Sunday, 3 June 2012

The shortest journey with the biggest drama! 

We clambered into the car at 06.15 as Bobby kindly drove us from the Royal Sportsman Hotel who had looked after us very well. With 7 miles still to go to Porth Meudwy and the crossing to Bardsey Island leaving at 11.30 we wanted to make sure we had plenty of time as Dave's blisters were causing him constant pain.

Much to Dave's fortitude we arrived in Aberdaron for 09.30 and enjoyed a good reasonably priced breakfast at the Ty Newydd Hotel served by friendly staff happy to welcome non residents. We were soon making our way on the final mile and for the first time this week arrived ahead of Bobby and Helen and enjoyed a few minutes conversation with a group returning from a weeks stay on Bardsey including a couple from the outskirts of Denbigh were kind enough to donate £5 each.

When Helen arrived with Debbie and Jessica we assumed they has agreed to share cars but Helen explained the car had suffered a double tyre blow out. Fortunately Debbie was following so after ensuring the car placed safely in a gateway to a field they hot trotted to meet the crossing to Bardsey confident that as we have cover with a well known national breakdown company it would be sorted once we arrived back on the mainland. Unfortunately due to emergency cover for an ill colleague Kathy Collins was unable to accompany us to perform a service as planned her place was taken by Neil Evans who had driven from Nannerch to witness our arrival.  

Joining us on the crossing was 6 people from a choral society who had previously stayed on the island and were looking forward to meeting with others for a weeks festival of singing. A very well practised operation swung into place coordinating tractors, boat and pulleys to allow us to board. 

15 minutes later we were being pulled up the slipway at Bardsey. A quick brief from Colin outlining do's and do not's whist on the island and we were free to spend the next four hours exploring.

Jessica awards chocolate medals 

We made our way to the church taking in the secluded atmosphere occasionally contrasted with those busy taking luggage by tractor to the cottages reserved for the singers. 

At the church we all fell silent and reflected on the journey from Basingwerk and gave thanks for our safe arrival.

After taking in the abbey walls and grave yard, retracing our steps we visited the craft shop and visitor centre well stocked with a range of clothing and crafts walls adorned with stunning photographs. 

A little further along we availed ourselves of the tearoom which also has a unique range of art for sale and enjoyed a picnic lunch then on to the unique square lighthouse and on the way viewing seals relaxing from the grass, the beach is out of bounds in order to protect their environment. As the tide came in seals began to communicate via a haunting howl as parent seals guarded the pups.

Before we knew it, time had arrived to depart and Colin treated us to a rare opportunity by pointing out Puffin burrows and we were all able to take photos of these captivating birds sharing the cliffs and sea with Guillemots and Manx Shearwaters. 

Conservation is of paramount consideration to Colin and his family and they work closely with the trust. Visitors are restricted to 2,000 per annum which whilst good for minimising impact has implications for revenue generation, highlighting the conundrum many special places try to resolve.

We left hoping not to have caused any lasting damage in taking away lasting memories of a very unique and sacred place.

Our car was eventually towed to Pwllheli and we'll find out on Monday when it will be ready to be collected. Helen and I are grateful for the kindness of Rhys who stayed with us for nearly 2 hours until the car was towed away and then bought us home.

It has been a wonderful few days and we are delighted to have completed the Pilgrims Way as planned. Each day sent trials but more so special memories. The words of Chris Potter were of comfort and inspiration preparing us for lows and highs. We should like to thank Chris again for his thoughtful sermon and for him and his colleagues who have worked to restate the Pilgrims Way and we wish them well for their pilgrimage next month.

There are a number of other people who have been critical to our fundraising, Diane, Jane and especially Debbie who has done so much work to keep everyone in the loop. Neil's interest and networking has been great as was the visits by Muriel & John, my Mum & Keith and of course without sponsors and donations we would not have raised in the region of £3,500 to date. Finally and not least Bobby and Helen need a special mention for without their support and preparedness to take us to and from start finishes we should not have achieved our goal.

Dave has been a great companion without his patience and sense of direction we would never have made it. Chrysalis is such a worthwhile cause it has been fantastic and we appreciate having received so much support. The way page will stay "live" for 3 months so if you are still able to donate sponsorship monies for a while yet.

Thank you for your interest in the North Wales Chrysalis Trust. 

Adrian & Dave 

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations! What a great achievement and what fabulous weather you had for quite a bit of it. Looks a wonderful walk and for a great cause.