10th-11th July 2021 Stanley Embankment to Church Bay

Another long weekend, and the furthest possible drive to the top of Anglesey (185 miles) for our 4th walking weekend on Anglesey and this time we are going to finish the island off.

We had already completed a small part of the Porth Swtan (Church Bay) to Holyhead section, and had left about 10 miles still to do. With no buses running on a Sunday and with our campsite halfway between the Stanley Embankment and Church Bay, we decided to walk both ways from Llanfwrog to Church Bay on the Saturday and likewise from Llanfwrog to Stanley Embankment and back on the Sunday.

The beach by Llanfwrog, the start and finish point for 2 days

I’ll start by describing the Sunday walk down to Stanley Embankment.

The beach is a not the best along here

We started off along the beach, and got so carried away that we missed a sign which would have taken us off the beach and inland to avoid the river – we just carried on enjoying the views 🙂

At the end of the beach you reach the mouth of river Alaw and have to turn left and go inland.

The tide was out but even still there was too much water to get across the estuary without the bridge, so now we have to rejoin the coastal path.

Once back on the path it went through some grassland, and then through the middle of a corn field. The threat of rain never far away – we set off early today as we know rain is due between 1 and 2pm. This detour won’t have helped our cause.

And then, after a coffee and cake break, the bridge came into view.

Sharon and Lola pick up the pace

Without this bridge the walk would be a further 1 mile in and out of Llanfachraeth to get over the river, so thank you bridge.

Unfortunately the other side of the river is not a well walked bit of the coastal path, and the brambles and stinging nettles were quite high in many places.

But with some walkways

And there was even a bit of a bridge/wall to walk along.

Gorad Beach

For the last bit of the walk the coastal path takes you in through the housing estate, but actually we could have stayed on the beach, as we found out on the way back.

Here is the Stanley Embankment (and that Chimney again that we were forever seeing on Holy Island) and the end of today’s walk – except it isn’t as we now have to walk back – hopefully a bit quicker if we don’t get lost.

Back along the beach

Back through the brambles….

But this time we found the right path and got back more quickly, so this was a 10.7 mile walk in total, but the way out was 5.7 miles and the way back was 5.0 miles which is the figure which goes towards the coastal path total.

This write-up now moves on to the Saturday walk – which is again from Llanfwrog to Church Bay (and back again). And for the first time I can reveal how we keep the dogs fresh before and after a 10 mile walk – we let them ride in luxury from the campsite to the walk start…..

Bonnie with her head up and Lola (black so you can hardly see her) hanging out the right hand side, and a brown paw out the back, crazy dog

Here is the starting point, the same sign as we finished with yesterday.

but this time we walk up the track and turn right through a gate and up through two fields of cows.

and down the other side towards the first beach of the day.

Across the water we have a great view of Holyhead port and the large ferries going to Ireland.

The path then heads right through the middle of a working farm and along a road which goes through the middle of a campsite at Porth Tywyn-Mawr.

Sharon and Lola lead the way again

After climbing the steps off the beach we decided to stop for lunch and a snooze (the snooze was Bonnie). Lola meanwhile decided to bring back various sticks and flowers for us to look at.

We then walked along Porth Tredadog and up the road beside this house.

The rest of this walk is then mainly clifftops and small beaches down below.

Bonnie finds a bit of energy to chase Lola for a change and we head up to Porth Trwyn.

The coastline then shows about 4 or 5 jutty out bits (to be technical) ahead of us but actually Church Bay is before most of these, and they are to be saved for our walk on Tuesday.

Over a little bridge…..

past Porth Crugmor…..

and we find Church Bay.

With a lot of people looking out to sea.

For those undertaking this route, there are no shops in Church Bay, but there is a lovely Cafe called the Wavecrest which does meals and drinks Friday to Monday and then has a coffee and cake van Tuesday to Thursday.

This is Porth Swtan, Church Bay.

After a drink and an ice cream we turned around (5.1 miles completed) to do exactly the same walk back again – with some different views and photos on the way back.

Now that must have been a big wave

And talking of waves – here is Sharon with Lola having a paddle on Porth Penrhyn-Mawr.

Back along the cliffs, through the campsite and the cow fields to the finish point.

And even better -the bikes are still where I chained them this morning. Today was 10.2 miles, of which 5.1 miles counts towards our coastal path total.

That makes 10.1 miles across the two days to finish this section and for our grand total it now makes 690.1 miles completed and 214.4 miles to go, although if you add up from the walks left we still have 226.7 miles to go which just shows how some walks are longer than the book says.

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.

Th

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.

Fairbourne to Tywyn

20th September 2020

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.

Look at that sky again

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.

What a beautiful sky today, going to be too warm

Slow down Bonnie, need to save those legs

Under the railway line to the road

The path crosses the main road and heads up a lane, which starts off innocent enough.

You can start to see the hill

And we climb, then turn right, climb again, then left and climb again and so on, weaving up and up.

Hopefully this shows the gradient

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.

Over a bridge into the village

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can’t quite see this gradient but it was steep

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.

In need of some minor repairs

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.

Llanbedr to Fairbourne

19th September 2020

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.

Remember this bridge? Bonnie does

Here is our start point

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.

That would have saved 0.7 miles

The airfield

Then it was on to the tidal marshes where a convenient path cuts it way through the middle.

Can’t go to Shell Island so left we go

Our leaders

The path through the marsh

Interesting sea creatures in the marsh

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.

Morfa Dyffryn is a nature reserve

Over the dunes

I see the sea

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!!

I’ll take the photo from a distance for decency

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 😦

The exit point from the beach

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.

Through the fields

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.

Ah-ha

The road is quite a way from the coast

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!

The beach with sand dunes

It is another lovely day

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.

Yes there really is a troll toll

Don’t worry – that train is one going the other way!!

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.

Afon Mawddach

The road along the coast at Fairbourne

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.

Tywyn to Aberdyfi

18th September 2020

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.

Our starting point
Our starting point

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.

The first part is along the promenade

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!!

Bonnie loves the beach

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.

Shorts and straps
And here is Aberdyfi

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.

Trearddur Bay to Four Mile Bridge

Monday 31st August 2020

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.

Four mile bridge

We walked the 2 miles to Trearddur Bay to start the walk which will end back at Four mile bridge.

Sharon ready to pick up where we left off yesterday

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.

Looking across the Bay with the tide in

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.

Just look at his bay

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.

Bwa Gwyn – one of the two stone arches

This day had it’s fair share of gates, and Sharon demonstrated how to open the gate without touching it with her hand.

It is all in the wrists

And back to some wonderful views:

The view across to Snowden

 

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.

Just look at this beach

And this toilet – 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.

Through the woods

Up a long path

And into the rather muddy woods

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.

What can we see?

Sharon is very excited – it is four mile bridge again

And earlier than expected four mile bridge came into view and the end of our walk.

The same sign as our start yesterday but from the other side

We got back to the bikes for the cycle home to the campsite and a nice cuppa.

Base camp and the end of a fabulous day

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.

Holyhead to Trearddur Bay

Sunday 30th August 2020

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.

Our start point

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.

Along the path

Great views of the estuary

Over the railway line and you are on the embankment and walking besides Holyhead Bay and into Penrhos Coastal Path.

Penhros Coastal Path

There was then a bit of a climb up to a viewpoint.

Up we climb

But the views were worth it

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.

Selfie time

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.

A strange concrete shrine

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.

It really was this steep

And we really were this high – that is the town of Holyhead in the distance

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….

Toilet break – is this the ladies?

Unfortunately due to the pandemic South Stack lighthouse wasn’t open to the public today, but it did save us a fair few steps:

South Stack Lighthouse

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:

Can you see him?

Zoom in closer and you will – I am sure this is cheating though!!

Here he is

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.

Ellin’s folly

Abraham’s bosom

The coastal path then continued to hug the coast line from on high, and the landscape became more and more moon like.

Bonnie on the moon

Stunning landscape

You pass a beautiful beach with a suitable toilet stop…

Porth Dafarch

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.

Finally our end point

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!!

One last look at the beach

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.

 

Llanbedr to Penrhyndeudraeth

6th October 2019

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.

Our starting point

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.

Sharon led the way

Better than trying to swim it

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.

Pensarn

The clouds looked ominous

We then joined the main road and the path turned left and dropped steeply down around 100 steps to get on to the beach.

Before we dropped down 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.

Exit point

Over the dune

Luckily the path doesn’t climb back up to the castle itself

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.

Not quite the Ritz

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.

We couldn’t even see the end of the road

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.

Thankfully a rainbow without the rain

Portmerion in the distance across the estuary

We walked along a raised grass mound, and then dropped down onto the marsh and across a small bridge.

Can’t go through the marshland

The old bridge across the marshland

Along the mound

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.

The bridge

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.