West Mouse, North Anglesey
You can see West Mouse as you approach this unspoilt coastline along the narrow country lane from the village of Llanfairynghornwy. As the road gets narrower and dips into a small valley, you cannot help but notice a white "blob" resting on a rock out at sea.
The Mouse is known as Maen-y-Bugail(The Shepherd's Stone) in Welsh. This is based on an old tale about a shepherd who lived on the headland.
While tending the sheep, he got a stone in his shoe. Not surprisingly, this caused him a lot of pain. So angered was he that he pulled out the stone and threw it out to sea. And so we have West Mouse.
This white beacon, of course, is a daymark which helps local shipping as they navigate past this very tidal stretch of the coast. To keep it company are a few Trinity House buoys marking some dangerous rocky banks.
In March 1823 there was a tragic loss of life off the West Mouse rock. The sailing ship Alert was on passage from Howth (north of Dublin) to Holyhead. She was carrying passengers and some general cargo.
While crossing the Irish Sea, a fierce gale blew up from the south driving the Alert off course. She could not fetch Holyhead and was driven into the dangerous Langdon Ridge. This is the trecherous passage of water between Carmel Head and Skerries.
Unfortunately for Captain Morgan and all those aboard, the wind dropped and Alert lost her steerage way. With a strong flood tide (which runs in a general west to east direction) the ship was forced onto the rocks.
The ship was badly holed and soon sank in the turbulent water. Although seventeen people managed to get into a lifeboat, it capsized before reaching the shore. Eventually only three survivors made it safely ashore, while one hundred and forty people lost their lives.
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