Day 15

Mon 12 Oct:  Porthdinllaen to Holyhead

Well, I suppose it had to happen. Welsh rain. Spirits only slightly dampened but quickly restored by the kindness of my wonderful B&B hosts, Peter & Edna at The Fairway Hotel in Morfa Nefyn, close to the local Porthdinllaen Lifeboat Station. Having looked after me very well, including another full Anglo-Welsh breakfast, they refused my offer of either cash or debit card payment. I was a bit stumped, as I had no other means of payment with me. Then the penny dropped. No charge! Thank you SO much.

Mike Davies (Cox’n, another keen road cyclist) met me at the top of the long, & lumpy track to the new boathouse. Not suited to road cycles. RNLI Landrover more appropriate.

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Well done Clive, I love the design, inside and out. Form & function. Light & airey space. A beautiful setting, well worth a visit. Thanks to Mike the Bike and Alan(mech) for the tour. They both proudly appreciate their new workplace.

Meanwhile, Clive and Mike had both warned me about the climb ahead, which I could now see across the bay. The prospect of pedalling up & over the saddle between the two prominent peaks of Yr Eifl was a little daunting, now with the added challenge of a little rain.   A long haul, but not too bad. The high-speed, twisty, wet dash down the other side was a bit scary.  But not as scary as some of the fast HGVs on the main flat stretch towards Caernarfon.  Most truck drivers these days do give plenty of space and hold back patiently but every now and then, one doesn’t. The effect of the air blast from a large truck allowing just a couple of feet clearance when overtaking a cyclist at speed can be terrifying, to say the least. According to cousin Wendy from way down south (Llanelli), I was spotted by Steve Bush, one of the better lorry drivers. I was aware of something big over my shoulder, waiting to pass on the approach to Caernarfon. Was that really you Steve, just as I dived left onto National Cycle Route 5?

Cycled around the outer walls of Wales’ biggest Castle, en route to the Menai Straits cycle path. Rain stopped, blow-dried by the cool NW headwind. Nostalgic crossing of the original Menai suspension bridge. Full sunshine restored as the wheels touched Anglesey. Mon, Mam Cymru, once my home. No, twice.  Tea break. Quick brew in the village with a name that takes as long to recite as it does to drink the cuppa. But don’t try both together. Llanfair PG (not Tips) for short. I won’t use the full Llanfairpwllgwygyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantisiliogogogoch name, made up for early tourism, that would just be showing off.

Still lots of sheep on the island. How many generations of them will have grazed & fed us in the forty-plus years since I left here?

Arrived at Holyhead RNLI station to be greeted by Brian Thompson (Cox’n), a fellow 1960’s pupil (just one year apart) of Holyhead School. More nostalgia, sharing memories of teachers & a few long-forgotten mutual friends. Thanks so much Brian, Ray (LOM), for the great welcome and overnight use of your facilities. Also Ian (mech), Mark, Allun and the rest of the crew for treating me to breakfast at the Marina cafe. Cheers!

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PS – we didn’t talk Lifeboats much but I love your big Severn Class All Weather boat. The only one in Wales, a very rare sight outside Scotland. I hope you don’t have to use it too often around that notorious, exposed coastline this winter. Good luck.

Day 16