Looking across to the snow capped alpine mountains seen from the back seat of a motorcycle

Home Travel StoriesA Brief Break In Bangor

Anglesey In Winter Sun

Ride Date 27 January 2022

By Ren Withnell

I think I'll wait till after 0900 before departing. While Bangor is not the sprawling metropolis of Bolton it's still large enough to have a rush hour I'm sure. Anyhow there's no rush and I've still not decided where I want to go today. 

This is getting a bit creepy now. The weather report on the gogglebox informs me today is going to be mostly dry with a severe risk of sunshine. I know "luck" comes and goes, waxes and wanes. There are times in our lives where we have the Midas touch and we can do no wrong. Equally there are times where so much as even looking or thinking about something will turn it to a steaming pile of manure. But the notion of midwinter sunshine in Wales on the same day that I'm not working and actually physically here? Nah, more chance of BoJo telling the truth.

The dampness of my motorcycle suggests last night was frosty and this morning's air has a chill in the shade of the hotel. With a sandwich and flask in my top box I set out in search of... I'm not sure. I'm just following the front wheel which takes me through Bangor and onto the old Menai Bridge. I take a moment to appreciate the Industrial Revolution engineering.

Beaumaris is, I dunno, odd? There's nothing intrinsically wrong here, it's a small, pleasant little town, more of a village really. It's dominated by the 2 primary attractions - The Gaol and The Castle. It's coastal and the surroundings are quite lovely, particularly southwards where the Snowdonian mountains dominate the horizon. 

And yet for me it just doesn't "click". It's me, it's definitely me. Maybe the wind was blowing the wrong way the first time I visited, maybe I was in a grumpy mood or something upset me. Maybe it's because the beach isn't a perfect sandy beach. Maybe I should stop here and have a proper look and put myself straight. Not today though.

Looking across we see cars on a road, a large green area and the snowdonian mountains in the distance
There is nothing wrong with Beaumaris, is there?

Time. Sweet lovely time. I'm glad I didn't set myself any kind of agenda because I have given myself all day to be nowhere. And that is precisely where I'm going it seems. I've headed east along the peninsula towards Penmon Point. Wow! I relish in commanding views across the Menai Strait and across those Snowdonian Mountains I mentioned earlier. I pinch myself (metaphorically), this is unreal.

Looking down the road we see the waters of the strait and hazy snowdonian mountains
Amazing and perfect. Looking out across the Strait from Penmon.
Bright sun and light clouds, the shore and the waters. An atmospheric image across to Wales
Just one of "those" moments. 

At Penmon Point I stop to sip a little tea from the flask. 2 excited dogs hover around and nudge a small, worn out sponge ball at me. I kick it and they excitedly run after it. This game repeats a few times until one of the dogs starts to rip and chew the sponge ball. I fear I may be promoting an unhealthy game so I stop. 

I mount the bike to carry on and, much to my surprise, the chewing dog gives me the dirtiest of looks and growls. As I ride away it chases me! Remember folks, no good deed ever goes unpunished. That'll teach me to try and entertain random mutts.

A collie rips at a ball in the beautiful backdrop of Penmon Point
Fido here did not want me to leave. 

Narrow single track with steep inclines and sharp corners both challenge and please me as I make my way to Traeth Llanddona (Llanddona Beach). I don't find the sand but I find a bench on a car park where I indulge in more tea and a packet of Frazzles. The sun is now shining with nary a cloud in the heavens. 

The next beach, Lon Y Traeth, has sand a-plenty and I even get to ride a little of it. The road fizzles out onto some kind of quasi-car-park where upon I park next to an elderly couple drinking tea out of a flask and firmly discussing a grandchild's education, barely noticing myself. I take a few snaps and set my phone's navigation to find toilets in Moelfre.

A broad sandy parking area and clear blue skies at Lon-Y-Traeth
Just park here and admire the clear blue skies for a while.

Moelfre is nice. But the toilets are closed. Not to worry I'm not desperate. I set the nav for Amlwch toilets. Lovely countryside, quiet and peaceful and lush and green. Amlwch toilets are closed too. Not to worry I'm only a little desperate. 

I spend a short while admiring Amlwch's harbour. It's not a large place Amlwch and the harbour isn't massive but my word it's a solid sturdy construction. I don't know what they are expecting here but if I knew I think I'd be terrified. The tide is out and some boats rest on their hulls, in the deeper section a handful of working types mill around several trawlers. Peaceful, save for the omnipresent unseen barking dog.

Massive concrete harbour and dock at Amlwch with a few trawlers
Built to last yet calm and serene.

I head to familiar territory now, Trearddur Bay. The previous beaches I've visited are indeed lovely but I must admit I can see why Trearddur Bay gets all the plaudits. There's a multitudinous compendium of craggy bays with stony beaches and random sandy nooks and crannies all around. It's a complex fractal shoreline bounded by various houses and curiously quirky outbuildings. 

Bright sun and clear skies over rocky outcrops and stony beach at Trearddur Bay
Trearddur Bay is just showing off now.

In today's low sun and without the thronging tourist trade it feels extra special, I am indeed one lucky boy. Not.. quite... perfectly lucky though. The toilets are closed here too, such is the downside of being out of season. My bladder calls but I still cannot find a suitable wall to hide behind and I don't need an indecent exposure case to spoil this otherwise lovely day.

While Holyhead Tesco is hardly the quintessentially beautiful restroom I would like to have enjoyed, non-the-less it brings much relief. While here I purchase a snack for later then head out once more. I do find riding a motorcycle is truly enhanced once my eyeballs have stopped floating.

I contemplate just hitting the A5 but time is on my side. I head to Rhosneigr and park by the beach once more. I finish my flask of tea while sat on a wall overlooking the sandy beach. 

Bright low sun over the sandy beach at Rhosneigr
It's not a bad place to finish ya brew at Rhosneigr

A couple in an large electric Toyota look at me curiously. I ponder. They're around my age. Are they looking at me in sympathy, this poor scruffy biker drinking tea from a bent flask, swaddled in scruffy clothes and looking like a hobo? Or perhaps they envy my seemingly fancy free lifestyle, unbounded by the shackles of monthly car payments, impending grandkids and the horrors of middle aged spread?

If only they knew the truth. I'm as ordinary as brown envelopes in the post, I just dress badly and don't clean my bike as much as is expected. Soon I shall be one of the myriad millions of wage slaves once more. Urgh. Why can't I just keep on doing this?

I return to the hotel, passing through the ridiculously named Llanfairpwll-something-something-something-goch. 

What a couple of days this has been! Dramatic but (mostly) dry weather on Wednesday and glorious sunshine on Thursday. Wales in deepest winter is delightfully tourist depleted. Anglesey's easterly coast has been a revelation and demonstrated itself worthy of further investigation, I already knew the western side was lovely. 

I'm sure if the wind had blown and the rain had soaked me I'd have a different outlook on this micro adventure. But it did not and I have done my best to make the most of this good fortune. Maybe I shall return in the summer, but then it will be filled with tourists like myself, and likely raining too. 

The return leg? A55, M56, M6 and M61. Grey skies, nothing to report.

advertise here - contact ren@bikesandtravels.com

Winter Wonders In Wild Wales Might be a bit of a strange read this one folks. Inexplicably Ren seems to be in a (relatively speaking) positive frame of mind. Even old misery guts himself can't help but be lifted by a bit of Wales at it's best.
Anglesey In Winter Sun It might be worthwhile consulting with a quantum physicist because reality has taken a turn for the weird. Ren is having another good day. This time Anglesey in the sun almost cracks a smile on the old curmudgeon's face. Almost.

Reader's Comments

Bogger said :-
I have read many a tale of angst, stress and fraught stories from our dear Ren, which, to be honest, made me feel much better about my own lot in life. It was quite refreshing to be honest.

Now The balance has shifted. He's now happy and enjoying himself. I'm afraid I'll have stop visiting this website until things have returned to 'normal' and I can feel better about myself once more.

I'll just have to console myself and go and find another free bike to tinker with. Ah well.

Oh good luck with the new job (seriously). But in your current state of euphoria I'm sure there will be no problems and you'll soon be buying a super yacht and gloating over all of us.

Bogger.....the deflated
18/02/2022 12:58:38 UTC
Ian Soady¹ said :-
Come on, the poor bloke deserves a break. Nice pics by the way.
18/02/2022 16:37:23 UTC
Upt'North ¹ said :-
Look on the bright side Bogger the Deflated, at least the dog had him sussed.
Thanks Ed, I think, but please come back soon.

18/02/2022 16:45:49 UTC
Upt'North ¹ said :-
Deserves a Break!
He needs a job and a good scrub.
18/02/2022 16:47:17 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
Here's me thinking this old grumpy blog might need some more positivity! When something good actually happens for me you 'orrible lot want me to be miserable - again! 'Cept Mr Soady, he can appreciate talent (or luck).

I'm sure there will be plenty more misery forthcoming sooner or later. It's good to know that my regular downbeat take on my experiences brings a warm glow to Bogger's heart.
18/02/2022 20:09:25 UTC

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