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.

Caernarfon to Clynnog Fawr (Part 1)

26th March 2019

After a long walking weekend we decided on a helpful short walk before our long journey home – helpful because by doing a few miles of this 13.5 mile total walk today we can then, the next time we come up, complete this walk and 4 or 5 miles of the next walk to Trefor. Why is that important? Because that then means on the following walk we can add the optional detour of climbing Yr Eifl which is a 564m peak with fabulous views and a mile beyond that we can see an Iron age hill-fort at Tre’r Ceiri.  This is getting like snooker – always thinking two walks shots/walks ahead!!

Anyway, back to today and back to Morrisons in Caernarfon again but this time we turned left not right.  Almost immediately we walked around a new housing development, and found a small blue pier.

Anglesey opposite us
A long walk on a short pier

The walk then took in the harbour with all it’s sail boats.

Caernarfon Harbour
And then the outside of the castle walls.

And those were really the most interesting bits of the walk today. After that it was all flat and mostly just along the coast on quite a grey day.

Anglesey to the right of us

Ahead of us was the Caenarfon airfield and Aviation museum on the penisular, across the other side of the Y Foryd.

You can just make out the airfield

But in order to get over the river Afon Gwyrfai we had to head in land for a mile to get over a bridge.

Here is where we have to leave the coast
And by the time we get inland a mile this is all that the river looks like

We had planned to try to get to Dinan Dinlle and then get the bus back to Caernarfon, but with the buses only every 90 minutes we decided to stop at the Saron bus stop and head back. Well it was either another 2 miles of walking and a 50 minute wait or head back now and get coffee and cake. And coffee and cake always wins. So we stopped at Saron for today and will pick up from there another day.

And what a view to look at while eating lunch

Only 5 miles today, but that makes 54 miles over the whole weekend. And we have got below 400 miles to go now – 475.8 miles completed and 399.4 miles to go. Time to hang up the shoes until our next walking weekend in May.

Amlwch Port to Moelfre

25th March 2019

After Saturday’s long walk we decided to have a rest day on Sunday (well my feet decided it really) so instead we ……went for a walk in a forest hunting red squirrels (and found only one). Well it wasn’t a coastal path walk at least, although that didn’t make much difference to the feet.

But Monday was a new day and the feet felt up to doing a walk again, so after planning various options and changing our minds we decided on around 12 miles of walking from Amlwch to Moelfre which had the advantage of being the next walk in the book and kept the flow going nicely around Anglesey in an anti-clockwise direction. So we drove to Moelfre, parked up and got the bus to Amlwch. At the bus stop we met the same people we had seen on 2 previous days – they were getting off the bus at Moelfre and walking back to Amlwch, so we knew we would see them again at some point in the day provided we didn’t get lost.

The bus at Amlwch left us with a short walk to the port, our starting point, and the first task of the walk was to undertake the obstacle course.

The warm-up

The path then took us around the edge of the port…

Amlwch port

After the port the walk soon changed to one of rugged coast line with outcrops ahead of us to aim for.

Traditional Coastal Path view
Head for the lighthouse

The first landmark in site was the Trwyn Eilian Lighthouse, which actually looked like a regular house from the back. But first there were more hills and streams to cross.

On the way to the lighthouse
Eilian

Just before Porth Eilian is an ancient well called Ffynnon Eilian.

The plague is more noticeable than the well itself
A little statue on the site of the well

And then up the other side of the hill via some steps.

Yes up here!!

But the climb was worth it when you get this sort of a view.

Stunning views on another beautiful day

Porth Eilian

We didn’t detour off the path to go up to the lighthouse as we weren’t sure if it was even open.

The closest we got to the lighthouse
And as we walked away from it

The next landmark to aim for was Ynys Dulas, which is a very small island just off the coast. Legend has it that the Lady of Llysdulas Hall used to row out to the island and leave food, so that when sailors got shipwrecked on the island they could eat.  Unfortunately the current owners of Llysdulas Hall aren’t quite so obliging and the coastal path had to take a detour inland across some fields at this point to avoid going across their land.

This bridge was being built as we crossed it
Across the field with lots of lambs – these were the cutest ones
This house had a lovely garden with a pond and stream through it – Sharon was getting ideas!!

After crossing the fields we met the walkers from the bus this morning – they had got further than us, but they did have a head start. With hindsight the rest of the walk proved to be flatter than the part we had completed as well. We shared a few stories of our parts of the walk and said our farewells – they had already completed the whole of the mainland Wales coastal path and just had Anglesey to go during a 2 week holiday.

A road took us down to Dulas Bay – and although the other side of the Bay was tantalisingly close we knew we had to go inland across the marshland again to get around the bay.

Dulas Bay
Where we needed to get to
A shipwreck in the Bay
But round it we must walk

The Bay narrowed enough for a bridge to get us over the river which feeds it “Afon Goch”, and by now we had eaten all our rations and were looking for food.

Afon Goch

We found a pub on the hill (the Pilot Boat Inn), but unfortunately it was closed, so we used their picnic bench as a chance to change our socks and drink the last of our coffees.

We couldn’t even get on the fun bus!!

Then up the hill past the sheep and we came to Traeth yr Ora, not sure if is related to Rita Ora?

Up we go with some sheep leading the way
Looking back across the bay
Traeth yr Ora
We then headed past Craig-ddu

After some smaller hills the path took us down onto the beach, Traeth Lligwy, and hope of some food at the cafe.

But unfortunately the cafe was closed and being painted.

Will we ever get food?

The lifeboat station came into view, and then the lifeboat cafe, but at 4.28pm it had shut 2 minutes early.

The lifeboat station

The coastline around here had large steps in places, which are man made due to extensive quarrying of the limestone directly from the cliffs.  This area is also famous for the Royal Charter passenger clipper which was shipwrecked here on its way back from Australia in 1859. 459 people lost their lives, only 40 survived and large amounts of gold were recovered on the beach from passengers returning with personal hoards from the gold mines.

A Royal Charter memorial

We rounded the corner and there was the end point to our walk in the Porth Moelfre.

Our end point
Proof of the sign

And there was a pub in the Port, no food being served for an hour but at least we got a very nice coffee, and they were dog friendly for Bonnie as well.  So well done to the Kinmel Arms for being so friendly and welcoming.

And that was our walk. 12.9 miles completed today and 1308 feet of height, at a very slow 6 hours and 21 minutes, but that was always going to be the case with my blisters. This takes our total up to 470.8 miles completed and 404.4 miles to go. A short walk tomorrow before we head for home.

Menai Bridge to Llanddona

23rd March 2019

Day 3 of our walking long weekend, and today was the longest day of the weekend. Our walking bible put the walk at 14.5 miles, so we allowed all day for it at a gradual pace. Unfortunately, having parked at Llanddona, we again had the walk up the steep hill to the bus stop before we could even get going.

Up we go again
The tide is out now, so this shows that we could have cut a lot off yesterday’s walk if we had timed it right

Bonnie seemed to enjoy the bus ride today:

We got off the bus on the mainland side of the bridge, so that we could walk back across the Menai Suspension Bridge as part of the day.  Built by Thomas Telford and completed in 1826, the bridge was designed for horse and cart, and was used to bring cattle across to the mainland for sale – before the bridge they had to be swum across the Menai Strait.

The arches on the bridge just fit a bus through, but I wouldn’t fancy that route day in and day out.

On to the bridge
The view from on the bridge
Here goes a bus through the arch

The coastal path then dropped down the hill leaving the bridge behind us.

There are 4 small islands in the Menai Strait but from this side you could see that one was connected to Anglesey by a bridge.

After a mile or so the path turned left up a steep road, and away from the coast. For the next few miles there was no path by the waters edge and no pavement on the coastal road, so the coastal path took a ‘high ground’ route, giving great views of Snowdonia.

Snowdonia across the other side of the Menai Strait

Our coffee stop with a view

After some “debate” about whether to walk through a swampy field as per the coastal path sign or to take a slightly longer route along the road (the road won) we started the descent into Beaumaris and it’s colourful houses.

The tide was high at this point, and up against the sea wall.

The sea wall at Beaumaris
Views across to Bangor and beyond it Great Orme

We stopped in Beaumaris for a nice coffee and cake at Jolly’s coffee House and Patisserie.  Highly recommended for lovely fresh cakes, and an amazing bank vault in the basement. We will be returning to Anglesey just to spend time looking around the castle and enjoying the lovely shops and eateries of Beaumaris. But for today, suitably refreshed, we headed past Beaumaris Castle (the castle was never finished as it was built too late during the conquest of Wales) and along the road for a short section as the path was closed for drainage works.

Beaumaris Castle

And then back along the shoreline around Friars Bay till we came to a sign….

Along the shore of Friars Bay
The weather was stunning for March

The sign said that at high tide we should head inland, but if we were more than an hour either side of high tide we could go along the beach. We were definitely more than an hour past high tide and the tide was going out so we decided to chance it. The first part was a lot of rock climbing.

Over we go

We had to climb over, and under, a few fallen trees, and then we came to a point where there was a rocky outcrop and no way over it, so off came the shoes and socks (and in Andrew’s case the trousers as well as he couldn’t roll the legs up) and we waded around the first rock, only to find a second one, so the wading continued after our freezing toes had braved the stony beach …….ouch ouch ouch ouch.

Have to go around it
Wait for me, and look at those legs 🙂

We dried off our feet and got dressed, only to see that in those 10 minutes the tide had gone out far enough that we could have walked around the rocks without getting wet – you have to laugh – or cry!!

What a difference 10 minutes makes

The coastal path was then a mixture of road and coast up to Porth Penmon.

Suddenly in front of us was a series of buildings which make up Pemmon Priory Church. There is a pigeon loft of the grandest design, Abbey ruins, a church and a well. All founded by St Seiriol.

The abbey building

Inside the church
The ancient well
Each stone hole housed a pigeon

If you wanted to drive to the lighthouse the next part was a toll road, but we were walking so it was free.

Trwyn Du Lighthouse
 

Beyond Trwyn Du Lighthouse was the island of Priestholm, also known as Puffin Island, where St Seiriol set up a monastry in the 6th century which was accessible at low tide. Apparently the puffins were wiped out by rats in the 19th Century and today it is protected for the cormorant colony.

After a refreshing coffee at the lighthouse cafe we continued around the coast. According to our book the end was almost in sight now, and the coastal path should have headed inland to cut off quite a bit of the corner. But unknown to us they had decided to move the path right up against the coast, adding an extra mile or more to an already very long wall.

The yellow line should be the coastal path, but the blue dot shows us, on the new coastal path

We had various paths, fields and then marshland to navigate across and by now it was gone 5pm and starting to get cold.

Mud
glorious mud

Here are various pictures of us walking across fields, and by now Bonnie was very tired and refusing to walk any further so we took turns carrying her.

Family photo time

A steep descent followed to get to the beach and at around 6.30pm we made it to LLanddona beach.

Down we go
To the beach
Almost there

Finally we hobbled to the bridge and the end point – with the car just a few more steps away.

Our finish sign

So today was a massive walk. 16.6 miles and over 1,470 feet of elevation.

The running total is now 457.9 miles completed and 417.3 miles to go. A rest day tomorrow to let the feet recover, and then hopefully two more days of walking if we are up to it.

Caernarfon to Bangor

21st March 2019

Our first walking weekend of 2019 – and a series of landmarks today for us. This walk is the prelude to our first weekend of walking on Anglesey. It is also the last walk in the North Wales section of the book, and the walk which takes us over half-way around the coastal path of Wales.

After a 4 hour drive to get here we were raring to go as and parked in Bangor and got the bus to Morissons in Caernarfon to start the walk. The entire walk today is along the one side of the Menai Strait, past both bridges and to the Pier in Bangor to join up with this walk.  The first few miles of the walk followed the bike path so were flat and easy.

Our starting point which follows the bike path

The tide was on it’s way out and the Menai Strait looked calm, if rather cloudy.

The long and flat bike path

We then headed through a boat yard at Port Dinorwic and across a small bridge to a new part of the coastal path which has not long been open.

Some lovely views of Anglesey
The boat yard
Bonnie balancing herself along the wall
The bridge, which could easily be missed

The walk then turned to woodland and up a hill.

And then we went through the Faenol Hall estate, and our first mistake of the weekend. We went straight across a field of sheep rather than behind a fence along the edge. We only realised this when we spotted a walker behind the fence, and decided to climb the fence to join the path – only for the path to then go through a gate and back into the field we had just left!!

Sounds like an ad break

And then the first Menai bridge came into view – Pont Britannia, the newer bridge which lorries can use.  I say newer but it was built in the 1850 as a rail bridge but after a fire in 1970 it was remodeled to take vehicles.

Pont Britannia
Cars and lorries go across the 2nd layer

Then a series of small islands came into view in the Menai Strait – and although they were very pretty houses, the noise from the roads must be rather annoying.

Another wood then followed through Treborth Hall.

Bonnie takes the lead through the wood

And then the original Menai Suspension Bridge (built in 1826) came into view, and this one we had to walk up to rather than under.  More on the Menai bridge later in the weekend when we cross it.

Menai Bridge comes into view
A bus tackles the arches
A majestic bridge

After a further section of flat walking along the A487 the path turned left and went past Bangor football ground (a free game if a match is on), and then over a series of stepped ups and downs through woodlands at Nant-Porth.

As it was now low tide we were able to walk along the shore towards the pier and our end point.

The end is in sight

And Sharon was not hanging around.

A small boat yard which we used to cut back up to the road

And then we arrived at the pier: deliberately an easy first day as we couldn’t start till 1pm. And again we couldn’t go onto the pier because we had Bonnie with us.

Our end point

Unfortunately at this point Sharon’s phone died – unfortunate for her as her bus pass was on the screen, so I got the bus back to the car and met Sharon at the supermarket once she had bought the items we had forgotten to pack.

So today was 10.9 miles in 3 and a half hours, with 653 feet of height. More importantly it takes us to 441.8 miles completed and 433.4 miles to go – whoooo we’re half way there, and after only 3 years and 3 months.

 

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.