Wednesday, 9 June 2021

Walking the Anglesey Coastal Path or How NOT To Murder Your Husband!

 


In my last post my husband complained that my running replacement - hiking up hills - almost finished off him and his dicky ticker.

So for our second post-lockdown mini-break I sourced a scenic and less energetic route - the Anglesey Coastal Path.

I fell in love with Anglesey around the same time as I fell in love with my husband in 1985. 

I would run out from my hall of residence in Bangor to the Menai Bridge in Anglesey, touch the nearest lampost and return back along the same route to my hall before most of my friends got out of bed.

 I felt so smug with my overseas trip that took around 30 minutes.

It turns out that the man I met in my first week at Bangor University had a family holiday home on the island in Cemaes Bay and we would catch a bus and spend a few nights there during the off season. 

Sadly, the house was sold (we don't talk about that) but we did return to Cemaes Bay in 2008 with our four children and my story won first prize in The Guardian's travel competition.

 You can read it here.

Over the years we have been back many times walking parts of the 125 mile coastal path and I still enjoy those out and back routes - the view is so very different when you walk back.

Last weekend we went with our two friends, Kev and Denise (professional walkers who have almost completed the Camino de Santiago) to walk a few more sections. 

We walked on three days for around 10 miles a day.

The beauty of an out/back walk is that you can stop at any point and turn back to make it shorter or longer but you will be guaranteed stunning scenery, beautiful beaches and that sense of wellbeing that only walking by water can bring.

Come and join me.


Day One

As we were staying in an Airbnb rental in Benllech we used the beautiful sandy beach as our starting point. 

On our first day we chose to walk right and keep going.


We decided to walk for 6 miles along the coastal path and turn back. 
On the route we walked past the most amazing caravan park, a five star resort called St David's. 
The path crosses flat rocks and rises onto seacliffs overlooking the bay. The cliffs rise to 30m in places and as you progress you can see wave-cut platforms formed by wave erosion.
We kept walking along the path and past the Ship Inn where there are public toilets (a great relief!) and across an estuary to Red Wharf Bay.
Navigating a path past a bull was a bit of a challenge but we made it.


 
After six miles we stopped, ate our butties and turned around but instead of walking along the path we went on the beach, only leaving to cross the estuary. 


The final count as we arrived back in Benllech came to 10.6 miles as we had cut off some distance by walking across the beach.

Day Two

From Benllech we turned left.

 Always a good thing! 

This was the prettiest route. 

It was a much more undulating route along the coastal path but there were so many more beautiful bays to stop and gaze at. 



Our route took us as far as Lligwy Beach but we passed many beautiful bays and beaches. 

A sandy one and then a pebble beach and then shingle. 

There was always a surprise and the wild flowers were wonderful.




The next town after Benllech is Moelfre and there were lots of pretty
pubs and cafes in the village.
Continuing along the undulating path was a Lifeboat Station with a visitor centre where you can discover key events in the island's history including the sad story of the Royal Charter which hit rocks in October 1859 and over 400 people perished.





Our 6 mile stopping point brought us to a beautiful pebble beach where visitors had created little monuments with the stones. 
It was so calming to sit here and eat our butties.


The walk back was just as beautiful and a totally different perspective. It was a sunny day and the colours of blue in the sea were stunning. My husband, an avid bird watcher was mesmerised by the Fulmar flying in and out of the cliffs.



Our final mileage was just over 10 miles as we took a short cut on the road on the way back.

Day Three

We had to be out of our rental by 10am so we drove to Beaumaris and parked in the seafront carpark that cost £5 for the day. 
From here we were straight on the coastal path and after a walk up the hill through a field of friendly cows we got onto the beach. 
It was beautiful but and a big BUT - around two miles of pebbly beach to navigate.

 I didn't mind but some of our party did so we missed this out on the way back.


The views from this beach were worth the discomfort as we could see Snowdonia and the mighty Snowdon across the water.





We had chosen this walk as it was the closest point to Puffin Island where my husband, aka The Birdman, had wanted to see. 


Sadly we didn't see any puffins but he did spot some Eider which were just beautiful.
We had to leave the beach for a little way here to get to Penmon Priory and through the toll road (free for walkers) to the headland opposite Puffin Island.



We finally made the beautiful Trywn-du meaning Black Point and a beautiful beach opposite Puffin Island to eat our butties and watch the Eider. Sadly, we didn't see any puffins but it was the journey as always, that was the most enjoyable part.

The Lesser Spotted Husband


We turned back and retraced our route to the beach and as Kev (the professional walker), had a Garmin he managed to find a route alongside the road and off the pebble beach.
We made it back to our car around 5pm and we were all home by 7pm.

Three days of sun, sea and no stress was just what the doctor ordered.

For anyone living in the North West of England you can probably get to Anglesey in a little over two hours, enjoy a beautiful 4/5 hour walk and head home on the same day.
For anyone further afield, I would book for next year or air out your tent as the island seems to be pretty much booked up for the rest of this summer.

If you want to follow the official path I would recommend the book, "Waking the Isle of Anglesey Coastal Path' by Carl Rogers. 
It's packed full of advice and information.
Next year we are planning to walk a few more routes around the other side of the island.
If you have any questions, please email me thesmallfabric@gmail.com and I will do my best to answer them.

Stay Safe.

Cheers!







Friday, 21 May 2021

How To Murder Your Husband

 

Yes, my husband accused me of trying to kill him when I took him on a scenic walk on our recent trip to the Lake District.

I have to admit the walk from Troutbeck Church up to Wansfell Pike and down to Ambleside and back was a tad challenging. 

But it was definitely worth the view as you can see here.


Happily, he did make it cheerfully up Orrest Head when the weather was a little kinder.

It was a minibreak of two halves. Tuesday and Wednesday were fabulous and Thursday and Friday wet.

Well you can't have everything although we did try.


We stayed at the fabulous Applegarth Villas in Windermere.

It was the third time we have stayed here and this year it was the third attempt to get there. Paul and I don't buy each other Christmas presents and instead spend the money on a little post-Christmas getaway.

After arriving on Tuesday morning we had a mooch around the shops and I scooped some bargains from the Scope Charity shop including two new Boden items - a bag and sandals - that must have come from the factory and a top and vintage skirt that had been shortened.


I wore the top when we ate out at our favourite restaurant, Francine's.



And I wore the sandals and bag when we ate in the hotel restaurant along with this Boden jumpsuit that I found on Vinted that still had the tags on.


Thursday was a washout so after a walk around the lake to watch some House Martins fly around we went to a little cinema in Bowness to watch the fabulous Oscar winner, Nomadland. 

The scenery was stunning and Frances McDormand is fabulous.


Our final dinner at the Lamplighter restaurant was just across the road from our hotel but we still got drenched.

We hadn't eaten out since December so it was a real treat to get three meals in one week. 

All lovely meals and well worth waiting for.


Friday morning we woke to yet more rain but it didn't put us off visiting the Leighton Moss RSPB sanctuary on our way home as my husband was keen to see some Marsh Harriers.

I just love the mallards.

 Easily pleased - that's me!



At least it's great weather for ducks.

See you again soon,

Jane X

Monday, 26 April 2021

Breton Bull Dog

 


Its spring on the farm and time to break out the Breton Top.
Fresh and clean but with long sleeves to keep out the chill wind that blows across the moss despite the sun.
And of course dungarees are essential farm kit.


The warmer weather has made a difference with the egg production and I picked up 3 eggs in the morning and 10 in the afternoon.

On my way home my daughter asked if I could pick up a child's t-shirt form the charity shop as the vet suggested it to stop Bud licking his staples as he recovers from the Bullae surgery.


Of course I couldn't resist this little stripey number.



 Phew it's hard work farming in the sun - time for a rest!

I hope you have a sunny day whatever the weather.

Today I wore
Shoes - Converse
Dungarees - Lucy & Yak
Breton - Boden



Thursday, 15 April 2021

Bud, Blossom and Bloopers.

 

What a week.

It started so well. 

I was back in school and looking forward to life getting back to some semblance of normality when the phone rang before 6am on Tuesday morning.

An early phone call is rarely good news.

It was my daughter.

Her little French Bulldog, Bud, my gorgeous grandoggy wasn't breathing properly and was clearly in pain.

I advised her to call the emergency vet.

They said they couldn't find anything wrong apart from full anal glands which they released.

They told her to go home.

She did but as soon as she arrived home she could see he was struggling some more.

At 8am she phoned her local vet and they asked for a video of him. It was clear he could barely breathe.

"Bring him in now," they said.

As soon as she arrived they whisked him off to a room and gave him oxygen asking my daughter to go home and wait by the phone.

A little while later they said he needed to be taken to the animal hospital as a node on his lung had burst. If my daughter hadn't brought him in when she did he would have died.

At the animal hospital the vet examined Bud and after a CT scan said they could try and operate but it wasn't certain he would survive. However, as he was a young dog it was worth a go. 

If it was his dog, the vet said, he would operate.

The operation took place yesterday and lasted four hours and part of his lung was removed.

Today he is recovering and has finally eaten some food.

If he continues to recover well he can be home by Saturday.

We knew we loved this little dog but not quite how much.

He will have to take it easy for the next few months but hopefully he will have lots of happy and healthy years to come.

I can't wait to have him back on the yoga mat with me.


And a reminder of the healing power of nature is that yesterday just as we got the good news about our precious Bud, this beautiful blossom in my front garden finally came to its fleeting fullness. 




Today the blossom petals are starting to float away - a reminder to cherish beauty whenever and wherever we find it moment by moment.



On a lighter note, just beware of stepping back when you take photos - luckily Bud was there to check I was OK after I fell into the pond last Sunday.



Today I wore:

Boots - Clarks

Denim Dress- H &M

Tuesday, 6 April 2021

Heidi Grows Up


Plaits always remind me of Heidi.

Did you read the story Heidi as a child?

It was written by Swiss writer Johanna Spyri in 1881 about a little girl who grows up with her grandfather and her friendship with the goatherd Peter and the seemingly disabled Clara.

I had no idea when I was a child that the book was so old.

After the first novel was published a sequel, Heidi Grows Up was eventually published in 1938 by Spyri's French and English translator Charles Tritten.

I never read the sequel but the title of the sequel always comes to mind when I plait my hair.


To be honest, I am bored with my hair and will try anything while I wait for my hair appointment on April 14th. The style seemed to create a boho vibe with this new to me Zara dress from ebay.



And as it's so cold, I wore the dress with leggings and a trusty tank top.

What a contrast to last week when it was my youngest son's 21st birthday and there were record breaking temperatures for March.


It wasn't the birthday he had envisaged but we did him proud.
How fast those 21 years have flown.
Still, I got the chance to wear the Karen Millen leopard dress I had originally bought for my nephew's wedding which was cancelled last December.
One day I will look back on all this lockdown nonsense and laugh - I hope!

Today I wore:
Boots - M & S
Dress - Zara from ebay
Tank Top - Oasis
Leggings - Dorothy Perkins


 

Thursday, 25 March 2021

A Walk On The Wild Side

 

I love the guided walks by Vix and Mike so I thought I would share what is almost my daily walk with you.

It starts at St Luke's Church in Formby which is a mile from my house.

The church hit the national headlines last year with the arrival of the Hot Vicar.

You can read about him here if you have the time or inclination!

Originally built as a chapel, the building was destroyed in a sandstorm in 1739.

 The church we see today was built in 1854.

It is a pretty church and I have been to many services here both happy and sad including the funeral of my friend's sister who died aged 22 due to a botched operation.


It's very popular with walkers and there are lots of picnic tables.
In non covid times there is a tearoom in the grounds.

In the churchyard there is a lovely tribute to the world's oldest Lifeboat Station which was located on the beach nearby.
It was built in 1793.

Sadly, only a few bricks remain but a great meeting point for my Beach Yoga sessions in the summer.



The path through the church takes you through a gate and into the woods.



The pinewoods were created by the local Formby family over 120 years ago.

Once you get into the pinewoods there are so many different paths to take which means the walk is never the same.



The woods lead to an open path towards the dunes.



And then we are here on the beach.

In less than 20 minutes from the car we have an historic church, a woodland and beach walk.

The beach is now managed by the National Trust and quite often used for filming.
It was the setting for the final scene in series 4 of Peaky Blinders with Tom Hardy and Cillian Murphy.



We usually walk along the beach for anything from 5 -30 minutes and take one of the paths back to the woods and return through the churchyard.



Formby beach is one of the finest examples of a moving sand dune system so every day is always different and that's without the weather!


On the way back we saw a little egg hiding in this tree in the churchyard.


I hope you enjoyed the trip and if you are ever in Formby, give me a shout.


Today I wore:

Shacket - Next

Shoes - Nike

Leggings - Sweaty Betty

Tuesday, 16 March 2021

Kickin' Boots

 

I'm fed up of winter now.

But its still too cold to wear shoes without socks.

I need some boots and I saw these platform white boots in the Asos sale.

I love them.

My husband hates them - he calls them Clown Boots.



He has no taste - obviously - he chose me!


Frankie doesn't care what I wear.
All shoes/boots are equally chewable in his eyes.


In order to hurry the spring along which officially starts on Sunday - I sorted out my wardrobe which was very therapeutic.
While I was watching 'This Is Us' I came across a saying that was new to me - kicking boots.
Do you know what that means?
It made me laugh.
Answer at the end of this post.






Today I wore:
Boots - Asos
Jumpsuit - Next


* urban dictionary definition

kickin' boots: to have sex

E.g I caught them kickin' boots in the back of his pickup truck


Walking the Anglesey Coastal Path or How NOT To Murder Your Husband!

  In my last post my husband complained that my running replacement - hiking up hills - almost finished off him and his dicky ticker. So for...