1st June 2021 – Saron to Trefor

So we leave Anglesey behind for the last day of walking and pick up on a walk we started two years ago when we walked from Caernarfon to Saron (as the means of trying to reduce the length of a future walk). The whole walk should end up at Clynnog Fawr but, for reasons which will become clear later, we ended up walking another 3 miles to Trefor. So after a local bus to Saron (£1.60) at 9.45 am we reached the start point of today…

The walk heads down a lane and, after a left hand bend, we walked down a holiday let drive, along a grassy path, through some woodland and reached the coast.

This area is very much tidal marshland and a bridge over the river Carrog took us onto the embankment and towards the airfield and Fort Belan – which was bizarrely built in the American war of independence and, unsurprisingly, has never seen action.

The airfield houses an air museum (closed today) as well as being the home of the Wales Air Ambulance.

It also has a long sandy beach leading for over a mile to Dinas Dinlle, which has the basics of a toilet, cafe and fish and chip shop -but we have our lunch in the backpacks and need to start lightening the load.

At this point the official coastal path heads inland and along a road (for the entire rest of the day). Sharon wasn’t keen on this, and we studied the maps for some time before concluding that we had to cut inland further down the beach in order to get over the river Llyfni but, other than that, there was only one “small” river which hit the beach about 1.5 miles along, and if we could cross that somehow we could then exit the beach at a campsite and join the main road.

So with some worries in the back of my mind of how big this river was, we set off along the beach.

We made it to the river, and spent quite a while surveying the best place to cross – higher up the beach it was narrow but deep and fast flowing – nearer the shore it was much shallower but spread over a wide area. Different approaches came into play …..

Sharon decided to “go for it” and took a run and jump at the middle, but didn’t quite clear it and ended up with one wet foot. Andrew went for the slow and cautious approach and threw large rocks into the shallow area as stepping stones, but ran out of rocks and ended up with two wet feet!! We stopped to dry off, have a coffee and change our socks before heading through the campsite to get to the main road (A499).

And there isn’t much more to say on these 2 or 3 miles, we just walked along a busy road, sometimes the coastal path left the road slightly to follow the old road, but it was village after village till we got to Clynnog Fawr. This is the end of the walk in this chapter of the book. But looking ahead the walk continues on this same road for another 3 miles at the start of the next walk, and getting that out of the way now means that a future walk (which goes over those mountains you have been seeing in the photos all day) will be less painful with its 650m of climb.

So we took the chance to have a rest and have a look around St Beuno’s Church – which stands on the site of a 7th Century monastery founded by St Beuno. There is also a wooden chest carved from a tree.

While we were stopped, the bus that we wanted to get back home later (there is one an hour) stopped outside and we decided to try to get on now rather than do the extra walk. But unfortunately this particular firm (without any warning on their website) decided that they no longer take dogs so we couldn’t get on the bus. We decided to instead carry on with the walk as planned, and then get a taxi back from Trefor later on. So, in the heat, off we set, now carrying Lola as she was getting too hot and tired.

Our next point of interest was St Beuno’s well, which was said to cure epilepsy and eye problems, but I wouldn’t risk drinking the water!!

There were some beautiful views along the way to Trefor even if we were mostly walking along the main road. But the top left picture does show the mountains we have to take on during the next leg of this journey.

We arrived in Trefor just before 6pm and found a store for an ice-cream while awaiting our taxi back to Caernarfon.

So the total today was 13.2 miles of coastal path (and across the whole weekend that makes 43.1 miles completed which is excellent with a new puppy). We have now completed 664.2 miles and have 211.4 miles to go. I’ll leave you with some pictures of the sun setting over Anglesey from Caernarfon.

30th/31st May Menai Bridge to Newborough

So after the long walk yesterday it was clear that Lola wouldn’t manage another very long day today, plus the bus timetables on a Sunday are very limited (one bus each way all day), so we decided to split this walk into 2 with Llanedwen being the midpoint. So on Sunday we walked from Llanedwen back to Newborough, and on Monday we walked from Menai Bridge to Llanedwen. To try and keep a sort of flow I will write it up with Monday first and so this page will describe from Menai Bridge to Newborough in total.

After getting the bus from Llanedwen to Menai Bridge (£3.10 single again) our starting point is right underneath the old Menai bridge, but first we had to find an ice-cream shop for an amazing rhubarb crumble ice-cream – absolutely delicious.

There is a little detour through a wood – just to admire some views, and then up the hill before dipping down to a lovely path alongside the Menai Strait.

The path continues around, dipping in and out of the forest and briefly up onto the main road. Where it was marshy in places there was a nice boardwalk to stop us getting muddy.

Just after the bridge we stumbled across a hotel/pub/restaurant – certainly not the cheapest but on a hot day the cider was calling…..

The path then turns left, down a hill and through the churchyard of St Mary’s church and back down to the shoreline, and here you can walk right up to the statue of Nelson (not Napoleon Sharon!!).

We then walked up a hill and hit the A4080 which the coastal path then follows for about a mile before cutting across some fields (not all well marked and hence we had some fun and games dodging a herd of cows heading for the milking shed).

As this was near the end of our day’s walking we detoured off here to have a look at the 5000 year old Bryn Celli Ddu Burial Chamber – it is about 400m off the main path but I did wonder why they didn’t decide to build it nearer the car park to be honest.

Then we walked along the path and up to where the van was parked to end this day with a BBQ of burgers. Of course, for the purposes of this write up we are now going to continue with the Sunday walk which joins us up at Newborough.

So now we are parked in Newborough, and got the bus (£3.10 again) back to Llanedwen. The walk continues left up a lane, and across the A4080 at the crossroads, past a very posh static van estate and then (annoying) turns right before it has a chance to hit the coast.

At this point there is a choice to be made – right to follow the field route or left and down the hill to the shoreline – left is the low tide option but it would have to be a very high tide for the shoreline not to be the better option (as you can see from the seaweed on the pictures below), so down we went.

After a stop for coffee we continued along the shoreline and then turned right and up through some woods. Time for a family pose or two….

Lola is already bigger than Bonnie at just 15 weeks!! After some woodlands….

and a quick dip in the stream, we hit the coast again, and this time along a road where we found the Sea Zoo and the Angelsey Salt manufacturer – we chose the latter to stop for a coffee and toilet break (but note that even on a sunny Sunday bank holiday weekend the coffee shop shuts at 3pm).

Then along the road, past the Mermaid Inn and back onto the beach (with Caernarfon now right opposite us).

It wasn’t long till we again headed inland, along a road and then across a very soggy field which caused wet feet and muddy legs for the rest of the day. Lola also decided it was time to hide from the sun.

We then followed the river Braint for a bit until we could cross it on some stepping stones – and this time Andrew strode across them with confidence – not looking back once.

There was then one more lane to walk along before a left turn and back past the bus stop to end our walk.

Back to the van and Chilli for tea tonight. So over the 2 days we walked 14.6 miles in total, which takes our total to 645.2 miles completed and leaves 230.4 miles to go. One more day of walking tomorrow and it looks a longer one on a hot day.

29th May 2021 – Aberffraw to Newborough

Finally our coastal path walking in 2021 can get underway with lockdown restrictions eased enough for us to be able to stay overnight and have a shower!! We set off on a wet Friday knowing that the weekend was going to be glorious weather. We have a new puppy now, Lola, who is a 15 week old Cockerpoo, so some of our walks will be shorter than usual as she adjusts to the distance. Today we parked in Newborough and got the bus (£3.10 single each) to Aberffraw.

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This was our starting point, having previously walked the other way from Aberffraw to Four mile bridge. We started by crossing the river Ffraw and then walking along it’s sandy shoreline to Aberffraw Bay.

After about a mile on the beach the coastal path has to leave the coast as rights have not been negotiated to walk across the headland in front of us. So over the dunes we went, across a road and then through 2 fields full of sheep as we headed up towards a farmhouse before turning left.

We then walked across various fields, and past a derelict farmhouse to get to the main road, and then had to walk 2 miles or so along the road to get to the village of Hermon.

After the village of Hermon we were supposed to find a path leading us to walk along the river for a while, but the path was nowhere to be seen so we continued on the road to the next village, Malltraeth, where Sharon had earlier spotted a cafe on our bus ride. The Riverside Cafe and tea garden – and a very nice cafe it was too with delicious homemade cakes. Thankfully this also put us back on the coastal path.

After a nice lunch we headed across the river Cefni and along the Cob which is about a mile of raised pathway built 200 or so years ago to claim land back from the tidal river. We then entered the lovely Newborough Forest which reminded us of Pembrey Country park with sand dune and pine trees. The paths crisscross all over the place but as long as you keep the sea on your right then you are heading the right way. The first chance to try to get across the marshlands to the beach was flooded out, so we continued through the forest and then climbed over a sand dune and down onto Penrhos beach.

We then took a small detour to see Ynys Llanddwyn, the home of St Dwynwen’s church – the Welsh patron saint of lovers and it is said that all newly weds should visit here to bless their marriage – well we have been married 18 months so not quite in that category but there has been a lockdown you know!!

Back to the coastal path now, and along Llanddwyn beach to the far end where there is a large car park (and toilets). We then walked over Newborough Warren; said to be called this because there used to be masses of rabbits, till myxomatosis struck in the 1950s. The edge of the forest brought us out to a much smaller car park with a weird sculpture (hopefully our base for tomorrow), and then up to the main road where it was a short walk to find the van and cook the Spag Bol for tea.

Time for the stats – we walked just over 16 miles today of which 15.3 miles was coastal path. That takes us to 636.4 miles walked and 239.2 miles to go. Lola was really flagging by the end, so we will split the next walk into two parts and do it over 2 days.