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.

Llanbedrog to Criccieth

5th October 2019

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.

The same view as yesterday but today it is dark still

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 road down to the beach
Llanbedrog beach

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.

2nd time lucky
Looking back to what should be tomorrow’s more hilly walk

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.

Pwllheli sea front
Pwllheli Harbour
And out on to the beach

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.

Pen-ychain

Bonnie found the stones difficult to walk on so had a helping hand as we left the beach.

That’s the life

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.

Time for 20 winks

 

 

 

 

 

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).

I would like to say the day was all like this – yes over there in front of the peak is Criccieth castle if you look closely.
But sadly we had over 2 miles of this to follow with cars going past at 60mph

Finally the path turned right at a farm and angling centre (shown by this sign which wasn’t completely obvious).

Don’t miss this one

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.

The easier part of marshland
And then it got harder

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.

What rain? Sharon is still smiling under there

Finally as we headed around a corner the car came into sight.

Even the backpack has a coat now
What a view – no not the castle, the white car which means we have finished.

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.

Criccieth to Penrhyndeudraeth

4th October 2019

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.

Up we go at Ynys Cyngar
Up we go at Ynys Cyngar

And here is the BayWe then walked through some woodlands, and through Pen y Banc nature reserve to get to Borth-y-Gest.

Some views of walks for later in the weekend

Borth-y-Gest used to be an important harbour until Porthmadog was built, now it is a sleepy colourful harbour.

Borth-y-Gest
Complete with car park and cafe

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.

Traeth Mawr salt marsh

At the end of the path we had to walk under an arch and cross the road and railway line.

Underneath the arches

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.

The coastal path sign by the station to pick up from on a future walk
The station itself

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.

The sign to start this end of the walk

In Criccieth we first had to walk up and down the hill to pass the castle.

The back of the castle
It is more impressive from the front

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.

Looking back to the castle
Graig Ddu
Some of the hill we had to climb

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!!

But then down we dropped as twilight started to fall

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!!

The complete Ceredigion Coastal Path

The 5th May walk completed the relatively short Ceredigion section of the Wales Coastal Path.  6 walks for a total of 72.6 miles and gaining over 2810 metres in height.

For us the walks were

  1. Machynlleth to Borth  16.1 miles and 590 metres high on 25th March 2018
  2. Aberystwth to Borth 5.7 miles and 320 metres of height on 23rd March 2018
  3. Aberystwth to LLanrhystud 11.3 miles on 26th March 2018
  4. New Quay to Llanrhystud  14 miles on 5th October 2018
  5. Aberporth to New Quay 13.3 miles on 6th October 2018
  6. Aberporth to Aberteifi 12 .2 miles on 5th May 2019

Aberporth to Aberteifi

5th May 2019

Once again, although the full walk was from Aberporth to St Dogmaels, we had already completed the last little bit when we walked from Moylgrove to St Dogmaels (and stopped at Aberteifi deliberately) so we have saved ourselves a mile today.  Today also completes the 6th and final leg of the Ceredigion Coastal Path.

So we drove to Aberteifi and parked the car. We were deliberately early so that we could have some breakfast in a dog friendly cafe – the castle cafe. Excellent food and service.

Free sausage for Bonnie

We then walked to the bus stop, more in hope than certainty that a T5 bus would be running on a Sunday as we had seen different reports from various timetables – but it was, and not only that but it was also free – result.  So we got the bus to Aberporth, and the bay where we had started from when walking the other way from Aberporth to New Quay.

Dolphin Statue in Aberporth
Lovely beach at Aberporth

Unfortunately the first thing that the coastal path did was to take us inland, up a steep road to go around a firing range. So the first mile or so was not very interesting, and we ended up walking back past where the bus had come.

The views behind us were better
In front of us was the army barracks
Today we will be mainly following these signs

Once we got past the firing range we turned down a road, across a field and then through some woodlands…

Through the woods

Before finally hitting the coast again.

Coast at last

From then on the next few hours were all about going in-land to find a bridge to cross over the eroded cliffs and then back out to the coast again, in and out, in and out.

The view from a bridge
The ins and outs ahead of us
And the view behind us

It was another gorgeous day, and this was a really spectacular bit of coastline, except for these two clowns who spoiled the view.

Over another bridge

The walk took in Traeth Y Gwryddon and Pen-Peles.

Pen-Peles

Before Mwnt came into view – well to be more precise the conical hill of Foel y Mwnt which is a very tall point, but thankfully not on the coastal path. It shelters a church and a secluded beach, as well as the important things like a toilet and a cafe.

That’s Mwnt

The Church of the Holy Cross
Thankfully not on the coastal path

Leaving Mwnt the path then headed up again quite steeply until we were almost as high as the hill anyway.

Traeth y Mwnt
Yes that is the hill – and I reckon we are higher than it now

The original coastal path then went inland to avoid a nature reserve and farmland around Cardigan Island, but when I looked at the coastal path app I could see that the path now stays on the coast a lot longer than the book or app suggest.

Down and up again
Cardigan Island

So the yellow line was the old coastal path and we were the blue dot, just before we had to turn inland and head across fields. There was some confusion during the fields as one of the signs was not clear (it was on a gate which had been taken off the hinges) but I guessed right and thankfully won the vote.

Cardigan Island again
St Dogmaels in the distance

The coastal path then followed a road down the hill to the river Teifi estuary. At this point there were a few spits of rain and we decided to stop for a cuppa and some cake. We stopped at the Gwbert Hotel which claimed to be “dog friendly” and asked if we could come in with Bonnie – the receptionist said “one minute while I check if there are any dogs in the conservatory” which seemed a strange thing to say – surely you know whether you allow dogs in or not without having to check if there is one there??!!  But then she returned and said “Yes there is a dog in the conservatory……so you can’t bring your dog in, you have to sit outside”. Baffling – so they are dog friendly, but only for the first dog that arrives, after that any additional dogs are not welcome.  So be warned.

Dog walkers – do not stop here

So we carried on along the path alongside the river and then it diverted off over some farm land, but not before we were overtaken by someone in more of a hurry.

We did get overtaken at this point
The estuary

The farmland seemed endless, field after field then a left then a right then another field, until eventually we came out by a car park and a boat restaurant.

Field after field
A boat restaurant

Up the hill we went, and amazingly we passed by the Castle Cafe again – in our rush for food this morning we hadn’t realised it was actually on the coastal path.

The cafe with the coastal path sign

And to finish the day we ended by the otter statue and the bridge.

Today’s walk was 12. 2 miles, making 506.4 in total – yes we have topped the 500 mile mark. And only 368.8 miles to go now.

Moylgrove to Newport Parrog

4th May 2019

Today is another day where we have already done part of the walk – so although in the book the walk is from St Dogmael’s to Newport (Parrog) we have already walked from St Dogmael’s to Moylgrove (with the kids, well the other way from Moylgrove to St Dogmael’s actually) so today is now slightly easier.

We drove to Parrog car park and waited for the bus. This has to take the record for parking close to where the bus picked us up from. This bus only runs on a Thursday and Saturday in low season, and adds a 3rd day per week from the end of May.

Yes that is the car outside the bus window
And a first for Bonnie – her own ticket

The bus dropped us, and quite a few other walkers, in Moylgrove village and we knew it was about a mile to get to the coast. The others all set off while we were still getting ourselves sorted and it took a while for us to find the woodland path to get to the coast but it was a lovely walk with a stream running below us and plenty of spring flowers.

Then suddenly we appeared at the familiar sight of Ceibwr Bay and the walk proper could begin.

Ceibwr Bay

The first landmark is Witches Cauldron, which is a collapsed sea cave.

Note the arms in shadow – I wasn’t getting any closer to the edge so had to reach up for the picture

A little further along the path dropped to sea level but on the left was a beach with the tide going in and out right underneath us.

Of course, after going down we had to then climb the other side, for some further magnificent views including Bwn Bach which is a small perfectly formed archway and then along the top of Traeth Cell-Howell.

We reached a spot where we could see a further drop ahead of us and then a massive set of steps, and decided that this would be a good spot to stop for lunch to build up the reserves for the climb.

The lunchtime view
Before this climb
High above the beach

We had a couple more descents to sea level and climbs back up again, including a chance for Sharon to re-live the stepping stones experience.

Careful does it

And then the sight of Newport Sands appeared around a corner.

Newport Sands

A very steep descent followed…

and by now the coats were off, the sun was shining and the sky was a deep blue – typical walking weather for us.  Newport Sands came ever closer.

The path then dropped almost to the beach before frustratingly going back up again, so at this point we decided to do a little bouldering and get ourselves down onto the sands and enjoy the beach.

What a stunning beach

After a coffee and cake stop we headed across the golf course, and followed the river inland to get to the bridge.

With the tide out we were able to see the Pilgrim’s stepping stones, which we had made a pilgrimage of our own to see previously.

Over the “iron” bridge

The walk then continued back along the other side of the river to Parrog.

And to the car-park where we started. A day of contrasts and beautiful weather, and 9.2 miles of new coastal path for us with over 215 storeys of height.  For those keeping score (like me) that makes 494.2 miles completed and 381 miles to go (roughly)

The North Wales section walk by walk

It took 3 separate trips up here between 7th October 2016 and 21st March 2019 but we have finally completed the 8 legs which make up the 93 miles of the North Wales element of the coastal path. Sadly Cleo never got to do any of this section but Bonnie has seen some of it.

This page details the walks we have made on this section of the coastal path in the order that they flow around the coast, and not necessarily the order that we walked them in.

9th October 2016 Flint to Chester – 12.5 miles walked mainly along the Dee Estuary, and the end point was both rather dark and an anti-climax with a very small plague to mark the end/start of the coastal path. But it was a flat day if rather quiet with not much to see.

8th October 2016 Prestatyn to Flint – 18.5 miles of coastal path today, starting with a teddy bear’s breakfast. We saw sand dunes, a haunted lighthouse, were held up by escaped sheep, a dragon and Flint Castle made for a very good day of walking.

10th October 2016 Rhyl to Prestatyn and back again – 5 miles of coastal path on a 16.2 mile walk. Glorious autumn sunshine, a beautiful beach and lots of cake. Even saw some colourful seaside huts.

7th October 2016 Colwyn Bay to Rhyl – a 10 mile walk today in quite chilly weather but it was very flat. We had time for pooh sticks with flowers, a little “wee” dance, some crabs and then our caravan had a view from the bedroom window of the coastal path.

5th May 2017 Colwyn Bay to Llandudno – 12.2 miles of coastal path and again the weather was glorious. Little Orme, an incident with Sharon on/off the bike, the smallest church in the UK, Llandudno pier, and then around Great Orme.

6th May 2017 Llandudno to Llanfairfechan – 12.1 miles where we chose the “flat” route. We had sand dunes, Conwy Castle, the smallest house in Britain, a scary route besides the motorway (with lorries 1 metre away from us) and our arrival in Llanfairfechan.

7th May 2017 Bangor to Llanfairfechan – 10 miles from the Pier in Bangor, on a glorious day through woodland and beach, and a wild bird reserve. Then Bonnie took a dip in a lake and had to be fished out before we finished with ice cream and a snooze in the sun.

21st March 2019 Caernarfon to Bangor – 10.9 miles along the Menai Strait with a lot of bike path and roads, as well as some woodland and a finish on the beach to get to the pier before it got dark.

We hope you enjoy reading about the North Wales section of the coastal path and are inspired to follow in our footsteps. There are moments of pure beauty on this part of the path, but also a lot of roads and flat parts which break up the day.  8 days seems about right and we did it in 91.2 miles all in which is a lot less than the Isle of Anglesey.