Ynys Gored Goch / Whitebait Island

Ynys Gored Goch in the Menai Strait with Britannia Bridge behind

Ynys Gored Goch in the Menai Strait with Britannia Bridge behind


8 November 2014

From Church Island, Menai Bridge

SH 55108 71736; 53.22284°N, 4.17175°W


Differences in the tides at either end of the channel separating Anglesey from the mainland give rise to strong currents flowing in either direction at different times through the Menai Strait. The stretch between the two bridges (Telford’s Menai Suspension Bridge and Stephenson’s Britannia Bridge) – known as the Swellies – is the most hazardous and experiences various whirlpool currents owing to the rocks. Tidal conditions in the strait were, however, favourable for catching fish using traps. These employed weirs that allowed fish to enter at high tide but then left them enclosed at low tide. One such fishery was located on the 100m-long island in the strait close to Britannia Bridge. Ynys Gored Goch (literally, Red Weir Island, but known in English as Whitebait Island) is documented as having been owned by the Diocese of Bangor in the late 16th century, when it was leased to a Thomas Fletcher of Treborth for an annual rent of £3 plus a barrel of fish. There are two buildings on the half-hectare island: the main house together with the now converted smoke house where the fish were cured. During the early 20th century visitors could cross to the island by boat to avail themselves of a ‘whitebait tea’ for a shilling. The church authorities sold the island in 1988 and it has had a number of private owners since then. Mains water and electricity were installed in 1997 and for a while the house was used for holiday accommodation.