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.

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”

South Wales Coast and Severn Estuary Completed

During October we completed a complete chapter of our coastal path book…Chapter 8 from Swansea to Chepstow…which is (according to the book) 118.5 miles long and gains 1780m in height ….who knew Chepstow was so high up!!

We thought it would be nice to link all the walks we have written up together in book order.

So the first walk according to chapter 8 of the book is from Swansea to Port Talbot, which we did in 2 stages, firstly we have Briton Ferry to Swansea which was our first walk of 2017 on 19th April, where the main roads into Swansea soon changed to be a nice canal for the 6 miles we completed. The second stage was Briton Ferry to Aberavon which we completed on 24th September 2017 with the optional extra loop of over 200 storeys of height and 9.7 miles completed.

The next page of the book is Port Talbot to Porthcawl and again we broke this into 2 walks using Margam Crematorium as a start and end point(and with over 18 months between the two parts). Our walk from Margam to Aberavon Sands was our first walk of Spring on 20th March 2016, although you wouldn’t know it from the coats, and it was a contrasting walk between industrial harshness and beautiful beaches over 6.5 miles. The other part started again at Margam, but this time we went from Margam to Porthcawl and this walk had a bit of everything from roads and lanes, and train lines, marshes and mud, dunes and beach, boardwalks, seafront and roast dinner and all within 8.8 miles.

Next in the book comes Porthcawl to Southerndown, which we did again in 2 stages. We joined up Ogmore to Porthcawl on the 1st May 2017 and here we had the famous stepping stones incident (Andrew is still trying to forget it), a beach walk, the fun fair and chips before a storm, which was 6.2 miles. Then on a beautiful August bank holiday this year we joined up Ogmore to Southerndown walking both ways on our busiest section of coastal path (except when Sharon led us off the path and almost over the cliff edge) and 3.8 miles completed.

Part 4 of the chapter is Southerndown to Llantwit Major, and we did this in one (allbeit backwards) so Llantwit Major to Southerndown on 17th January 2016 as one of our first walks. A foggy start, plenty of cliffs and mud, St Donat’s castle for lunch, past Nash point and slipping and sliding for 10 miles and over 654 metres of height.

Next up is Llantwit Major to Barry, and we completed this leg on 4th June 2016, again with a lot of cliffs and fields, Abertawe power station and the famous Golden Steps – the 11.8 miles ended at Cold Knap point, and we had already completed the optional 3.5 mile Barry Island Loop on a windy 2nd May 2016.

The 6th part is Barry to Cardiff which we did in two stages, starting with Penarth to Barry on 13 March 2016 which included a steep start, the pier, mud, Sully Island, the road with never ending lamp-posts and an ice-cream to finish the 11.5 miles. On the same weekend we also did the Cardiff to Penarth part including the optional Penarth loop – it was a beautiful spring day in the sunshine to complete the 2 miles of coastal path.

The 7th section is Cardiff to Newport which we did on valentines day 2016, and it involved a Greggs (that doesn’t narrow it down much!!) the gypsy site, not stopping for food at Tescos and then regretting it when the Chef at the pub had gone home (so crisps and coffee) and the missing bridge over the railway line for a very painful 14 mile walk.

The 8th and 9th sections in the book are from Newport to Goldcliff to Caldicot, but we mixed it up and did these in 2 slightly different sections. Newport Wetlands to Duffryn was on 10th April 2016 and will be remembered for 2 things – the transporter bridge and the famous “where are the car keys?” incident, luckily it was only 6.7 miles. We also walked Caldicot to Newport Wetlands on 28th February 2016 which was a very painful walk of 12 miles, with a bit of hobbling and the Goldcliff tea rooms.

And the final leg – which ironically started off our whole adventure is Caldicot to Chepstow which we started from Chepstow and headed to Caldicot on 1st January 2016. The famous bandstand starting point (so much better than the other end in Chester), sculptures, pretty sheep, the Severn Bridge and Black Rock over 9.5 miles.

And that is our South Wales adventure – if you were keeping count that was 122 miles in total for us with the optional loops and a few detours. When we set out we said 2 years to complete it all – we were a bit out, but we will get there!!

Andrew and Sharon

Oxwich Bay to Rhossili

19th August 2017

On a dry but very windy day we decided to walk in the Gower from Oxwich Bay to Rhossili. We had wanted to include the walk out to Worm’s head but the tide times and the bus times wouldn’t coincide – so we parked in Rhossili and got the bus to Towers.

The sign at Rhossili where we will end up
Sharon and Bonnie at the bus stop
Towers – with the road leading down to Oxwich Bay

We walked down the road to Oxwich Bay and found the coastal path sign before walking along the beach front.

The sign at Oxwich beach
Oxwich Bay

We passed St Illtyd’s church before starting a very steep climb and descent (apparently to avoid a landslip – so the book tells me).

Up we climb

And then we walked around Oxwich point and along to Lucas Bay.

Port Eynon in the distance
Lucas Bay

We had decided to stop for lunch at Port Eynon, and found ourselves walking both against the strong wind, and against 98 two person teams completing a run/swim from Rhossili to Oxwich – so on narrow parts we had to stop and let them through. We also found that part of the path had fallen into the sea so needed to detour inland and back out again.

Doh – lunch is delayed

In Port Eynon we got some cakes at the Life Boat open day and sat down to eat them when we heard “Dad!” “Sharon!” and saw Dan with his head stuck through a hole receiving a lot of sponges in the face – he was running the stall for the life boaters.

Dan enjoying a soaking

After Dan showed us the sights of Port Eynon we continued up and around to Port Eynon point.

Port Eynon beach
The Salt House
Port Eynon Point

The walk then follows the coast all the way to Rhossili – but boy is it hilly. We walked over Overton Cliff, Common Cliff, and Horse Cliff, and the altitude was clocking up.

Fabulous views but very hilly
A great coastal path sign
And the wind was whipping up the sea into a froth

In the sun it was very warm, especially up the hills.

So trendy
Bonnie leads the way
More stunning scenery

And we picked the best view of the day for our afternoon coffee and cake.

Cake tastes better with this view

We set off again having refueled and finally we could see Worm’s head in the distance.

There’s Worm’s Head

By now it was about 4.30 and we had been walking for over 12 miles, but we pushed on up a few more hills to walk around the top of the cliff above Worm’s Head and to Lookout point.

Sharon Looking out at Look out point
Rhossili Bay for another day

And we had made it back to Rhossili- A harder day than I had thought it would be, but then I was only just recovering from a night of being sick 30 hours earlier. There are more photos on the Walkies Bonnie Facebook page.

The total walk was 14.9 miles, and 14.2 of that was coastal path – and the total height gained was 2,076 feet.

Our grand total now is 306.4 miles walked and 563.6 miles to go.

Llandudno to Llanfairfechan (via Conwy)

6th May 2017

Day 2 of the weekend and we are leaving the bikes behind today. The first part of the day will complete the Llandudno to Conwy walk while the second will walk the section from Conwy to Llanfairfechan.

The start point is the end point from yesterday

At this point we were unsure which route to take later in the day from Conwy; the traditional coastal path route of 9 miles or the mountains of the alternative route which is 11 miles and has 600 metres of ascent to get to the highest point on the whole coastal path (hence no bikes today!!).

We are heading for here

It was overcast but dry today, and the first few miles were flat and sandy as we followed the river Conwy estuary to reach the bridge to cross into Conwy.

A mountain dog, she loves the sand.
Sandy walk
The bridge in the distance
The estuary

The castle at Conwy is very impressive and dominates the town.

Conwy castle

We stopped for a look around the shops before heading for the quay and our next British record….Britain’s smallest house.

Smallest house in Britain

By now we had walked over 4 miles and it was decision time….11 miles of mountain walking or 9 miles of flat walking. For once we took the safe option and went the coastal way.

We came from there

But we stopped for a selfie in front of the mountains!!

Bench selfie with the mountain route behind us

In hindsight we made the right choice; the views of Anglesey were fabulous plus Bonnie was struggling after 12 miles. Most of the walk followed the A55 and the train line, at one point far too close with lorries winding their way around the coast less than a metre from us.

Anglesey

We found a picnic bench for lunch with nice views over the Menai strait. Then a final push to get to Llanfairfechan including one quite steep climb, then over the A55 and to the car park.

Lunchtime

We made it

At the last traffic lights the red mountain route joined back up with us, and we waited for the bus to take us back to Llandudno and the waiting car.

Red route joins up

In total we walked 12.1 miles of coastal path. In hindsight today was a much better candidate for bikes than yesterday as we pretty much followed the bike path the whole way. This makes 270.2 miles completed and 599.5 miles to go. On the way back we were already planning tomorrow’s walk as well.

Bangor to Llanfairfechan

7th May 2017

Day 3 of the weekend and the plan was to join up to Bangor. We decided to park in Llanfairfechan and get the bus to Bangor. Unfortunately we missed the stop to get off; ended up in the town centre and had to walk over a mile back to get to the coastal path!! But on a beautiful day like today we weren’t going to worry too much.

Bangor university

We passed Bangor university on the way to Bangor pier….the 2nd longest pier in Wales and number 10 in the UK.

Wales’s second longest pier

The photograph is slightly deceiving as the pier reaches about halfway across the Menai Strait, but here is looks like it is almost touching Anglesey in the background. This is about as close as we will get to Anglesey until we start walking it (amazingly Anglesey is 50 miles more walking than the whole of Chester to Bangor – it will take 11 days and 130 miles to get right round Anglesey).

Anglesey to the left and Llandudno and Llanfairfechan to the right
Llanfairfechan
Tempting to go that way but need to head inland

After a brief walk along the coast the coastal path turns abruptly right and heads inland through the woods. This might change in the future if Penrhyn Castle ever gives access across it’s land.

But the woods were beautiful with the bluebells in full bloom.

Perfect timing

Eventually we turned off the woodland path, near a ford and along a road. A new section of coastal path diverted us off the small lane and onto a pavement through an empty area earmarked for an industrial estate. Then we walked through fields and roads, zigzagging our way back towards the coast.

Over a river
Past some fields
Across a sheep field

We then reached a nature reserve and here we should have stayed on the road and down to the car park, but we were so distracted by the unique opening gate that we entered the reserve instead.

Unusual gate

No harm was done and we popped through an opening and out onto the beach where we sat on the picnic blanket for lunch.

Time for lunch and what a blue sky

From then on we stayed on the coast, sometimes on the beach, other times on a path besides the beach.

Cute house, possible seaside home?

Bonnie showed off her balancing skills along the wall, but sadly wasn’t quite as skilled when she reached the duck lake where she leant forward too far and fell in. We discovered Bonnie can swim but she needed a helping hand to get out, and looked like a drowned rat afterwards.

Good balance
Drowned!!
Llandudno looks like an island

Only in Britain would there be children playing on the beach in bathers in 15 degree weather.

Where is the water?

Before we headed back to the car we stopped for an ice cream and a little snooze!!

Another ice-cream selfie in the sun
Sleeping “beauties”
We’ve been both ways from here now!

So that was the end of another wonderful walk in sunshine with 10 miles of coastal path completed today. We have now walked the first 82 miles of coastal path from Chester to Bangor, and the last 81.5 miles of coastal path from Southerndown to Chepstow.

Overall we have now walked 280.2 miles and have got 589.5 miles to go… below 600!! A wonderful weekend of walking and we have really enjoyed the North Wales coast, it is very beautiful.