Dog friendly Anglesey with Monty
We’re in Anglesey for the weekend, where Sara is writing a piece about horse riding on the island. Having let her witter on for a few poncy paragraphs about ‘galloping on sandy beaches, with the rhythm of hooves mimicking the pounding surf etc etc’, I decide it’s time to put my paw down.
“What my public wants,” I explain kindly, “is not HORSES but HOUNDS. Leave those negligible neds out of it and let’s get down to talking about what’s in it for me and my canine chums. And while you’re at it, it’s my turn for the keyboard.”
We’re staying in a very nice self-catering cottage which has been rated five stars by Visit Wales, near Beaumaris – a pretty seaside town on the east coast of the island. Owner Julian Wood has set the cottage at White Beach Cove up for people who want to bring their horses on holiday, and there’s a stone stable block complete with tack room, feed room and even a horse sauna and shower. Of course, he’s also delighted to welcome sensible people who have dogs rather than horses, and has had up to three dogs staying at once. The cottage has hard stone and wood floors throughout and a large garden, most suitable for scampering purposes.
After exploring the local beach and headland, we decide to visit nearby Red Wharf Bay, stopping for a drink in the beer garden of the historic Ship Inn. Right on the coast, the Ship has been serving ale to passing sailors for hundreds of years and I’m glad that my bowl of water comes with such an impressive pedigree.
The name Red Wharf Bay apparently dates from the 18th century, and took over from the original name, Red Beach, which remembers a Viking battle in 1170 that left the beach soaked in blood. I’m quite keen to go down to the beach to see if I can find any leftover bones but before I do I conscientiously pop into the pub to check that we dogs are allowed inside, which we are. In fact, there’s a special room just for us called the ‘snug’, which sounds most suitable.
Afterwards, we walk a portion of the coastal path which goes all round the island for 110 miles. According to my information, it’s leads on for some sections of the path and on one or two stretches we’re not allowed at all due to livestock regulations, but it’s possible to bypass these to rejoin the path further on.
The following morning, it’s off for a scamper on Newborough beach, around a 45-minute drive from Beaumaris. It’s a quiet, secluded stretch of sand perfect for a good run, and I poke around in the rock pools and generally have a blast. Then, we head to nearby Newborough Forest, a large Forestry Commission site, to find a picnic spot.
After a relaxing afternoon and evening, the next morning we make the short journey to Beaumaris for a wander round. ‘Beau maris’ means ‘fair marsh’, and the site was originally marshland until it was reclaimed in the 13th century. It’s most famous for Beaumaris Castle, built by the English king Edward I to show his dominance over the Welsh. Unfortunately, money ran out before before it could be completed, but it’s still pretty impressive. Not that I have a chance to examine it at first paw, as despite me flashing my press card, I’m informed that access is limited to ‘Assistance Dogs Only’. While I obviously am an assistance dog – frankly, Sara would never be able to cope with all her own transcribing – I decide not to argue the point, mostly because it’s lunchtime.
(A special mention at this point for Simple Snacks – a corner cafe just opposite the castle. Not only do they bring my water out before we can ask for it, all the waitresses come out individually to give me a cuddle and ask if there’s anything I need. Now that’s service!)
Lastly, it’s on to the high point of the visit – a boat trip to Puffin Island.
Only available during the summer months, the trips leave from Beaumaris, circle the island for a view of the bird life and return 70 minutes later. They’re happy to welcome me – and indeed all dogs – on board, and I settle down happily near the pointy end, which I believe real sea dogs refer to as the bows. The voyage was a little rough, but I coped with it by falling asleep and missing the puffins, guillemots, cormorants, kittiwakes and grey seals that are being pointed out on every side.
Then it’s time to go home, and I sleep all the way back. I do find the sea air tiring.
Until next time, chums, hwyl fawr a phob lwc!
(Even though I am not a Welsh Springer Spaniel but an English Springer Spaniel, I know that means ‘goodbye and good luck’.)
Phileas Phacts: Anglesey
- The Ship Inn, Red Wharf Bay, Anglesey, Gwynedd, LL75 8RJ Tel: 01248 852568; www.shipinnredwharfbay.co.uk.
- Details of The Cottage and sister property The Windmill, which also accepts dogs, are available at www.whitebeachholiday.co.uk.
- For more information about the town of Beaumaris, visit www.beaumaris.com.
- For Puffin Island cruises, see www.starida.co.uk.
- Visit Wales is at www.visitwales.com