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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!
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!
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
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
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.
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!
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
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