Monday, 10 March 2014


Time and time again, researching the coast of Anglesey, I come across remarkable stories of bravery on the part of the island's lifeboat men, and here's one of them.  The Norman Court was a handsome 19th century tea clipper which played a key role in the China trade, covering over 2,000 miles in just a single year of her sailing days.  However, in 1883 the Norman Court fell foul of the Anglesey coast and ran aground in Cymyran Bay near Rhoscolyn.  Since the Rhoscolyn lifeboat was out of action for repairs the Rhosneigr lifeboat came tothe rescue.  The rescue conditions were so difficult for the crew that a relief group had to be sent for and, eventually, in the face of huge waves, 20 men were rescued from the ship.  The clipper, however, was totally wrecked and what is left of her remains in the area to this day.  Rhosneigr ceased to have a lifeboat from 1924 since the nature of the coastline in this area was considered too hazardous to operate a lifeboat from.  Sadly, some of the shipwrecks which occurred in the area resulted from the activities of the notorious Crigyll wreckers, who used to lure ships onto the rocks by use of lights and beacons with the express purpose of looting them.

The town of Rhosneigr, with its narrow streets and whitewashed cottages, used to have a shipbuilding industry, but towards the end of the19th century it developed into a resort, the main draw being the wide sandy beaches of Crigyll Beach and Cymyran Beach.  The beaches are ideal for windsurfing, and there is also sailing, golf and sea fishing.  There is yet another beach to the south of the resort called Traeth Llydan, and at one end of it is the Neolithic burial chamber of Barclodiad yGawres, which was excavated in the early 1950s and which features decorated stones.  Just inland from Rhosneigr is Maelog Lake, where the shipbuilding used to take place.  The lake has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest and attracts a variety of birdlife.  Adjoining the Cymyran Beach is the airfield used by RAF Valley, where until last year Prince William was based.

Map of the area. 

File:The shore at South Rhosneigr - - 107013.jpg
Photo by Colin Smith, via Wikimedia Commons

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