The wreck of the Athena, with Ynys Llanddwyn in the background

The wreck of the Athena, with Ynys Llanddwyn in the middle distance and The Rivals on the Llyn Peninsula beyond


9 August 2014

Traeth Penrhos, Malltraeth Bay

SH 38666 64489; 53.15301°N, 4.41413°W


En route from Alexandria to Liverpool laden with a cargo of beans, the Athena ran aground in Malltraeth Bay on 20 December 1852. All fourteen crew were rescued by the Llanddwyn lifeboat men who had launched their lifeboat close to the stricken vessel after it had been hauled by horses from the station on Ynys Llanddwyn over Newborough dunes.

Built in 1840, Athena was a wooden brig (a two-masted, square-rigged vessel) with a gross tonnage of 369. She was registered in Crete and owned by Liverpool traders R & G Benn, one of many new firms that sprang up there as the African trade expanded during the 1830s and 40s.

[Note that the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales places the wreck some 600m to the north west of this location, but also gives a vaguer description of the site as being ‘1 mile to the north of Llanddwyn’.]