Colwyn Bay to Llandudno

5th May 2017

Now we are back up and walking we decided to have our first long weekend of the year, where we travel further afield and try to complete a number of legs back to back. So this time we went back to North Wales to continue where we left off at Colwyn Bay and needed to walk West rather than East.

So after a drive of over 4 hours we parked on Colwyn Bay promenade by the old pier. Sharon had the bright idea of taking bikes today to get through the ‘long flat parts’ of the walk. This walk finishes off the Llandudno to Rhyl section we started last October and starts the Llandudno to Conwy section. So at 2pm we headed along the promenade briefly before soon being forced on a detour inland while redevelopment work was taking place.

Our starting point and the detour

We quickly returned to the coast and what a lovely afternoon it was.

Look at that sky
Showing the way

This weekend also gives us three British records…the first is the smallest church in the UK at Rhos-on-sea….or is it? St Trillos seats 6 and would be perfect for a small wedding!!

The smallest church in Britain?
A possible wedding venue for next year?

Then on we went past a golf course and a housing estate towards Little Orme. We had thought we could go around it, and laughed as we passed a steep uphill path.

Our first challenge…Little Orme
Not so little

But after getting to the coast we realised there was no way around Little Orme and the coastal path actually went over it!

The way up!!

Has anyone ever been crazy enough to take a bike up Little Orme? They have now!!

Go Sharon
The view is worth the climb

The views were magnificent though and what goes up must come down, so we headed down the tracks…until I got worried that I couldn’t hear Sharon’s brakes squeaking so I stopped and ran back. In my defence I did check Sharon was breathing before I took the picture …she was ok but did get some big bruises… I asked what had happened and Sharon replied “I fell off!”

Ouch

Bonnie was not involved in the crash and was just having a Lassie moment. Once we were up and running again it was a fast downhill all the way into Llandudno along the promenade.

Llandudno looking back to little Orme
Mad as a hatter…part of the Alice trail
Little Orme

We parked up the bikes and took a walk on our second record breaker… Wales’ longest pier and the fifth longest in the U.K. A nice coffee and cake later and we were ready to cycle around Great Orme, but even then we had a long steady climb which we ended up walking most of.

They even put out the welcome for us
Big Orme
What a view
Bonnie still full of energy

As we rounded the head and could see views to the south we readied ourselves for the big downhill.

Llanfairfechan in the distance
Ready for the downhill again, stay on this time

We hit 29mph heading down which made dragging the bikes around all day worthwhile. The Cheshire Cat marked the end point of today’s walk.

Smile!!
A pretty map and 990 feet of ascent

Andrew took Bonnie on the bus to collect the car, and she slept all the way.

Time to sleep on the bus

The stats for the day in terms of the coastal path are…6 miles of the Rhyl to Llandudno leg completed and 6.2 miles of Llandudno to Conwy making 12.2 miles in total. The overall total is now 258.1 miles completed and 611.6 miles to go. Time to rest up for a long walk tomorrow.

Llandudno to Llanfairfechan (via Conwy)

6th May 2017

Day 2 of the weekend and we are leaving the bikes behind today. The first part of the day will complete the Llandudno to Conwy walk while the second will walk the section from Conwy to Llanfairfechan.

The start point is the end point from yesterday

At this point we were unsure which route to take later in the day from Conwy; the traditional coastal path route of 9 miles or the mountains of the alternative route which is 11 miles and has 600 metres of ascent to get to the highest point on the whole coastal path (hence no bikes today!!).

We are heading for here

It was overcast but dry today, and the first few miles were flat and sandy as we followed the river Conwy estuary to reach the bridge to cross into Conwy.

A mountain dog, she loves the sand.
Sandy walk
The bridge in the distance
The estuary

The castle at Conwy is very impressive and dominates the town.

Conwy castle

We stopped for a look around the shops before heading for the quay and our next British record….Britain’s smallest house.

Smallest house in Britain

By now we had walked over 4 miles and it was decision time….11 miles of mountain walking or 9 miles of flat walking. For once we took the safe option and went the coastal way.

We came from there

But we stopped for a selfie in front of the mountains!!

Bench selfie with the mountain route behind us

In hindsight we made the right choice; the views of Anglesey were fabulous plus Bonnie was struggling after 12 miles. Most of the walk followed the A55 and the train line, at one point far too close with lorries winding their way around the coast less than a metre from us.

Anglesey

We found a picnic bench for lunch with nice views over the Menai strait. Then a final push to get to Llanfairfechan including one quite steep climb, then over the A55 and to the car park.

Lunchtime

We made it

At the last traffic lights the red mountain route joined back up with us, and we waited for the bus to take us back to Llandudno and the waiting car.

Red route joins up

In total we walked 12.1 miles of coastal path. In hindsight today was a much better candidate for bikes than yesterday as we pretty much followed the bike path the whole way. This makes 270.2 miles completed and 599.5 miles to go. On the way back we were already planning tomorrow’s walk as well.

Bangor to Llanfairfechan

7th May 2017

Day 3 of the weekend and the plan was to join up to Bangor. We decided to park in Llanfairfechan and get the bus to Bangor. Unfortunately we missed the stop to get off; ended up in the town centre and had to walk over a mile back to get to the coastal path!! But on a beautiful day like today we weren’t going to worry too much.

Bangor university

We passed Bangor university on the way to Bangor pier….the 2nd longest pier in Wales and number 10 in the UK.

Wales’s second longest pier

The photograph is slightly deceiving as the pier reaches about halfway across the Menai Strait, but here is looks like it is almost touching Anglesey in the background. This is about as close as we will get to Anglesey until we start walking it (amazingly Anglesey is 50 miles more walking than the whole of Chester to Bangor – it will take 11 days and 130 miles to get right round Anglesey).

Anglesey to the left and Llandudno and Llanfairfechan to the right
Llanfairfechan
Tempting to go that way but need to head inland

After a brief walk along the coast the coastal path turns abruptly right and heads inland through the woods. This might change in the future if Penrhyn Castle ever gives access across it’s land.

But the woods were beautiful with the bluebells in full bloom.

Perfect timing

Eventually we turned off the woodland path, near a ford and along a road. A new section of coastal path diverted us off the small lane and onto a pavement through an empty area earmarked for an industrial estate. Then we walked through fields and roads, zigzagging our way back towards the coast.

Over a river
Past some fields
Across a sheep field

We then reached a nature reserve and here we should have stayed on the road and down to the car park, but we were so distracted by the unique opening gate that we entered the reserve instead.

Unusual gate

No harm was done and we popped through an opening and out onto the beach where we sat on the picnic blanket for lunch.

Time for lunch and what a blue sky

From then on we stayed on the coast, sometimes on the beach, other times on a path besides the beach.

Cute house, possible seaside home?

Bonnie showed off her balancing skills along the wall, but sadly wasn’t quite as skilled when she reached the duck lake where she leant forward too far and fell in. We discovered Bonnie can swim but she needed a helping hand to get out, and looked like a drowned rat afterwards.

Good balance
Drowned!!
Llandudno looks like an island

Only in Britain would there be children playing on the beach in bathers in 15 degree weather.

Where is the water?

Before we headed back to the car we stopped for an ice cream and a little snooze!!

Another ice-cream selfie in the sun
Sleeping “beauties”
We’ve been both ways from here now!

So that was the end of another wonderful walk in sunshine with 10 miles of coastal path completed today. We have now walked the first 82 miles of coastal path from Chester to Bangor, and the last 81.5 miles of coastal path from Southerndown to Chepstow.

Overall we have now walked 280.2 miles and have got 589.5 miles to go… below 600!! A wonderful weekend of walking and we have really enjoyed the North Wales coast, it is very beautiful.

 

 

Ogmore to Porthcawl

1st May 2017

We are getting back into the swing of it now (coastal path walking for the second weekend running), and decided to use the May Day Bank Holiday to complete another nearby section – Ogmore to Porthcawl. The advantage of completing this section was the fun fair at the end which persuaded 4 children to join us (to be fair the missing 1 was in Scotland!!).  So logistically it was quite complicated – we parked one car in PorthCawl and all got into the other car and drove to Ogmore.

Ogmore Village – free parking in a layby

It is a short walk down to Ogmore Castle, which we took a look around while waiting for the tide to go out.

Not much of Ogmore castle left
Yes there are stepping stones, but some are under water

Why did we need the tide to go out?  Because it was “easier” to go across the stepping stones than to walk a mile further in-land to find a bridge to cross over the River Ogwr. Even after our wait some of the stones were under water, and the river was still about 2 feet deep. Dan led the way across, Carys was more hesitant, but did well. The worst one was Andrew – the heavy bag was upsetting balance (honest), and “we” took about 10 minutes to get across the stones.  But no-one fell in, so Sharon lost her bet!!

Sharon giving Bonnie a helping hand across the stones

The coastal path then follows a road through Merthyr Mawr, through a car park in the woods and then down a horse track of mainly sand.

Well signposted here
Down the horse track

For about a mile the ground is hilly and sandy, and then you come out on the river Ogwr again, and can see Ogmore across the other side of the river. So this is an example of about a 5 or 6 mile detour to get across a small rivermouth.

Looking back to Ogmore
Sun cream time – Dan may have overdone it

We stopped on the beach to put some sun cream on, and for a nice cake.

Then we recreated an Enid Blyton novel – The Famous Five sit on a log.

The next few miles were then walking along the beach; the actual coastal path runs behind the beach on the sand dunes but Bonnie much prefers the sand – she even recreated the famous Cleo jump…..

Trecco Bay in the distance ahead of us
The tide was out

And before you know it you are walking alongside the Trecco Bay holiday park and Porthcawl comes into view. The little sticking out bit with a small lighthouse is worth a stroll.

A small headland
Carys looking over to Porthcawl

The coastal path then goes inland to avoid the amusement park – but we decided to detour in for a few rides.

Rhiannon and Elise in front – Sharon and Carys behind – this is before it went about 50 miles an hour and made them dizzy

Luckily the coastal path goes right by Beales fish and chip shop – the best chips in Porthcawl as the queue out the door confirms. We had to stop and taste them!!

But then it was time to do the car swap again, before the looming storm clouds started a downpour.

And it certainly did downpour

So this walk was 6.2 miles in total. We still have remaining a little 3 or 4 mile section between Southerndown and Ogmore for an evening stroll, or otherwise we would have completed from Chepstow to Porthcawl. But the 6.2 miles walked today makes 246.1 in total, and 623.8 to go still.  Roll on next weekend when we will get below 600!!

Andrew and Sharon