247 Moelfre to Red Wharf Bay

My leg is still painful, but my limp has improved – or maybe I’ve just got used to walking with it. In any case, dosed with painkillers, I feel I can manage a few miles today. So I drive to Moelfre and set off walking along the coast path.

It’s a nice route, winding above low cliffs with a good view back to Moelfre.

01 Molefre, Ruth Livingstone walking the Isle of Anglesey Coastal Path

I’m confident I can make the next 4 or 5 miles to the bus stop in the next village, Benllech. And, if I feel OK, I could even walk a further 2 miles to Red Wharf Bay where there is access to another bus stop.

But coastal walking is never straightforward. I’ve gone several hundred yards (it feels longer) when I come across a path closed sign. What?! Why don’t they put these notices at the start of the path? Anyway, the path ahead looks OK. What would you do?

I carry on, of course, climbing over the barrier that blocks off a wooden walkway…

02 closed coastal footpath, Moelfre, Ruth's coastal walk

… and reaching the point where a landslide has carried away the path. Hmm. If I was feeling fit and strong, I would be tempted to scramble across. The cliffs are low. The ground is dry. It doesn’t look dangerous.

03 landslip on coastal path, Ruth walking through Moelfre, Anglesey

But I’m not feeling fit or strong. So I turn back and retrace my steps, all the way back to the beginning.

There is a deviation in place, of course, and it follows the road. After walking down the main street, I turn off into a residential area and, eventually, the road becomes a country lane.

04 road walking, hiking through Moelfre, Ruth's coastal walk

I’m relieved to find the coastal path again. It joins my lane. The blockage and the deviation is much more clearly signed at this end.

05 end of the diversion, Ruth's coastal hike through Moelfre, Anglesey

I look back along the coast. I’m sure I could have made it, if I’d only tried the scramble.

06 path not travelled, Ruth Livingstone in Moelfre, Wales

In fact, the total deviation, including the double walking I did at the beginning, amounts to just under a mile. It’s only a little inconvenience really. But is seems like a BIG thing today.

Onwards. I walk along a path lined with flowers and grasses, which sets my hay fever off.

07 flowers and grasses, Ruth Livingstone walking in Wales

Now, I’m not only limping, but red-eyed and snuffling too.

And, a few minutes later, am overtaken by a couple with a dog. They ask how far I’m walking and express surprise when I say ‘Red Wharf Bay’. Clearly, they don’t think I’m going to make it that far.

I reach a little cove. Porth yr Aber on my map. Pretty.

08 Traeth Bychan, Ruth's coastal walk, Anglesey

And beyond here I walk through a field radiant with buttercups and dotted with clover. Shame about the caravan park on the other side. And a shame about my hay fever.

09 Holiday Camp, Traeth Bychan, Ruth's coastal walk

The caravan park sits above another pretty beach. I’m walking south-easterly and into the sun, and so can only take a decent photograph when I round the curve of the bay and am walking up the other side.

10 Traeth Bychan, Ruth hiking in Anglesey

Next, I limp my way around a little headland, Penrhyn, and past whitewashed holiday cottages.

11 Penrhyn point near Benllech, Anglesey, Ruth's coastal hike

The next section of coast is very appealing. It’s a shame the air is heavy with humidity – creating a muggy haze – because the view across to the hills on the other side of Red Wharf Bay would be stunning.

12 towards Benllech, Ruth hiking in Anglesey

The murky atmosphere makes it hard to tell where the sea ends and the sky begins, and creates the weird illusion that small fishing boats are floating in air.

13 murky haze, Ruth Livingstone

There are no woods marked on my map, but the path climbs higher and passes through a wooded area.

14 coast path, Moelfre to Benllech, Ruth's coastal walk, Wales

Below are rocks and the sea. And fishermen.

15 fishermen on Anglesey Coast Path, Ruth Livingstone

Although the path is easy to follow, I’m finding it hard going. My limp is not only slowing me down – although I am managing a speed of around 1.8 mph, according to my Garmin, which is considerably more than yesterday – but my stumbling gait is interrupting the natural rhythm of my walk. In addition, the heavy air and my hay fever add to my fatigue.

So, I am not happy when I come across another deviation sign. The map provided looks very clear and detailed, but doesn’t seem to tally with either my OS map or my Garmin map, and I can’t work it out.

16 path closed, Ruth walking to Benllech, Anglesey

Certainly a ‘you are here’ arrow would be helpful – but there isn’t one. Neither are there any helpful signs telling me which way to go and no obvious footpath to follow, apart from the one I’m already on.

Should I continue? Should I turn back? What would you do?

In the absence of a clear alternative, I carry on. And a short distance later come across some workmen who have been rebuilding the path over a recent landslip.

17 workmen repairing path, Ruth's coastal Walk, Benllech, Anglesey

Luckily their work is nearly finished and I can continue without any difficulties. They do warn me there is a film crew ahead.

As I walk onwards, I see the crew below me. Are they filming a news bulletin about the recently opened path? It’s not clear and I wish I’d asked the workmen.

18 film crew, Benllech, Ruth's coastal walk, Wales

I’m approaching Benllech and go past yet another static caravan park. In the bay below are a couple of kayaks, little dashes of colour moving slowly across the flat sea.

19 Benllech, Ruth's coastal walk, Anglesey

At Benllech I stop at a café. It’s 1pm but I feel too hot for a cooked lunch. So I ask if I can have strawberries and ice cream instead? For lunch? Yes. No problem. Thank you.

After lunch, I walk along the promenade and follow the path as it climbs the low hill on the other side of Benllech. It’s a popular place and the first time I’ve seen a substantial number of people sitting out on the beach this year.

20 Benllech Sand, Ruth's coastal walk, Anglesey

My path climbs higher. The beach is actually quite long and the further you get away from the car parks at Benllech the less people you see on the sands. The far end is practically deserted.

21 walking the coast path, Ruth at Traeth Benllech

No woods are marked on my map, but I’m walking through trees again – and I notice the trunks are leaning downhill, towards the sea. Usually the prevailing wind bends the trees in the opposite direction, away from the shore. So this is a little odd. Maybe the ground is slipping?

22 Ruth hiking from Benllech to Red Wharf Bay

I walk across a pretty beach and then around a flat headland covered in caravan pitches. Suddenly I realise I’m walking through a holiday park. And I’m trespassing.

The good thing about being a weird-looking old woman – with red eyes, a sniffling nose, and a limp – is that nobody comes near or challenges me.

I pick up the official coastal path again, which runs inland around the perimeter of the park.

23 caravan site, Red Wharf Bay, Ruth's coastal walk

A short time later I reach Red Wharf Bay. It’s the name of both a long, lop-sided bay, and the name of a small village. I’ve reached the village. It’s on the northern end of the bay.

I sit on a wall and watch a man struggling to pull his springer spaniel out of the water. The dog seems unable to keep its balance, repeatedly staggering and falling off the slipway. Is the concrete too slippery? Or is the dog putting up a bit of passive resistance because it doesn’t want to come out of the sea? Anyway, I find its antics amusing.

24 Dog at Red Wharf Bay, Ruth Livingstone

Later, sitting on a nearby bench, I strike up a conversation with the owners of the spaniel. Apparently it has a degenerative brain condition and can’t keep its balance. Now I feel a bit mean for laughing at it. A woman nearby joins in the conversation. She has an old retriever with her. It’s blind, deaf and has paralysis of its back legs, making it fall over too.

I don’t know whether to be depressed by this conversation or whether to cheer up. It makes all my physical problems seem minor.

I can’t see a red wharf in Red Wharf Bay, but I do see a shingle spit running out from the shore and forming a sheltered harbour. It’s a pretty place.

25 Red Wharf Bay, Ruth's coastal walk, Anglesey

Unfortunately, whenever I think of the name ‘Red Wharf’ I can’t help converting it into ‘Red Dwarf’.

Now, where’s the footpath to get out of here? I wonder aimlessly for a few minutes, between the pub and a café selling ice cream. Perhaps I should give up and walk up the road instead to find the bus stop? But I’m reluctant to stop now. It’s only just past 3pm and I feel I can manage another couple of miles.

Ah. I spot the path – hidden between the big tree and the pub’s outhouses.

26 pub at Red Wharf Bay, Ruth hiking the Isle of Anglesey Coastal Path

The path climbs and I’m alone in a narrow avenue of trees.

27 Ruth hiking the coastal path from Red Wharf Bay, Anglesey

A short while later, and the trail dips down again to run along the shore. I look back towards Red Dwarf (sorry) Red Wharf Bay, with its shingle spit and the ships in the harbour.

28 ships moored at Red Wharf Bay, Ruth's coastal trek

The shore has changed from sand to a mixture of mud and marshland. I meet a couple of workmen and ask what they’re doing. Improving the path, they tell me. It’s too boggy.

29 workmen improving coastal path, Red Wharf Bay, Ruth Livingstone

I walk on the improved path. The new layer of shingle keeps my feet dry, but is rough and difficult to walk on. No doubt it will bed down with time.

30 improved path, Red Wharf Bay, Ruth's coastal walk

Red Wharf Bay is shaped like a lazy tick mark, with a pronounced curve at its western end and a trailing flat line sloping off to the east. I’ve just reached the base of the curve  and here, at the signpost below, I’m going to turn off the path.

31 Talgwyn Isaf, Red Wharf Bay, Ruth's coastal walk, Anglesey

A quiet country lane leads upwards toward the main road and the bus stop. It’s only 1/2 a mile at most, but my protesting calf thinks it’s much further.

  • Reasons to be happy: I can WALK, if only at the stately pace of 1.8 mph.
  • Reasons to be miserable: my leg still hurts and on top of this I now have hay fever.

Miles walked today = 6.5 miles
Wales Coast Path so far = 967 miles
Total distance around the coast: 2,474 miles


About Ruth Livingstone

Walker, writer, photographer, blogger, doctor, woman, etc.
This entry was posted in 16 Anglesey and North Wales and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to 247 Moelfre to Red Wharf Bay

  1. Great post Ruth, really enjoying your increbible jounrey so far. Red Wharf Bay actually comes from the Welsh name, Traeth Coch which means Red Beach. Apparently its named so after a huge battle that took place there in the 1100s, leaving the beach red with blood.

    • Wow, what a gruesome image! I wondered why it was called ‘red’ and thought it might be the colour of the sandstone rocks, but clearly there was a much better reason. Thank you for sharing the story.

  2. Anabel Marsh says:

    Glad things improved – a bit.

  3. El D says:

    Glad you’re back on your feet again, if a little more slowly!

  4. Rita Bower says:

    Hope you’re fully recovered by now….well done for ‘carrying on walking!’

  5. Wow! I hope you feel better soon. I’m so impressed by your journey. The images you chose are beautiful, and I love that part about Red Dwarf. 🙂 I haven’t seen that show in ages.

  6. Jacquie Butler says:

    Glad you’re back walking and with sense of humour well intact. What odds on meeting two physically challenged dogs while you are struggling with your own leg.

    • It was a coincidence, wasn’t it. People often tell me I should get a dog to accompany me on my walks. But, apart from the challenge of looking after the dog as well as myself, dogs age much more quickly than humans. If I’d started walking with a dog when I set out on this trek, it would be 6 years older by now!

  7. The little white cottage on its own on the small headland was, for many many years, a derelict shell with just four grey concrete walls. It’s only in the last couple of years that someone has taken it over, built it up and made it habitable. As you walked along the path through the wooded area after that cottage you would have been directly below the camp site where I stay – it’s right on the cliff top to the far right of your photo of Benllech beach, and the static caravans are on the sister site next door. One of my favourite early morning dog walks is from the camp site and down through the static site to the beach, along the beach to the site where you were ‘trespassing’ then back again to the tent – gives me an appetite for breakfast 🙂

    • Wow! What a wonderful place to stay. (I’m afraid I’m often rude about caravan parks on my blog, but have a totally different attitude to proper camping!) Now, Eunice, I feel we’ve been for a walk together 🙂

  8. jcombe says:

    On the move again, that’s good. I like you tend to ignore path closed signs as I find that 90% of the time you can get through – though I have yet to encounter anyone actually working on the path I would be worried I’d get “told off” for ignoring the signs!

    I do agree about signing path closures properly. Someone must have to walk along the path to put up the “path closed” sign so why not put one at either end of the path as well? So frustrating, you don’t see “road closed” signs half way along a road with no other route.

    • Just wish they’d use proper OS maps too, along with a ‘you are here’ arrow and some sort of idea of scale. At least this map was readable, but I still couldn’t make sense of it.

  9. theresagreen says:

    I’m glad you were on the mend by the time you got here and it’s oddly reassuring to know that doctors are as prone to wild self-diagnoses as the rest of us! You certainly need your sense of humour to cope with the come-day, go-day pace of the workings of Wales – similar to that of Southern Spain!

  10. Marie Keates says:

    Oh dear! As if an injured leg wasn’t bad enough. I’m always so glad I don’t get hay fever. Still, going forward is progress no matter how slowly. I think I’d have been thinking Red Dwarf in my head all day too!

  11. So sad to read about those suffering dogs.

    I do find it irritating when someone posts a diversion sign up without a ‘you are here’ marker… I doubt many dog walkers carry an OS map with them. I was walking somewhere on Sunday where I found this very thing… But I couldn’t make sense of it. The redirection order was 11 months old but the route they’d drawn was no different to my three-year old map.

    • the solution is so obvious and ridiculously easy – a simple ‘you are here’ arrow and some idea of scale. I remember once looking at a diversion map in horror, thinking I would have to walk several miles out of my way, only to realise it was a mere 20 yards or so. The map was a large one!

  12. Karen White says:

    I instantly converted Red Wharf to Red Dwarf! There were some very pretty views despite the haze.

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