I just adore this time of year – it’s as though nature has been saving up for a fabulous, final flourish! However, we can’t guarantee those perfect rose and russet tinted days are always going to materialise when the half-term holidays are here – and must make do with whatever erratic weather we get given!
(A windy walk – above Saint’s Bay, Rhoscolyn)
With three step-children, plus twelve nephews and nieces, believe me – I’m more than aware of the need to keep the kids occupied during the meteorologically maddening October school break! As well as stocking up on board-games, and art and craft materials too – the main event, unsurprisingly, is ‘the great outdoors’!
Waiting for the Others to Arrive!
(St Gwenfaen’s Church; the perfect start & end point for many a revolving Rhoscolyn ramble)
Under the Weather
Also, I don’t know about you, but we often have friends to stay at this time of year; having left us ‘to it’ around the busy months of July and August, they’re keen not to miss out on the last, (hopefully) warmish days of the year – and the same goes for other holiday makers! In Spring and Summer, when the weather’s often more moderate, it’s seemingly much easier; with most people able to occupy themselves for hours – with only the sea, the beach, a bucket, prawning-net, and ball for amusement!
Enjoying Autumn Sunshine
(Overlooking Saint’s Bay, Rhoscolyn. Look out for the wild goats – and the ‘blow-hole’ on tempestuous tides!)
However, the colder, wetter, and windier days of Fall can sometimes make it harder to deliver such simple seaside-satisfaction. But don’t despair, there’s a lot to do on Anglesey in the Autumn months as well…and October’s climate, although unpredictable, can be both chaotic and captivating – as the recent warm and windless days, along with huge storms, have proved!
Turning Over a New Leaf
I know it sounds obvious, but get out there and get walking! If we’re not careful, when the weather’s grotty, we can all end up spending far too much time indoors; resulting in grumpy children, grouchy adults, and everyone climbing the walls! A walk then, is just the ticket – and I guarantee you, everyone’s spirits grow once you get going…even if there are moans and groans to begin with! So, put the computer games and gadgets down – and go climb rocks instead!
The more cliffs to climb, and caves to explore, the more the children in our family enjoy the walk – and me too! Choose somewhere the more adventurous can do some scrambling, while the rest can sit awhile and watch, or sauter more serenely above or below.
Church Bay is great for this, as is the Lligwy/Moelfre area, and on most of Holy Island’s western walks – including those between Silver Bay, Rhoscolyn, Trearddur, and beyond – all the way to, and including, Holyhead Mountain; Saints Bay is our favourite though! Penmon Point, on the other side of Anglesey, is perfect for this too!
(Between Silver Bay and Rhoscolyn)
Walking on Sunshine
What’s more, don’t wait for the sun to come out, it almost almost does at some stage – so just take a gamble, and go with it! Otherwise, plan around the weather. A lie-in on a wretched half-term morning can be an exquisite treat – with a brighter afternoon of perfect promenading to look forward to! Or, get going earlier – knowing you have a table booked, or roaring fire awaiting you once your wanderings are over – with card-games, and a mug (or glass) of something warming to go with it! Running home as the rain starts to hit gets the heart pumping too!
(Head to Rhoscolyn’s Headland Lookout’ Station for some ‘smashing’ views!)
Walking on Air
Windy walks can be exhilarating, especially if you’re up high above the sea, or close enough to the waves to feel the spray on your face! Bright sunshine, rain, and rainbows are common in the Autumn, as are storms – which can be an amazing spectacle; but do keep warm and safe! Just about anywhere on Anglesey’s and/or Holy Island’s northern or western coastline is wonderful for this! Watching waves smash onto rocks in really rough weather is truly awe-inspiring!
Seas The Day!
(Holy Island Headland – heading out of Trearddur towards Porth Dafarch)
During this vibrant season, make sure you take an autumnal afternoon amble, a dawn-time-ramble, or a sun-set saunter; the sensuous smells, jewel-bright colours, hazy sunlit scenes, crisp harvest skies, and crystal clear tableaus can be breathtaking!
Mist and fog are frequently forecast in autumn – often materialising as though out of nowhere – especially on colder/warmer mornings/afternoons. Do be careful if out on the cliffs, but if one blows in when you’re walking, embrace the eerie experience with glee! Later, with Halloween just around the corner, ghost stories by the fire and/or candlelight are more fitting if there’s a gale raging, or an ethereal gloom swirling spookily outside!
Season of Mists
All Walks of Life
The role of walking as regards to health, especially somewhere stunningly beautiful, should never be underestimated. With more and more medical evidence pointing this way, instead of reaching for the prescription-pad, ‘walking the blues away’ is fast becoming the initial advice doctors propose to those with signs of melancholy.
A WINDY walk with Mark’s munchkins!
(Near to Rhoscolyn’s Coastguard Station)
Although the exact correlation between getting ‘out’ in nature and health remain unclear, it obviously has something to do with exercise, as well as better air quality – plus, opportunities for socializing and relaxing. Furthermore, It’ll also wear everyone out – resulting in a less squabblesome supper-time! Happy, hungry children, I’ve found, are far less fussy too!
Besides, as an erstwhile secondary teacher, I can tell you – hand on heart – the pupils who play outside during break-times, as well as those who’ve had an action packed, outdoorsy-holiday, are easy to spot; being far fitter, fresher, more relaxed and even-tempered – plus, much better able to concentrate over longer periods! Not to mention the unique experiences they’ll have to incorporate, make reference, or draw from, in their school studies!
(Silver Bay/Rhoscolyn Headland)
1. Guided Walk:
Don’t know where to get started? Why not book a guided history, geography, geology and/or wildlife inspired walk with Andy from B-Active@Rhoscolyn? There’s nothing he doesn’t know about the area, and you’ll return with a deeper understanding of this stunning stretch of coastline – even if you think you know it well already!
Great for kids doing GCSE or A-Level Geography – but Andy is able to cater for each group’s individual needs – and can incorporate pirating and smuggling stories, as well as local myths and legends. He also organises other outdoor activities such as coasteering and orienteering sessions, canoe and sea-kayaking lessons – plus loads more besides! Remember, although always weather-dependant, these aren’t just summer-time activities – with the water often warmer now than earlier in the year! I’ve even seen people swimming and bodyboarding over the past few days, and my own last sea-swim (without a wetsuit) was well into October!
A Tectonic Trek with Tiggy!
(Overlooking Rhoscolyn’s Beacon – AKA ‘The Pepper-Pot’. Andy showed me some amazing rock formations near here – which helped explain the FASCINATING geological make-up of the whole headland!)
Autumn’s low sunshine and long shadows are superb for photos! So, if you have a budding enthusiast in the family, or creative company to cater for, why not take them on a hike designed around this heavenly hobby?
Up Close & Personal
Experiment with autumnal abstracts and close-ups; look out for interesting textures and patterns – as well as exploring the glories of capturing the season’s enchanting hues – as well as ephemeral elements such as mist, fog, and wind!
(Early morning – overlooking the Inland Sea)
Caching the illuminating effects of low-light on water can be very satisfying too – and the season’s reflections, silhouettes, and ravishing colour-palate are always thrilling to work with! Newborough, with its forest, and vast expanses of foreshore, beach, and bay, is a glorious place to take pictures! Try Silver Bay and it’s woodland walk as well! Autumn sunshine, streaming between branches, can make for brilliant shots!
With less people about, landscape and wildlife images often work out better as well! When kids are involved, a useful idea is to have a ‘title’ or theme in mind when you set off – then you can each choose a photo that you think best represents this when you get back – and compare results! With phone cameras being so great these days, you don’t even need all the gear! The RSPB South Stack often runs photography sessions, as well as monthly competitions – so, contact them for details!
In the Spotlight
(The Inland Sea. Mobiles allowed on walks …but (supposedly) for photos only!)
Collecting fallen leaves, shells, sea-glass, feathers, driftwood – and other bits and bobs along the way – can result in some artistic autumnal artworks later in the day! Coats with big pockets or a back-pack are a must! The season’s stormier weather certainly provides better beachcombing booty than a serene summer saunter! Then, when you get home, you can spend time making seaside themed trinkets! Get the glue and glitter ready beforehand! Halloween, or even Christmas, can be your inspiration.
(Brilliant beachcombing coves – on the headland between Silver Bay and Rhoscolyn)
4. Grabbing a Bite:
Circular walks are the often best – and if there’s a cafe, pub, or restaurant to stop off at – all the better! Moelfre and Lligwy are lovely areas to circumnavigate; make sure you include Anne’s Pantry in your plans! Park in Moelfre, then follow the coastal path to Lligwy, from there head inland – following the road up from the car park – go straight on at the crossroads, and up the lane that takes you past the Din Lligwy Ancient Hut Village, further along the same stretch you’ll find a burial chamber too – then just carry on back round to Moelfre; both road and footpath routes are available! Make time to check out the historic huts and Neolithic chamber though; both sites are on the right, in very pretty woodland and countryside!
Windswept & Interesting
(Lligwy, approached from the Moelfre side)
Also, check out the fabulous rock formations along the coastal path – some of which are great for climbing! The Beach Cafe on Lligwy is often open out of season too, especially on bright and/or windy weekends and half-terms holidays – but do check first! Lligwy Beach, like Rhosneigr, is one of the island’s top wind and kite-surfing spots!
Going Around in Circles
(Moelfe – Lligwy – Moelfre)
The promise of lunch, or a hot-drink and cake, gives the less enthusiastic walkers a goal, and keeps everyone warmed up on the way back too – plus, there’s less guilt when you’ve actually earned your treat! With the White Eagle to meander to in Rhoscolyn, or The Sea Shanty, Black Seal, and Seacroft a sauter away in Trearddur, we’re spoilt for choice on this stretch of coast!
Rays of Sunshine
(Rhoscolyn Headland – Close to Trearddur)
Follow the Anglesey Coastal Path across the headland (in either direction) and you can’t really go wrong! Longer, shorter, and even road routes are available – with a combination of beaches, bays, sea arches, cliffs and coves to traverse! Along with stunning scenery, including mountain vistas, bird-life galore, and even wild goats to gaze upon! Indoor and outdoor seating available at all the places mentioned, and they’re used to muddy boots too! Well behaved dogs are allowed in the ‘snug’ area at the White Eagle, as well as indoors at The Sea Shanty up until 5pm.
If you’re watching the pennies, or just fancy a change, take a flask of something hot (soup, and/or hot-choc etc) – as well as: a mini-BBQ, some pre-buttered bread-rolls, sausages, oil, and a pan to cook them with. Then, when the time’s right, and you’ve found a sunny or sheltered spot, have a little camp-fire lunch. Somehow, it’s even more rewarding out of season!
(Silver Bay, Rhoscolyn)
Ice-cream works well as an incentive too (whatever the weather) – so head to Trearddur Bay’s Sea Shanty for some fabulous flavours! Although often weather-dependant, there’s usually a van or two in Trearddur Bay, Rhosneigr, as well as close to the South Stack – and so on! If you’re in Beaumaris, make a detour to The Red Boat Ice Cream Parlor! Chaplin’s in Rhosneigr is lovely too!
YIPPEEE- South Stack Sugar Stop!
5. Something New:
As well as the old favourites, try somewhere new! We must have done the Rhoscolyn routes a million times, and still love them all – however, as each holiday approaches we also plan at least one new walk – in an unfamiliar area of the island – which keeps it interesting and exciting!
Recently we’ve walked to the ‘Church in the Sea’ (St Cwyfan’s, Llangadwaladr). Starting in Aberffraw, head up the right-hand-side of the estuary, then follow the coastal path all the way there! For a circular walk back, follow the lane that leads off the beach near the church, which takes you quickly to the village.
On that note – never pass a church or chapel without checking if it’s open! And, luckily for us, there are so many on Anglesey with fascinating histories! Remember, as the ancient seat of Welsh royalty, as well as a place forever linked to the joys and sorrows of the sea – these islands have an interesting past indeed! If the doors are locked, take a stroll around the cemetery– and who knows what you might find!
Also, we tried out the Cemlyn Bay Nature Reserve the other day; apart from the carbuncle on the right (the power station) it’s lovely – and, with both bay and lake, it’s a paradise for birdlife…and twitchers too! Dolphins are a common sight off-shore on this part of the island – so, keep your eyes peeled!
I hope this has given you a few more ideas, as well as the encouragement you might need to get going! Go on – walk yourselves happy, and send the kids back to school with rosy cheeks, and a seasonal spring in their step! For more Anglesey walking ideas read my next blog – where I concentrate on November-time nature and nautical inspired navigations!