“The most beautiful things are not associated with money; they are memories and moments. If you don’t celebrate those, they can pass you by.” Alek Wek
Edit* So I wrote this blog post a year ago and because today is the anniversary of the day that totally changed my life thought I would repost it and add a little up top now knowing what I know came from that day!! At the time I was struggling to find a purpose with days out, the year before I had been dumped and the heartache was still hurting me. I would go for days out on my own and feel I was lacking an really purpose with them. Not that I didn’t like my own company but more that there was no one to share those memories with which in turn was causing me more heartache. Heading out on this walk changed everything for me in a way I’m so grateful for. In a way I could never imagine. From this day a year ago my life changed forever and since then I have cramped every free minute I had into the outdoors and adventures. So big shout-out to my ex!! I now can’t imagine my life without the outdoors in it, its where I go to feel safe and alive. The people I have met along the way have a special place in my heart. Today I am so grateful and despite being in some weird kind of lockdown I know one day I will return to what I love doing. Honestly as I am writing this I am thinking of all the things I have done in the last year and I am utterly blown away with myself (there might be a few tears). Heres to looking forward to another amazing year when the world is ready!!
Because I am a total book worm I decided to get some UK travel books to ensure I see as much as possible this year, my favourites, of course, being about Wales. While flicking through Lonely Planets book on Wales I saw a walk that instantly I want to do! Trearddur Bay to Holyhead (these two images are right at the top of Anglesey and by the furthest into the little island?! I have ever been! According to the book, it should be 12 miles and take 5-6 hours! I did 16 miles and it took me more like 7 hours to complete. However, I did keep getting sidetracked and stopping to take pictures.
The book explained the route perfectly and I was determined not to use google maps, in fact, I wanted to keep my phone use down to a minimum. But since I was walking it alone my best friend Aimie made me text her every hour to let her know I was OK! If you are doing the walk along, I highly recommend you have someone to check in with because some of the areas are sheer cliff drops and the views are out of this world so it’s super easy to get distracted and lose your footing!
Everywhere I read up on this walk (I did read a lot about it because I was worried about walking so far on my own and getting lost, hurt or hungry) suggested starting in Holyhead and walking to Trearddur Bay for whatever reason I decided to walk it the other way. Which turned out to be the best way! I highly suggest walking it this way and you will see throughout the post way!!
So at 7 am last Saturday I jumped in my car (more crawled I only got 4 hours sleep the night before) and started the 2-hour drive to Trearddur Bay, from my house its like two main roads and then you are there, so nice and easy! This was my first time to the Bay and it was beautiful, a little town with a small sandy bay on the main road and a few shops. The stars of the town are the beautiful houses! As you follow the coastal road you see house after house of beautifully designed one of a kind homes, lots of glass-fronted buildings. It is so beautiful I am planning a second trip to the area with a night or two stay over because I am pretty sure there is lots more in the town to discover. Back to this post,
I parked on the road right next to the beach, I would highly recommend checking for signs before leaving your car. I visited on the last day of the season which meant I could park all day but I did see a sign that informed that you can only park for 1 hour during peak season. The area is well signposted so please look, there are plenty of car parks in the area and much cheaper than a parking ticket. I was pretty lucky as I parked under a Welsh Coastal Walk sign, just what I needed to figure out which way to go!
I will say the whole route was signed posted, I never struggled with direction, never had to get my book out or use google maps. Even in the middle of fields, there were signposts which were just perfect for me. Much better then any walk I have done in England and the arrows are much bigger, no chance of missing them.
Every now and again I would stop and just plonk myself down on the floor and watch the sea, watch the clouds move and feel the wind in my hair! That’s one good thing about hiking alone! you can stop whenever you want, there is no small talk to be made and you can go at your own pace. On a side note, I also don’t listen to music while I am walking either, again other distracted and the day before my hike it had rained pretty hard making some of the rocks slippy. Falling and hurting myself or even killing myself would have put a downer on the day. So if you do have to listen to music, try and have it as low as possible and please just be aware of the surroundings, especially while walking near the edges.
I came across a little problem not too far into my walk! A horse was blocking my way, and it might not look it in this picture but he was massive!!! And I am pretty scared of animals that are bigger than me!! SO I just waited it out, but he was stunning, his mane was super shiny and he looked like black velvet.
These sheep were the nosiest sheep I had ever heard in my life and they definitely weren’t a fan of me walking past the home.
During the hike you will come across three beautiful little inlets, Porth y Pwll is a tiny little bay with a scrap of sand, it leaves the road and rounds a headland before reaching a larger beach at Porth Y Post.
Around every twist of the coast line lay a beautiful bay/cove!
After a couple of hours walking, I decided to stop on a rocky cliffside to eat my lunch! I found somewhere that was surrounded by large rocks which sheltered me from the wind and allowed me to catch some of the warm sun rays. I took my layers off and enjoyed the sun on my skin in my little private hideaway. So I was super good on this walk, I packed a lunch, lots of snacks and a couple of litres of water. My lunch was chicken with wholemeal pasta on a bed of salad. For snacks, I had boiled eggs, protein ball and nuts.
You also walk through a national trust site, sorry I couldn’t find any information on it! But I can tell you it was beautiful, you know you are there as there is a sign to let you know. If you know which site it is please let me know in the comments below!!
A few more pictures, sorry I decided to add some slideshows into this post just because of the sheer number of images I took and wanted to share with you, although I imagine some of you are already finding this post super long!! Sorry not sorry!!!
One of the reasons I really wanted to do this walk was to see South Stack Lighthouse, I mean how freaking beautiful does she look!!! I would say the lighthouse was three-quarters of the way around and the first time I got to use a toilet. Other than the odd couple of hikers it was the first time I saw people during the day, I got here at about 1 pm. By this point, I was definitely starting to feel the hike and the lighthouse is a bit of a track down, nearly 500 steps down and you know what that means nearly 500 steps up!! For a second I considered not go down further than that stupid quote popped into my head “you haven’t come this far to only come this far and before I knew it I was bouncing down the steps!!
The lighthouse from other angles!!
As if the hike already, plus the steps down to the light house weren’t enough I decided to then go to the top of the lighthouse which was totally worth it. The views were beautiful and there was a lovely man at the top who told us the history of South Stack Lighthouse. It amazed me how many people visit the light house from the car park but never actually go down or pay to go in, I think it cost like £6 and was 100% worth it. So please if you do visit, make the trek down and go visit!
The South Stack Lighthouse is built on the summit small island off the north-west coast of Holy island off the Isle of Anglesey. South Stack Lighthouse was built by Mr Daniel Alexandra (engineer) and Joseph Nelson (builder) in 1808-1809. As the picture shows Captain Hugh Evans accomplished his aim to have the lighthouse constructed, all starting in 1806 when he collected facts and figures on the relevant Holy Island coastline of maritime disasters for the next twelve months, producing them to the decision makers of the time in 1807. On this, 30-meter high summit built the now famous 27.7 meters high South Stack lighthouse.
An iron suspension bridge was built in 1928 then Aluminium suspension bridge was built in 1964 and the present bridge in 1997 to span the 30-metre chasm around 20 meters above the sea level dependant on tides and weather. The Steep rocky cliffs of South Stack Holyhead mountain and surrounding area are mainly made up of minerals called Schists such as the rock surrounding South Stack also white quartzite which is the main component of Holyhead mountain. Why might one asked is it necessary to have the light lit on a very bright and sunny day? Well, it must be kept in motion working 24 hours a day otherwise sunlight would cause damage to the very highly magnified glass. Sunlight could cause the lighthouse damage as if using a magnifying glass to start a fire.
Also what is very special about the area is that it is actually an RSPB Nature reserve, known as South Stack Cliffs. The reserve is especially important for its breeding choughs, with approximately 10 pairs. We are maintaining the heathland and farmland to provide suitable nesting and feeding conditions.
Healthy heath – The reserve’s heathland is part of the largest area of maritime heath in North Wales. Besides choughs, this important habitat supports the endemic plant spatulate fleawort, and the uncommon silver-studded blue butterfly, plus adders and common lizards. Controlled burning helps us to manage this habitat. The sea cliffs provide nest sites for as many as 9,000 seabirds, including puffins, guillemots, razorbills, kittiwake and fulmars. Other birds to use this habitat include peregrines and ravens.
I was so super lucky to see a puffin, well I almost missed it but a lovely old gentleman stopped me and showed me where to look! And there was little puffin. I swear I thought they were much bigger! I didn’t take a picture, instead, I decided to enjoy the moment and listened to the gentleman as he told me about the area and all the things I had seen over the years. I think this is one of the best things about travelling alone, when you are alone I find more people stop to talk to you and open up much quicker and easier. I could honestly listen to peoples life stories all day long!
This is where the walk got hard for me in the sense that I didn’t find the views as pretty, there was a lot of pointless ups and downs and the coastal path stopped making much real sense at one point. About three miles outside Holyhead I was done! But you are literally in the middle of no where they only way out is to keep walking which I did. But I think if I had started this way (as I should have) I wouldn’t have been as excited about the whole hike as I was. So I 100% made the right choice and next time I will be walking the same way around again!!
And before I knew it I had finished the walk! Once I got into Holyhead I stopped taking pictures because honestly, the area was just really ugly (another reason that would have upset me if I had started the walk-in Holyhead). Not to mention, it would have been a lot harder to find the correct direction from the start point. Once I got to the main shopping area, I just popped my head into a shop and asked where the local bus stop/station was. Everyone was lovely and made sure I found the bus stop and ensured I got on the right bus back to my car. Seriously everyone was so freaking friendly!! The bus back was only ten minutes, afterwards I read that going directly across the island it’s only 3 miles and walkable in an hour, so next time I do this hike I think I will walk those extra three miles. I will 100% be doing it again, but probably not until September now because there are loads of our areas I want to hike around, plus I imagine in the summer this walk gets crazy busy which would make it less enjoyable for me.