After last year’s Spanish expedition we fancied something nearer to home but still fairly unexplored. So after much discussion we chose Anglesey for our annual getaway. Most of us had never been there and those who had confirmed its quality walking.

Heading towards the remains of a pumping engine on Parys Mountain

So off we went! Thanks to Shirley for finding us a nice hotel in Beaumaris, and to all 11 Stumblers who made it such an enoyable weekend. Especially pleasing that Chris & Vickie could come and that John & Gil came over from Buxton to tell us all about their progress in settling in to their new home.

The weather forecast had been pretty dreadful, with Hurricane Irma scheduled to land on top of us, but happily we only had to put up with overcast skies and a strong wind on the Monday.

No, this image hasn’t been recoloured!

Welsh Chris had encouraged us to visit Parys Mountain, so that was first on the agenda. And what a sight it is! Dating back to the Bronze Age, it’s the world’s oldest copper mine and was the main source of copper to the Roman Empire. Ancient volcanic activity had concentrated an extraordinary quantity and variety of valuable minerals here, resulting in a bizarrely coloured moonscape of abandoned diggings. So much to explore.

Gannets at Beaumaris

Sunday’s weather, and some Stumblers wanting to head home in the afternoon, kept us close to Beaumaris, with a delightful morning’s walk along the beach and back through bosky woodlands. We explored the remains of a castle first built in 1088 by the Normans to suppress the Welsh. Some hope; the islanders simply burned it down!

Monday’s gale-force winds deterred us from any serious walking so we drove out to visit the South Stack lighthouse, which is not only an interesting landmark but also an important RSPB reserve for a variety of seabirds. The nearby Ellin’s Tower houses an excellent birdwatching facility, with knowledgeable RSPB volunteers on hand and a number of telescopes for visitors to use.

South Stack lighthouse

With such good company, good food, good walking and interesting new places to discover, Anglesey 2017 was a really great adventure. Thanks everybody!