Well this is one of the shortest chunks of coastal path at just 61.4 miles, and 5 sections, but it also contains the 2 hilliest sections on the whole coastal path at 620 metres and 600 metres of climb. Here are all the walks of this section in order:
The third and final day of our weekend and again last night the wind picked up from nowhere and kept us awake most of the night. Today there are no trains so we are going to get the bus from outside the campsite to Fairbourne where we left off yesterday.
But the early part of today’s walk is not along the coast as there is no path between the sea and the cliff edge so it is inland we have to head and on one serious climb. In fact today is the 2nd biggest climb on the whole coastal path apart from Aberdyfi to Machynlleth (and we can still remember how hard that one was). That day was 620m of climb over a 12 mile walk and today is due to be 600 metres of climb but a 16 mile total walk.
The path crosses the main road and heads up a lane, which starts off innocent enough.
And we climb, then turn right, climb again, then left and climb again and so on, weaving up and up.
Within about 25 minutes we had this view….
And there is Barmouth.
Even at this height there are still bridges to cross.
And here is where we stopped for our coffee break, on a convenient bench right next to someone’s house.
And the climb isn’t finished yet, as we now hit a woodland area with a single track road, and down below is Fairbourne where we started out.
Sharon leads the way along the road.
Still getting higher, we would be in the clouds if there were clouds today.
Just past this gate we could wait no longer and stopped on a slope for lunch. Straight afterwards we had a steep decline down to sea level and the village of Llwyngwril which had a pub (closed till 2.30pm) and a train station. After 100 metres of walking through the village the path turned off to the left past a cemetery and back up another steep hill for the 2nd large climb of the day.
At the top of the hill the path turned right and through a farm.
Then past a house which Sharon fancied “doing up” as a holiday home.
Finally the sea, but still a way to go.
We crossed some very well signposted fields where the farmer was rounding up his sheep using a quad bike – very friendly chap.
And then we started a descent again.
And along a path which probably doubles as a river bed and was very very muddy.
Before we crossed the main road and turned left to go through some more fields,
After walking along some further muddy paths the path then crossed another farm. Sharon asked some locals where the path went, and I think it was at this point we first went wrong – they directed us left and slightly uphill, but I think this was a different path. But on we ploughed -never turn back!!
This path was not well used.
This path took us into the quarry, where we again found a coastal path sign, but unfortunately it was for the optional longer loop which used to be the main path before the bridge was build over the estuary.
By now Bonnie had had enough, and we took turns to carry her for a while, she didn’t seem to mind!!
And we cut down through the quarry
To get to their main gate, and walking around the edge of it took to the main road and a short walk back on ourselves to get to the new bridge – Pont Tonfanau
The new raised path on the way to the bridge, it crossed what would otherwise be a very marshy area.
Once over the bridge the end was almost in sight.
Along a road beside the top end of Tywyn beach.
And through a caravan park where we found a shop selling ice cream.
Finally we had made it back to the beach and to our starting point 2 days ago – just the small matter of the 1 mile walk back to the caravan now.
So with the sun setting we had completed the whole weekend with a day to spare – still, we can collect some shells and do some shopping tomorrow now.
The total walk today was over 17 miles and 16 miles of coastal path, making 35.5 miles over the 3 days, and our total is now to 621.2 miles completed and 254.4 miles to go. Time for some dinner and a well earned rest.
Day two of our weekend and this is going to be a longer one. Due to timings of buses and trains we had to first of all start further away that we wanted (Llanbedr station was closed so we had to go to Pensarn and walk back), and at the other end we were planning to stop in Barmouth …..more about that later.
We had not had a good night’s sleep – from nowhere the wind picked up massively and 3 times in the night I had to go out and peg the awning back down and for the rest of the night things thumped against the side of the van. Anyway, up we got and off we walked to the train station, so that was our first mile (which didn’t count towards the coastal path). At Pensarn we walked back to Llanbedr (another 0.7 mile which didn’t count) and finally we could start the walk.
The path immediately crosses the railway line and the station we would have got off at if it was open, and then it heads down towards Llanbedr airfield.
Then it was on to the tidal marshes where a convenient path cuts it way through the middle.
The path then heads towards our first glimpse of sea of the day as it reaches Morfa Dyffryn, but first there are some sand dunes to climb over.
The next 2 miles of the walk are along the sand, and we stopped here for a coffee break before heading on – we had heard it was a nudist beach but I don’t think that Sharon was quite prepared for all that was flapping around in the wind!!
The beach got busier and busier as we entered the “with clothes” section and then there was an exit to the left with a coastal path sign – someone was holding an ice cream which gave us hope of an ice cream – but could we find the van? Nope not at all 😦
So up the boardwalk we went (not under it).
Through a car park and then along a road, before turning right into a field. We then end up following signs across the field, right, then left and then right which mean we ended up not far from where we started.
Over a wall, and across the bridge and we then met some Alpaca who tried to give us directions but we end up making some funny circles on Strava as we wandered around the fields.
Eventually we found ourselves back on the coastal path and on the main road into Barmouth, which we then followed for a couple of miles.
After the church….
The coastal path turns right and down a steep hill, over the railway line and along a promenade. Sharon tried to get the land train to stop and give us a lift – nice try!
By now we were getting rather hungry so we stopped for a sit down chip dinner. Then we had to take a decision whether to wait a few hours for the only train of the day to get us back home (the train goes over the Barmouth bridge) or to walk over the bridge and catch an earlier bus (the buses don’t go over the bridge and have a 40 minute inland detour). We decided to go for the bus and keep on walking!!!
So through Barmouth we walked and over the old wooden bridge, paying the toll to the troll.
We then decided that it would be easiest to walk along to Fairbourne as we could then get the bus from there if we got a wiggle on and it would be easier to start from there tomorrow. The next part of the walk goes along the other side of the estuary on a cycle path towards the coast again.
You can just make out a miniature railway track beside the road and again Sharon was hopeful of a lift, but the little trains had stopped running for the day, so we pushed on along the promenade.
And the end point of today’s coastal path as well as the starting point for tomorrow.
We just had time to walk into town to the bus stop and get an ice-cream from the passing ice cream van while we wait.
The total walk today was over 17 miles but 15 miles of it counts towards the coastal path total. That takes our total up to 605.2 miles completed and 270.4 miles to go. Hopefully it won’t be as windy tonight and we will sleep well.
We had this long weekend planned for a while, but ended up having to escape RCT an evening early before lockdown came in. So after a night rough camping on my parents drive we set off for the Meirionnydd section of the path to complete the remaining 3 walks in that section over this weekend.
Our plan was for a shorter walk the first day and then to get to the campsite to set up – but we didn’t realise just how easy and short the walk would be!!
We parked in the Tywyn train station car park and walked to the coast.
The walk today is along the beach to Aberdyfi, joining up to a section of path we last walked back in March 2014 on my birthday weekend. How different the world is now.
When the promenade ends the path takes you down onto the beach and then you can either walk across the sand or along the path running through the grass – we decided on the beach….. well why wouldn’t you on such a glorious day (as usual!!).
The hills are off to the left of us – I still remember those hills 30 months later!!
But today is as flat as can be – and Bonnie leads the way. There isn’t much more to say on this one really – beach, sunshine and coffee at the end of the walk – that’s all you need for an opening walk on the weekend.
So only 4.5 miles today, and done inside 90 minutes, leaving us plenty of time for the coffee and then a bus back to the car. That takes our total up to 590.2 miles completed and 285.4 miles to go. There will be more challenging days on this weekend, that is for sure. Now off to get basecamp set up.
This walk was completed in 2 stages, the “end” part we actually completed on the Friday when we arrived and had set up the van (hence you will notice a change of clothes and more clouds in the last few pictures), and the beginning we undertook today on a beautiful sunny day.
We walked to the bus stop and watched the fighter jets taking off in pairs from the airfield by our campsite. The bus ride was about 40 minutes and when we arrived at Aberffraw we were straight onto the coastal path which runs alongside Afon Ffraw.
The tide was heading out, and the path was moist but fine to walk on, and it headed up to a field and around the corner, my do we pick amazing days to go walking.
We found a small cove of a beach, and then along some paths, where some helpful men were strimming the long grass and nettles back for us.
The path then rounded a bend and we could see this church in the middle of the bay, surrounded by water. It is St Cwyfan’s Church-in-the-sea, and it was built in the 12th century but over the years erosion meant that it got cut off from the land. In 1890 they build a wall around the church to protect it, and now it is only accessible at low tide (or by boat).
St Cwyfan’s Church-in-the-sea
Just past the church the path heads up to the right and past a farm. We then entered a cow field (and at this point Sharon was on the phone and not concentrating so we got a bit lost). We wandered around the cow field for a bit and tried to avoid treading in the worst of it before finally heading towards another fence which we climbed to escape from the cows and back on to the path. For those following our adventures and completing this walk – turn left when you enter the field and head down to the sea!!
The walk then continued along the cliff top for a while before reaching Porth Trecastell where we dropped down and across a car park. As we climbed back up the other side there was a strange circular solar panel on a mound.
When we walked down to the bottom of the mound all was revealed with a gated entrance to Barclodiad y Gawres, which was a prehistoric chambered tomb. It has lovely carved stones inside the passageway, but unfortunately to protect it, it is only open for official visits, and our visit didn’t count apparently even though all you lovely people would love to see inside it.
Just the outside sorry
The walk then took us through a lot of dunes and along the beach and up to Rhosneigr which was our planned stop for some lunch.
And this is a happy Sharon post coffee and cake. The walk goes right though the town and back to the beach on the other side. Well, to be honest, you aren’t supposed to go on the beach as it hits a river that you can’t cross, but we headed over some dunes and rejoined the coastal path in time to cross this bridge besides the golf course and over Afon Crigyll.
The walk then heads besides the RAF Valley airfield through more dunes and finally back onto the beach. By this point we felt under attack with planes taking off and landing right over our heads.
There were also some older planes taking part in the session, and as we left the beach and went through the car park (which floods at high tide) we could see the airfield more clearly.
They do everything in pairs
That concluded the Tuesday part of the walk as we met up with the point at which we started the walk the previous Friday evening.
This part of the walk starts by zig-zagging across some fields and past the landing lights for the airfield.
On the approach
We then followed the estuary up and there was an inlet called Penrhyn-hwlad which was a one mile detour where you have to do 3 sides of a square as the more obvious route of just the fourth side would result in wet feet.
From there on out it was fields, a few horses, and a few walls to climb over.
And we made it to Four Mile bridge, with plenty of time to then walk back to the camp along a bike path to test out the biking route for the rest of the weekend.
So this section of walk was 10.5 miles on Tuesday and 3.6 miles on Friday making 14.1 in total and our weekend total was exactly 40 miles.
We have now completed 585.7 miles, with 289.5 to go. We have one more walking weekend planned this year, lock-down willing.
This has to be one of the top 5 walks so far on the coastal path – we weren’t expecting something so varied and stunning, and the weather was perfect for us; just look at the blue sky in some of these pictures.
So like yesterday we parked the bikes just before four mile bridge and crossed to Holy Island – which is an island off the side of Anglesey which itself is an island off Wales.
We walked the 2 miles to Trearddur Bay to start the walk which will end back at Four mile bridge.
And there was another first for our coastal path walking – Andrew wore shorts on a walk – never happened before (he’s afraid of getting stung by nettles). No pictures of this feat though sorry.
From the busy bay you walk left and up the road, and before you know it you arrive at an amazing much smaller bay, and much quieter as well. It is so secret it doesn’t even have a name.
The path then heads up the road and through a static van park before going through a gate into a very sand dune filled area.
And from here on the views just became magnificent. There isn’t much to describe in terms of the walk apart from following the signs and marvelling at the views.
This day had it’s fair share of gates, and Sharon demonstrated how to open the gate without touching it with her hand.
And back to some wonderful views:
After a lovely lunchtime stop by the cliffs we dropped down towards Borth Wen a circular cove of sand with houses all over-looking the beach.
We then had a section of moon surface again…..
Before suddenly an amazing flat beach …..
appeared around a corner with lots of water craft being launched, a lovely little refreshment booth with a wide range of ice creams and alcoholic drinks, and the poshest toilets you will ever see on a beach.
You exit the beach half way along – don’t be tempted to walk around thinking you can get back to the main island of Anglesey – you can’t but you can see a Victorian bathing house nestled on the far end of the beach. Up the steps and through a forest and then along a lane. In fine weather you can turn right and cut through a wood – so we did.
At this point Andrew got rather stranded by the mud and had to clamber across trees to avoid sinking into it. Regretting those shorts – maybe!!
Bonnie was still going strong and we walked along a road with no pavement and then turned right up a private drive….
past some farm houses, and down a narrow passageway beside a barn and then across some fields.
We then rejoined the estuary and things got a little wet under foot again, but luckily the tide was out.
And earlier than expected four mile bridge came into view and the end of our walk.
We got back to the bikes for the cycle home to the campsite and a nice cuppa.
Today was 9.2 miles of coastal path, which took us to 571.6 miles completed and 303.6 miles to go. Another day of walking tomorrow will get us under the 300 miles to go stage.
So a long bank holiday weekend in Anglesey to try to complete 3 more of the walks on the big island off Wales. We arrived on the Saturday and did a few miles of the 2nd walk, but more on that later, as today we set ourselves a mammoth challenge for our first coastal path walk in 10 months:
The plan was to bike 2.5 miles from the campsite to a spot near the coastal path, and then walk a total of over 20 miles, not all of it coastal path as we needed to finish up where we started (no buses today), and then bike back to the campsite.
The starting point for the walk today was Four mile bridge, not named because it is 4 miles long, far from it, more because it is 4 miles from Holyhead. The coastal path headed along the side of the estuary across some very marshy and muddy land to get to the only other way to cross to Holy Island, the Stanley Embankment. It would be easy to get lost here as the signs go both ways, up towards Church Bay or left to Holy Island – left it is today.
Over the railway line and you are on the embankment and walking besides Holyhead Bay and into Penrhos Coastal Path.
There was then a bit of a climb up to a viewpoint.
We then walked along the cliff tops….
and on to see the ruins of a naval battery used as a defence in the Napoleonic War.
and then around a football pitch before dropping into Holyhead itself and along a residential road, past the port and the railway station.
Hunger was setting in by now, and we found a nice little cafe which was serving breakfast still at 11.30am, the Beach Hut Cafe. A nice stopping point, and I got to count the lorries coming off the ferry (I’ll claim for the time later) and then off we went again up out of Holyhead and past the breakwater.
You will notice from the pictures that we were climbing all the way now and there is a good reason for that which came into view as we rounded North Stack and got sight of Holyhead Mountain, the highest point on Holyhead.
The walk doesn’t quite hit the peak of the mountain – and if we weren’t doing 20 miles today and we weren’t socially distancing from the crowds, then we might have made the small detour to the summit, but onwards we went with the downhill part now, and the approach to South Stack lighthouse.
Just time for Bonnie to pop to the loo….
Unfortunately due to the pandemic South Stack lighthouse wasn’t open to the public today, but it did save us a fair few steps:
We continued the descent and took a wrong turn, following a coastal path sign in the wrong direction, but a swift U-turn and we passed some amazing rock faces:
Zoom in closer and you will – I am sure this is cheating though!!
Ellin’s tower, a folly, was also not open so we walked down a step road to Abraham’s bosom – no it is just a broad bay – and a good place for a late lunch.
The coastal path then continued to hug the coast line from on high, and the landscape became more and more moon like.
You pass a beautiful beach with a suitable toilet stop…
The last part of the walk kept us walking along a road with no pavement, then deviating off to the right down the path to the coast, then back left to the road at least 5 times….it would have been less distance to stay on the road, but never mind as the sight of Trearddur Bay was worth the walk.
Well actually Trearddur bay might have been the end point for today’s coastal path but not our walking; we still had 2 miles to walk back to the bikes and 2.5 miles to cycle!!
Thankfully we found a nice pub on the walk back and had a cider and a delicious meal, before getting back to the campsite very tired but full. Over 20 miles walked and for the record that was our longest single day ever. 16.7 miles of coastal path takes us to 562.4 miles completed and 312.8 miles to go still. And another walk tomorrow.
As the weather forecast for Monday was terrible we knew that today would be our last walk of the weekend. Unfortunately when we swapped walks yesterday we didn’t realise that there was no Sunday bus for the walk we planned (Llanengan to Llanbedrog) but there was a bus at 9am from Penrhyndeudraeth to Llanbedr, so we decide to do that walk instead.
In the book this was shown as 2 long walks, as the wooded bridge had collapsed, but we had read recently that a new road and rail bridge had opened, and this meant that we could tackle the whole walk in a single day.
So we stood at a bus stop in the rain in Penrhyndeudraeth waiting for a very late bus, wondering why the weather was not as planned. Eventually the bus turned up and we set off, getting off 20 minutes later in the centre of Llanbedr and walked along the river to get to the coastal path.
The first part followed the river on a raised grass bank, and then crossed the river on a new bridge which wasn’t in our book.
The path then cut left through the Pensarn boating centre and by the harbour and then across some very boggy marshland. Rather than head on to the beach the path then cut inland slightly and along the road.
We then joined the main road and the path turned left and dropped steeply down around 100 steps to get on to the beach.
The beach at Harlech was wide and quite busy with visitors.
After about a mile we turned off into the sand dunes, up and over, and along the path towards the famous Harlech Castle.
As we were in less of a rush than yesterday with no rain planned we decided to try to find a cafe for lunch, but there was nowhere around without going up into the town so we sat in the bus stop and had our sandwiches and coffee.
The path then continued on the road out of Harlech and turned through a housing estate, across a few fields of sheep and then along a very long road through a wood.
A few more fields followed and then some steps down and back up before reaching Llanfihangel-y-traethau church.
The path was well sign-posted across some fields and around a farmhouse, and then it dropped down to the estuary edge.
We walked along a raised grass mound, and then dropped down onto the marsh and across a small bridge.
For some reason the coastal path then hugs the top of the sea wall, inside the field and in long grass. With hindsight we could have saved a lot of effort by instead walking just the otherside of the wall nearer the estuary which had a decent track – never-mind but hopefully someone else will learn from our experience. The path then crossed the train track, around a hill and met the main road and the new bridge which cut 8 miles off the total walk.
And that brought us back to the train station in Penrhyndeudraeth and to the car.
The total walk was 12.9 miles of coastal path in 4 hours and 20 minutes, a much slower pace than yesterday. That is almost 40 miles over our 3 day walking weekend and the grand total now stands at 545.7 miles and 329.5 miles to go. There may not be any more walks now till the spring, time for a wedding and the honeymoon, Christmas and celebrations.
We had planned for this walk to be on Sunday, rather than today, but because it was a flatter 15 miles and we could start earlier than the other walk (there is rain coming in around 1pm) we decided to head out early today to do this one. So we left the campsite before 7am and were parked in Criccieth by 7.15am.
We headed up into the town which was about 0.5 miles and got on a bus to Pwllheli, and then had a 30 minute wait for the 2nd bus to get us to Llanbedrog. Even after all that we were still walking by 8.50am, and we started by getting down onto the beach. I’ll say up front that this walk turned out to be a long walk but without too much of interest with long sections of beach and then long sections of road.
The beach itself has a cute line of beach huts and a mixture of sand and stone.
We missed the first exit from the beach but the book told us there was a second way up, so we took that and got around the Carreg y Defaid headland, and along to another long beach which was very rocky at Traeth Crugan – there was a path which ran parallel to the beach but behind a water defense and we used that for over a mile as it sheltered us from the wind.
The coastal path then headed inland around Pwllheli harbour and almost right past the bus stop we had waited at a bit earlier. We kept up the brisk pace today (with the threat of rain later) and 4 miles in and we decided not to stop at Pwllheli but instead carry on around the harbour and out to the Morfa Abererch after nearly 2 miles of road walking.
This beach seemed to go on forever, but in reality it was about 2 miles, and then we approached Pen-ychain which was another rocky outcrop.
Bonnie found the stones difficult to walk on so had a helping hand as we left the beach.
We then decided to take a quick break, which was probably the latest we have ever made a first stop coming after 2 hours 40 minutes and almost 9 miles of walking. A quick coffee and sandwich, and a snooze for Bonnie then off we set again.
We passed a teepee and walked around the hillside and some narrow woodland paths
The path then went through some shrubland ……
following the coast and then took a left inland. At this point we got lost as we assumed we would be turning right and following the coast again but that was private land, so we had to turn around and retrace our steps and head about 0.5 miles inland to follow the coastal path till it hit the main road into Criccieth (the A497).
Finally the path turned right at a farm and angling centre (shown by this sign which wasn’t completely obvious).
And we headed through the farm, across some sheep fields and over the train tracks.
Which brought us to some very marshy and muddy land where we had to jump from stone to stone – if the tide had been in we could have found this part very difficult. By now the rain had also started so we were desperate to get to the end – the castle was our marker all the way.
Finally our path came back parallel to the sea, if very slightly inland from it.
One of us was still cheery, but it was raining on the other one of us.
Finally as we headed around a corner the car came into sight.
So at 1.45pm we finished exhausted after quite a pace,and 16.7 miles walked, of which 16.1 miles was coastal path. That takes our total to 532.8 miles walked and 342.4 miles to go. Another long walk again tomorrow if we recover in time.
Our last walking weekend of the year and a final chance to get some serious mileage in before winter. This weekend we will be on the Lyn Peninsula section of the coastal path as well as the Meirionnydd Section as our campsite for this weekend is right on the edge between both sections of path.
So after a long drive up we parked up at Morfa Bychan just as the rain was stopping and decided to try to fit a 10 miler in before dark. Because of the timing of the trains we had to walk from Morfa Bychan to Penrhyndeudraeth, and then get a train right the way across to Criccieth, and then finish the walk from Criccieth to Morfa Bychan. And the train was at 4.40pm so we had to walk at a decent pace.
Our campsite was right on the beach and as we climbed over the dunes we got our first glimpse of a very nice beach
We had about a mile to walk until we needed to go up the steps at the end to get around the cove at Sampson’s Bay.
And here is the BayWe then walked through some woodlands, and through Pen y Banc nature reserve to get to Borth-y-Gest.
Borth-y-Gest used to be an important harbour until Porthmadog was built, now it is a sleepy colourful harbour.
Rounding this harbour bought us to the much larger Porthmadog Harbour with tall masts and a maritime museum.
After joining the main road to cross the river the guidebook told us to cross over and follow the bike-path along the salt marsh – the views were nice, but we later found out we could have walked up high on ‘The Cob’ which would have been even nicer looking out to see and with the heritage trains.
At the end of the path we had to walk under an arch and cross the road and railway line.
Then up a steep and muddy path – but the views at the end of Porthmadog and beyond were well worth it.
We then crossed some fields and hit the edge of Portmerion – but as you have to pay to enter we skirted around it. At this point the signage became rather vague and we also found a fellow lost coastal path walker so we teamed up and walked down the Portmerion access road until the coastal path crossed over in front of us, we could rejoin it and we said our goodbyes to the slower walker as we had a train to catch.
The next section was all along the main road so we could get a good pace up and we arrived at the railway station with 2 minutes to spare.
A nice 15 minute train ride enabled us to catch up on cold coffee from the flasks and a snack, and then we arrived in Criccieth and walked the half a mile back to the coastal path.
In Criccieth we first had to walk up and down the hill to pass the castle.
And then we walked along the seafront at Criccieth.
We tried to stay on the beach the whole way to Morpha but the tide was in just too far at Graig Ddu and we had to climb up the hill.
But looking down we could see a way to clamber down the rocks and get back onto the beach rather than climb even higher, so with the light starting to fade we made our way gingerly down the rock-face, mostly backwards!!
It was then about 1 mile along the beach to get us back to the campsite and all checked in by 6.15pm. A good afternoon of walking with plenty of views and sights of interest……10.3 miles walked today, making 516.7 miles completed and 358.5 miles to go. Now off to re-plan the rest of the weekend as tomorrow the rains come in early in the afternoon and we wanted to walk 15 miles before they do!!