Tag Archives: Ynys Llanddwyn

Filming for “horse mystery” on the beach

Hot on the heels of the Sandman Triathlon, Newborough Forest and beaches have now been somewhat taken over by crew and their vehicles shooting for a “horsey teen mystery”.

horse-film-newborough-s

Cast, including beautiful horses, and crew by Llanddwyn Island this morning

Metro has an article about the production here: there is no name for it yet and it will be aired in 2017.

 

The Anglesey Sandman Triathlon

[The 2014 Sandman Triathlon is taking place on 21st September]

Each year, in September, one of Newborough’s more bizarre spectacles happens: the Sandman Triathlon. This is a triathlon for the courageous! It involves swimming 1km in the sea off Newborough; then cycling 60km along the roads and lanes of Anglesey; returning to the forest to run a further 10km – some of it on really strength sapping sand dunes. Wow.

Last year, the weather was horrible for the event – the sea was so choppy the route for the swim had to be changed, and then it rained all day. Fingers crossed that this year the weather will be kinder. The event will take place on Sunday 22nd September in 2013. Full information is available on the Sandman website

Here are some pictures from 2011, when the day started inauspiciously, but brightened up in time for the event.

Setting out the markers for the 1km swim under a very black sky.

Setting out the markers for the 1km swim under a very black sky.

The contestants making their way along the beach to the start of the swim: the busiest day for the beach at Newborough!

The contestants making their way along the beach to the start of the swim: the busiest day for the beach at Newborough!

Kayakers provide safety support during the 1km swim.

Kayakers provide safety support during the 1km swim. The sky was black, but the sea was lovely and calm.

The contestants gathered together for the starting gun with Llanddwyn Island in the background.

The contestants gathered together for the starting gun with Llanddwyn Island in the background.

The swimmers under way: a flailing mass of yellow caps and wet-suited arms:)

The swimmers under way: a flailing mass of yellow caps and wet-suited arms:)

Good luck to everyone in the 2013 event!

 

 

 

 

Pilots’ Cottages, Ynys Llanddwyn

The Pilots' Cottage, Llandwyn

The Pilots’ Cottage, Llandwyn

As well as its mystical associations with Dwynwen, Llanddwyn was, until fairly recent times, important for its lifeboats and for the pilots that helped guide ships into the Menai Strait.

One of the cottages where the pilots used to live is now a little museum display showing how it would have looked when the pilots were still in residence.

The living room at the Pilots' Cottages museum, Llanddwyn

The living room at the Pilots’ Cottages museum, Llanddwyn

...and a bedroom

…and a bedroom

The cottage museum is open for a little while most days during the school summer holidays (late July thru August).

The small cannon that stands outside the cottages was used to summon the lifeboat crew (way before mobile phones and beepers).

The cannon at Llanddwyn used to be fired to summon the lifeboat crew.

The cannon at Llanddwyn used to be fired to summon the lifeboat crew.

A tale of two towers: Twr Bach and Twr Mawr

Twr Mawr and Twr Bach Ynys Llanddwyn

Twr Bach (little tower) and Twr Mawr (big tower) are the two towers / lighthouses on the south-east and south-west tips of Ynys Llanddwyn.

Twr Bach has been there a little longer than Twr Mawr, though there seems to be no precise record of when either tower was built.

It’s also quite hard to find the truth about why the towers were built, but it seems Twr Bach was originally built as a landmark and day beacon (an unlit lighthouse). However, it was built in the wrong place – it couldn’t easily be seen by ships approaching from the west. Therefore, Twr Mawr was built to replace it.

Twr Mawr, the former lighthouse, on Ynys Llanddwyn

Twr Mawr, the former lighthouse, on Ynys Llanddwyn

Twr Mawr is on a higher, more westerly promontory and definitely more visible from most directions. As its name suggests it is bigger than Twr Bach, standing nearly 11m tall. The first navigational beacon was put in Twr Mawr in 1845 and it became a working lighthouse on 1st January 1846.

For nearly 130 years Twr Mawr continued as a lighthouse, while Twr Bach lay dormant at its side. But in 1975 when Twr Mawr ceased operation, Twr Bach became the site for the installation of a new, modern navigation beacon. So now, Twr Bach is the working tower, while Twr Mawr is a striking and iconic landmark for Ynys Llanddwyn.

The main footpaths on Ynys Llanddwyn both lead you to Twr Mawr. It’s about a mile and a half walk from the main car park at the end of the forest toll road. Be careful of the tides: when the tide is high, Llanddwyn is cut off for a while.

The view to Twr Bach (left) and Twr Mawr from Llanddwyn beach

The view to Twr Bach (left) and Twr Mawr from Llanddwyn beach

There is interesting information about the history of the towers at Coflein (The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales) and at tpwilliams.co.uk (a miscellany of local historical information).

This isn't a particularly good photo of Twr Bach, but I particularly like it because it has a gannet in it (honestly, it does...)

This isn’t a particularly good photo of Twr Bach, but I like it because it has a gannet in it (honestly, it does…)

The crosses of Ynys Llanddwyn

A Celtic and a plain cross dominate the skyline of Llanddwyn from many directions. One cross was erected at the end of the 19th Century, the other at the start of the 20th.  Both were erected by the island’s then owner, F G Wynn.

Ynys Llanddwyn crosses - long view

Ynys Llanddwyn crosses – long view

The poignant inscriptions on the Celtic cross read: “they lie around did living tread, this sacred ground now silent – dead“. In English on one side, and Welsh on another. Apparently F G Wynn erected this cross to commemorate Llanddwyn Church, which at that time was largely ruined and overgrown.

Llanddwyn Celtic cross

Llanddwyn Celtic cross

Celtic cross inscriptions - "they lie around did living tread..."

Celtic cross inscriptions – “they lie around did living tread…”

The inscriptions on the plain cross, one on each side, read: “Dwynwen“; “in the sixtieth year of Queen Victoria 1897“; “in memory of St Dwynwen Jan 25th 1465“; and, “erected by the Hon F G Wynn owner of the isle“.

The plain cross on Llanddwyn with Dwynwen inscribed

The plain cross on Llanddwyn with Dwynwen inscribed

Inscriptions on the plain cross

Inscriptions on the plain cross

Dwynwen (or some say Dwyn Wen – Blessed Dwyn) is the patron saint of lovers for Wales. Her Saint’s Day is celebrated on 25th January: a very popular day for couples to visit the island!

As with everything historical, there are lots of conflicting stories surrounding the story of Dwynwen. The manuscript of Iolo (available in full at archive.org) gives the following version:

Maelon Dafodrill, and Dwynwen, the daughter of Saint Bry-
chan, mutually loved each other : Maelon sought her in unappro-
priated union, but was rejected; for which he left her in animosity,
and aspersed her, which caused extreme sorrow and anguish to
her. Being one night alone in a wood, she prayed that God would
cure her of her love ; and the Almighty appearing to her, while
she was asleep, gave her a delicious liquor, which quite fulfilled
her desire; and she saw the same draught administered to Maelon,
who, thereupon, became frozen to a lump of ice.

The Almighty, also, deigned to give her three choices ; and she
first desired that Maelon should be unfrozen ; — ^next, that her sup-
plications should be granted in favour of all true-hearted lovers ;
so that they should either obtain the objects of their affection, or
be cured of their passion ; — and, thirdly, that, thenceforth, she
should never wish to be married: and the three requests were con-
ceded to her ; whereupon she took the veil, and became a saint.
Every faithful lover, who, subsequently, invoked her, was either
relieved from his passion, or obtained the object of his affection.”

While the Museum of Wales’ version of the story has a bit of a different slant to it. But the essence of the blessing that Dwynwen can bring (lasting love or release from unrequited love) remains the same.