Hell's Mouth, otherwise known as Porth Neigwl, is a suitably scary name for this bay on the south coast of the Llyn Peninsula. Facing south-west, and therefore right in the firing line of the prevailing winds in this part of the world, the bay has struck fear into the hearts of many a seaman passing by. Together with dangerous offshore currents, the gales blowing in from the south-west have claimed many lives over the years. Around 30 vessels have come to grief off this coast due to this perilous combination. Occasionally the locals would benefit from the cargo let loose from the ships. In 1877 the 'Idea' came ashore at Hell's Mouth together with its cargo of potatoes from Ireland. The local people gathered the potatoes and planted them in their gardens, leading to a record crop for that year. When the 'Faith' ran aground in 1896 with a cargo of flour an auction was held on the beach to sell off the flour to local families. However, in its more benign moods the bay is a perfect sandy crescent which is very popular with surfers keen to make the most of the swell. In fact, Hell's Mouth is widely regarded as the best beach in Wales for surfing. Ordinary swimmers should take care; only the strongest should brave the water here. The nearby village of Llanengan has a 15th century church and a pub. The churchyard has a memorial to mark the graves of the many bodies that came ashore at Hell's Mouth from stricken ships, in particular during the First World War.
Webcam showing surfing conditions.
Map of the area.
|Photo by Ken Bagnall, via Wikimedia Commons|