Aberystwyth to Llanrhystud

26th March 2018

The final day of the weekend, and we decided to go for it- a full day of 11 miles before we headed home, mainly so that we leave a single walk north from our New Quay base when we return in October.

So we packed up and left Borth at 8am. We parked the car at Llanrhystud and got a bus back to Aberystwyth. After a breakfast in Greggs we headed back to the pier. Just along the sea front was Aberystwyth castle so we stopped for a nose.

Aberystwyth castle

The view from the castle

The coastal path then takes an inland turn to cross Avon Rheidol before heading past the harbour and along the sea wall.

Aberystwyth harbour

Then our first decision of the day, the coastal path stays on cliff tops all day, but our guidebook says that at low tide you can walk along the beach for that true coastal experience. The tide was certainly low(ish) but on its way in, so we decided to start on the beach and then head up once we got cut off.

By going on the beach we avoid this rather large hill

Now this sounds a great plan, but there were two problems with it….firstly the beach was mainly covered in large rocks and slate dropped from the cliff above so was very slow to navigate. Secondly after about 3 miles of this it was becoming clear that the coastal path was not dropping down to the beach any time soon.

Slate outcrops
Fallen from above
Some amazing rock formations
Sharon and Bonnie navigate the rocks

 

And then the dilemma; we saw a set of steps through a campsite to get us off the beach and up onto the cliffs, or we could risk there being another exit on the beach further down before the tide comes in. We chickened out and left the beach for a steep climb, and further on we were fully justified as the beach was completely cut off.

Exit point, and the sign was a bit late to warn us!

The cliff tops were the usual mix of fields of sheep and steep climbs.

Another steep climb
Sheepy fields
A very picturesque point
So far we could have made it on the beach

The path was blocked by a fallen bush but we climbed that and continued with the clouds heading in. The buzzards started circling overhead!!

Clear the way please Sharon
One of many buzzards

At Penderi cliffs there was a nature reserve but it looked rather dangerous to try to get to judging by the sign.

Head first as well

The path then hugged the side of a steep cliff and was dangerous in places but the sheep seemed to cope.

On the side of a steep cliff
Hold on Sharon
We made the right choice, there is no way we would be walking along the beach there

Finally the path dropped down to a campsite and then along a road and before we knew it we were back by the car.

Caravan park in the distance
Caravan park close up
The end of the walk and the end of the weekend

For those who like statistics, and who doesn’t…..today was 11.3 miles in 4 1/2 hours, and 155 storeys. So this weekend was 46.1 miles in total. Our total distance walked is now 384.8 miles and 489.9 miles to go. Another 53 miles and we will be half way!!

Machynlleth to Borth

25th March 2018

If yesterday was all about height then today continues that theme but also adds in distance as we not only have 590m of height and 11 miles of walk to contend with for today, we also have about 5 miles of walk left from the leg on Friday to join up.

So we start the day by walking to Borth railway station….not part of the 16 miles for today!!

Sharon leads the way
A railway station with a view

The train (with the same friendly conductor as yesterday) took us to Machynlleth where we picked up from where we left off yesterday.

The first part of the walk is flat through the town and past the clock tower and school.

Machynlleth clock tower

We then turned left and up the Roman steps which were part of the original highway into the town.

The Roman steps on a frosty morning

After a steep climb we “undulated” for a while through the Llyfnant Valley, which was a beautiful wood. It was here we once again met our fellow walkers from yesterday….they had stayed in Machynlleth overnight and seen our train arrive this morning whilst climbing the first big hill.

A further climb

We then had a rapid descent back to sea level and across a river but then, to our dismay, the path climbed steeply again on the other side.

Steep climb number 3
The benefit of a climb is the views

At this point we stopped for lunch and had a long debate about exactly where we were on the map. I felt that we still had one big climb to go, Sharon thought we had already done it.

Lovely sky, buzzards over head and wonderful views

But alas I was right, we did still have another descent to get across a river, and then another climb.

Up we go again

But the view was worth it.

Looking back across the estuary
But a muddy and rocky climb to get there

We skirted Craig Caerhedyn to the West, and a rocky mount made a good look-out point.

Bonnie looking out
So Sharon does the same

Then a final descent to join the A467 and a nice new coffee shop at the village of Tre-Taliesin.

On our way down
Across the river

We enjoyed the coffee and cake, well deserved after 11 miles and well needed with another 4 or 5 miles still to go. Just as we were leaving the coffee shop who should arrive but our fellow walkers who had kept up a good pace today (or we were getting slower!).

Now on to the left-over walk from Friday. This was the flat part of the day, but the downside to that was that it was also across marshland.

This part starts out on a nice tarmac path, great for some pace

But then the ground got wetter and wetter, and muddier and muddier. Every step was giving us that sinking feeling, but by now we didn’t really care.

Marsh marsh baby

Aother fellow walker caught us up at this point and walked the last section with us….he only started walking the path in January 2017 and had already made it from Chester to here and planned to complete the whole path in 2 1/2 years, half of our target. Anyway, Borth station appeared in front of us and then a quick walk down the sea front and we were back at the caravan.

The back of Borth station
Muddy Sharon and Bonnie
And I didn’t escape the mud

So today was 16.1 miles and 590 metres elevation. It took us 5 1/2 hours as we were a bit slower today. The grand total is now 371.5 miles completed and 500.2miles to go. One more walk tomorrow.

Continue reading “Machynlleth to Borth”

Aberdyfi to Machynlleth

24th March 2018

Day 2 of our weekend and the hilliest day with 620 metres of height ahead of us. But first our journey to get there. Today we drove to Machynlleth and got a train from there to Aberdyfi. But not before Sharon discovered the cleanest railway toilets in the country.

Machynlleth station
The cleanest toilets on the rail network
Bonnie and Sharon waiting for the train

Once in Aberdyfi (which is our first walk in the Meirionnydd section of the coastal path) we headed along the coast on the flat and found a nice little cafe for breakfast. Fully recharged we headed off on our walk through the town, but soon we were directed up to the left up a steep slope.

Up we go

The path started up steps and soon opened up to fields and woodlands, with a stream running through the path….

And a field which included one where the sign had been knocked down, so Sharon was able to make her own directions.

Which way?

Already the views were magnificent, but today was going to be about estuary views rather than beach.

Looking across the estuary
Sharon alone in the world

At this point we caught up some fellow walkers who we had seen setting off while we had breakfast, they were also on day 2 of the weekend and heading the same way as us but at a slower pace.

At times we couldn’t see the estuary but instead could see inland towards Snowdonia National Park and the Happy Valley.

Cwm Maethlon or Happy Valley

We climbed higher to Tyddynbriddell hill where a slate marks the spot where King Arthur’s horse Llamrai’s hoof scarred the rock according to legend.

Continue reading “Aberdyfi to Machynlleth”

Aberystwyth to Borth

23rd March 2018

Yes it is time for one of our 4 day walking weekends, and we are heading halfway up the west coast mainly in Ceredigion for this weekend. But before we start in Aberystwyth we have time to have a selfie with our coffees (thank you Suzanne and Laurence for the voucher).

We parked the car up in Borth near our base for the weekend and got the bus back to Aberystwyth for a short afternoon walk to start the weekend off gently.

The sun was shining as we headed along the promenade at Aberystwyth to Constitutional Hill. This is quite a steep climb, and has the hillside cliff railway which was not open today.

The promenade
Half way up the hill

And hills were going to become the theme for this weekend, as we realised we have chosen to do the 4 consecutive walks on the coastal path with the highest combined total height gained of any stretch of coastal path at 1960 metres, but more of our pain later in the weekend! For today we got the Strava record for fastest ever hill climb in the section, and we stopped for photos on the way doh!!

Still half way up

At the top the view towards Clarach Bay was wonderful and it was less than a mile to get there.

The view towards Clarach Bay
Typical views

For most of the rest of the walk the views were from the cliffs down to the rough sea below. We did drop down at Craig y Delyn to sea level but decided not to risk the beach route so then continued back up the hill to the War Memorial.

Dropping down to Craig y Delyn
The war memorial

And in a sign of how easy today was we were still smiling at the end of it.

So today was 5.7 miles walked and 320 metres gained. Our total is now 342.4 miles completed and 529.3 miles to go. Tomorrow is going to be much tougher.