Tag Archives: weather

A sign of irony?

Over the winter, new signs have sprung up along the Bike Quest trail at Newborough Forest.


The subheading of the sign is “our forests are under attack”…

This one is particularly ironic given that the main threat to Newborough Forest is probably Natural Resources Wales themselves.

The overblown tone of this sign is in keeping with the others. The previous one says “beware the bloodsuckers” and is about the medicinal leeches that are common in the forest’s ponds: it’s not really the kind of language that will help make people feel fondly towards the forest and its wildlife.


Haf Bach Mari Pant – an Indian Summer

In this corner of Anglesey, the beautiful weather that almost always comes in September is called Haf Bach Mari Pant (the little summer of Mari Pant). But who is Mari Pant?

Well, the story goes that she was one of the Newborough Mat Weavers – the ladies who made mats and bowls from the marram grass they collected on the dunes.

Marram grass

Marram grass

Mari Pant (Pant because she lived in a cottage called Pant, which means a dip or a hollow) worked with the grasses at a time when the “business” of mat making was becoming more commercial and organised. Apparently, the main collection of the grasses was in August. But Mari preferred to do her own thing and would wait for the soft warmth of the haf bach (little summer) in September to go collecting her grasses. Hence, locally, the short spell of good weather early in Autumn became known as Haf Bach Mari Pant.

More commonly in Wales, a period of warm and sunny autumn weather is referred to as Haf Bach Mihangel – Michael’s little summer – because it happens, very loosely, around the time of Michaelmas (29th September) – Mihangel being the Welsh equivalent of Michael.

Whatever the name, when it happens, the Haf Bach Mari Pant is a beautiful time: it comes when the children are back at school; most of the tourists have gone home; and the mellowness of autumn is just beginning. Enjoy:)

Penrhos Beach - back to normal now the holidays are over:)

Penrhos Beach – back to normal now the holidays are over:)

Storms and tides

Red sky in the morning, shepherds' warning? Sunrise behind Mynydd Mawr.

Red sky in the morning, shepherds’ warning? Sunrise behind Mynydd Mawr.

Sunday 2nd February will see the highest tide of 2014: 5.5m at Llanddwyn Island. That is even higher than the tides at the beginning of January that caused so much damage.
The Met Office is also forecasting gale force winds for the weekend, particularly on Saturday. As the gales will be from the south west, they will drive the tide straight into the coast, again. And it looks like the strongest winds will coincide with the morning tide (5.4m) on Saturday, around 10.00am.

The National Tidal and Sea Level Facility predicts the highest and lowest astronomical tides around the UK years in advance – up to 2026 at the moment. Holyhead is the nearest location to Newborough. The highest high tide is expected next year – February 2015.

The tide times for the upcoming five days are provided by the Met Office for Llanddwyn Island at the bottom of their weather forecast. And the BBC also provides the tide times for the coming week using the data from the Hydrographic Office.

It’s worth checking the tide times if you’re planning a walk on the beach or a visit to Llanddwyn Island: the beach disappears at the highest tides, and Llanddwyn is cut off by all but the lowest high tides.

High tide at Llanddwyn/Newborough beach.

High tide at Llanddwyn/Newborough beach.

Anglesey is included in the charts provided by the Irish Meterological Service, Met Eireann: their five day forecasts are particularly useful and easy to interpret.

Mountain skyline from Malltraeth Cob

It’s the middle of May and there’s a fresh sprinkling of snow just on the very tops of Snowdon and Garnedd Ugain.

A fresh sprinkling of snow on Snowdon

A fresh sprinkling of snow on Snowdon

The benches by the Cob Pools near Malltraeth provide a lovely place to look at the mountains from. Newborough Forest blocks out much of the foreground and makes it look like the mountains are just beyond the trees. They’re not, but people do sometimes set off walking towards them (the Menai Strait and quite a few miles get in the way though)…

The view to Snowdon and the Llyn peninsula hills from Malltraeth Cob

The view to Snowdon and the Llyn peninsula hills from Malltraeth Cob

For more information on Malltraeth Cob, see this earlier post. There is an information panel near the bench that this photo is taken from.  As well as information on the birds and wildlife of the area, it has a panoramic painting of the mountain-scape with all the peaks named.