Getting to the End.

I was always somewhat ambivalent about finishing this trip in Caernarfon or Holyhead.  By Caernarfon I would have done all the mountains and reached the sea. What more was needed? Well, Caernarfon doesn’t have the right sort of railway station so I would have had to cycle to Bangor anyway, and my editor encouraged me to finish with a photo of South Stack lighthouse.
So what was there to see? Magnificent views of the Menai Straits from the smooth tarmac of the bike path along the old Caernarfon to Bangor railway line.  Close-up views of Telford’s wonderful suspension bridge and The Swellies, the tidal rapids between Telford’s bridge and Stephenson’s Brittania bridge. And Llanfair PG.
I won’t try typing out the full version of the village with the longest name on a mobile phone keypad.  I recall hearing a story that the reason for the long name was basically a tourist attraction.  When I were a lad you could buy a four-inch long cardboard platform ticket at the station.  Tastes change but the tradition continues.  In what used to be the station yard is now Shopping World, what passes for a tourist attraction these days.  It had certainly attracted coaches from as far away as Great Yarmouth. For the passing cyclist
at the end of a tour it was a useful place to pick up the obligatory box of Welsh fudge to take back to work.
There’s an old folk tale (which I just made up) that when Duw had finished creating Wales, he had some bits left over. Not enough for a big mountain range or majestic moorland, mostly just the twisty-turny bits of country lanes that wouldn’t fit anywhere else.  Being short of time he dumped them down in the sea just a bit away from the mainland.  Not quite flat, with surprisingly many steep ups and downs. That’s why the best thing about cycling in Anglesey is the view of the mainland. 
And what a view it is! From the Carneddau to Bardsey the whole of Snowdonia was stretched out on my left as I pushed my way into the stiff westerly that was trying to keep me from Holyhead.
Anglesey does have its own little mountain, and my campsite was halfway up it. This had the advantage that it wasn’t much further to South Stack lighthouse, which really was the end of the road. Time to press-gang a couple from Somerset into taking my photo and admire the views.  From the top of the headland one could see the Wicklow mountains.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *