Holidays in Church Bay

by Sheila Taylor
(Manchester)

Golden Church Bay Evening

Golden Church Bay Evening

Golden Church Bay Evening
Swtan Cottage at Church Bay

Hello


We had all our summer holidays in Church Bay between 1957 and about 1968 in Plas Madyn, which was left to a friend of Mum and Dad's by her aunt.

At first we had to go the well near the church for water. Later my brother and I took buckets to an outside tap at 'Auntie' Cassie and 'Uncle' Tom's farm house just past the cottage.

We went to the loo in 'tŷ bach' at the bottom of the garden, which Dad emptied into the cess pit once a week! it never smelled, thanks to Rakusan (spelling?). In the night we used a pot under the bed, which was emptied in the garden.

We hardly washed! just using an enamel bowl outside the back door. But we did swim in the sea quite a lot!

We went for milk to the farm house on the left just at the top of the lane down to the beach. That was a job for me and my brother. We would go down to the corner and across the fields by the Lobster Pot. 'Uncle' Dick at Pen Graig by the church used to let us 'help' with the milking!

In those days the small farmers could leave out a couple of churns for the milk lorry. Looking back I think he was a very shy man, possibly because his English wasn't too good. Like the other working men he wore a well worn tweed jacket and a cap, and had a tanned face.

When I was six, Meg, one of the dogs at Auntie Cassie's, had pups, and mum went to Bangor (we lived near Liverpool) on the train to meet Auntie Cassie and collect one of them. She was a lovely black and tan collie, and we called her Swtan!

I remember the Wavecrest - it was a shop as well as a cafe in those days.

I could reminisce more, but that's enough for now.

Sheila




Dear Sheila

Lovely to hear from you.

Nothing much has changed on this coastline, probably for centuries and I imagine that Swtan Cottage was a ruin when you were a child. The milk churns give you away, because I remember them as well.

I don't remember the cottage at all. Just the beach. The Anglesey Coastal Path has made the already beautiful Porth Swtan (Church Bay) even more so, as you leave what little civilisation there is way behind you.

The Wavecrest is still there but now shut for the Autumn and Winter. Great reputation for excellent robust meals. They have one of my webpages printed on the wall with a visitor's wholehearted recommendation.

Glad to trigger such lovely and warm memories.

Wil

P.S. Were the Crazy Bunnies there on the cliff edge when you were a child?

W

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Sep 10, 2012
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Hello Vin Bailey
by: Wil from Anglesey Hidden Gem

Hi Vin

I tell you, Church Bay is as magical today as it was always was. True, it's busier and it's more fluffy towels than Bear Grylls, but geology is slow in making changes.

I've been there a few times this summer and enjoyed the peace on the Anglesey Coastal Path above the beach and to the north.

I think I've been surfing here but I'm so old now I can't remember clearly.

It's nice to have these solid anchors to hold onto, isn't it?

Thanks for adding to the gentle, reassuring and life affirming narrative.

Be well.

Wil

Sep 08, 2012
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Holidays Church Bay.
by: Vin Bailey

Hello Wil,

I too have fond memories of camping holidays in Church Bay around the same time as your other post Sheila Taylor.

My friend & his parents often camped under canvas in Mr Jones field located on the bend in the road leading down to the bay. I was invited to holiday with them on a couple of occasions sharing a two man tent with my friend…this was proper camping, Bear Grylls style…no amenities just a field & tent.

I remember clearly those cold dewy mornings waking up & stumbling across the field in our one piece, body shaped, sleeping bags to clean our teeth in the shallow stream which bordered the field.

We must have looked like a couple of visiting space men to any unsuspecting neighbours, albeit a decade before Armstrong did his lunar landing!
We used to spend hours of adventure in the bay.

We used to explore the many aquarium like pools in the treacherous terrain of rocks to the right of the bay & climb the cliffs which nested colonies of fulmars, which didn’t take too kindly our intrusion, often we would get “wing clipped” if we ever got close to their nests.

More adventure to the left of the bay, across the jagged rocks reveals two pebbly coves with deep crevasses into the cliff face. Our imaginations run riot, “smugglers coves” we thought, the crevasse only accessible at low tide, what sort of “bootee” lay within…disappointedly just seaweed & more nesting birds.

I also remember the half sunken hull of a boat in one of these coves, the metal structure sticking up out of the sand covered in limpets & other crustaceans which hid the corroded frame. A pirate ship gone aground in heavy seas we thought, trying to take cover in the cove, what sort of treasures remain!!

When our imaginations subside we would take the vertical short cut to the “Wavecrest Café” to see Mrs Williams for a drink of pop or refreshing ice cream.

Happy Days.
Vin B.

Jan 22, 2011
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I Love Your Stories
by: Wil

Dear Sheila

I love reading your stories because they seem to be little guiding lights you use on your path through life.

Don't stop writing because they really are lovely.

If I remember correctly the shop in Holyhead would have been Hepworths (gone now, sadly). The salesman you talk about was probably part of my Holyhead family on my Dad's side.

The Wardrobe lady probably stopped him going to chapel.

Take care and my very best wishes to you and all your family

Wil

Jan 22, 2011
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More about holidays in Church Bay
by: Sheila Taylor

Crazy Bunnies?!!!

We used to walk along to cliff towards Cable Bay, and clamber down a ridiculously steep path to what we called the Wreck Beach, as there was a bit of metal wreckage buried in the sand.

My mum read, dad looked through his binoculars, and my brother and I would mess around on the rocks and in the rock pools. We found a cave that went right through to the next bay.

On evenings when we could see there was going to be a lovely sunset we'd jump in the car and go over to the pointy hill with a monument on top - the Garn I think - and watch the sun go down. We picked blackberries all round there too.

Church Bay Sunset - Anglesey

I used to like days when the mist came down over the hill, and the Skerries Light House Fog Horn boomed.

One year a BBC crew arrived off the boat from filming a play called 'Blodwen home from someone's(?) wedding' in Ireland. They filmed a short sequence at the Church - a couple coming out after a wedding.

Church Bay St Rhuddlad's Church

My brother, Peter was hired as an extra, to be a choir boy coming out of the church with them. He was mortified to have to wear grey flannel shorts, but it was worth it for the £5. A lot of money then!

A wardrobe lady had to take him and my mum to Holyhead, and get a shop to open on a Sunday to buy the shorts! The shop owner shook his head when asked if he had any, and looked very glum.

The wardrobe lady looked dismayed apparently. The shop owner said 'there's no call for shorts now, they won't wear them' - crestfallen wardrobe lady - 'I don't know what I'm going to do with all these' gesturing to a shelf full of shorts!

We watched the play when it was broadcast, and the whole sequence was over in a flash!

Happy days.

Sheila

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