Nearly there now, just one more day and we have completed the whole month of Blogging from A-Z. But first, we must visit the letter Y.
Ynys Mon is the Welsh name for the isle of Anglesey, the 276 square mile island off the North West coast of Wales. It is a place saturated in myth and legend is said to be the birthplace of Merlin, the wizard of Arthurian tales. There is a long history of druids living on the island and it was one of the last places in Britain to be brought under the Roman occupation in AD60.
It is a beautiful part of the world and being so small, wherever you are on the island you are never very far away from a beautiful sandy beach or a stunning cliff-top view of the sea. We have spent lots of time there on family holidays in our caravan and have found our way round the island by bike and on foot. One of my favourite places is Benllech beach on the east coast. It is on one side of Red Wharf Bay and has a huge empty beach where the children can run about with kites or footballs to their hearts content. There is a lovely little cafe too which we have sheltered in on the odd occasion when we have been caught out by the rain.
Anglesey boasts a lot of quirky places too – did you know there was a vineyard there? There is an RAF training centre at Valley which is where Prince William served out of when he was a helicopter pilot for the Search and Rescue Service, and in the daytime, trainee pilots fly sorties over the island in pairs all the year round. Anglesey is also home to the world’s longest railway station name-sign, as it is located in Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch – yes, that is a real place! The name is in Welsh and translated into English it means: Parish [church] of [St.] Mary (Llanfair) [in] Hollow (pwll) of the White Hazel [township] (gwyn gyll) near (go ger) the rapid whirlpool (y chwyrn drobwll) [and] the parish [church] of [St.] Tysilio (Llantysilio) with a red cave ([a]g ogo[f] goch). As impressive as it sounds, the name is actually a mid-19th Century invention based on the original name of Llanfair Pwllgwyngyll and was extended to the impressive 58 letter name to promote the town when the railways were beginning to boom.
My favourite place on the whole island is the lighthouse at Penmon on the east side. It overlooks the tiny Puffin Island which is uninhabited by humans and is home to colonies of sea birds. The lighthouse itself stands away from the coastline and is a popular attraction for photographers and artists alike.
If ever you get the chance, please go and visit Ynys Mon. It is beautiful, wild, steeped in history, picturesque, modern, and home to some of the nicest people you could hope to meet.