It’s Tuesday, night and I’m at home planning a trip to Llanddwyn Island for the following day. Being tidal I need to check the tide times, Low Tide is 09:15 and High is 14:38, More than enough to get on, have a wander round, take some photographs and get back without getting my feet wet. Now for the weather. Cloudy with sunny intervals, not great, but workable. At least it’s not raining, because Llanddwyn is open and exposed with almost no shelter.
Next day finds me at Newborough Forest and it’s howling a gale, wind speed gusting up to 50 mph, dark skies and looking like there’s going to be a downpour at any moment. That’s the problem with driving to a location, You’re sort of isolated in the car and not entirely aware of the weather outside. It looked so good when I was passing by the mountains of Snowdonia. Well I’m here now so I might as well get on with it.
Parking for Llanddwyn is in the Newborough Forest Beach Car Park, currently it ill cost you £5, I don’t know if it goes up in the summer months. Once you’ve parked, you can choose to take the boardwalk on to the beach or walk through the forest to get to Llanddwyn Island. I chose the forest route because the sand was being whipped up by the wind and didn’t half sting exposed skin.
Walking through the forest is quite eerie, apart from the wind, whistling through the tall pines I didn’t see or hear another person until I got onto the beach, near the island. Come to think of it, the car park was pretty empty when I arrived. Maybe people knew something I didn’t.
It’s a fair old hike, about 20-30 minutes through the forest but eventually you come out onto the beach and then it’s a short walk across to the island. When the tide is out, you’d never know you are on an island. When the tide comes in I’ve been told as long as it’s not an exceptionally high tide, you’d still be able to get across and maybe just get your feet wet. But with the high winds driving the waves onshore I decided to allow myself three hours to get some photographs before making sure I was off the island. That’s more than time enough, because if you are reasonably fit you should be able to walk around and visit the important sights in about an hour. Of course stopping to take photographs can take longer.
Once your on the island the first monument you see is this Celtic Cross. It stands in an elevated position at the side of the path. It’s nothing fantastic, twice I’ve photographed it but never got anything I would consider putting on a wall.
Just across from the Celtic Cross stands the ruins of Saint Dwynen’s church. She is considered to be the Welsh equivalent of Saint Valentine
There are two classic views for photographers to the island. This is one of them, include a sunset or the stars at night and you’ve got a real seller. Just be aware the car park closes at 23:00 and wardens come around to check. Apparently you are not allowed to stay overnight in the car park but I don’t know what would happen if you did to get that nigh time photograph.
The most classic view is probably this one which includes the cross and the lighthouse, maybe even get the bench in as well if you’ve got a wide enough lens.
From the island you can see right across the Menai Strait to Snowdonia and Caernavon. Well you can if you’ve not got grey skies and low-lying cloud.
On the island there is a small terrace of cottages, which between the 17th and 19th century housed the Menai Straits Pilots. The pilots guided the many ships, carrying Welsh Slate to the entire world, through the narrow and dangerous Menai Straits. In the photograph above the straits look nice and wide but they soon narrow as you get closer to Bangor before widening out again near Penmon Point.
It’s time to leave the island. I’ve still got plenty of time to get across to the mainland and the forest which you can see in the photograph below.
This little building is the only real shelter on the island so I was lucky that the rain held off. Slowly but surely the tide will come in and creep up the beach until it meets up with the tide coming in from the other side of the island.
Anyway, a nice walk through the forest for me, something to eat and a cup of coffee when I get back to the car and then time to head home.
You know I mentioned at the start of this post that it looked quite good in Snowdonia, well on the way home I decided to divert into the Ogwen valley and see what it was like.
What a difference, hardly any wind at the lower levels, the sun was out, some clouds over the mountains but they were moving quite fast, must be windy up there, But all in all, not too bad. If only, (how many times have I said that before after a day out) the weather had been this good on Llanddwyn Island
Well that’s it. I hope you enjoyed the photographs – Mike