At Llandudno Pier

It is August 1877, and the newly constructed pier at Llandudno is opened, replacing an earlier wooden pier from 1858. The next year, steamboats ply their way between Llangollen and ports in North Wales, the North West of England and the Isle of Man. The venture proves so successful that the pier is widened and extended (1910), with a pavilion and a tramway. Throngs of people pay to enter and walk/ride up and down the pier, and attend concerts in the pavilion. Even in 1969, when the landing stage was rebuilt in concrete, Landudno was still known for its ferry trips to the Isle of Man.

The modern pier with the Little Orme in the background

Llandudno was one of many seaside resorts established in England and Wales with the coming of the railways. At 700 m in length, this is the longest pier in Wales and the fifth longest in England and Wales.

A walk down the pier to the pavilion is still popular today (featured image). The tramway, concerts and steamers are long gone. The ironwork and decking show signs of wear, but the structure is still sound, and the ‘entertainment’ is now mostly rather loud bars, ice cream and amusement arcades. But the air is fresh as ever, and the views stupendous.

The pavilion

On the way back you see the Grand Hotel silhouetted like an enormous pleasure liner against the mountains of Snowdonia.

The largest hotel in Wales opened in 1902, replacing an earlier hotel alongside the pier, an adjunct to the 1855 bath house. The evidently once-grand bath house is now just a skeleton ruin. The hotel is still in business, despite a period of ownership by Butlins (1981-1998).

And the pier is but one of the many attractions of Llandudno!

Great Orme Cemetery

Exploring Llandudno’s Great Orme, we came across this picturesque cemetery at just the right time, with the late afternoon September sun low enough to provide superb lighting.

The cemetery was opened in 1903, just next to the graveyard of nearby Saint Tudno’s church, hidden behind trees to the right. Saint Tudno is the patron saint of Llandudno and gives its name (Llan – dudno). What a magnificent setting!

In the distance is the Gwynt y Môr wind farm, said to be the fifth largest operating offshore windfarm in the world.

 

Herring Gull

I don’t usually pay much attention to the common Herring Gull, as they are pretty plentiful in the UK (although the RSPB says the population is declining and the bird is red-listed). However a splendid sunny day at Conwy and Llandudno in North Wales gave the opportunity to see them up close.

The photograph on the right shows a gull on the nest in strong sun. Chicks were wriggling about underneath her. What I’d never seen before was the tongue hanging out, presumably helping to stay cool, like a dog.

Some of the mottled brown chicks were making their first forays out into the world, watched over by mother, and precariously positioned on a high part of the town walls at Conwy.

herring gull chicks