Wales Weekender - Part 1 Anglesey
Wales Weekender – Day 1 Anglesey
I like to get away once a month if I can to visit different areas of the UK in search of interesting subject matter, whether that’s for landscapes or my other passion, architectural photography. This weekend was planned to be mostly for landscape work and involved staying a couple of nights in North Wales, an area I hadn’t visited for some time. I was hoping to capture some nice mountain and lake scenery and also some coastal shots around Anglesey. I went with a fellow photographer, Neil Nicklin, who had also been looking for some new scenery to capture and fancied getting away for a couple of days. This is my first blog post discussing this kind of trip so I hope it’s useful for people.
I‘d booked us into the Abbeyfield Hotel in the village of Talybont near Bangor. I chose this area to stay as I planned to spend one day on Anglesey and one around Snowdonia and Bangor was quite central to both. The hotel was good; reasonably priced, clean rooms, nice bar and the food we sampled on the Saturday evening was excellent, very nice, home cooked fayre.
We were up and out early on the Saturday morning, 6am, not early enough for sunrise itself but early enough to capture the morning light at Penmon Lighthouse, a 30 minute drive from the hotel onto Anglesey. The weather was kind enough, a good amount of cloud cover but with the sun breaking through in places. The lighthouse is easy enough to find – just follow the signs out of Penmon village. The last mile or so is down a private toll road and we paid our dues on the way back out. You can park right next to the shore and it’s only a short walk to the lighthouse. It’s a very picturesque scene and ‘Puffin Island’ can also be included in your compositions. There are my two favourite images from this location.
From here we drove back to Beaumaris and found a nice café for a large bacon bap and a coffee. Beaumaris Castle was quite interesting and the clouds were moving nicely for a long exposure shot. Not good enough to grace the portfolio but I thought I’d include it here anyway.
Next up was Aberffraw to visit St Cwyfans Church which is on an Island and only accessible when the tide is out. Easy enough to find, you follow the signs out of Aberffraw itself and park up at the end of the road. A short walk around the beach is needed to get to the causeway that leads to the church itself. The place was pretty much deserted and I’d imagine that normally it would be peaceful and tranquil but the soundtrack for our visit was provided by some very loud motorbike racing from the circuit that occupies the neighbouring cliff. By this time, about 10 o’clock, the sky was pure blue, good conditions for my colour taking companion Neil, but not particularly interesting for my mono style. These two images will hopefully give you an impression of the place, one from the causeway leading to the Island and one from on the Island itself. Obviously the tide was well out when we got there!
Having not planned anything else particularly specific, we headed back across the Island towards the north east coast. We happened to pass Parys Mountain from which copper has been extracted for several hundred years. This activity has left a scarred landscape with spoil from the workings taking on strange colours and giving a very ‘alien’ feel. The area is open to the public with a network of footpaths leading over the site.
From here we went on to Dulas Bay and found a nice café for a welcome cup of tea and slice of home-made carrot cake. The beach was very nice, long golden sands and would have been great for a family day out. Not much presented itself photographically though, and we only learned afterwards that there is an abandoned boat in the next bay along from where we were. Made a mental note to do that on our next visit. Here’s a random shot of the beach, not photographically interesting but just to give an idea of how nice it is.
Next it was back across the island heading for South Stack Lighthouse. We stopped in Holyhead for a quick pint and a bite to eat to re-charge ourselves a bit. On to the lighthouse, which is at the base of a large cliff and also part of an RSPB reserve due to the large number of seabirds that make their home there. Great location if you enjoy bird photography. We took some shots from a couple of different points on the cliff, but the hike down looked a bit daunting after the long day we’d had. Another place on the list to return to. The conditions were still quite bright with the sun reflecting harshly off the sea.
Sunset was still a good couple of hours away, but after our 6am start we decided to head back to the hotel for a well needed shower and one of the best steak pies I’ve ever had! I’ll post another article later on day 2, our tour around Snowdonia.
Keywords: Aberffraw, Anglesey, Black and white, Monochrome, Penmon Lighthouse, South Stack, St Cwyfans, Wales
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