Bangor, 3rd – 6th May 2024

The Management Business Centre at Bangor University was our base for 3 days walking in Anglesey and North Wales. There were 7 of us staying at the centre and we had exclusive use of the Lower Boardroom for nearly all our meals. The accommodation was a maze of passageways and it was a challenge to locate the dining area and our rooms, but hardest to find was the bar!

Friday

On Friday afternoon, 5 of us enjoyed a visit to Penrhyn Castle and Garden National Trust property. We were impressed by the elaborately decorated rooms and the Gothic carved stairways in this neo-Norman fantasy castle. We had a walk round the grounds and enjoyed the walled garden, and springtime flowers in the formal gardens with views of Snowdonia.

In the evening the 7 of us were joined by Debbie for the evening meal, which was gourmet dining at a very relaxed pace. We enjoyed such delights as Welsh Ribeye steak and Halen Mon salted caramel chocolate torte with raspberry coulis and cream.

Saturday

The ‘A’ party were joined by Debbie, Hamida and Andrew and both A’ and ‘B’ parties drove to Amlwch and started along the coastal path from Port Amlwch together. It was a pleasant, cool, cloudy day.

For the A party in Anglesey plucky navigator and walk leader Jonathan ensured that we entered this fair isle over a very pretty bridge which we all admired. We parked in Amlwch and walked a distance of 18 or more kilometres with an elevation gain of 434 metres. We took in the views at Point Lynas and ate our lunch by the lighthouse there, which is still working and, we assume, not just for the sake of the occupants of the holiday cottage business now running from it. We missed the church with its rare Flemish glass, but we were assured of its existence by a gentleman who we bumped into towards the end of our trip, who had many a tale to tell but we simply had to move on in the end. Unfortunately, we ended the walk a little too late to get tea in the crêpe shop.

The ‘B’ party walked along the undulating coast at a leisurely pace to just beyond the lighthouse at Port Lynas, which we bypassed. The route was quite hilly as we headed inland to Penysarn. It was interesting as it involved little used paths not very well-marked, with awkward gates to open, some with barbed wire. At one point Rosie was trapped by a herd of curious heifers! There were also some very athletic sheep and lambs. There was a very scenic stretch along a ridge with views of the sea and the lighthouse. On arrival at Penysarn, by which time we had walked about 9 miles, we decided to wait for the bus back to Amlwch. We arrived at the Caffi Pen Y Drew just in time to see the ‘closed’ sign appear on the door!

We were joined by Debbie, Hamida and Andrew for the evening meal after which we retired to the bar and relaxed on the comfy sofas and chairs whilst taking part in some Daily Telegraph general knowledge quizzes led by Mike. Helen and Rosie were joint winners, and Debbie came third.

Sunday

The ‘A’ party spent in the Eyri National Park. In preference to the deeply popular Snowdonia, we travelled 17.5 kilometres with an elevation gain of 960 metres, taking in Yr Orsedd, Carnedd Y Ddelw, Drum, Foel Fras, Carnedd Gwenllian and Bera Bach. Phew! From none of these did we see the Isle of Man even though you can on a very clear day. Not to worry, we still ended our walk with the beautiful Aber Falls surrounded by bluebells. It was another day of mixing with locals offering wise words. To accompany our ascent, we met a man who rides his bike up to the top multiple times a day. I can’t remember how many times he’s done it in total, but it was lots and he declared that he never gets bored of it. On the way back we met a mermaid, well ok not a mermaid but a lady who goes swimming regularly in the stream, and she directed us back down again via her favoured steep and fast descent to the falls. Our day ended with a sneaky stop at Bangor pier, which looks like Willy Wonka played a hand in its design, as it is festooned with structures that seem to represent multiple flavours of whipped ice cream. Or maybe this is because it was very nearly time for dinner.

The 6 of us on the ‘B’ walk drove to Newborough. We walked through some muddy fields to arrive at Newborough Forest, a very pleasant, wooded area with a large number of Corsican pine trees, next to the coastal marches and rocky shores. We enjoyed a warm sunny break in the middle of the woods, with refreshments from the kiosk. We then continued through the woods and along the beach, and as the tide times were fine, we were able to walk across to Llanddwyn island, which was declared the first coastal National Nature Reserve in Wales in 1955. We explored the island which has a lighthouse and stunning views all round. We then walked back to Newborough on a main track through the woods and then a few boggy fields to emerge on the main road 5 minutes’ walk from the cars. The walk was 9 – 10 miles.

We were again joined by Debbie, Hamida and Andrew for the evening meal, and a lot of photo swapping of A / B walks took place. Speaking of food, the meals at the management centre were fantastic, even if they came out quite late on the first night. Due to the chef’s preference for perfectionism over haste, we were kindly kept mollified with a free drink each, which didn’t suit the drivers so well, but was nevertheless most welcome to all. There was a beautiful sunset to say goodbye, so impressive that we all got up to take photos, perhaps some have made their way onto the website. It was a bit late for the bar so we all retired except for Jonathan who went to the local pub which was open until midnight!

Monday

As most people either had long journeys or had other plans there were just 3 of us for the walk: Mike, Cath and Hamida, and we set off on a circular walk around Penrhyn Castle of about 8 miles starting from near Bangor pier. It was a warmish day and the route included the Pilgrims Way which is a pleasant tree-lined trail. There were lots of fields, lanes and tracks, and a section of the Snowdonia slate trail, then back to Bangor through the woods by the coast.

Thank you to Mike for organising an excellent weekend, including ensuring that the weather in Wales was far superior to that in much of the rest of the country. Hurrah!

Sophie and Cath

Photos