We arrived in Rhoscolyn at around midnight, the headlights of our hire car jumping with each rut of the gravel track as we made our way to Cerrig-yr-Adar. Otherwise we were surrounded by darkness. At the bottom of Holy Island, in the north western corner of Wales there are very few streetlights, and though the stars can give you some spectacular illumination, on this occasion they were hidden behind the clouds. But of course it did not matter that we could not see the view in front of us as we crested the small hill just before we finally got there, for we know it so well, as regular readers of Under a Grey Sky will know. This is a place that I spent most of the summers of my childhood, a place that is close to the hearts of so many of my friends and family that if they were all to descend on Outdoor Alternative at the same time we would fill all the beds and probably most of the campsite for good measure. So it did not matter that we could not see across the bay to the beacon, or to the coastguard lookout on top of the hill, or across to the bay windows of the White Eagle pub, as we knew it was all there, in place, waiting for us as it ever does.
When we were kids we would often be staying on the campsite at the same time as other children who, over the years, became our friends. We were a group of different ages, from different parts of the country, but we share many memories I am sure, of tramping across the headland and fires on the beach, of daytrips to Snowdonia and late evenings in each other’s company. And this time was the first time that my own daughter was of an age that I can remember myself being in Rhoscolyn – a week before her eighth birthday – and it was incredible to watch her make friends with a new generation of assorted children from different corners of the country and of different ages, as they explored the rock pools of Shelly Beach at low tide, or played a boisterous game of rounders on the back field, “Isn’t it amazing how quickly you can make friends,” she said, happily exhausted on our first proper evening on the site, and I could see that our little corner of Wales had won another convert for life.
Now back in Berlin I can imagine standing on the small hill at the end of the field – and it always seems much smaller than I remember it – and the incredible panoramic view that on a clear day takes you from the mountains of Snowdonia across to the Llyn Peninsula, the white houses of Rhosneigr, the aforementioned bay, beacon and coastguard station, to the rocky lump of Holyhead mountain and the upside-down cigarette of the aluminium works. And then I remember that not only have I written about Rhoscolyn before on these pages, but so has someone else, and that just a short walk from that hill on the campsite is a place described by my good friend Chris as the best view in North Wales. It shows that I am not alone in my feelings for the place, and I know there will be many who agree with this love letter to Cerrig-yr-Adar and Rhoscolyn. So I cannot argue with him, except to say that it might actually be one of my favourite views anywhere in the world, and one that I cannot ever imagine tiring of.
Words: Paul Scraton
Pictures: Katrin Schönig