175 miles approx From Anglesey to the Wirral

Passing Caernavon and the first site of Anglesey comes into view. Caernavon castle, with it's 13th Century hi-tech polygonal towers, is an interesting story, however I have promised not to blather on about history...

Crossing the Menai straits bridge and the first view is Beaumaris castle. This fortress within a fortress, built by Edward 1st...

Granny historian!  Shut up!

Oh, ok.Unsure

 

Anglesey is an enchanting place. For me it has a personal bit of history (yes. Another kleenex moment) so my first point to visit was Holyhead Island, the south-western tip of Anglesey..

Holyhead is best known as the departure point for ferries to Ireland. Most people only see the ugly dockside buildings and the crowded, traffic-choked streets of Holyhead town on the eastern side. I went along the westwards coast.

Shortly after crossing the inlet that makes holyhead an island Treardhur bay is reached, a lovely peaceful place with pleasant views back to the main island and Snowdonia in the distance.

 

Treardhur bay

South stack looking back to treardhur

 

 

The road hugs the coast for a while before bending to the right and north Eastwards towards Holyhead. However it is the "No through road" that carries straight on which goes to the jewel in the crown, South stack.

There is a rugged, lonely beauty about this area. A craggy, rocky heathland, dramatically broken by soaring rocky tors, a landscape that plummets dramatically over steep granite cliffs.

It is also a hugely important site for ornithologists. The cliffs are packed with breeding colonies of seabirds, and also colonies of some of the rarest birds in Britain. It holds the largest colony of the red chough, a crow related bird with red head and legs. The RSPB now thankfully protects the area and operates a visitor centre, cafe and car park.

South stack lighthouse and the cliffs that host breeding colonies of some of the rarest birds seen in the country.

This is walking country. The road ends at the RSPB visitor centre and to see the rest of this most dramatic headland requires legs to be used. Cross over the headland from the lighthouse, a steep but not too strenuous climb, and Gogarth bay is reached. A dramatically beautiful landscape of rugged heath, vertical granite cliffs and turquoise sea.

In the 1960's and 70's the cliffs of Gogarth became one of the most important, difficult and much filmed rock climbing regions and it was here that I made many formative friendships.

Gogarth bay and the cliffs of craig Gogarth.

Put the tissues away Albert! They are not needed this time!

Returning back to the main island and continuing clockwise, passing the eyesore of Wylffa nuclear power station, caemes bay is reached and further on, in the North-eastern corner, is  the community of Amlwch. Whilst boasting no beach the rugged coastal scenery attracts thousands of visitors today.

It was a different type of tourism back in the days of Nelson's navy though. The small mountain that overlooks Amlwch holds a rich seam of copper. Britain was at war. Our navy needed to "copper bottom" it's ships, a process of lining the hull of ships on copper to prevent damage from marine organisms and also to streamline the ships for speed. 

In it's hour of need the country turned to Amlwch and its small harbour. The copper mine became in it's day the largest open cast copper mine in the world, the harbour a bustling hive of industry and the treacherous shores a graveyard for the unwary.

Amlwch harbour

This small house, now a private dwelling, stands isolated on the headland above Amlwch harbour. It remained isolated for it once housed the fever hospital.

After the napoleonic war Amwlch for a while became a major ship repair centre. Sailors would come to town but sailors that had been to tropical places often brought back highly contagious tropical diseases. Amlwch had to have a fever hospital well isolated from the town and the harbour. 

The boom lasted for a few years and then waned as ships grew larger and beyond the caapcity of the small harbour. However this small, isolated community in the most northern point of wales can claim to have helped save the nation.

 

Continuing clockwise around the coast, past the small harbour of Moelfre, and Benllech is reached. Rugged coastal scenery is now replaced with sweeping sandy bays. First Benllech, then Red Wharf bay. Finally Beaumaris is again reached and it's back over the Menai bridge to the mainland, continuing Eastwards along the North Wales coastline.

 

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Benllech, looking to Red Wharf bay.

From here to Scotland it is all about sand. In places lots of it!

A fast road travels along the North Wales coastline. I was quite pleased about that. It starts of nicely, dramatic inland scenery as Bangor is left. The first resort town is Llandudno, and quite a nice place it is to. Llandudno is noted for the Great Orme, a hefty piece of headland jutting into the sea.

llandudno is quiet, clean and pleasant. A lovely promenade, tidy hotels, nice gardens and the cable car taking you to the top of the great Orme. A most promising start to the North Wales coastline resorts.

Llandudno and the great Orme. A most pleasant promenade.

After Llandudno comes Colwyn bay, a huge expanse of sand with the sea twinking in the sunlight somewhere in the distance, then Kimmel Bay with it's rows and rows of holiday chalets, then Rhyl.

What Llandudno has in the way of refined, staid dignity so Rhyl makes up for with a cheap tacky seafront. So-called "Casino's" (slot machine halls) abound, as does chips and burgers and the remains of chips and burgers and whatever was used to package them in.

Next is Prestatyn which seems to want to compete with Rhyl for who can be the most tackiest.

After Prestatyn any hope of seeing the sea disappears. This is the Dee estuary which consist of watery channels making their way through tidal sandbanks.

The next few miles are heavily industrialised as Wales is left for England and not wanting to write reams on petrochemical plants I used the fast motorway network to deposit myself into the Wirral, that spit of land jutting out between the estuaries of the Dee and Mersey.

The  Northern, Mersey side of the Wirral is dominated by the town and port of Birkenhead so I followed the deeside to West Kirby and Hoylake on the northern tip. A pleasant but not outstanding spot, west kirby has a marina made by an artificial lake and hoylake has a golf course and a couple of rather posh hotels.

 

West Kirby marina

After Hoylake, running around the northern tip of the Wirral, is New Brighton and Wallasey, and then leaving the wirral via the Wallasey tunnel under the Mersey to Liverpool and the next section, North West England.

 

Forward Albert! 

 

Contunue to North West england