Our Real Wales, Real People blog series is back! This time we're interviewing the lovely Dani Robertson, from Anglesey, North Wales.
You’ve seen the pictures, you know just how beautiful Wales is, but how much do you know about its’ people? For a small population – just over 3 million people – the diversity is staggering. The Welsh are known as a friendly bunch, and whether they were born here or made the great choice to move here, you’ll likely receive the same warm welcome whomever you get talking to. One thing I learnt through my travels is that you can learn the most about a place by listening to the people that live there. The idea of this series of interview blogs is to give you an insight into the lives, loves & work of people that live in Wales.
Dani, thank you for agreeing to be interviewed for our Real Wales, Real People blog series. We connected over our mutual love of Wales’ ancient history, and adventure; both of which, as our readers will find out, can be discovered wherever in Wales you find yourself.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself, and where you live?
I’m Dani! I’m 27 and I run a Surf Therapy Project for the wonderful Wave Project in both North and South Wales. I also run an online surf community 'Surf Senioritas'; we run surf academies to get more women surfing.
I was incredibly lucky to grow up on the beautiful Island of Anglesey, in a little coastal village called Rhosneigr. I spent my childhood running wild on the beaches and through the fields (and some of the holiday homes’ gardens!), but I currently live just outside Neath, in South Wales. I moved to Neath for work, and I believe it gets a really bad rep. I live a stones throw from a number of historical sites, a beautiful and diverse woodland, waterfalls and some of the best beaches in Europe.
As a local, what would your perfect day in Wales consist of?
As an Anglesey local, my perfect day is a cup of tea at my mums, followed by a walk along the beaches all the way to Cable Bay, home to Barclodiad Y Gawres (translation: ‘The Giantess’ Apron’), a Neolithic burial chamber, which is still used for ceremonies today by druids).
Cable Bay is great for surfing (but NOT lifeguarded!) and I think one of the best places to watch a sunset. I’d wrap up warm and stay to see the stars, with hardly any light pollution to spoil the skies, you’re in for a treat.
If you head up there for the Equinox, or a special celestial event such as the total eclipse, you’ll be treated to viewing some pretty special and ancient ceremonies. Not many people know, but you can access entry to the burial mound by requesting the key from the owners at the Wayside Stores, the last shop you pass on your way there!
I also like to head to the end of RAF Valley’s runway, down by Rhosneigr golf course. You can watch the jets come in to land right over your head!
What are your top tips for those looking to discover the real Wales?
My top tips are, pack a flask and sandwiches, ditch the car and get walking. Some of the most spectacular scenery we have is tucked away, out of sight of the car parks. Also don’t let weather put you off, there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing! It’s always wise to bring waterproofs when exploring Wales, we do get a lot of rain! This does mean however, that when the sun shines, the fields are green and life is thriving. Viewing Wales from the sea is an amazing opportunity to see our marine life and sea birds. You can take lots of different boat tours, but I’d recommend the Rib Ride down the Menai Straits, or taking a paddle board guided tour around the coast. I’d always recommend taking a guide unless you’re very sea savvy! Anglesey has some treacherous waters.
Where would you take friends that come to visit you?
When friends visit, there’s almost too much choice for activities! When on Anglesey, I like to take people to South Stack Lighthouse and nature reserve, and to the top of Holyhead mountain – from the top on a clear day you can see across to Dublin and the Isle of Man! It’s also quite funny when everyone’s phone providers decide you’re actually in Ireland and you get a ‘Welcome to Ireland!’ text.
In South Wales, I’ll head out to the waterfalls in the Brecon Beacons National Park. I’m incredibly lucky to live 5 minutes from ‘Waterfall County’ and there are some truly incredible walks with some breathtaking falls; some you can even walk behind.
Finally - what makes you most proud to call Wales home?
I am proud to call Wales my home as we really are spoilt. Every day is an adventure if you want it to be. There’s so much history, and the stories, myths and legends that go with every place make everything magical. We are proud of our heritage, our language and culture. For a country so small, we have so much to offer.
You can see more from Dani on Instagram