About Me

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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

Sunday June 7th 2015 - Four Mile Bridge, Rhoscolyn & Tyger's Memorial

Well it seemed like the previous night's fingers-and-paws-crossing had worked for once as the morning arrived with warm sunshine and hardly a breath of wind - perfect for my day out. After the usual dog walk/leisurely breakfast/tidy the tent routine I put Sophie and Poppie in the van, topped up their water supply and set off for the big car boot sale over on the showground at Mona. There were lots of stalls for me to look round this time, though I didn't find any more mouse ornaments and my only purchases were a book by an author I'm currently reading and a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle. 

From the boot sale I went straight up the A5 to Valley, where I stopped off at the Stermat store and once again found exactly the thing I was looking for, then drove across the embankment to Penrhos coastal park where I parked up facing the bay and got my usual cheeseburger from Pete's Burger Bar - a stay on Anglesey just wouldn't be complete without one of those. With lunch over I took the dogs for a quick walk round the nearby duck pond then set off to Four Mile Bridge, the first place I wanted to photograph.

There's only one thing wrong with photography at Four Mile Bridge - there's nowhere to park unless you pull onto the pavement in front of someone's house, which is exactly what I did. The house owner was actually in his front garden so rather than just leave the van I did ask if it was okay to park there and he said it was, as long as I left room for him to get his own car out, which I had done anyway, so I thanked him and went for a wander with the camera.

The bridge itself is one of three which connect the Holy Island part of Anglesey to the rest of the island, though it's actually less than 150yds long; the name comes from the distance it is from Holyhead. My first two shots were taken from one side of the bridge, looking towards the mainland, and the second two on the Holyhead side; I didn't wander too far as the next part of my day was the most important - I could very well be in for a fairly long walk and I didn't know just how far I would have to go.

My next mission was to find and photograph Tyger's memorial stone on the cliff top near Rhoscolyn but before I'd even reached the car park by the beach I was beginning to think it was a bad idea. The road to Rhoscolyn is just a single track lane with several sharp right angle bends and no passing places, and with high hedges on both sides it's impossible to see if anything is coming the other way until you meet it on a bend. About halfway down, on one of the bends, is the White Eagle pub/restaurant and it was at that point that I met not one but three cars coming towards me; luckily I was able to pull into the pub car park to let them past, then I reversed out and continued down the lane. Except I hadn't gone more than a few yards when another car came round the bend ahead, so back into the car park I went. 

As I had no idea exactly where Tyger's memorial stone was I thought that as I'd had to pull into the pub car park I may as well go inside and ask someone if they could give me directions and luckily one of the bar staff was able to tell me. Getting out of the car park wasn't as easy as getting in though - sure enough as soon as I pulled out into the lane I met two cars and a van coming towards me, and for the third time in about fifteen minutes I had to reverse so they could all get past. This was getting ridiculous,and I was beginning to lose the will to live. Finally though I managed to get a clear run down to the beach car park and my quest to find Tyger's memorial began. 

Most of my route was to follow the Anglesey Coastal Path and the first part took me past Rhoscolyn beach and through a small hamlet of houses before hitting open fields and grassland. Across the first field the land rose sharply ahead of me with 'steps' up the hill cut into the earth; when I got to the top I could see the coastguard lookout in front of me and when I turned round I was rewarded with a good view of Rhoscolyn beach, the hamlet I'd just come through, and Rhosneiger in the distance, with the Snowdonia mountains in the background. 

From the coastguard lookout I got a lovely view of Gull's Islands and the Rhoscolyn beacon; the terrain went downhill again from there and a bit further on I came to the ancient St. Gwenfaen's Well. A nearby drystone wall went up over the next hill and the path followed it closely, with the terrain and the coastline becoming more rocky as I went along. Down the other side and ahead of me was Pink Bay, so called because of the pink colour of some parts of the cliff face, and the path skirted round this cove and over another short incline before crossing more open and less rocky land. 

I'd been told that at that point I wouldn't be too far from Tyger's memorial, though I would have to look for it as it wasn't immediately obvious. I walked on a bit further then ahead of me and to the right, a distance away from the path, I saw a long line of stones crossing the open land; other large stones and boulders were dotted about here and there but the shape of a certain one caught my eye so I went over to take a look. And that was the one I was searching for - Tyger's memorial. With no indication anywhere that it was there, anyone not knowing Tyger's story (see my post of Friday June 5th) would quite easily continue along the designated path without ever seeing it.

A large slab of stone with a flat surface, it had been turned on its end and sunk into the ground. It was less than 3ft tall and had a simple inscription chiselled into its surface, though there was no indication as to who Tyger was or why the stone was there. Situated where it was, close to many others of the same kind, it was a very ordinary piece of stone but it signified so much.

Sitting on the grass in the warm sunshine with my own two dogs at my feet, I spent several minutes thinking about Tyger and the reason why the memorial was there. Growing about twenty yards away were several large patches of wild flowers so before I left I went across and picked a small posy then laid it in front of the stone in memory of a very brave dog who gave his life to help his master and crew.

I didn't know how far it was from the beach car park to Tyger's memorial - and I still don't, in spite of trying to find out from several different sources - but the walk took me an hour, including the few brief stops for photographs; at the speed I walk I would guess it may be between one-and-a-half and two miles, although because of the undulating terrain and meandering path it seemed to be longer than that. It took about the same length of time to walk the route in reverse and it was 6.30pm by the time I got back to the van; as time was getting on I decided against going somewhere else and just set off for 'home'. This time I had no trouble with any oncoming traffic on the lane through Rhoscolyn and the drive back to the main road was completely hazard free.

Back at the tent I made a brew and a sandwich and spent the rest of the evening relaxing; the few weekend campers who had arrived on Friday had gone while I'd been out so I was back to having the camp site to myself again. The dogs were tired out after their long afternoon out so the bedtime walk that night was a short one, and as I settled down into bed later on it was with the satisfaction that, although it had been totally unplanned until two days before, another of my quests had been completed.

Saturday June 6th 2015 - Malltraeth and a very windy day

When I woke that morning I found that not only had the sunshine returned but the wind had come back too and it was blowing a gale, though fortunately the tent wasn't affected too much as the tall trees behind my pitch provided a reasonable amount of shelter. My plans for that day were to start off at the car boot sale up the hill just out of the village then drive over to Newborough beach, first walking along to Abermenai Point, the part of the island which is closest to the mainland, then maybe having another look round Llanddwyn Island if the tide wasn't in too far; however, things didn't work out like that at all.

With the wind being as strong as it was I wasn't sure if the boot sale would still be on but I went anyway and it was - and the only thing I bought was a mouse ornament to add to my collection. Finally, after many times searching that and other boot sales, I'd actually found a mouse! It wasn't as good as most in my collection but at least it looked like a proper mouse and it was one I hadn't got so I handed over my cash, tucked it into my pocket and returned to the van a very happy bunny.

The drive over to Newborough on the other side of the island involved a route which I hadn't taken before. Having previously looked at the map book I'd noticed a country lane and a B road which would take me almost in a straight line from Pentraeth, just a few miles from the camp site, right into Newborough village on the far side of the island - a much more direct route than if I went all the way round via the A roads. The first part of the route from Pentraeth village was a very narrow lane no wider than my van and more like a farm track, winding its way between high hedges. Judging by the thick line of grass growing along the middle it was a very little-used lane too, and with no passing places I just hoped I didn't meet something coming the other way. Fortunately I didn't, and the lane eventually joined the B road which took me straight into Newborough village.

Before going down to the beach there was something I wanted to check out, so I drove a couple of miles up the road to the Afon Cefni estuary at Malltraeth. Down a lane off the main road and a mile or so inland there was a stone bridge featured in the photography book, and though I didn't have the book with me the image was firmly etched in my mind so I wanted to get my own identical version of it. I found the bridge easily, parked up just before it , and wandered over and round to the other side to get my shot, which came with the added bonus of a few sheep in foreground which weren't in the book photograph.  

Back at the estuary I parked the van in the small car park just off the main road and had a wander round to see if I could get any more worthwhile shots; I got two, but it was so windy and so chilly in spite of the sunshine that I really didn't want to linger too long. Across the road and fifty yards or so down the lane I'd just driven along was the Riverside Cafe so leaving the dogs in the van for once I went to get a much-needed coffee while I had a rethink on my plans.

The wind was so strong that a long walk along Newborough beach would probably turn out to be quite unpleasant so my idea of getting to Abermenai Point was abandoned, and as anywhere else I might think of going to would be equally as windy I decided to cut my day short and head back to the camp site. 

Just out of Malltraeth I took the B4422 which would take me into Llangefni; it was an easy way back to the little town and I could make a stop there to get some bits and pieces from Asda. With the shopping done I was back at the site within fifteen minutes and happy to see that the tent was still intact; the wind did die down considerably over the following couple of hours so as the dogs had spent most of the time in the van while I'd been out I took them for a late afternoon walk round the cliff path to the beach.

Back at the tent I made a meal and a brew, and as there's never anything very interesting on tv on Saturday evenings I spent a couple of hours watching a dvd - The Theory Of Everything - and for anyone who's not yet seen it I can recommend it. As the daylight faded at 10pm I took Sophie and Poppie for their bedtime walk round the site then the three of us settled into the tent for the rest of the night, with fingers and paws crossed that the following day wouldn't be as windy as this one had been - I had big plans and I didn't want anything to ruin them.

Friday June 5th 2015 - The story of brave Tyger

I woke that morning to a distinct change in the weather; the sunshine of the last couple of days had gone, to be replaced by a very grey and overcast sky. There was no point even thinking about photography on such a dull day so I spent the morning pottering about round the tent and watching a couple of quiz programmes on tv, but by lunch time I was beginning to get bored - I needed to go out, so I decided to drive into Beaumaris.

One of my quests this week was to find and photograph something which was featured in the 'How To Photograph Angelesey' book which I bought four years ago but I couldn't remember the directions to it and unfortunately I'd forgotten to bring the book from home, so a quick look at another copy in the Beaumaris shop I bought it from would give me the information I needed. By the time I got to the little town it was raining so as I didn't intend to be very long I only paid for half an hour in the car park and left the dogs in the van while I went on my mission.

I found the book easily and got the information I needed then had a look to see if there were any other books about the island which would be of interest to me - and flicking through one of them I came across the story of brave Tyger. It said that in 1819 a Liverpool-bound ketch, sailing through a thick mist, struck the rocks off the coast near Rhoscolyn and sank. Only Tyger, the captain's retriever, seemed to sense the direction of the shore and with the ship's boy clinging to his collar he swam half a mile to safety then swam back to aid the captain and the other two crewmen. Thanks to Tyger they all reached the shore, but Tyger himself was so exhausted by the ordeal that he died on the beach in his master's arms. The courageous dog was buried on the nearby clifftop and a memorial stone placed on his grave.

Of all the times I've been to Anglesey I'd never heard about Tyger before reading that, and I thought it was such a lovely, but sad, story that at the earliest opportunity I would go to Rhoscolyn and try to find that memorial stone. I'd been to Rhoscolyn a couple of times in the last five years but only to the beach and the village, so the search for Tyger's grave on the clifftop would probably give me some new scenery to photograph.

With the half hour in the car park almost up I returned to the van and drove back to the camp site; the rain had stopped and it was brightening up, and by the time I'd had a brew the sun was out so I took the dogs for a walk down to the beach and back. The rest of the afternoon and evening were spent reading, doing crosswords and watching tv, and when I went to bed that night it was with plans to visit Tyger's grave firmly in my mind.

Thursday June 4th 2015 - Part 2 - Aberdaron, Abersoch & Llanbedrog

The small village of Aberdaron was split into two by a stream which ran between the houses, past the car park and out across the beach to the sea.  A stone hump-back bridge carried the road through the village and in the square at the end was an ice cream parlour, a couple of small cafes, a pub, a hotel, and two or three small gift shops. A path from the far end of the car park took me directly onto the beach but there was nothing particularly interesting along there so with just one shot taken looking back the other way I headed back into the village itself.

A short alleyway took me between two gift shops and out onto the short promenade; close by was the front of the hotel with its terrace overlooking the beach, and beyond it a small quaint-looking chapel with a little garden at the front. At the far end of the promenade was a small garden area with pleasant seating and lots of brightly coloured alpine-type plants, and which overlooked the end of the stream.  It took less than an hour to look round everywhere and when I'd seen all I wanted to see I returned to the van and set off for Abersoch, my next port of call.

As I'd been to Abersoch four years previously I knew where I was going when I got there; just up the hill out of the village was a private car park with a very reasonable parking fee so that's where I headed, but when I got there I found the kiosk was closed. A note on the door said 'Please DO NOT pay any money to anyone if the shed door is closed' - it was just gone 4pm by then so maybe whoever manned the kiosk had gone home for tea. Judging by the number of cars there the place itself must still be open and presumably it was now free of charge so I parked up, took the dogs and went for a wander.

With the tide out I knew there would be nothing of interest along the beach so I stuck to the harbour and the riverside, getting several nice shots of the various boats beached on the sand. Within half an hour I'd seen everything of interest so I made my way back to the van with fingers crossed that the car park kiosk guy hadn't returned in my absence and slapped a penalty ticket on my windscreen. He hadn't, so after giving the dogs a drink I set off for Llanbedrog, the next place on my itinerary.

Llanbedrog village itself is set off the A499 and away from the coast, with the beach being just round the headland from the northern end of Abersoch beach. Access is via a narrow lane off the main road - if you blink you miss the turning - though you can only drive so far down. The lane ends actually on the beach, and with a high stone wall on one side and a deep ditch on the other there is no turning space so cars have to be left in the car park near the top. 

A stream running down the ditch flowed out across the beach and right at the end of the lane, almost on the beach itself, was a small cafe/bistro with an outside terrace. There was nothing along the beach other than a long row of brightly coloured beach huts, and as I walked along I was struck by how much of the sand below the high water mark was covered in embedded seaweed. Now normally I don't mind the smell of fresh seaweed but this was more of a rotting fish type of a smell and although it wasn't very strong it wasn't very nice either - how anyone can spend any length of time there with that smell is beyond me but obviously people do.

With the horrible smell, very little to see, and the surrounding trees cutting out a lot of the late afternoon sunlight, I called it a day after just ten minutes and returned to the van. My original intention was to make a stop at Pwllheli, another few miles along the coast, but time was getting on and I had a long drive back to the camp site so I continued past the town and right up the A499 heading back towards Caernarfon, where I picked up the A487 to the A55 and Britannia Bridge.

It was gone 7pm when I finally arrived back at the tent; it had been a long day with a lot of driving so with a sandwich and a brew made I sat down to relax for the rest of the evening. By the time ten o' clock arrived I was more than ready for sleep so after a quick final dog walk I settled into bed, and I don't think I got through even half a chapter of my book before my eyes closed.

Thursday June 4th 2015 - Part 1 - Trefor, Porth Dinllaen & Whistling Sands

Another sunny morning arrived and after the first dog walk of the day I made some breakfast then sat down with the map book to plan where I was going later on. This was to be my 'big day out' when I went off the island and explored further afield, travelling down the Lleyn peninsula in search of different, and possibly never previously visited, places to photograph. With breakfast finished I tidied everything away, settled Sophie and Poppie in the van and replenished their water supply, then set off on my voyage of discovery.

Across on the mainland I bypassed Caernarfon and headed south west down the A499, making my first stop at the little village of Trefor. I knew from a couple of previous visits that there was nothing much there other than a little beach and harbour but it was an attractive enough little place, and with a backdrop of the nearby hills it was worth another few photos.

From Trefor I turned onto the B4417 and headed for somewhere marked on the map book as Morfa Nefyn, which was a place I hadn't previously been to. Nefyn itself was quite a large spread out village with the B road being the main route through it and I fully expected to see a sign for Morfa Nefyn somewhere but there was nothing; I did however see a sign for 'beach' pointing down a long straight lane so that's the way I went - and ended up in a golf course car park.

With no other signs around I was totally at a loss, in fact I wasn't sure if I should even be in that car park, but a nearby board said that the clubhouse restaurant was open to the public so I assumed I would be okay parking there. As I stood wondering which way to go a couple who had obviously just finished a round of golf came to their nearby car so I asked them where the beach was and was told to follow the gravel track across the golf course and a fifteen minute walk would take me straight to it. So off I went, and almost at the end of the track I saw a beach just beyond a short, steeply sloping tarmac lane on the right.

The lane took me down behind a row of cottages and when I emerged onto the sand I discovered a tiny little hamlet with the cottages, a couple of houses set in a small courtyard, and a pub restaurant with an outside dining area, all set within just a few feet of the beach. I didn't know if this was actually Morfa Nevyn or somewhere else but it was such a quaint, unexpected and out-of-the-way little place and I was glad I'd found it. After spending some time wandering about taking photos I found a footpath leading round the headland at the end of the beach so I decided to follow it as far as the house I could see in the distance.

With a couple of shots taken from near the house I retraced my steps to the beach, then instead of going back up the lane to the golf course I walked along the sand, round a small headland and past another handful of cottages towards the far end of the bay. I was just hoping that there would be a way from there back to the car park otherwise I would have a long walk back the other way; I needn't have worried, as a concrete slope took me from the beach up to a tarmac lane which in turn brought me out at the beginning of the long lane leading to the golf course.

Just up the lane was a cafe with a few tables outside, and as my breakfast had long since worn off it was a good opportunity to stop for coffee and cake before returning to the van. It was also a chance to find out the name of the quaint little seaside hamlet I'd discovered, and on asking one of the young waitresses I was told that while the whole of the beach was known as Morfa Nevyn the hamlet itself was Porth Dinllaen. So I'd found Morfa Nefyn without realising it, and the delightful little hamlet had been an unexpected and lovely little bonus.

Back on the road I continued along the B4417 heading for Aberdaron, another place I hadn't yet been to, but before I got anywhere near it I saw a sign for Whistling Sands. This is a beach where the sand makes 'whistling' noises as you walk on it - I'd seen it featured on a tv nature programme quite some time ago but had forgotten all about it until I saw the sign. I just had to check this one out so I veered off down the lane in the direction of the sign, eventually ending up in a National Trust car park just a short walk from the beach itself, though unfortunately dogs weren't allowed down there so I had to make my visit fairly brief. The sand does indeed make a noise, though it's really more of a squeak than a whistle, and with just a couple of shots taken I made my way back to the van.

The remainder of the drive to Aberdaron passed with no further stops and driving through the village I found a large car park which was another National Trust one. That would do for me, so taking advantage of my membership yet again I parked up for free, gave the dogs a drink then set out to see what delights Aberdaron had to offer.

Wednesday June 3rd 2015 - Red Wharf Bay, Pentraeth & Llanddona

The morning arrived with blue sky, sunshine and a stiff breeze, though it was nowhere near as windy as the previous day. After the first dog walk and breakfast I made a start on sorting out the inside of the tent and within an hour everything was set out where it should be. I did briefly consider sleeping in the van for the rest of the holiday but although that may be okay for just a couple of nights it would create too many problems in the long term so I decided against it and the bed was made up in the tent. A relaxing morning followed then at lunch time I put the dogs in the van and set out to do a bit of photography while the tide was in, though I didn't intend to go too far to do it.

My first stop was at Red Wharf Bay, less than three miles from the camp site; it had been four years since I was last there so it was time I made a return visit. Nothing had changed in that time, the little village looked just the same as before, and with the tide well in I got several good shots as I wandered about.

My next stop was at Pentraeth, a bit further round the same bay, where I got a couple of nice shots of the creek where it flowed out to the beach. Because of the shape of the bay itself the tide wasn't as far in there as at Red Wharf but in a way it was to my advantage - I was able to take the dogs for a good walk along the sand, and with it being a dog-friendly beach I could also let Sophie off the lead for a good scamper round before I returned to the van.

My third and final stop was a return visit to Llanddona beach, a few miles further round the bay and where I'd been to only a month before. That day had been very dull and grey though and I wasn't particularly impressed with the place, so it would be interesting to see if it looked any nicer on a sunny day. I still didn't fancy the idea of driving down the very steep hill to get to it though so this time, instead of parking by the phone mast on top of the hill I parked in the village and walked down from there by a different route. And I have to admit that although there was still nothing there the place did indeed look much better in the sunshine.

My route back up to the village was via a third single track lane which was even steeper than the other two and it was quite an effort to walk all the way up in the very warm sunshine. I must have been about halfway up when I met a Land Rover coming down, towing a pony trailer behind it; the lane wasn't much wider than the vehicle, and with very few passing places I was glad I was walking up and not driving.

Back at the van I gave the dogs a much needed drink, then deciding against going anywhere else I set off back to the camp site. With the van parked back beside the tent I spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing in the sun and the evening watching tv, then just as it started to get dark I took the dogs for their last walk of the day. Apart from the warden and her brother-in-law in their respective static caravans near the entrance there was still no-one else on the site, and when I settled down in bed a while later it was to nothing more than the hoot of an owl coming from a nearby tree.