This post has been a while coming but here it is today 🙂 Janathon Day 10 has seen so far just lots and lots of housework, but I’m about to do 15 minutes of yoga….
Anglesey is an island in north North Wales, connected to the mainland by a bridge. It’s generally a summer holiday destination and so I absolutely love it in winter – when the wind smashes the waves onto the shore, the long beaches are just deserted open space with huge skies and the tiny town of Moelfre, where my friend’s grandparents have a cottage, is empty of tourists.
Maybe it’s a “living-in-london” thing – that my idea of a great spot for a holiday involves emptiness and silence (except for the wind and the seagulls). And so this was where six of us chose to see in the New Year, driving the long drive up from London on the 30th.
Moelfre is a tiny village half way up the east coast of Anglesey. Its main street curves around a stony beach with fishing boats pulled up out of the water and the only pub perched above it on a steep hill. A footpath winds further around the sea front to the lifeboat station (by the way, it’s ridiculous that this is a charity staffed by volunteers when it is an emergency rescue service – please consider donating!) The path then opens up onto a wide field on top of cliffs overhanging the sea, sheep scattered about, and ends at a huge sandy beach, completely empty and stretching on for miles.
Jack and I went on a wonderful run along these cliffs and down the beach, and we had some great cycles in around Moelfre. One of my friends, Charlotte (hi Charlotte!) had been given a bike for her Christmas present and so we were getting her accustomed to road cycling – Anglesey is a great spot for this. Yes there are hills which will tax even the fit amongst you, but there is nothing so steep you won’t get up. The roads are generally good quality and in the winter all but the main road are virtually empty…
Our first cycle was from Moelfre to Llangefny (childishly entitled “long fanny” by us due to having absolutely no idea how the Welsh would pronounce it). We had a lovely relaxed cycle there once we’d gotten Charlotte up the first two hills – long AND quite steep. From then on it was flat / downhill so it didn’t matter too much that the wind was against us. It’s basically around 8 miles along one straight road. Once in the town we dropped Charlotte off at a friend’s car and Jack, James and I cycled home with a strong tailwind behind us. It was fantastic fun, despite the rain starting and ending up lashing down. We zoomed along, heads down, pedals pushing, pretending our speed was the result of our skill rather than the wind. We arrived back at the cottage soaking wet but unable to keep the smiles from our face as we dried ourselves by the fire.
And that was the end of the healthy part of New Year’s Eve – then followed lots of alcohol, card games and dinner with a birthday cake for me. Post dinner we played grown-up Pass the Parcel where each layer was unwrapped to reveal a charades card, a question from my blog, or a competition we had to do. Lots of drinking was involved for whoever lost.
New Year’s Day dawned pouring wet and so the year didn’t get off to a good start, spent lying on the sofa watching films, playing games and constantly eating. Don’t knock it 🙂
On the 2nd January we all went to explore Beaumaris, a little town on the southern coast of Anglesey, overlooking the mountains of Wales. We took one car, Charlotte and James cycled, and Jack and I ran – a good 15 miler as part of my marathon training. It’s a really cute town, narrow streets with brightly coloured houses, tea shops, pubs and a great butchers called BaaMooOink. It’s also home to Beaumaris Castle, begun in the 13th century and termed the “most technically perfect castle” in Britain.
We went for an explore, climbing up to the walls for stunning views, and clambering about inside the huge stone walls, little rooms, look-outs, holes for shooting arrows out of, chapels etc. Definitely worth it if you are in Anglesey.
The north of the island
On our last day, we went for a cycle out of Moelfre towards the north of the island. Charlotte came with us a little way, then went back to Moelfre while we continued. One long road swooped up and down several steep hills. We were quite quickly zooming through Amlwch – which didn’t seem like a particularly nice town from our quick visit. This may have been slightly coloured by the fact that a lorry carrying what seemed like manure / fertiliser overtook us as we were going into the town, spraying its load everywhere and covering us in shit. Ugh it was really horrible. Once out, the road swoops upwards for a view over the sea, and then down to go right along the seafront. Up again and we were cycling parallel to the sea towards Cemaes, miles and miles of fields with windfarms and not a car in sight. People have varying views on windfarms but I think they’re quite beautiful in a weird way. In Cemaes we turned around and cycled back – a great section with the three of us in a nice tight chain, and then a horrible bit up a never-ending hill where my legs, with a 15 mile run in them from the day before, just had no interest whatsoever in going round. The cycle ended with a short steep climb up to the hills behind Moelfre and then a stunning view over the village, down to the sea and the mountains. Just absolutely beautiful.
Go to Anglesey!