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Adroddiadau Arbennig Special Reports
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Ynys Enlli (Bardsey Island)
A tour of the largest of our offshore islands, reputedly the burial place of 20,000 saints. If you ever really want to get away from it all, then this is definitely the place for you!

The dolphins we met on the wayOur journey started at 8.30am in Pwllheli Marina where we boarded "Highlander II" for our journey to Porth Meudwy near Aberdaron to pick up more passengers before making the last couple of miles over the infamous Bardsey Sound to the island, Enlli.

On our way, just off St. Tudwal's Islands we were joined by some bottle-nosed dolphins which was an amazing experience with a pod of dolphins right beneath us - what a bonus!

The tide wasn't high enough for us to disembark from the boat in the small cove on the island, Y Cafn, so we were run to the shore via a RIB, which it was discovered a seal has been in overnight and hadn't bothered to get out to go to the toilet. Just a number one though luckily!

"Highlander II" moored up out in the bayOnce on the island, the quietness hits you - all that's around you are a handful of people, some sheep and seals on the rocks, all on an island about a mile long and at it's widest roughly half a mile across! Turn to the right to head for the "mountain", bird observatory or the houses, along with the chapel and small visitor centre. Turn to the left to go down to the lighthouse and the south-westerly point of the island.

We turned to the right and headed for the "mountain" (Mynydd Enlli), which is actually only 167 metres above sea level, however on an island of this size it feels much higher. It's quite a tough but short climb up on to the top ridge - but once you are there you are rewarded by the stunning views of the surrounding coastline.

Breath taking views from Mynydd EnlliWe were blessed with a beautifully clear day, a little clearer and we would have seen the Wicklow Mountains to the west clearly, we weren't sure if we could, though people on the island told us you could. To the north-east is the peninsula, opening up to Snowdonia in the distance - a fantastic view, well worth the trip if for nothing else.

We stopped for a snack break on the top, before walking the length of the hill to it's northern end and then descended into the village below. Well, when I say village, it is actually just a handful of houses with the chapel that stands next to the ruined remains of the abbey tower, from which the stone was used to build some of the other buildings. There are picnic benches in a courtyard which would make an ideal lunch stop.

The old stable in the villageHowever, we wanted to make it to the beach for our lunch, so we didn't stop for that here. Before we left the village however, we met a very interesting lady in one of the buildings (actually an old stable!) who was using her "living room" to do painting with visitors and talking to her about living without electricity, and only having a basic gas cooker and candle light to live by. She explained that she was there for the summer months and that she enjoyed living with just the basic amenities on the island. As the nights are short at that time of year, the need for much lighting was small and she kept up to date with events in the news from visitors.

It really makes you appreciate all of the home comforts we enjoy everyday on the mainland!

The chapel (right)We also paid a quick visit to the chapel before we left the village, which the islanders chose to have instead of a harbour when offered the choice by Lord Newborough in the latter part of the 19th century. There are no remaining islanders on Enlli, except for those who look after the island on behalf of the Bardsey Island Trust who now own the island. You can find our more information about the trust using the link at the bottom of the page.

We left the village and headed down to where we had started, the beach almost backs the small harbour on the other side of the island! On our way down we saw some new gates, and I've been told that the man putting them up didn't use a spirit level, just the horizon beyond.

Lighthouse with Mynydd Enlli beyondThe small beach is made up of quite coarse sand, but was a great place to stop for lunch. We hadn't got much time left before we had to board the boat again, so quickly whilst the others finished off their lunch I headed down to the lighthouse for a quick look before we left. Nothing but the occasional wave on the rocks could be heard, standing in front of the fog horn, at the foot of the lighthouse. And it was at that point, standing on my own in such tranquillity that I really appreciated what a special place this is.

Link: Bardsey Island Trust  

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