Sabbatical Diary – Day 55

This is Colin. He sniffed the wind this morning. And it was good. Off to Bardsey.

St Cadfan built a monastery on Bardsey in 516 and the island became a major pilgrimage destination during the Middle Ages until the dissolution of the monastery by Henry VIII. Pilgrimages to Bardsey continue and have become more and more popular in recent years.

There is not much of the original Abbey left:

but there is a more recent chapel nearby:

The island is also important for wildlife, with over 300 species of birds being recoded there, including choughs, puffins, and oystercatchers.

Great place to see grey seals:

about a dozen in the bay where the boat comes in. In the water rather than basking on the rocks so not too easy to catch on camera.

No real harbour at either end of the boat trip across. The boat ‘docks’ onto a trailer which is then pulled completely out of the water, so embarkation and disembarkation is on dry land. Unusual, but effective.

Great conversations with Colin, Steve (who lived and farmed on the island for 11 years and now keeps bees there), the DEFRA bee inspector who was visiting Steve’s bees, Adrian (the chaplain on the island at the moment), and some ladies who had just completed the North Wales Pilgrim’s Way (138 mile route from Holywell to Bardsey).

During my trip I have met people walking or just completing the North Wales Pilgrim’s Way, St Oswald’s Way, St Cuthbert’s Way, the South West Coast Path, and the Cape Wrath Trail. Just amazing. Respect. Puts my little trip into some sort of perspective.

Last day for me tomorrow! Around the North Wales coast and visiting Holywell.

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