While I had been having breakfast I could see through the awning windows that several of the other campers were already starting to pack up ready to leave - after a very lazy morning it was going on for lunchtime by the time I was ready for going out and by then some of them had gone, so if all the others left while I was out I would probably have the field to myself for my one remaining night - and I could think of nothing better! So with the dogs safely in the back of the van I set out to see what Newborough beach had to offer.
It was a relatively easy drive, and remembering Chris's directions brought me to the toll road winding down through Newborough forest to the beach itself - it cost £3 but when I finally reached the end of the road and saw the dunes right in front of me I had to admit that it was worth it to save the very long walk. A large area of land had been made into a very pleasant parking and picnic area and from there two or three paths led through the dunes onto the beach - and what a beach it was! A large sweeping bay was backed by dunes at one end and pine forest at the other - on my right was Llandwyn Island and in the distance on my left were the hills of Snowdonia over on the mainland. The tide was on its way out, leaving behind a huge expanse of flat sand where children and dogs played, and in the lower dunes were several brightly coloured windbreaks and beach tents. Going out to the water's edge I walked along to the left for a distance first before heading back along the edge of the dunes towards Llandwyn Island. The island is actually joined onto the main beach and my original idea was to walk right round to the tip of it, however when I got closer I saw a couple of signs saying that from May 1st dogs weren't allowed on the island - I was two days too late! Not to worry, nobody was going to move the island so I could always go sometime in the future - and I was quite happy just wandering along taking my photos while the dogs explored close by.
When I had seen all I wanted to see I made my way back along the beach to the path which took me back to the car park and after giving the dogs a drink and settling them in the van I drove back up the road and out of the forest. Without any clear idea of where to go next I decided that would be my one and only port of call, and I would make my way back to the camp site and spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing in the sun outside the awning. I did however make one brief stop on the way back - my route took me past the lay-by where most of the photos of Menai Bridge are taken from, and as it had been rather an overcast day last year when I took my photos of the bridge I decided to stop and take some more. The sunny weather and blue sky certainly made a dramatic difference to the scenery and the view and I got several very pleasing shots of the bridge from that lay-by.
It didn't take long to get back to the site from there and when I arrived I had quite a surprise - apart from the motorhome in the far corner all the other weekend campers had gone, but far from the field being empty as I expected four tents and a gazebo had been erected along the hedge line near my awning with four large cars parked alongside, and about fourteen Oriental kids were playing ball while their families prepared a huge barbecue. Unfortunately the wind was blowing the smoke in the direction of my awning making sitting outside it impossible, so after I'd reversed the van alongside the back I retreated inside to make a brew and something to eat. And it was while I was sitting peacefully reading a magazine that I noticed the already strong wind was getting even stronger - thank goodness the awning had flexible poles; I'm sure any other sort of poles would probably have bent under the battering it was getting. At one point I did wonder if the awning would survive as the wind got even worse, but taking it down at that point wasn't an option so I just had to sit it out and hope for the best.
It was 9pm when I ventured out with the dogs, and that was when I got another surprise - the field was empty! The tents, the gazebo, the four cars, kids and adults, all gone and unbelievably I hadn't heard a thing! And I had the strange sensation that somehow I'd imagined the whole thing as there was absolutely no evidence that they had ever been there - nothing left behind, no rubbish, nothing. I felt like I was either going crazy or I was in some sort of a time warp! However, sanity and logic returned to my brain a couple of minutes later and I reasoned that the high wind had put them off staying, and the noise of my awning being battered about had drowned out any noise they made as they packed up and left. So apart from the motorhome, which looked like it would be there for quite a while, I had the field to myself for my final night.
The wind was still very strong when I eventually went to bed and I wondered if I should be concerned about the awning. I had been all the way round and checked the pegs and the guy lines and I could do no more - if the worst happened and it collapsed or got damaged I would deal with it, if it stayed put that was a bonus. There was no point ruining my last night by worrying about it! The dogs however were a different matter - normally I'm quite happy with them sleeping in the awning and they are quite happy to be there, but it crossed my mind that if anything did happen to the awning then I could have two very scared little creatures on my hands, so just for once I put them on their bed in the back of the van. They soon settled down, and apart from the occasional snore from Sugar I didn't hear a sound from them of all night.