Right at the very north west tip of Gwynedd County sits the Isle of Anglesey and, on the island, sits the town of Holyhead. Before I moved to North Wales in 2015, I had purchased a beautiful Gwynedd regional calendar, which had three months (or a quarter, if my counting is right) dedicated to this lovely part of the world.
In particular, September 2015 depicted a glorious lighthouse on Llanddwyn Island. And I wanted to see it. However, we were blown slightly off course on the way (not by the wind, but rather by our lack of direction) and ended up discovering South Stack instead. Safe to say we weren't disappointed in the slightest.
South Stack Lighthouse was constructed to ensure safe passage of ships travelling from Dublin to Liverpool, via Holyhead. It was completed in 1809 and is some 90ft high. It sits on a tiny island, overlooking the Irish Sea, with the South Stack Cliffs providing a dramatic backdrop. The Lighthouse is managed by Trinity House and is open on a seasonal basis.
There is a choice of two car parks (one for the main lighthouse entrance and kitchen), and one before this, which allows you to take in the cliffs and then wander along the trails in order to reach the Lighthouse ticket office.
Step away from the edge...
On a good day, and if you're fit enough for it, the bottom car park is a great place to set off. Be wary, though as the cliff edges are just that: cliff edges. There are no barriers and it's pretty much a certain death experience, should you lose your footing and head off for an unintended look at the rocks below. Stay well clear and slowly crane your head in order to see what's below. It worked for me and I lived to tell this tale.
Entry prices are £5.50 for adults, £4 for seniors and, £3 for anyone under 16. There are 400 steps down to the lighthouse and, as well as climbing to the top (more steps, people!), you can enjoy the former engine room and exhibition space. The area is a real haven for birdwatchers and, although I didn't see many on my trip, I did spot this lovely puffin who was exceptionally well behaved.
Such a poser...
This is not a real Puffin...
A little way along the cliff tops is Ellis Tower. Entry here is free and you can climb the stairs, grab yourself a shot of a telescope and wave to the good people across the Irish Sea in Dublin.
Beautiful views of the lighthouse from the cliff top walk
If all that wasn't enough, South Stack has also garnered a top five Ghost Rating from a book entitled 'Haunted Britain' (cue creepy music), which claims the property is haunted by the ghost of John Jack Jones, who was lamped on the head by a rock when trying to make his way into the lighthouse during a fierce storm in 1859. Triple J's father, Double J (John Jones), also died at the Lighthouse, although his cause of death is unknown.
So, if your name is John or Jack (or both), you might want to steer clear. Alternatively, you can take your chances.