By Paul Scraton:
If there would be one walk I would love to have available to me every Saturday morning, it would be the short loop from Outdoor Alternative, around the headland to Borthwen, and then back up the gravel track to home. It is not a long walk, and if you don’t stop for the views across Anglesey to Snowdonia, or to explore the rock pools and sandy cove of Shelly Beach, or a quick ascent of Red Devil Rock, you can be out and back in less than half an hour.
But that is not the point. It does not matter how short the walk might be, or how easy a stroll it is, it is the memories associated with the short stretch of headland that swirl each time I close the gate to the campsite behind me and start up the ever so slight incline before the long, grassy sweep down to the coves and the rocks, the gorse bushes and the occasional boggy puddle. I have walked it so many times since I was as young as my daughter is now that I swear I could throw caution to the cliché and do the thing blindfolded…
Since 2006 most of this short walk makes up a tiny portion of the Anglesey Coastal Path, which makes its way around some of the most spectacular coastline in Europe – some of which was covered on Under a Grey Sky here and here. My little loop, with its memories of Red Devil adventures, mapping the landscape, of beers and beach fires as we got older, and then starting it all over again with the next generation, may not be the most dramatic or even beautiful stretch of the coastal path, but it is probably my favourite place in the whole world. I can’t ever imagine not wanting to do that walk again…
Words: Paul Scraton
Pictures: Paul Scraton & Katrin Schönig
Ahh … one of the most beautiful places in the islands, both on land and at sea. We’d kayaked throughout the morning, played volleyball in the afternoon and a group of us set off on an early evening run … precisely the route Paul describes, As we passed through the gate onto Borthwen, I turned into my stride. It was like an electric shock in my knee … I’d torn a cartilege. I think of that moment every time I unclasp the gate! Years later Paul Prescott and I had just completed a seven mile paddle when a child on the beach told us that his Mum, friend and sister were out beyond the bay in a sailing dinghy, offshore wind, sails up and little experience … back in our kayaks we set off in pursuit as the wind strengthened. In fact they were out beyond the Beacon in Paul’s/ Katrin’s photo heading in the direction of Ireland!!! … we towed them back to Borthwen but couldn’t round the headland against the tidal current and rising wind … by now we had an enthusiastic audience from the cliffs above. From nowhere a lifeboat arrived, took the sailors and their boat … leaving us to paddle into Borthwen. Oh yes … and then there was the time that … great memories, wonderful place.
Paul, a sublime morning walk, yesterday, to start my birthday, around that headland – how privileged we are to have it so available. Then again this evening in the gathering gloom only to have the setting sun burst like a nuclear explosion behind the beacon. How great it is to be able to enjoy this still so much after 37 years.
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