WHEN I awoke in Beaumaris, I found that the glorious sunshine that had accompanied the previous two days had quite vanished; the skies were grey and clouded and the weather forecast confirmed that rain would arrive sometime around mid afternoon. This called for drastic action, if unpacking my waterproof jacket from the bottom of my bag can be called ‘drastic’, which it probably can’t.
It could rain if it liked, I was going to walk anyway.
MONDAY mornings are not renowned for their better qualities and are sadly often only appreciated in contrast to something worse. Monday last week (as I write this) was a glorious exception, beginning with the awareness that I’d taken the day off and that a full English Welsh breakfast awaited. Also it was sunny, I had slept well and I was ready to walk…
To be honest, I think that Monday was more than a little confused. I know I was.
TO RESUME my perambulation around the coast of Anglesey, I took advantage of a lull at work and travelled back to Amlwch on a Friday afternoon, staying overnight in nearby Bull Bay. This meant that I was up and out early on Saturday morning, returning to Amlwch just in time to realise that I’d left my sunscreen in London. The weather forecast was approximately ‘Gas Mark Five’.
I AWOKE bright and early in my hotel in Cemaes to find that the promised ‘glorious sunshine’ was indeed glorious. Later, when I was on the cliff tops, I would find that it was accompanied by a howling gale of a wind, but one that was suitably sun-warmed so that it felt as though walking under the blast of an enormous hairdryer. This is not the weather usually associated with North Wales (I’d had some of that the day before).
This was to be a short walk, just far enough to get me to Amlwch, from which I could catch a bus that would begin my journey home.
WHILE I may have avoided walking in August, on account of hot weather and everywhere being booked solid, September is an entirely different prospect. And this is good because if August is optional then the start of September is almost compulsory for walking: I started my coastal perambulations on the third of September 2010, which means that as September rolled around again I was into my fifth year of walking.
MY LAST walk was about a month ago (as I write this) but that feels like forever. I tend not to go walking in August on account of the heat — well, the rain is warmer anyway — and of the near-impossibility of finding accommodation during the peak holiday season. With this in mind, I was keen to get one more walk in before I ran out of July, particularly since it would carry me to Holyhead, which was something of a personal milestone. I was joined in this endeavour by the Lemming who, as tradition demands, was wearing footwear that was less than ideal.
THE last weekend in July witnessed my return to Rhosneigr, alighting from a train in the late morning to discover, if not sunshine, then at least that the promised rain was holding off. For now, at least.
I made my way back to the centre of the village and took the time to enjoy a leisurely late breakfast. Eventually, fully fuelled with coffee and bacon and coffee — oh, and some more coffee — I was ready to go.
THE sky was cloudy and the temperature warm as I returned to Malltraeth at some ridiculously early hour. The village shop, a strange mixture of newsagent and fish & chip shop, was open for the purpose of the former and I unashamedly purchased an ice cream to serve as my breakfast. This I sat and leisurely devoured, while enjoying a view of the estuary from the Cob. It was an excellent start to a day’s walk.
IT WAS just before six in the morning when I returned to Llanfair Pwllgwyngyll, having negotiated the cunning and secret railway challenge designed to prevent you from doing so:
Not only is the station saddled with the impressive (if contrived) name of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch but it is also a request stop, which means that the train will only stop to let you off if you can successfully tell the guard that that’s where you are going. It also helps if you can stop saying it before the train hurtles past.
HAVING reached the northern coast of Wales, I have also put myself into the vicinity of another of the few railway lines that Richard Beeching didn’t have torn up in the 1960s. This is excellent news for my travels as the London to Bangor journey time is considerably less than that of London to Pwllheli, even without the railway replacement buses on the latter line. With this in mind, I was keen to return to north Wales and actually get some walking in on the same day that I travelled.