BMH Online

19. A Birthday Wintry Boat Ride


Shortly after I finished reading the book about Thomas Telford who built the Menai Bridge around 200 years ago, that spans the Menai Straits that links Anglesey* with the mainland of Wales, I received tickets for a boat ride out in the Straits.

I went on the somewhat wintry ride with my sister and between us we snapped a good few photographs. It was a glorious day; clear blue skies and only a slight chill out in the breezy Straits.


I have actually been out on the Straits before in a canoe; as part of a team-building exercise on a 'Back to Work' scheme.

The differential tides at the two ends of the strait cause very strong currents to flow in both directions through the strait at different times, creating dangerous conditions. One of the most dangerous areas of the strait is known as the Swellies (or Swillies – Welsh Pwll Ceris) between the two bridges. Here, rocks near the surface cause over-falls and local whirlpools, which can be of considerable danger in themselves and cause small boats to founder on the rocks. This was the site of the loss of the training ship HMS Conway in 1953.

It's hard to imagine living on Anglesey before the bridges were built; Druids used to reside here until the Romans did away with them in around 60AD.

*I learned that 'Anglesey' the "Isle of the Straits", is what the Vikings called the island of Mona, which is typically called Ynys Môn by the Welsh. I also see that according to Wikipedia it is the Menai Strait, whereas I've been calling 'them' the Menai Straits (I think I'll continue to do so!)

Below is Bangor (Garth) Pier, and as we learned, the second-longest pier in Wales. For some reason I was reminded of Bay Watch...



The Britannia Bridge