22 October 2023

Archaeological walk with weird timing

It was a Tuesday and I was just casually checking my personal mail. And I found a message from the Gwyneth Archaeological Trust (GAT) that said: "Final call-out: guided walk North Anglesey". I must have missed all that earlier calls! I had a look and I saw it was a walk exactly where we take our students, and where we also point out the industrial remains we find along the way. I absolutely love what the GAT does, and I thought it would be great to learn more about these things we visit ourselves. I didn’t care that Anglesey isn’t Gwynedd at all. So I quickly registered! The walk would be that very Sunday. There was still space.

What was extra strange about this was that the trip with the students we do there would be the very day after. Normally this isn't the second trip in the series, but for reasons of tide and vehicle availability, this year it was. It was quite a big coincidence! So I figured I would just go there on Sunday, learn things, and then reproduce them on Monday.

I walked up at the meeting point and saw quite a sizable crowd gather it already. More people must have registered at the last minute! When I registered, the site said that 8 of the available 11 spaces were still available. There were more than 11 people gathered here! And soon the leading archaeologist appeared as well. I had met her digging for Neolithic axes last year. She remembered me!

I also spotted Janet, from the climbing club. I regularly bump into her on activities like this! We seem to have highly overlapping taste in leisure activities.

After some housekeeping we were off. Jane stormed off like a rocket! That seems to be her default walking speed. Good for her. 

The first stop was an old rifle range. Nothing reminded of it, but old maps knew it was there. Then followed a small limestone quarry with lime kiln. The limestone is there as hundreds of millions of years ago, it slid into an oceanic trench. We point loads of lumps of rock out to the students that have suffered a similar fate. I said something about that. It was welcomed!

Nice views

Then we went to the next small limestone quarry with kiln. It is also the spot from which you can see St Patrick’s cave. And there the limestone shows amazing beautiful stromatolites. I pointed this out, and their relevance. Some of the people were quite flabbergasted they were standing on their 800 million-year-old ancestors. And we had a bloke from GeoMon in the group too; he had some interesting stuff to add to that. 

From there we went to see St Patrick’s church. It’s a cute little old church! And I learned about the significance of its stained glass windows. 

St Patrick’s church

The Ichthus stone

Stained glass and tiles

From there we trekked to the porcelain works a bit further east. We were wondering a bit about the porcelain. We also had lunch there, on the beach, as there were sea kayakers on the picnic bench. I had a nice chat with a psychologist with a beagle. 

On the coastal path

The porcelain works

Lunch beach

From there we headed for the firebrick plant on the eastern side of the promontory. We tend to talk about a fossil beach there, and Jane thought it would be a good idea to do that now too. It went down well! And then we had a look at the old quarry with puzzling building in, and the drumhouse. And then the only thing left on the itinerary was the actual firebricks work.

Some machinery above the firebrick works

Initially, we would then take a path back to the porcelain works, but some people were feeling all the ups and downs of the paths a bit, and we decided to just head back over the road. That was a lot quicker! 

At the end, I had learned very little. But it had been a beautiful walk with nice people, so worth it anyway! And severs people came up to me to thank me for my contributions. I was really glad it was appreciated. This is the last walk of the year, but I hope to do something like this again in 2024! 

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