Wales Coast Path Run – Trearddur Bay to Holyhead
Coast Path Vital Stats
Trearddur Bay to Holyhead
- Distance: 12.53 miles
- Elevation Gain Today: 472m
- Highest Elevation: 174m
- Time: 2:16:46
- Av. Pace: 10:55 mins/mile
- Av. Heart Rate: 134bpm
- Max Heart Rate: 169bpm
- Calories: 1298
Totals to Date
- Total Distance: 286.30 miles
- Total Time: 52:52:06
- Total Elevation Gain: 8018m
- Total Calories: 26983
- Distance to go: 601 miles
There’s been quite a bit of a hiatus in my Coast Path running. This has been due to a number of things; weddings, birthday parties, weekends away and the summer holidays. It was therefore high time that I got back into it with a Coast Path run from Trearddur Bay to Holyhead. Really I would have liked to have finished off Holy Island, but as it had been a while I didn’t think that a 20 mile run straight out would be a sensible idea so I backed it off to what should have been about 12 miles. I’ll need to ease back into the longer distances over the coming weeks.
I still had to make an early start though as the logistics of such a run mean that it’s a full day out. A 2.5 hour drive at either end of the run doesn’t help. Neither does battling with public transport timetables. The fact that I need to be back home by 5pm so that Morgan wasn’t at home too long on his own meant that I left the house at 6:o0am. The drive up was uneventful except for the fact that I hit traffic going into Caernarfon which added half an hour to the journey. It was therefore close to 9:00am by the time I arrived at Trearddur Bay, found somewhere to park and changed into my running shoes.
Trearrdur Bay to Porth Dafarch
It was a grey, drizzly day so I started off with my jacket on as I headed out along the prom behind the sandy beach of Trearrdur bay. There was a swell running and so waves were breaking on the sands as I ran off into the gloom. Once off the main beach at Trearddur Bay the Coast Path follows the coast closely from rocky cove to rocky cove. The path winds it’s way around the rugged coastline which is strewn with small islands. Perfect little fishing coves adorn the coast and the buoys of lobster pots can be seen here and there. The path does follow the road for a short distance but soon heads back out on the rocky shoreline, eventually emerging at the sandy cove of Port Dafarch
I stopped here to use the toilets, have a drink and read the poem on the wall before following the Coast Path signs ever onward. It was nice to see some Wales Coast Path signs as well as the Anglesey Coast Path signs.
Rugged Coasline to South Stack
It was still raining but not too heavily. It was warm too so my jacket came off for a while as I headed out onto the more rugged, deserted coastline towards South Stack. The geology really makes itself evident along here with huge cliffs, arches, caves and stacks visible all along the coast and deep sided gulleys cutting into the land. The dramatic coastline, the rain, the lack of people and the waves crashing against the rocks far below make it feel fairly remote out here in the South Stack Nature Reserve. The rocky path weaves left and right, up and down. The rocks, muddy puddles, tussocky grass, hidden ditches and uneven cambers demand constant attention. The miles ticked by though as I made my way along what I class a ‘proper’ coastal path.
The island of South Stack could be seen getting ever closer. South Stack Island is joined by a footbridge to Holy Island. Holy Island is itself an island off of Anglesey. Angelsey is of course an island off of Wales… Islands off islands off islands as far as the eye can see!
I was soon climbing the hill and steps towards the viewpoint above South Stack. towards the top, the path gets quite precarious as it clings to the top of huge sea cliffs. The perfect opportunity for a clifftop selfie.
At the viewpoint overlooking South Stack I decided to take a small detour down the winding steps to the bridge across to South Stack.
The path winds it way down steep steps to the bridge far below. I crossed the bridge, took a photo and then prepared myself for the leg-busting climb back up the steps and ever onwards up to a lookout on the hill far above.
North Stack, Holyhead Mountain and Holyhead
The Coast Path continues up the hill and onto Holyhead Mountain. The rocky summit was looking impressive in the mist and rain and the terrain was becoming more and more mountain-like all the way. Huge steps to climb, boulders to negotiate and steep sided paths to clamber along as the path weaved its way through the South Stack Cliffs Nature Reserve, past North Stack and around towards Holyhead Breakwater Country Park. As I climbed higher the rain started to get much heavier so it was back on with my jacket and time to splosh through puddles as the rocky paths became little streams.
The views out across Holyhead should have been spectacular from the top, but unfortunately the rain and mist dulled them somewhat.
I descended from the mountain, past quarries and onto a pebbly beach and then along some backroads towards Holyhead, passing derelict buildings and old workings. Eventually I emerged into Holyhead where I ran past the breakwater and along the road behind the harbour. The huge Irish Ferries boat that I’d seen as I descended from Holyhead Mountain was now in the dock. Presumably people were busily boarding ready for a trip across the Irish Se to Ireland.
I continued on into Holyhead, past RNLI stations, maritime museums and into the main town. I came out the other side and onto the road back to Trearrdur Bay where I stopped at the bus stop. My run for the day complete – or so I thought.
According to the timetable I’d seen, the bus left Holyhead at 11:45. It was now 11:30 so I decided against a quick trip to the adjacent MacDonalds just in case I missed the bus.
11:45 came and went with no bus. As did 12:00, and then 12:15. In the end I phoned Anna (and got Annamarie) – she checked the times for me and I was right about them. She also phoned the bus company for me, and it turned out that the 11:45 bus and the next 13:45 bus from Holyhead don’t stop at the stop I was waiting at. Quite where they do go I don’t know, but I decided to head back into Holyhead proper to get the 13:45 bus from the bus station there. I’d been waiting at the bus stop in the pouring rain for nearly an hour and had more than an hour to wait for the next bus. I was soaking wet, freezing cold and fed up by now. The impending wait for the next bus did give me plenty of time for a burger in MacDonalds. I went in, ordered and sat down to warm up and refuel. I left quite a puddle in the seat as I did thanks to my soaking wet clothes.
I also decided whilst sat there creating puddles that it would probably be quicker to just walk / run back to Trearddur Bay. I was already on the right side of Holyhead, on the road that led straight to Trearddur Bay and hadn’t really realised quite how close it was. I’d wanted to keep my run fairly short today, but it now looked as though the best option was to extend it by a few miles and head to the car under my own steam. That’s what I did. My legs had ceased up a bit in the cold so I took it easy, running and walking back to the car. It didn’t take too long and I was back before the 13:45 bus from Holyhead would even have thought about leaving. I changed into some dry clothes and started the long journey home.
All in all a good day out on the Coast Path, a few more miles ticked off and some progress made. It would have been good to finish off Holy Island, but I’ll save that for the next adventure. From there it should only be about 3 more runs until I’ve completed Anglesey and make it back to the mainland. There’s still a long way to go, but hopefully I’ll be able to increase the mileage gradually as the weeks roll on.