Stars, Birds & Shipwrecks in Holyhead

South Stack, Holyhead

This blog is the merging of two trips to Holyhead with two different experiences – both of which were mindblowingly beautiful.

Wales gets better each time I go.  I’ve been quite a few times now and each time I’m gobsmacked at how unspoiled and glorious it is.

The first trip to Holyhead was our second journey in the Moho and a spur of the moment jolt to Wales.

We hadn’t planned on going away on the weekend beginning March 23rd, but after everyone moping round on the Saturday we decided at teatime to just go.  4pm we disembarked.

We arrived at our destination in pitch black, with no 4G (the stuff of nightmares) – it was a bit scary.

I fixed the kids their supper then exited the caravan to walk to dogs in the dark.  It was insanely black.

Then my eyes adjusted.  I have never ever seen as many stars in my life.  It was so clear.

Chris is obsessed with stargazing – and what dya know – he had brought his tripod and camera with him.

I ordered him – get outside now and start clicking – its AMAZING! Worrying the clouds might spoil it if he didn’t immediately get snapping away.

The shots turned out pretty well I reckon! Awesome!

South Stack Lighthouse & RSPB Castle

The historic South Stack Lighthouse is located on a small island reached via a descent of 400 steps down the steep mainland cliffs.

South Stack Rock lies separated from Holyhead Island by 30 metres of turbulent sea. The coastline from the breakwater and around the south western shore is made of large granite cliffs rising sheer from the sea to 60 metres.

To tour the lighthouse see the guidelines and prices here.

Unfortunately Teddy was a little too small – and we had the dogs with us – so we didn’t go down this particular time.  Instead we went on some stunning cliffside walks (less dangerous than it sounds) which the children & dogs totally loved!

The only sound you will hear up here are the birds tweeting.  Its sooooo quiet!

And then we went to check out the cool RSPB Castle and look through the binoculars!

This is a really cool information centre and the guy in there will give you mountains of information and help on spotting the local wildlife.

On our first visit there wasn’t a great deal there as it was still too cold.  Our second visit however nesting season had begun and there were thousands of Guillemots – and 80 Puffins – he said.

Now I never saw one – this is like ‘Wheres Wally’ in the bird spotting world.  I just couldn’t see them at all – but lots of people insisted they were there.

I felt a bit sorry for the guillemots and other birds.  Yes I’m mad.  Everyone was there for the puffins.  But the guillemots were awesome too.

Alas my puffin quest still goes on (Attempt 1 here) – I will get some shots of them this summer I promise you that!

Holyhead

Having seen South Stack Lighthouse twice we decided to venture further into Holyhead and found the beautiful harbour.  The sun was shining it was actually beginning to feel a little warm and life started feeling rosy. We had a little lunch in the marina.  Lovely jubbly.

Chris went and got some more fishing tackle (rolling eyes) and after driving round a little we found the entrance to the pier – which passes an abandoned castle and abandoned house.  I mentally noted I am defo going there to explore.

We walked along the pier -it literally goes on forever.  I think we googled half way down it to discover its not a pier. Its actually called Holyhead Breakwater….it is a Victorian Stucture which took 28 years to complete and was opened in 1873.  The longest in the UK – measuring a whopping 1.7 Miles!!!

As you enter the pier we noticed 20-30 smashed boats – really expensive boats – I couldn’t get my head round what had happened here – but it looked scary!

Chris got talking with the security at the breakwater shipping yard who told us exactly what happened and the devastation.

Storm Emma

The devastation in Holyhead occurred at the beginning of March 2018 when two massive storms unfortunately collided with each other.  Storm Emma and The Beast from the East joined forces and destroyed more than 80 Boats.  It left millions of pounds of damage and 26 miles of coastline pollution.

However the clean up and rebuild has begun.

Special thanks to Chris from Eye in the Sky Cinematography for permission to show this video.  Its so well made and captures the haunting calm after the storm.

Exploration Time!

Sunday morning arrived – totally glorious again – and it was time to go explore with the dogs.  It was lovely and quiet with just a couple of other dog walkers around.  I walked and checked out these abandoned buildings.  Proper cool!

I found Porth Y Felin House.  It just looked so nice! Why was it abandoned? I wish I lived there!

I discovered Porth y Felin house was built in 1849 by the contractor of the breakwater for the use of the project’s engineer, but has also remained empty since its use as a former RAF headquarters.

Soilders Point

A really awesome turreted house, built to house the contractor of Holyhead Breakwater.

Shipwreck?

As I wondered round taking lovely photos….such as this….

I spotted this sign…

Intriguing….lets have a google eh?

“SS Castilian was carrying a cargo of munitions to Lisbon when she struck East Platters Rocks, near The Skerries, Anglesey, Wales and on 12 February 1943 sank.

In 1987 a Royal Navy clearance vessel spent several months removing unexploded ordnance from Fydlyn Bay nearby believed to have come from the wreck. In 1997 the location of the wreck on East Platters Rocks was designated under section 2 of the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973 with a 500 m exclusion zone regarding scuba diving activities because of its potentially dangerous cargo.”

I shan’t go diving there then! Wowsers!

Cant go to Wales without seeing a beach!

Sunday brought with it ideas of foraging for lunch, so we decided to try find some mussels.

Honestly we are utterly useless at it.

The most we managed to get was some wild garlic.  I offered to make some wild garlic soup with the cream Chris has preemptively bought in hope of putting it over his Moules marinière,

But hey ho! We had yet another fabulous time in Wales – time to get back to Yorkshire!

Hwyl fawr Cymru – We will be back Soon!

And if all that didn’t get you giddy – he’s a small VLOG and my dodgy Welsh Accent! Now get yersens over to Holyhead and check this stunning place out for yourselves!

 

Love Fran x

 

 

About Frances Stoner 29 Articles
Mum of "The Traveling Family UK" - here there and everywhere - love life and living. I enjoy the odd (bucket of) wine and love trying new food. My kids drive me mad but keep me driven. My husband comes up with the ideas - I execute them - and him. Oh and my dogs....my babies forever! Love them!

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