Technically, Ynys Llanddwyn is a narrow finger of land situated at the far end of a beach near Newborough Warren, on Anglesey. It only becomes an island during the highest of tides.
Having seen a photograph of the place nearly a year ago, it became the main reason for my trip to North Wales. Other destinations were dispensable according to the weather, but this was the one location where conditions had to be perfect. The day hadn’t started too well, with solid cloud and high winds in Snowdonia, but by late morning the sky was clearing and it promised to be a lovely afternoon.
I had it all worked out and arrived in Newborough in plenty of time to have a leisurely lunch in their only pub, while the high tide was receding. I reckoned that by the time I had walked along the mile of beach to the island, access should just about be possible. I parked up and walked the short distance to the pub. I was reaching for the door when a local gentleman told me it was closed. The notice in the window confirmed that it was now open evenings only – something that hadn’t been made clear when I checked their web site and in fact, it had made much of the lovely garden at the rear of the property.
It was now Wednesday lunch time and my last proper meal had been dinner at home on Sunday evening. Apart from a few biscuits I had brought along and a bag of chips I shared with some homeless people on Monday night, I had eaten nothing. Thankfully I was saved by the lovely lady who works at the Red Squirrel cafe who made one of the best jacket potatoes I have ever tasted. She asked how I wanted everything prepared and recommended a drink to go with the meal. So it was, with a full stomach, I set out an hour later to make the short drive to Newborough Warren.
The round trip (along the beach and out to the end of the island) was almost four miles, but I was staying until sunset and there was no rush. It was early October and with temperatures well over 20C, there were many people all heading in the same direction. With the bright sun shining off the water and the warmth being reflected back off the sand, it felt more like being in the tropics than North Wales in the autumn.
As I arrived at the island, I was fascinated by this small stream of water running back out to sea.
Near the far end was this Celtic cross. I was very lucky to arrive and set up my tripod just in time to catch the sun within the ring. In the distance you can see the larger cross and the lighthouse.
The other cross and lighthouse bathed in the warm glow of the setting sun.
This is a different view of the lighthouse not long before sunset.
The image featured above was taken from one of the highest points and is clearly a magnet for photographers. There were nine of us there, but thankfully I had been first to stake my claim at the front. I had wished for a little more cloud to show the colours from the setting sun. There were plenty of them sitting over the mainland, but any stragglers that drifted over the Menai Straits soon vanished into thin air. Literally. This was the only one to make it intact and I was grateful for the perfect timing. There was even a sliver of moon in the top right hand corner to add the finishing touch.
It was 8.45 p.m. by the time I got back to the hotel. I still had to phone my husband, have a bath and wash my hair, download all the images to my laptop and clean my gear for the following morning. My day had started at 5.20 a.m. and I didn’t get to bed until nearly 11.00 p.m. My bronchitis had taken another turn for the worse and yet I couldn’t have been happier. I had the photographs I had travelled so far to get and made memories that will last a lifetime. A magical island indeed.