Falling in love with the magic of the Welsh coastline. Set against the backdrop of stunning Snowdonia how can you not. My two favourite things tied together; mountains and sea. A weekend isn’t long enough but if that is all you have then here is my weekend warrior trip for you. All you need is a car/van, some hiking boots; and perhaps a waterproof. This is Wales after all! You could also do what I did which was a few days hiking in Snowdonia National Park and then head to the coast.
Day One: Anglesey
1. Run Rhosneigr beach
If you are anything like me then coffee is a very good place to start the day. Once you peel off the A55 head straight to Rhosneigr, south-west of Anglesey and situated on the coastal path. The sea air will be sure to freshen you up, as will a coffee from Chaplins, or maybe an ice cream from Red Boat Ice Cream Parlour. Then take a jog or stroll along the beach, stretching for miles it is a far cry from the hustle and bustle of city life. A gentle sea breeze through your hair, boats resting lopsided on the sand while the tide eases it’s way back in, little rock pools to clamber over, it really is heaven for all ages. I didn’t want to leave. A great idea for next time would be to follow the coastal path and just see where I end up! Or alternatively, I read there is a nice circular walk from Rhosneigr to Cable Bay via the lake, perfect for a dip! Next time for sure, because there WILL be a next time!
2. Canoe from Holy Island to Sausage island
Beautiful Holy Island. One of the best things about being a ski instructor is that in the summer I have the gift of time, and friends dotted all around. Q, Izzy and Tom. Tom is a certified local kayak guide/instructor, and Izzy a bit of a super mum, kite flying wizz!
We kayaked and canoed from Four Mile Bridge to Sausage Island – yes that’s its actual name! It is a tiny uninhabited little island with strong tides. When the tide is low there is endless beach for games and shell searching.
Then when the tide eases is way in you get a great little swim around the island made all the easier with the strong current. It is a beautiful spot for a picnic lunch. Once the tide changes time to pack up, and canoe back (with an attempt at flying the kite and getting it to pull us along, fail).
3. South Stack to Holyhead Mountain
“Smell the sea, and feel the sky, let your soul and spirits fly” Van Morrison
South Stack Lighthouse was built in 1809. The wildlife there is like being on the Galapagos islands, I have never been a bird watcher myself but suddenly I have become one! There is a small information center, the staff are full of knowledge and keen to point out wildlife including snakes! It is a gentle meandering coastal walk to the lighthouse with some killer steps to finish off. Bring a pair of binoculars and if you are lucky you will spot puffins! On return treat yourself to ice cream before hot-footing it up Holyhead “Mountain”. There is also North Stack and more walking options if you have time. It would be beautiful to go here in the evening to watch the sunset.
4. Lligwy Bay Swimming
The wonderful world of social media meant that I managed to join in with this wonderful group of ladies for a quick swim and dip. I was pleasantly surprised by the warm temperatures too! I also got some tips on where to meet my friend the following day. The best thing about wandering around on your own and being spontaneous is talking and getting local advice.
where to drive and park, where to eat, what to do
Snowdonia is a mountainous region in northwestern Wales and a national park of a whopping 823 square miles. So there is a LOT of hiking to be done! Time to hire a wonderful Mountain Leader (I have two AMAZING girlfriends (Katie Jane L’Herpiniere and Anna Woodward training for their ML) and various groups I can recommend such as WonderfulWildWomen. One of the most iconic mountains is obviously Snowdon. Although perhaps quite touristy it is an easy option if you are pushed for time and planning. If you drive and park in Llanberis (pronounced Clanberis) then you are at the foothills of Wale’s highest mountain. It is easy to find various routes up varying in difficulty (or if you have kids/elderly you can even jump on the train!) It is about a four hour trip up and down. Take some snacks and then enjoy a coffee and reward yourself with lunch and cake at ‘Mafon‘ in town where they have loads of yummy veggie and vegan delights. Also, if you are anything like me and love technical clothing and kit then there is plenty to spend your money on!
2. Swim or Sup Llyn Llydaw
After you have wondered around and let your food digest why not take a dip or a paddleboard in the beautiful Llyn Llydaw. Another lake I need to try to conquer one day. Although be warned, apparently it is one of the most visited lakes in the UK. I, however, did not see a soul!
So there you have it, a quick weekend break in Wales. Perhaps best to avoid school holidays.