Monday, August 31, 2009

31 August 2009: Last Day on Anglesey and bad weather

Inevitable I suppose on a bank holiday!
We spent much of the morning "in" then drove along the coast road to Holyhead and shopped in the Tesco supermarket, before lunching at the McDonalds, with the rain drumming down outside
Holyhead is quite pleasant on a sunny day, here is a distant shot from across the bay of one of the Ferries arriving.
Driving back we remembered how different the island looks when the weather permits you to see it, the terrain is much more diverse than one might expect, with rocky crags on top of the hills and capels nestling in the valleys.

And there are many windmills , most in ruins as here, though some have strange "caps" built on top of them and are serving new purposes.There are moorland areas, and even swampy ones, but manily the island is blessed with luxuriant pasture land

The coastline too is very varied, from the shingles a Cemlyn, Bay to the huge majestic sweep of Red Wharf bay, and the Menai Strait with the Snowdonian mountains in the distance, seen here at Beaumaris Pier

All being well, we will be here again another year.In the meantime, perhaps a collage of our recent holiday here and also in Northumberland in celebration.
It has been good!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

30th August 2009 Pili Palas and Beumaris area

As befits a bank holiday weekend it was raining this morning early on, so we decided it would be a good day to Visit "Pili Palas" again, for another bash at the butterflies.

As we drove there we could see that for a change at least a small area on the mainland was having better weather, (but there was a big storm over the mountains.)
We got into the butterfly enclosure early and were lucky enough to have it virtually to ourselves for half an hour, so we happily snapped away!

Although it was only a few days since our last visit there was a very different group of butterflies to the last time, with more darker coloure ones than before: the poor things obviously have a very short life span as adults!

There are other animal attractions there her is a rather splendid lizard
And they have some interesting insects and arachnids too, here is a rather splendid tarantula

We had an early dinner in the excellent cafe, then drove back to Llangefni to the Asda, before deciding to nip down to Beaumaris, as it looked to be brighter in that direction.
This assumption proved to be correct, though by this time (early afternoon) it was very busy.
We continued along the coast road and stopped on a beach car park and took some telephoto shots across the Menai Strait at the Storm in the mountains,

and also at the Great Orme and Llandudno in the far distance, enjoying a sunny afternoon.

We then headed back to the van and soon ran into rain, which followed us all the way back.
It had been our intention to go out again later if the weather changed.
We noticed that a lot of caravans were moving off the island, no doubt the owners were unfortunate enough to have to work on the bank holiday!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

29th August 2009 : Saturday Penrhyn Castle again

We woke to find it was cooler today, after overnight rain.
The site wardens were holding a Bring and Buy sale outside the offfice, in aid of the "MacMillan Cancer nurses." so we contributed some video DVD's and books on our way out.
Pat wanted to revisit Penrhyn Castle as the gift shop and garden held something she wanted to see, so after briefly shopping in LLangefni we crossed the Brittania Bridge and arrived there shortly after it opened at 10:00 AM.
To our surprise the traffic was very light and we had no delays on our journey.

As before we went straight to the walled garden and enjoyed the flowers and took quite a few photos of the wide variety of flowers and even flowering sub-tropical trees

We got back to the gift shop, but Pat couldn't find what she was looking for, but nevermind, we had a rather nice cooked lunch in the restaurant before I walked down to the car park and brought ithe car backto the castle as Pat was having trouble with her arthritis.
We had a leisurely ride back to camp to find that the bring and buy sale was still underway, so we bought some more paperback books and retired to the caravan with the intention of going out later on.
This plan was scotched by the weather, as it rained, then later when it cleared up we were just too lazy to go out again!

29th August 2009 : Saturday

Friday, August 28, 2009

28th August: Parys Mountain

It rained again during the night, but sunny early morning, so we decided to go and visit Parys Mountain and look at the "great Pit" opencast mine.
We took an inland route through the by lanes, which took rather longer than expected as there weren't any sign posts!
However we did finally arrive and as before really enjoyed the strange alien landscape of many colours.
Because of the sheer size of the pit, it could only really be handled with a panoramic view, so I did this one.

And here also is a 300mm shot of cave that can just be made out a little to the right of the middle of this panorama: can you make out where it is?

There is now a small hut with information about the mine, and some interesting facts were explained, for instance the water draing into the mine had to be pumped out, and it was so Sulphuric (Ph2) that the pumps had to be made of Oak, not iron to make them last.
Recently a great effort has been made to drain the underground workings, and so far 21 miles of tunnels have been drained!
We went down from here into Amwllch and found a great little Cafe for lunch, then as it started to rain we retreated back to the caravan for the afternoon, going out again after tea.
We then had a genral tour round the local district and found this quiet road that ran down to the waters edge at a place called Traeth Dulas
On the coast road there was an obvious increase in traffic as visitors for the bank holiday started to arrive.
After tea our route took us along the high level coast side roads and I did a normal shot of point lynas , and also a panoramic one as the sun peeked out between the rain clouds
It had been another good day, even though the weather had been somewhat changeable.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

27th August 2009 Caernarvon Castle

The weather was different again this morning, there was a heavy dew, but the sky was clear and the sun shining brightly.
We we were away promptly and despite gathering clouds over the mainland were soon into Caernarvon.
We were surprised how badly the castle was singposted but did manage to find somewhere just outside the walls of the town and hiked in
The Castle is very impressive but also very difficult to photograph, as the sheer scale of the place mkes it impossible for any ordinary lens to deal with it.
To cover it adequately it was necessary to resort to doing panoramas.
Otherwise this is the maximum area of view possible.

Here is apanorama taken a few yards back from this picture, this was done using four overlapping images.

We went at first to the landward end of the castle, and on the first floor there is a balcony outside the wall that gave these views

Pat looked around on the ground floor, and I climbed into the towers and upper wall walkways.

This view is looking down onto the visitors entrance to the castle, you can see the "snake" which is the wheelchair access ramo quite clearly.
Without the facility to do panoramas this would have been impossible,it consists of three separate images.
From this point I moved alongthe top walkway to the seaward end of the castle and this view is looking back towards the mountains

There were visitors of many different nationalities in the castle, with large contingents from Japan and America, the Americans in particular seemed to be in a very enthusiasic state of mind and really enjoying their visit.
We debated whether to have a tour inland, but as can be seen from the inland view, the clouds were gathering over the mountains, so we went back onto Anglesey and had our lunch in the National Trust Restaurant at Plas Newydd.
We then returned to the caravan, and that was it for the day as the rain stared again!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

25th August Amwllch and rain!

Woke to the familiar sound of wind and rain, and this continued right through the morning, so it wasn't worth going out, we contented ourselves with bookas and tea, and lazing around. Most people on site seem to have stayed in bed!

We didn't even get out at lunchtime, instead did ourselves a bacon sandwich and it was mid afternon before the rain stopped. We immediately got ready and went down to Amwllch harbour and into the heritage centre where I took this view of the outer harbour through the window.
There were some fascinating storyboards of the history of the towm and its connection with copper Mining and also shipbuilding, a big change from its roots as a fishing village.
Among the curios on display was this ship in a light bulb (admittedly an industrial one, but very clever nonetheless
We then had an ice cream and walked down onto the harbour where there wasa at least one historic square riggedvessel, I set off to get closer to try and find a better view, but then the rain closed in, so it was back to the car.
Rather than go back to sit in the caravan we drove along the coast to Holyhead and had our tea in the McDonalds there, which was very busy, then back to the van as it had started raining yet again!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

August 25th: Plas Newydd, and strange weather!

it rained very hard during the night, but seemed to ease a little mid morning, so we went to the mainland with the intention of visiting Caernarvon Castle.
Unfortunately the weather got worse on the way and it rained cats and dogs. We decided to shop instead and went to the local Morrisons where we ordered a breakfast and ate it for lunch as the service was that slow!
However, as we left we noticed that the sun was out over Anglesey, so the best move was to go back and visit Plas Newydd.
We took the shuttle buggy down to the house to save Pat's legs.
It broke down en route, but since the road was all downhill we coasted the rest of the way!
We weren't bothered about going round the house (it is splendid, but we have visited before,) we had come to see the garden, and enjoy the flowers, which were especially attractive as it had just rained.

This is a view of the front of the house
Andthis of the rear

As expected the flowers were very attractive

I took this photo looking over towards the mainland, you can see the sort of weather they were having!
Then we went into the house to the cafe where there was a second hand book sale under way.
We found some to our satisfaction and were pleased that the other buggy had been pressed into service so we could ride in style back up the hill.
I still felt I could get a distant shot of the castle so we drove down the liitle side road that runs along the edge of the Menai strait and leads to the sea aquarium, and used the 55to 200 zoom at maximum extension .
Back to the van for a rest after this and after tea a brief run down to the local beach, Traeth Bychan, which was surprisingly busy this late in the day and scenic, too!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Monday 24th August: Cemaes and Cemllyn Bays

Thankfully the rain stopped during the night and we woke once again to sunshine, we went first along the coast road to Amwllch, and had a tour round the districk, then on to Cemaes bay where we stopped in a little layby high among the houses for our morning cuppa and I did a series of shots to turn into a panorama.
We then continued to Cemlyn Bay and parked on the shingles at the right hand end of the bay, again I took several shots and combined then into a view.

the further end of the bay with the abandoned cottages drew us next, and we had a walk along the shingles and I took two vertical shots to combine this view of the foreshore and Wylffa Nuclear Power Station across the bay.
We then toured the lanes near the coast, the scenery was very attractive with isolated farms,

Quaint villages and abandoned windmills
and views across the bay towatds Holyhead and the giant Ireland ferries.

We drove into the outskirts of holyhead to have our luch in the Morrisons Supermarket, and after shopping there moved on to the Tesco to get some photographic prints done in the machine, to use as postcards, and as a gift to the inshore lifeboat men at Moelfre
After fu#illing up with diesel (£1.06 per litre) we drove back home , diverting down side roads to Rhoscolyn as I wanted to photograph the wind farm with the Snowdonia mountains in the background.
We then dropped into Moelfre so that I could drop off the prints to the lifebat station, I left them with the lady who was in charge there.
We got back to camp mid afternoon and lazed about after that.
What is so nice about Anglesey is that there are so many little winding lanes in the interior with little or no traffic, and the countryside is far more varied than you might expect on an island, with almost every imaginable kind of terrain that you will encounter anywhere in the British isles, it really is a great place to come to!