Aberporth to New Quay

6th October 2018

Day two of our double-header, and I make no apology that today will be full of photographs, as this has to be one of the most stunning sections of coastal path. It needs to be though or people wouldn’t attempt it, as it is single day with the biggest climbs of any – over 780 metres if the guide book is to be believed.

So we are planning for this walk to take all day, and Bethan arrived at 9.15 to get us to the start point (thank you Bethan again). The early start is OK though as I have been promised breakfast when we get to Tresaith. I am not sure how Bonnie’s little legs will cope with all the hills today either.

Looking down on Aberporth

The first part of the walk is on a new tarmac path, and you walk past several houses which have been converted from train carriages – explains why we couldn’t get a train to our start point today!!

A carriage with a view

The walk was already teasing us with the views ahead of us.

Just a part of what is still ahead of us today

We arrived at Tresaith at just after 10, only to find the cafe shut and the only pub stopped serving breakfast at 10.

Tresaith ahead of us

So we soldiered on up the hill out of Tresaith, and towards Penbryn Beach.

Penbryn Beach
The view behind us and the hill we were walking up

Penbryn also took us in land slightly to get past a river, and we decided to stop in the wooded glen, complete with ferns, to have our breakfast – which was actually half of our lunch (a bit early).

A waterfall by breakfast

We then climbed up the other side of the wood and found ourselves in a National Trust car park, complete with a tea room.  The air did turn rather blue at this point!!

This tea-room looks nice – if doing this route then make sure you plan a visit to it!!

The views behind us got better and better as we got higher and higher.

And ahead of us now was Carreg-y-ty with it’s sandy cove.

Bonnie leads the way to Carreg-y-ty
Come on in, the water looks lovely

It looks like there is a little door inside

The view ahead then got better still as we approached Ynys Lochtyn, which is used as the main picture to advertise the Ceredigion coastal path.

The next landmark on the way to Ynys Lochtyn was Llangrannog, the village rather than the activity centre that kids stay in. We had been told of a lovely coffee shop on the sea front, and it didn’t disappoint. At this point we were 5 miles in and around 120 flights of stairs, so we still had a way to go.

Llangrannog
Sharon makes friends with St Carannog who founded the first church in the area
The beach at Llangrannog
A close up of Ynys Lochtyn

The coast line ahead still showed a lot of undulations, with Cwmtydu now the distant part.

One last glimpse back to Ynys Lochtyn

And then out of no-where comes the Llangrannog activity centre with ski slope and go karts

The climbs seemed to get steeper and steeper, and New Quay still wasn’t in sight, and ahead was the worst climb of them all, cut into the hill side.

You can just make out the path ahead of us

And then, not since our first walk nearly 4 years ago in Chepstow, Sharon once again uttered the famous words “That’s a pretty sheep”.  And, to be fair, it was.

Who’s a pretty girl then

The next big drop through a forest took us into Cwmtydu, and a welcome, if somewhat expensive ice-cream stop

It’s a long way down

We didn’t have time to stop at the tractor table
Ice-cream on the go for us
Some sort of smuggler cave maybe at Cwmtydu

We still had a massive climb to go, and then from the top the view looked like this, where is New Quay?

Another descent followed, and on a bridge in the middle of no-where was this….

A bit late!!

I could have done with that a few hours earlier!!

Our final climb
Sharon and Bonnie lagging behind, and Sharon looks like she is puffing a bit

After all the dangerous walking it was a surprise to see this warning sign right at the end, but we did follow the safer route.

Which finally gave us a glimpse of New Quay

New Quay over the hedge
The harbour wall

What a welcome sight that was and what a view

The route then took us down through the town, past houses, and the harbour, ending our day with the walk out of New Quay to the caravan site.

And we are back home

Strava records it as 14.6 miles and 4,148 feet of height (which is 1,264 metres).  This is higher than walking up Snowdon.

What a bumpy ride

And that was our weekend done – 27.2 miles in total, making a grand total of 430.9 miles walked and 443.3 miles to go. One more day of walking and we should be halfway around the coast.

New Quay to Llanrhystud

6th October 2018

Our last walking weekend of the year – and also our first since May (which is very remiss) and we got off to a delayed start as the weather was so bad on Friday and on Saturday morning, so only 2 walks this weekend, but they will have lovely scenery.

Today we are walking the 13 or so miles from New Quay (where we have hired a static caravan) to Llanrhystud to join up with this previous walk. We chose this way as it is relatively flat (compared with the walk we are saving for tomorrow) and we should be able to complete it in an afternoon rather than having an all-day adventure.

You can see the sea from our caravan!

We headed down to the beach and walked along till a river meant we had to head inland.

The view back to New Quay
New Quay beach below Quay West Haven park

 

The view even further back towards New Quay
The hills ahead of us

 

Some stunning landscape around Craig Ddu
The beach below Cwm Clifforch

And before we knew it our lunch-spot of Aberaeron was right in front of us.

The coastal path led down, through a forest, over a bridge and past an orange roman style house, complete with horse statue in the garden, to the town of Aberaeron.

It’s not moving
Sharon is not afraid of heights

We met up with Bethan (our taxi driver for later as buses are infrequent) and bribed her with pancakes and nutella, and then set off around the lovely harbour and back to our walking.

The walk now was mostly flat for the rest of the afternoon, which was exactly what we needed to keep the pace up and get to the end before 5.30.

That’ll be us

Just before Llanon we got a little bit lost and had to ask for directions. The alternate Blue route goes in land to Llanon itself to get over the river, but the red route allows for you to do a bit of stepping stones (I did OK!!) over the river and then walk along the beach to the second tower and then the paths rejoin.

The tower to get off the beach

At this point we stopped to collect some driftwood for future projects, but it did look more like Sharon had been to the bakery!!

Baguettes anyone?

We then had to weave through the small town of LLansantffraed, and over a bridge next to the church of St Brides before heading past four old lime kilns, used historically to burn limestone to spread on the fields to make them more fertile and improve drainage.

Lime Kilns

Then a stop for a coffee and cake on the beach watching the waves hit the shore from the strong wind….

and then the coastal path takes you up a long straight road towards the main road.

It’s me again – but look at that sky

And you arrive at the entrance to the campsite which marked the end of the previous walk.

The coastal path would then head back into the camp site and up the hills to Aberystwyth, but for us that is the end of the day, and a moment to relax before Bethan arrives to take us back to the campsite. 12.6 miles in total and around 450 metres of height gained today. Time for dinner before tomorrow’s adventures.

Amroth to Freshwater East in a weekend

19th and 20th May 2018

This is a double-header update to cover the walks both sides of Tenby.

On the Saturday we set off early from home and drove to Amroth, parking right on the seafront with free parking. We were also only 10 metres from the bus stop, so today will count as the day with least extra “non-coastal path” walking.

After a delicious “Pirate” breakfast we got the bus to Tenby, and that was quite a scary ride down some narrow lanes.

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The bus heading along Amroth front towards us

And off we set from Tenby for the walk – the coastal path isn’t signposted at all through Tenby so you just make your way through the town and down to the harbour and North beach.

The coastal path then rises sharply firstly along a road and then through some fields.

The path then stays quite high for a while with views of the coast through hedges and trees before dropping down to sea-level in a little cove just before Sandersfoot. We stopped for a coffee and Sharon decided to have a paddle in the very cold water.

 

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The tide was in too far to walk around the coast on the beach, so we climbed back up to continue the walk to Saundersfoot.

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And after a surprisingly short stop for shopping we headed out of Saundersfoot in the glorious sunshine and through a tunnel, yes a tunnel, to get to Coppet Hall Point.

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One of the two tunnels

After a suntan lotion stop we went through a second tunnel and along a very well walked part of the path to Wiseman’s bridge. By now the tide was well on the way out, and we were able to walk from Wiseman’s bridge all the way to Amroth on the beach over rocks.

And there was the car – so a lovely stroll of 7.6 miles and we had joined up to our previous Laugharne to Amroth walk.

After a great evening in St Florence and a good pub meal we set off the next morning for day 2 – parking in Tenby and getting the train out to Lamphey – which is about as close to the coastal path as we could get to start today.

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By “close” I mean about 2.5 miles of walking to get to the coastal path, most of it along a road, so not the most exciting of starts, but at least we had some cloud cover today to stop it being so warm. And after a steep descent we made it to the start point by Freshwater East beach.

The coastal path heads behind the beach through dunes, and then sharply up a steep climb to get to West Moor Cliff; the views here are mainly behind us back towards Freshwater East.

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Ahead of us though from this height Sharon kindly pointed out our future path around Swanlake Bay, and it was a big drop and rise again…..

The climb up East Moor Cliff was a big one, and to then turn the corner and see another drop down, this time into Manorbier Bay was a little disheartening, but the views along here were magnificent because of the height.

We stopped for lunch at Manorbier Bay, but didn’t have time to see the castle. Then off we set again up Priest’s nose this time, and if you look closely you can see fishermen sitting in very precarious positions on the rocks below us.

We then climbed up and around Presipe Bay, where thankfully we didn’t have to drop down to the beach for once – although Alice and her family had done.

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The path then has to turn inland to avoid Manorbier firing range, and there were some neat dog openings on the stiles. It was also a chance for the pace to pick up on some concrete paths.

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Then suddenly Caldey Island came into view, and from an angle that we had never seen before.

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Caldey Island

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Then once more we dropped a fair distance towards Skrinkle Haven, but this time the way back up was steps, and lots of them. Andrew decided to tackle them in one, and then needed a 5 minute sit down to regain his breath.

Then it was quite a surprise to come out besides some caravans on the Haven Lydstep site, and we got a bit lost navigating our way around the caravans, but Sharon got us back on track, even if it was a very much unused track with lots of stinging nettles.

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A prime position for a caravan
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Lydstep bay
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Overgrown paths
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Sharon steams ahead – must need food!!

After Lydstep the path heads up again to Penally, and with the red flag down we were able to walk across the shooting range, and past the trenches used to train soldiers in WW1.

We then arrived at Giltar Point, but were not feeling brave enough to climb out on it – hard to believe that this beautiful spot is so close to Tenby South Beach, and gives such good views of Caldey Island.

Then we headed through a beautiful small wood and arrived at South Beach.

And we were back in Tenby – so a lot longer day than yesterday – around 6 hours of walking, a total of 15 miles, and over 210 storeys of height. But for the coastal path it was 11.7 miles completed.

So with 19.3 miles completed this weekend our grand total is now above the 400 miles completed mark at 403.7 miles, and 470.5 miles to go. 3 walks away from being halfway!!

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.