Today is a train day. The only uncertainty was how early we could travel with our rover tickets. We walked down to the station and while I bought coffee and muffins for breakfast, Tigger went to enquire. Apparently, we can travel on any train after 8:45. We crossed over the bridge to platform 2 and a few minutes later boarded the 8:52 to Shrewsbury.
It had rained in the night and the sky was still overcast but along the way I saw a few distant sunlit views so perhaps things will improve. At Shrewsbury, we changed to a train for Holyhead. Today’s trip will take us into Wales.
We did not spend long in Holyhead itself. In fact, we barely left the station which combines with the ferry terminal.
Linguists wishing to compare the Cornish Pensans, meaning "holy head", with the Welsh may be disappointed to learn that the Welsh name, Caergybi, does not have the same meaning. "Caer" means "fortress" and "gybi" is the mutated form of the name of the local saint, Cybi.
We planned to bunny-hop back the way we had come and so took the 13:23 Bangor train. The weather had improved and the sun was now shining, albeit between clouds, but it was still cold.
We left the train at that station with the (artificially) long name. We there took a bus to Menai and changed again for Beaumaris.
Beaumaris is justly renowned as a pretty town with beautiful views of the mountains across the Menai Strait. By now we felt it was time for refreshment and went for tea and teacakes to the Bulkeley Hotel.
Now run by a chain, this hotel was built in a previous age as an elegant resting place for genteel holidaymakers. In the corridor to the coffee shop were display cases filled with interesting objects and small library, presumably for the use of guests.
The possible disadvantage of this otherwise pleasant setting is the noise of low-flying aircraft from the nearby RAF base.
Having taken a stroll along the main street, we again took a bus, this time to Bangor. At the bus station we found another bus to take us to the Pier.
Bangor Pier impresses both with its understated elegance and with its beautiful surroundings. By now the sun was shining continuously showing up the sea, the mountains, the buildings, harbours and boatyards clustered along the water’s edge at their colourful best.
Right at the end of the Pier is a round tea room surmounted by a dome – reflecting the smaller domes on the kiosks – where we hoped to have a cup of tea and perhaps a slice of cake. Unfortunately it was closed.
The Pier too was on the point of closing so we walked back along its length to the bus stop and returned to Bangor bus station and from there took another bus to the train station. Here we waited for the Crewe train which would take us to Chester where we could change.
From Chester we travelled to Wrexham where there was nearly an hour’s wait for the Birmingham train that calls at Telford. It was now quite cold so it seemed best to find a pub and wait in the warm.
Wetherspoon’s Elihu Yale was about 5 minutes away, a barn of a place but with some interesting astronomy-themed decorations. After coffee and crisps we returned to the station for the 21:37 Birmingham train.
This has been one of our less than gourmet days. We started with coffee and muffins at the station kiosk, and lunched on cheese and onion toasties and muffins at the Pumpkin on Holyhead station. For supper we had thought of stopping off at Wellington in looking for a restaurant but we suspect that at this hour of the night we would be unlucky so we will go straight to Telford. It looks as if we’ll dine in the hotel room on tea and a slightly squashed fruit loaf that we bought in the supermarket the other day. Perhaps we will make up for it tomorrow.
Despite the slight creakiness in the transport system, we managed to cover a lot of ground. Ynys Mon, or Anglesey, was impressive, and we think that on another occasion we may return here to stay a few days, perhaps spending a couple of nights in the well sited Bulkeley Hotel in the beautiful town of Beaumaris and a few night elsewhere to compensate for the price. It was a pleasure too to walk again on the elegant Bangor Pier and to admire the views it provides.