Sunday, 24 October 2010

Guest Post: Llanddwyn Through the Lens

Instead of the Druid's usual occasional Sunday series on Ynys Môn history, today we have a guest post by the brand new blog 'Photonic Anglesey', which is dedicated to capturing the essence and beauty of our island through photography. In this guest post 'Photon' takes us on a photographic tour of one of the jewels in the Anglesey crown: Llanddwyn beach and island:

Many island dwellers and visitors alike will know and love the wonderful setting of Traeth Llanddwyn, Newborough. A miles-long shallow sandy beach looking out to the almost mystical mountains of the Llyn Peninsula, guarded to the rear by towering sand dunes that first appeared during intensified stormy weather in the early 1300s. So what better, more popular place to choose as a location for just a small selection of images that capture the varying mood of Anglesey?

Let's start with an aerial image taken from near Abermenai Point. The vast majority of people take a right turn to Llanddwyn Island from the car park, but this is the sweeping, five-and-a-half mile round trip walk that awaits a walker in search of solitude, if you turn left:

What I want to show: Varied land and seascape,
absence of people, and just the stunning beauty of Llanddwyn

Not that you can't get some solitude on the most well-trodden parts of Llanddwyn. A sneaky trick used by us locals is to simply wait for winter to arrive, when the winds sweep-up the sand and leave even the most popular beach largely devoid of people:

A stormy winter's day: Time to walk, think - and be almost entirely free of tourists!

So many people walk the soft (and hard) sands of Llanddwyn that a surprisingly large number of artefacts of human visitation are inadvertently left behind. A practice that seems to have developed into something of a custom here is the gathering and display of 'lost articles', ranging from distraught kids' toys to an array of single shoes:

Socks and shoes. Didn't the owners realise they
were walking oddly on the way back to the car?

And odd things aren't limited to personal belongings at Llanddwyn. On one sunny New Year's Day, I took that left-hand turn and walked to the end of Abermenai Point. There isn't a lot there, to be honest, but it sure clears out the cobwebs! The walk was made worthwhile by finding this peculiar scene, created by a mooring buoy and the background beach:

Come in, Number 6! I'm not sure if this escaped
from Portmeirion, but it certainly made for a good photo.

The fact that Llanddwyn is special is evident in many ways: the number of visitors, it's inclusion in the Anglesey Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and the various, multi-period, often religious settlement features on Llanddwyn Island. In winter, when the greenery has died back, you can still see the outlines of many archaeological remains on the island from the air:

Mediaeval remains on Llanddwyn Island - evidence that
humans have found this place special over a long period of time.

A mile or so inland of Llanddwyn, one of the most interesting cultural symbols is a steel sculpture celebrating the marram grass weavers of the Newborough area. It's easily accessible, situated at the centre of a small car park at the end of 'Lon Filltir', but obviously overlooked by the vast majority of visitors making their way to the beach through the forest:

Remembering the marram grass weavers of Newborough.
This beautiful (well, so long as its freshly painted!) steel sculpture almost
reaches out to heaven and the spirits of the departed weavers.

I suppose we mustn't forget that Llanddwyn is home to a large variety of plant and animal life, some of it highly specialised to this wind-battered, salty environment. Perhaps one of the most hardy of all animals to be found here is the lowly barnacle, clinging tightly to the rock face, no matter how strong the waves. The large colonies of barnacles also make for a great photo opportunity:

'This Place is Getting Crowded'. Barnacles encrust
the rocks near Llanddwyn lighthouse.

So, there you are. A brief soujourn along the copious sands of Llanddwyn. It's not been easy to whittle hundreds of photos down to just seven. OK, eight. I can't resist including this one, which took some deft flying at low level to capture:

OK, it's a pretty postcard picture, but good, all the same!

I've recently started writing my own blog - Photonic Anglesey - which I hope will convey to ourselves and those outside interested in Anglesey something of what our island is all about. Sure, there'll be plenty of 'pretty' postcard images that show a beautiful beach and kitsurfing dudes. But I hope to reach beyond all that, to capture everyday moments, from a passing aircraft to a newly-wed couple outside the registry office to a photo, say, of our councillors looking stressed in a public meeting. If you think you have a good shot, and would like to share it on the blog, let me know at:

Please try to make your photos no more than 800kb in size, otherwise my mailbox will be full very quickly!


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Old Mona said...

Ihave been lucky enough to travel the world and lived in Newborough from 2001-7 and went for a walk with the dogs every day cone rain and sun, I can honestly say that there is no more beautiful place in the world to be than Llanddwyn,whatever the weather

Anonymous said...

Love the shoes xxxx

Anonymous said...

An amazing magical place. The sheer beauty of this place is breathtaking. Long may it remain unspoiled.