Sundays at this time of year are meant for relaxing, putting your feet up in front of the open fire and having a nice warm drink while you watch your favourite Christmas film.. Right?! Well not exactly in our household! Sundays are for exploring and getting out in the wintery conditions to find some new exciting places and some autumnal treasures that have been washed up on our shores here in Anglesey. On this blog we head out with a good friend Dan, hunting for driftwood to make eco christmas presents with!
Anglesey has a large swathe of coastline, which in the winter gets lashed by southerly and wester storms. With it, comes swell and and strong tides which carry many peculiarities onto our shores. Some good some bad. With the onset of the stormy months here in north Wales, we like to set out to find some little pieces of treasure that are washed up on remote parts of the island.
Driftwood and seagrass are just two of this things that get washed up that I love to collect. There are of course many other things also, such as old lobster pot buoys and sometimes even whole lobster pots, which are usually beaten and bashed beyond all recognition.
We took the break in the weather to head out to a local cove on the west coast of Anglesey to explore for driftwood. There are many beaches and coves around Anglesey and north Wales that are excellent for driftwood and seaglass this time of year. With very few people around, there are treasures all along the shores, for you to harvest if you know where to go.
My partners in crime on this occasion where Dan Jordan, a friend who has just moved to these shores. Dan owns an runs Boomerang Resources a plastics recycling firm. Dan’s enthusiastic temperament is always welcome on such outings as we go and explore the wild side of the island, and take some time out of both our busy schedules, to get a little bit “at one with the sea”.
Dan had the idea of making Christmas presents from his driftwood, as many of our readers do also. So in fitting with Dans, reuse and up-cycle mentality, I took him to one of my favourite spots in order for him to get some good pieces in for family gifts this Christmas.
We always go over low tide, where ever we go and make sure you don’t venture out without checking the weather and tides, especially at remote locations. I’ve lived and fished here for 30 odd years and even I get caught our now and again!.
So i’ll keep the writing in this one to a minimum and let you see some of pictures, as me rambling on isn’t going to do it more justice than the pics themselves. Remember always check the highest point of the previous tide as thats were the driftwood and goodies gets washed to!
Dan exploring the coves that are separated by reefs. Note the size of the cliffs here, quite a dramatic looking place by all standards.
A route down which now is very unsafe, steps that where there last season have now been washed away in the winter storms and you have to down climb, which is not very easy at least with two energetic dogs!
I love the boulders on this beach, it really shows the ferocity of the winter swells over millennia here, big boulders take big energy and a long time to round off. It remind so much of Cannada here, love it..
Dan finding his prize posetion for the day! It’s a ginormous piece of driftwood. I was not going to carry “this” back up with him. Dinky and Olive enjoying their outings too..
A grey day of sorts, but when you combine it with a mini adventure it feels way brighter in so many ways!
Meet the team! from left to right. Dinky, Olive and Dan. Oh and a stunning back drop.
Dinky, is kind of ball mad.. At one point in this outing she found another ball and for ten minutes, puzzled over how she could have both tennis balls in her mouth simultaneously, with her sheer determination she in the end succeeded ! much to Dan and my amusement! Such dedication to her passion!
Some of the driftwood I found early on.. I prefer hard woods like oak that we can make into things or use decoratively.
The geology never ceases to amaze me, beautiful quartz bands seep through the rock strata, that then move straight up the cliff in its folds. For amateur geologist out there, its part of a syncline I believe and this rock is very very old, part of an old dolerite dyke system.
Fresh kelp ripped from its rocky perch during the storm. When you see fields of Kelp like this, we must imagine the sheers ferocity of the storm to dislodge the kelp from its home. If you ever have tried to dislodge it, its a vert strong and robust see weed. I would love to see farmers put all this wonderful mineral rich waste to good use on their lands in the future.
Obligatory selfie of the team. Even managed to get the dogs in this one!
The plastic realities of driftwood hunting. It get washed up everywhere this time year. Another sober reminder of our plastic hangover. We will have to winch this lot up the cliff on the next high tide.
More of the damn plastic. It was quite a mess, we are in the process of organising beach clean there with SAS and Sian from Psyched paddle boarding. We’ll have it cleaned soon enough. That’s the deal you see, the beach provides us with lovely wood and return we clean it. Fair deal I think.
Here is a good question for all the readers.. Do you know what this is? Well alas, what I thought it was… In its perfect form Its a rather precious material and can be worth £50,000 per kilo in some instances. Answers below 😉 (Ps turns out its wasn’t what I thought)..
More amazing geology at the site, just love the rocks here, you can see how they have been folded up onto their end. Each one of those layers are called ” vars” any they where at one time a layer of mud on a seabed layer down, before being buried deep and through heat and pressure forming a consolidated rock millions of years later. Crazy.
Some of the best bits of the driftwood haul, mostly Dans! With it being Dans first outing he got a little bit carried away with himself!
One fully grown adult kid! happy with his treasure for the day (I was the same in fact !)
The days spoils, with, as I said, a very proud and enthusiastic driftwood hunter Danno.
If your like me and you need a bit of inspiration what to do with your driftwood art, look no further than below ..They are on my “to buy list”!
If your heading out for some driftwood hunting in the winter months, I recommend taking an OS map and having a recci before hand. Check the tides, check the weather and take a big bag to carry it back up again. What we do, is take a second bag for the plastics and pick them up at the same time, it’s our beach tax to the environment, for proving us with such beauty. We want to keep that way for another 100 generations and more to come. Have fun with your hunts. Dans Instagram is @Dannosparko and his renewable business is called boomerang resources
We hope this blog is useful for you if your heading to north Wales on your hols or maybe just doing some research on it and its gems overall.. If you think there is something to add drop us a comment below and tell us what your favourite things are to do on your stay here in north Wales !
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Bit about the blogger : My names Nick Fraser and I’m a local Marine Geologist and Oceanographer. I have moved back to the island of Anglesey for the past four years having grown up here and moved away. I am a passionate outdoor lover with a penchant for all things natural. When I’m not blogging in ofter found climbing or out in the wild in and around north Wales.