Holyhead; Wednesday, 20 January, 2010

After my self-catered breakfast it was off out of the hotel, onto the bus and out of Holyhead.

First stop of the morning was the longest one, not in terms of time, but name. Llanfair PG, or its fuller name Llanfair Pwllgwyngyll, or its very full Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch. It’s even longer if you translate it out of the Welsh into English becoming: “St Marys Church in the hollow of the white hazel near to the rapid whirlpool of Llantysilio of the Red Cave”. Having taken in the excessively long station name and the information boards in the tourist information centre I headed out to the edge of town to the Marquess of Anglesey’s Column to have a climb up the 115 steps to its viewing platform.

Even on a damp and drizzly day like today the views were still stunning. The two bridges over the Menai Straits, Thomas Telford’s Menai Suspension Bridge and Robert Stephenson’s Britannia Bridge, are both spectacular feats of engineering by themselves. And behind them, rising into the clouds, the peaks of Snowdonia complete the vistas.

Having climbed back down to earth I caught the bus on into Bangor for a spot of late lunch before catching another bus back out to the town of Beaumaris.

There are castles, there are castles and then there is the castle at Beaumaris. You can start down the mental checklist: Moat, yes; Round towers on each corner, yes; Drawbridge, yes. But to the normal “classic castle” you can add that the outer wall and towers hides an inner set of walls and towers which are the actual castle, and then you have to chuck in the stunning backdrop of the Menai straits and the snow-capped mountains of Snowdonia (when they appeared from behind the blanket of cloud that was hovering around the peaks).

Having looked around the castle and the town it was time to catch the bus back towards Bangor. I hopped off the bus in Porthaethwy to take in the views of and from Telford’s Menai Suspension Bridge, walking across it to also get the stunning views of the rival Britannia Bridge.

On the other side I got back on the next bus and continued on back into Bangor. I had a quick wander around the town and went to have a look inside the Cathedral, only to find it all locked up. By now it was heading towards 4, and I knew I didn’t have that much daylight left so if I wanted to enjoy the, lengthy, bus journey back, I needed to get the 4pm service.

On the way out in the morning I had caught the X4 bus, which I though for an express route went quite a bit around the houses. I was wrong; the 4/4A bus I caught back went an even more circuitous route and took a good 20 minutes longer to get back to Holyhead. It was only when we a large Stena Line ferry and the Lidl appeared in view that I realised we were actually back in Holyhead.

I grabbed some dinner from the Co-Op in the centre of town and headed back to the hotel for an early night.


Light Rain Light Rain
Mild (0-10C, 32-50F)