Anglesey 1 – Pen-y-Llyn to Holyhead

We have visited this wonderful island a number of times over the past few decades and stayed in a variety of accommodation from holiday cottages to house lets, from camping to motorhome glamping. On every occasion we have been enthralled by the rugged beauty of the place, its accessibility and, at the same time its inaccessibility especially to motorised transport. In our early visits we explored every road and track leading to a standing joke in our family that, if the road had grass in the middle we were invariably in Anglesey.

For the second time in five years we opted for a delightful campsite separated from RAF Valley by a small lake. There are countless positives for this campsite, it is immaculate, the owners are friendly and it is adults-only. It boasts a Caravan and Motorhome Certificated Location but also caters for couples like us who would not join any club that would accept us as members. It is an ideal jumping off point for most of the island, a bus stops outside the gate and it is a relatively short beach walk to the small town and beaches of Rhosneigr. In the other direction it is only a few miles to Holyhead for a day trip to Ireland or a walk around the town, marina and extensive sea wall. Details of Pen-y-Llyn campsite can be found here.

Our little motorhome nestling in this beautiful campsite

If you love the sound and sight of airplanes then this sight is sure to be heaven to you. The site is a prime position for watching all types of military aircraft arrive and leave, on our second day here we saw a venerable Hercules bomber slide ponderously a few feet above the dunes of Rhosneigr and Typhoon fighters practicing low level runs across the lakes and tors dotting the landscape. This can, of course, be a negative. When a Typhoon zooms overhead at a few hundred feet the ground literally shakes and conversation is almost impossible. The airport has good rules that prohibit flights in the early morning or evening so if you spend the day exploring this great island you may miss the sound altogether.

Enough about our good fortune to enjoy the benefits of this great site, let’s move on to our interesting journey to Holyhead on Tuesday 18th June 2019.

The bicycle distance from the site to Holyhead is 6.2 miles. No great distance admittedly. The path is supported by two national cycle routes, Route 5 takes you along the A5 through Valley and more or less straight into Holyhead. Route 8 takes you along the coast around Penrhos before joining up with Route 5 a couple of miles out.

You can find details of cycle paths in the area here.

We have two electrically assisted cycles, mine a bog standard shaft drive single speed three gear brute which bounds forward the moment I apply power. MBH bought an eRanger Floral Cruiser which offers her a choice of seven gears and seven assist levels together with trip computing and bells and whistles.   

We set off happily enough but it wasn’t long before we found ourselves in a bit of trouble – to quote Frank Spencer. The cycle path along the A5 suddenly disappeared at the beginning of Four Mile Bridge and we were forced to compete with juggernauts on their way to the ferry port. (We found out on the way back that the cycle path moves to the other side of the road and carries on, hidden, along the bridge). We picked up the path again on the other end of the bridge and then were faced with a choice:

We could take the pretty coastal road and meander into Holyhead or carry on along the A5 in a more direct route. We chose the latter and there is where the second problem surfaced. For some reason the securing nut for my handlebars had slowly loosened and at the slightest bump the front wheel took a unannounced 90 degree turn in either one direction or another. This resulted in a number of tumbles and a larger, considerably larger, number of obscenities in a number of languages.

We finally arrived in Holyhead to find it virtually closed. Many of the cafés had decided to shut for the afternoon and our favourite spot, by the museum overlooking the port, was crowded with cotton buds sipping slowly at their herbal teas. We didn’t stay long. On the way back we followed the coastal path and cycled through woodland and down steep gradients to finally arrive at Pen-y-Lynn campsite and a very welcome cup of tea.

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