Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Saturday, 28 April 2018

Another Day, Another Trip (and a parkrun)

Here we are at Terminal 2. (Top picture.)

I'm afraid I haven't made time for either an Anglesey summary and index, or a resumption of the diary transcript of our thrilling visit to the Vanoise region back in 2007. I'll get round to those eventually. 

There are indeed many missing index pages in this blog that would benefit readers researching certain routes. Maybe I'll get around to doing them at some point. It's a pleasurable task but time is the enemy.

This coming trip will be very much a relaxing holiday, as serious exercise is an uncomfortable proposition for me at the moment, pending my hernia op.

This morning Sue and I popped along to Wythenshawe Park, where 300 runners, joggers and walkers completed the 5 km course without incident. I marshalled whilst Sue walked round with Jeanette, in their usual chatty time of just under 40 minutes. Other members of Jeanette's family, Paul and Greg, managed to rub the sleep from their eyes after getting home at 3 am from a 10 km charity walk in Manchester that started at midnight. They are both pictured above, amongst others on the first lap, before the three leaders jogged home in rather less than 19 minutes, and a squad from a local school posed to celebrate their successes.

There's a run director posing somewhere amongst today's pictures, and one of the Barbers bribed me with coffee to position him in front of his yawning son... Thanks Paul!

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Tuesday 24 April 2018 - The Anglesey Coast Path - Stage 9 - Church Bay to Holyhead

20 km, 200 metres ascent, 6 hours 20 minutes.
Martin did about 14 km of bimbling.

Drizzly start, turning slowly to steady rain.

Joyce has been running her B&B at Pen yr orsedd since 1980. She showed us a newspaper cutting from then, lauding her efforts to make farming pay with the help of this sort of diversification. She's good at it. The rooms were great and the breakfast was excellent. She gets very high marks from us. She gets a lot of custom from coast path walkers and is ready to collect and drop off people who are staying with her.

By the time I'd taken the others back to Church Bay it was 9.40 and starting to rain. So, not wanting to walk too far today, I took Polly to the car park for Penrhos Coastal Park, just beyond Telford's Stanley Embankment. Radio 2 kept me entertained, with brilliant contestants in the Popmaster quiz.

Having finished the excellent book - 'Where the Missing Go' last night, a visit to a café called 'Coffee Cups' at The Toll House filled in a bit of time before I set off to meet the others, eventually coming across them after over 5 km a little beyond a sturdy iron footbridge over Afon Alaw. They were wet. And my own plans to take flower photos today were largely thwarted as the Lumix camera was stashed in the depths of a waterproof bag. Never mind.

At least it was a good path alongside fields and then a pleasant beach walk back to the embankment. The pavement across the embankment was just about far enough from the vehicles to spare us from a soaking from the spray of passing traffic. It was with some relief that we dripped in to the Coffee Cups café. We stayed for some time. We were the only customers. Baked potatoes and toasties warmed us up and fuelled us for the rest of the day.

I joined the others for the walk through Penrhos Park and on the way back to Polly I enjoyed watching a few of the red squirrels for which the park is famous.

Then it was round to the long stay car park at Holyhead, our departure point nine days ago, and where the coasters arrived at 4 pm just before heavy rain set in, duly completing their perambulation of the island apart from the southerly loop from Newborough on Stage 3 (we will return for that), and the two short road sections dealt with by car on Stage 4 (we won't return for them).

Congratulations to Sue, Jeanette and Paul, for this magnificent achievement. Some statistics, an index, and a few more photos will follow.

Next time? The Dales High Way?

Monday, 23 April 2018

Monday 23 April 2018 - The Anglesey Coast Path - Stage 8 - Cemaes to Church Bay

20 km, 400 metres ascent, 6 hours 20 minutes.
Martin did about 11 km of bimbling.

Cool, cloudy start, remaining cloudy and turning very windy, with a light rain dessert.

Castellor is one of the best B&B's we've stayed at. They opened last September after a year of renovations - another place rescued from being in a very poor state, like Sea View Guesthouse, and Victoria Cottage before that.

Everything was thought of here - down to the emergency kit in a drawer that includes toothbrush and other essentials.

The eggs 'royale' were delicious. Breakfast took some time but even then we failed to do justice to what was on offer.

Luncheon supplies were replenished at the local corner shop, then I went to collect careless Jeanette's missing trousers from the Hotel Trecastell while the coasters set off under a dark grey cloud towards a big blot on the horizon - the nuclear power station that has lurked in our view for some time.

I drove around to the far end of a kilometre long causeway at Bryn Aber and chatted to a chap who is employed by Biffa to pick 'non-natural' litter (mainly plastic) from the high tide areas of the local beaches. He studiously picked litter from above where Polly was parked, nodding towards his Mercedes - "the tide doesn't reach that high".

After the shingle of the causeway, a short stroll through masses of coconut fragrant gorse took me to meet the others, who seemed to be taking it very gently today. Lots of wildlife here, including a dead fish on the beach that must have been too big for the local heron.

A nature reserve and tern colony by the causeway appeared full of life, though as requested, we walked on the beach below the reserve out of respect for the ground nesting birds and other wildlife.

On return to Polly the others collected their lunches and set off into a burgeoning wind. I read the gripping 'Where the Missing Go' for a while.

The others encountered two White Ladies (pictured) - large beacons built as a guide for shipping. They line up with the tower on West Mouse. Ships paid a fee for this service. I've no idea as to how it was collected, but Sue's suggestion that a small boat collected tolls from ships as they went past sounds a tad unlikely.

I drove around to a parking spot inland from Llyn y Fydlyn and was just in time to meet the others on the coast path and provide an ongoing chocolate supply service to Paul. The path here is only open in the summer due to pheasant shooting in the winter that apparently keeps the estate afloat.

After a nice circular walk I continued to Church Bay, today's destination. A short walk to meet the others, then a final photo of the day outside the closed café at 3.40 pm, with the closed Lobster Pot restaurant behind us and the rain just starting. The team will return to this point tomorrow.

Due to limited accommodation at Church Bay, we were booked in to a farmhouse B&B - Pen yr orsedd. According to my calculations this should have been a further 5 km walk to grid reference SH 336 905. Luckily, Polly was on hand to take us there. We duly arrived at a very grotty farmhouse that we later learned is own by the 'billionaire Williams family'. We didn't even ask if it was the right place.

The Internet is a wonderful thing. We soon established that the correct Pen yr orsedd was at SH 314 834, a good 7 miles away. My cock-up, I hadn't realised there were two farms with the same name so close to each other. Polly to the rescue. Had we all been walking we'd have had to call a taxi, though had we called Joyce at the correct B&B I'm sure she would have collected us.

A very friendly greeting from Joyce, more nice rooms, and tea and cake in the guests' lounge soon had us relaxing for the rest of the afternoon. Then the Catch 22 Brasserie in nearby Valley gave us another fine evening meal, sadly the last on this trip.

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Sunday 22 April 2018 - The Anglesey Coast Path - Stage 7 - Amlwch (The Trecastell Hotel, Bull Bay) to Cemaes

11 km, 350 metres ascent, 4 hours 10 minutes.
Martin did about 10 km of bimbling.

Cool with rain in the air at first, slowly brightening to become merely a cool overcast morning, and an afternoon with sunny periods (and the odd shower later).

This short day was tantamount to a rest day for our hardy coasters. We enjoyed a lie in and a leisurely breakfast, even a chapter or two of 'Where the Missing Go' by Emma Rowley, a daughter of one of Jeanette's friends. We are all reading or have read this book.

Richard and Jenny turned up for today's section of the coast path. They claim to have finished the entire route yesterday. Apparently it took them eight years. That's less than 20 miles a year, almost slower than it takes Richard to grow a beard.

Whilst gear got sorted and waterproofs donned, I drove to Cemaes and started walking towards the others with a view to meeting them.

When they eventually set off, the coasters were drawn to several points of interest by the excellent guide book we are using - 'Walking the Anglesey Coast Path' by Carl Rogers, notably on this stretch, the abandoned brickworks at Porth Wen.

They then passed a ruined summerhouse before descending steeply to some ruined works at Porth Llanlleiana. With only 4 km to go, and not yet lunch time, the large picnic table just here, sheltered by a high wall, made for an excellent pause place. I'd arrived there half an hour earlier, just beating ten kayakers to this prime position. Two lady backpackers soon joined me on the table and we chatted while they lunched.

I hadn't provided lunch provisions for such a short section of the route, but with the aid of a left over sandwich and a large packet of crisps everyone got a bit to eat. Most of us were still bloated from another huge breakfast anyway.

The kayaks departed and I noticed Paul looking enquiringly after them, perhaps contemplating his 'Around Anglesey By Kayak' project.

Continuing gently on our way, we passed the church of Llanbadrig, unfortunately closed to visitors. The sun was quite strong by now, so a little further on everyone lay down for a snooze. Those who did stay awake witnessed a porpoise (or was it a dolphin?) passing through. Quite a treat for them.

From there the pleasant coast path led around a final headland to the village of Cemaes, where a large bell on the beach informs the residents of high tide, but a café proves elusive. So a well positioned kiosk provided a coffee for Paul and ice creams for the rest of us - that had to suffice. Cream teas would have been nice!

Richard and Jenny were returned to Bull Bay, and I soon joined the others at Castellor, a sumptuous B&B on the edge of Cemaes. Their tea, shortbread, and lemon drizzle cake made up for the lack of a proper café in the village.

Arriving at 4 o'clock gave a good amount of down time. Plenty of reading, but Scrabble was rejected.

The Gadlys, a five minute walk away, served all our culinary needs to a high standard.

NB A note from yesterday - the young couple who are walking the entire Welsh Coast Path passed in the other direction, going well before returning to the mainland and then the delights of the Lleyn Peninsula.