way, passing several little coves and sandy bays, and it was one of these that I stopped at on the spur of the moment. The road dipped as it went past the beach and there was a long line of cars parked along one side. A tarmac 'promenade' bordered the beach, with picnic tables set in a grassy area at one end and a couple of ice cream vans and a catering van further down. The tide was out but judging by the many colourful kayaks pulled up on the sand it looked like someone had been having some earlier fun on the water. It was quite a nice little place and well worth taking a few photos.
It didn't take me long to walk from one side of the bay to the other and back so I was soon on the road again, and another five minutes saw me arriving in Trearddur Bay. Not bothering with the main part of the bay itself I drove round to the little cove I had photographed last year, just to see if it still looked as nice as I remembered it. And it did, in fact for some reason it looked better than before so the camera was in action once more.
Those were to be my last photos of the day - it was 7pm by then and I was more than ready for a brew so it was time to head for 'home'. Arriving back at my pitch I reversed alongside the awning, connected it to the van and fed the dogs, then made a brew and a sandwich and spent the rest of the evening relaxing and downloading my photos onto the laptop. A brief dog walk round the site at 11pm rounded off the day nicely, and the huge dose of sea air I'd had during the day made sure that even the noise of the wind on the awning and the rocking of the van didn't keep me from sleep.
- 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