Time  2 hours 59 minutes

Coordinates 1309

Uploaded September 16, 2015

Recorded August 2015

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686 f
32 f
0
1.0
1.9
3.87 mi

Viewed 1945 times, downloaded 53 times

near Holyhead, Wales (United Kingdom)

This beautiful hike within South Stack Cliffs Nature Reserve brings you to the lighthouse and bird sanctuary at South Stack, the summit of Holyhead Mountain, and the heathland and cliffs in the reserve.
Start is at the parking lot at the RSPB visitor centre. From there you walk to Ellin's Tower where you can find an observation spot of the cliffs with telescopes and binoculars provided by RSPB. This is a good viewing point of South Stack lighthouse as well. From the viewing point you walk to the access route for the lighthouse (see waypoint), which was closed on the day we visited. You then follow the coast path across the heathland. You pass by a small lake and soon have a good view of North Stack in the distance. You pass by a radio station and a few turn-offs to the summit of Holyhead Mountain, where you might see people climbing the steep rock faces. You continue on the coast path to North Stack, which we did not visit during the hike. Instead we turned right onto a broad gravel road. A bit further we turned right again towards the summit of Holyhead Mountain. Slowly you approach the summit from the north side, passing by stone walls of Caer y Twr, a Roman-era hillfort on the way. From the summit and the approach you have excellent views of Holyhead and its harbor. After enjoying the panorama you continue down on small paths on the southeast side of the summit. At the waypoint marked ‘track deviation’ we turned left to try and find public footpaths marked on the OS map which proved to have largely disappeared. I edited out this bit of the track so that instead you turn right here and walk back towards the radio station on clearly marked paths (and come back to the hike we did after about 400 m). From there you go directly back to the starting point.
There is a café restaurant at the start/end of the walk in the RSPB visitor centre. Access to the reserve is free. See website http://www.rspb.org.uk/discoverandenjoynature/seenature/reserves/guide/s/southstackcliffs/ for more information. The access to South Stack lighthouse was closed during this trip due to hard winds. See website http://www.visitanglesey.co.uk/en/things-to-do/activities/south-stack-lighthouse for visit information.
At this point at the end of the road a path/stairs descend towards South Stack island with lighthouse. Due to severe winds access to South Stack was closed on the day we did this hike.
In Ellin's Tower RSPB has created a bird observatory, which you can visit free of charge. There are telescopes and binoculars and information on the birds breeding on the cliffs.
Here the climb to the summit of Holyhead Mountain slowly starts. You follow various paths before you get to the summit at 220 m. On the north side of the summit you have good views of Holyhead, the breakwater, and the harbor.
Small lake
North Stack (Welsh: Ynys Arw, meaning "rugged island") is a small island situated just off Holy Island on the north-west coast of Anglesey. North Stack also refers to the headland opposite the island. This is the site of a redundant fog warning station, comprising a number of buildings, including the Trinity House Magazine, built in 1861, where shells for the warning cannon were stored. (Wikipedia information) We did not visit north stack during this hike, but it is easy to walk about 400 m further north to get there.
Radio station
The access to South Stack lighthouse was closed during this trip due to hard winds. See website http://www.visitanglesey.co.uk/en/things-to-do/activities/south-stack-lighthouse for visit information.
Good viewpoint of South Stack including the cliffs.
There are stone walls here of Caer y Twr, a Roman-era hillfort
The summit of Holyhead Mountain is at 220 m and provides excellent views. There are also remains of an ancient watch tower.
At this waypoint we turned left to try and find public footpaths marked on the OS map which proved to have largely disappeared. I modified the trail a bit so that the track turns right here and does not include our search for those paths. After about 400 m you are back on the track we hiked.
Here you have a good view towards North Stack across Gogarth Bay.

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