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!!

Newport (Parrog) to Fishguard

3rd May 2019

This weekend saw us take on 3 walks, complete another section of the book, pass the 500 mile point and join up some parts of walks we started 3 years ago.

So as usual we started the weekend with a drive – this time just over 2 hours to get to Fishguard, and we parked up right by our caravan site in time to get the bus to Newport (Parrog). We have been here before when we undertook the Dinas Loop and then drove to Parrog in June 2016 to see the stepping stones, but this time we are heading towards Fishguard.

After getting off the bus at Newport, and walking down a side road we reached the yacht club and a familiar starting place – had it really been 3 years since we sat in the cafe garden having an ice cream here?

Our previous trip to the stepping stones had started here
The tide was out
The old lifeboat house

The old lifeboat house was built in the late 19th Century but only in service for 11 years before being replaced.

After a flattish section past some cottages the walk started to climb and hugged the coast line as we went around Aberrhigian Beach and Aberfforrest Bay.

Looking back towards Newport Bay
And Newport Sands
Sharon sets the pace inland towards Aberrhigian Beach
Aberrhigian Beach

At some point around here I lost my drinks bottle, but didn’t realise until about 5 miles later and Sharon didn’t want to go back for it!!

Crossing over Aberfforrest Bay

After a short further walk along the hilltops you arrive at Cwm-Yr- Eglwys, again a part we had visited 3 years ago as part of the Dinas Head loop.

The 12th century St Brynach’s church which got partially washed away in 1859

And then one of my least favourite signs of the whole coastal path….

Noooooooooo!!

It was this sign 3 years ago which made us realise that Sharon had left Cleo’s lead at Pen y Fan on Dinas Head, and gave me the pleasure of doing the walk to the peak for a second time in one day…. but today we have Bonnie’s lead so we are okay, and we quickly navigate the flat path as by now it is coffee time.

Pwll-gwaelod and coffee time

The sun has now come out and the skies are clearing, wish we had brought sun-cream after all!! I am going to let some of the pictures do the talking now on this stunning part of the coast as we rounded Pwll Cwm, then Pwll Gwylog, Aber bach and Aber Grugog.

Stunning views, and now for a dose of reality, time for a selfie….

Say cheesy – and also a rare glimpse of Sharon’s hat before she lost it the next day

The path then had a sign warning of deep holes, but the animals who had created these very deep holes had very thoughtfully done so between a set of posts each time – very clever.

Watch your step
One of the offenders

The walk continued on hill tops past needle rock and towards Fishguard fort.

We have decided that Needle Rock should be called crocodile rock instead:

Or is it just me that can see a crocodile head at the bottom of the picture!

That was a steep descent

What can I tell you about Fishguard Fort – well it was built in the late 18th Century to protect Fishguard after an attack from the Black Prince, a pirate ship demanding a heavy ransom. This was the last attack by pirates on any town in the country but the fort’s heavy cannons saw off the French and instead they landed further down the coast – oh well, that’s someone else’s problem!!

After the fort there was a brief woodland section and then you had to join the road to walk down into Lower Fishguard.

Lower Fishguard

The walk crossed the bridge and then turned right along the estuary before starting a climb. That is where we stopped for today as going on to Goodwick would have taken us away from the car – so here is the sign to pick up from on a future walk.

The end point of today

10.7 miles walked today, of which 9.2 miles counted towards the coastal path. That takes us to 485.0 miles completed and 390.2 miles to go. Time to find the caravan and relax before a longer walk tomorrow.

Amroth to Freshwater East in a weekend

19th and 20th May 2018

This is a double-header update to cover the walks both sides of Tenby.

On the Saturday we set off early from home and drove to Amroth, parking right on the seafront with free parking. We were also only 10 metres from the bus stop, so today will count as the day with least extra “non-coastal path” walking.

After a delicious “Pirate” breakfast we got the bus to Tenby, and that was quite a scary ride down some narrow lanes.

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The bus heading along Amroth front towards us

And off we set from Tenby for the walk – the coastal path isn’t signposted at all through Tenby so you just make your way through the town and down to the harbour and North beach.

The coastal path then rises sharply firstly along a road and then through some fields.

The path then stays quite high for a while with views of the coast through hedges and trees before dropping down to sea-level in a little cove just before Sandersfoot. We stopped for a coffee and Sharon decided to have a paddle in the very cold water.

 

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The tide was in too far to walk around the coast on the beach, so we climbed back up to continue the walk to Saundersfoot.

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And after a surprisingly short stop for shopping we headed out of Saundersfoot in the glorious sunshine and through a tunnel, yes a tunnel, to get to Coppet Hall Point.

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One of the two tunnels

After a suntan lotion stop we went through a second tunnel and along a very well walked part of the path to Wiseman’s bridge. By now the tide was well on the way out, and we were able to walk from Wiseman’s bridge all the way to Amroth on the beach over rocks.

And there was the car – so a lovely stroll of 7.6 miles and we had joined up to our previous Laugharne to Amroth walk.

After a great evening in St Florence and a good pub meal we set off the next morning for day 2 – parking in Tenby and getting the train out to Lamphey – which is about as close to the coastal path as we could get to start today.

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By “close” I mean about 2.5 miles of walking to get to the coastal path, most of it along a road, so not the most exciting of starts, but at least we had some cloud cover today to stop it being so warm. And after a steep descent we made it to the start point by Freshwater East beach.

The coastal path heads behind the beach through dunes, and then sharply up a steep climb to get to West Moor Cliff; the views here are mainly behind us back towards Freshwater East.

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Ahead of us though from this height Sharon kindly pointed out our future path around Swanlake Bay, and it was a big drop and rise again…..

The climb up East Moor Cliff was a big one, and to then turn the corner and see another drop down, this time into Manorbier Bay was a little disheartening, but the views along here were magnificent because of the height.

We stopped for lunch at Manorbier Bay, but didn’t have time to see the castle. Then off we set again up Priest’s nose this time, and if you look closely you can see fishermen sitting in very precarious positions on the rocks below us.

We then climbed up and around Presipe Bay, where thankfully we didn’t have to drop down to the beach for once – although Alice and her family had done.

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The path then has to turn inland to avoid Manorbier firing range, and there were some neat dog openings on the stiles. It was also a chance for the pace to pick up on some concrete paths.

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Then suddenly Caldey Island came into view, and from an angle that we had never seen before.

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Caldey Island

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Then once more we dropped a fair distance towards Skrinkle Haven, but this time the way back up was steps, and lots of them. Andrew decided to tackle them in one, and then needed a 5 minute sit down to regain his breath.

Then it was quite a surprise to come out besides some caravans on the Haven Lydstep site, and we got a bit lost navigating our way around the caravans, but Sharon got us back on track, even if it was a very much unused track with lots of stinging nettles.

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A prime position for a caravan
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Lydstep bay
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Overgrown paths
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Sharon steams ahead – must need food!!

After Lydstep the path heads up again to Penally, and with the red flag down we were able to walk across the shooting range, and past the trenches used to train soldiers in WW1.

We then arrived at Giltar Point, but were not feeling brave enough to climb out on it – hard to believe that this beautiful spot is so close to Tenby South Beach, and gives such good views of Caldey Island.

Then we headed through a beautiful small wood and arrived at South Beach.

And we were back in Tenby – so a lot longer day than yesterday – around 6 hours of walking, a total of 15 miles, and over 210 storeys of height. But for the coastal path it was 11.7 miles completed.

So with 19.3 miles completed this weekend our grand total is now above the 400 miles completed mark at 403.7 miles, and 470.5 miles to go. 3 walks away from being halfway!!

Aberystwyth to Llanrhystud

26th March 2018

The final day of the weekend, and we decided to go for it- a full day of 11 miles before we headed home, mainly so that we leave a single walk north from our New Quay base when we return in October.

So we packed up and left Borth at 8am. We parked the car at Llanrhystud and got a bus back to Aberystwyth. After a breakfast in Greggs we headed back to the pier. Just along the sea front was Aberystwyth castle so we stopped for a nose.

Aberystwyth castle

The view from the castle

The coastal path then takes an inland turn to cross Avon Rheidol before heading past the harbour and along the sea wall.

Aberystwyth harbour

Then our first decision of the day, the coastal path stays on cliff tops all day, but our guidebook says that at low tide you can walk along the beach for that true coastal experience. The tide was certainly low(ish) but on its way in, so we decided to start on the beach and then head up once we got cut off.

By going on the beach we avoid this rather large hill

Now this sounds a great plan, but there were two problems with it….firstly the beach was mainly covered in large rocks and slate dropped from the cliff above so was very slow to navigate. Secondly after about 3 miles of this it was becoming clear that the coastal path was not dropping down to the beach any time soon.

Slate outcrops
Fallen from above
Some amazing rock formations
Sharon and Bonnie navigate the rocks

 

And then the dilemma; we saw a set of steps through a campsite to get us off the beach and up onto the cliffs, or we could risk there being another exit on the beach further down before the tide comes in. We chickened out and left the beach for a steep climb, and further on we were fully justified as the beach was completely cut off.

Exit point, and the sign was a bit late to warn us!

The cliff tops were the usual mix of fields of sheep and steep climbs.

Another steep climb
Sheepy fields
A very picturesque point
So far we could have made it on the beach

The path was blocked by a fallen bush but we climbed that and continued with the clouds heading in. The buzzards started circling overhead!!

Clear the way please Sharon
One of many buzzards

At Penderi cliffs there was a nature reserve but it looked rather dangerous to try to get to judging by the sign.

Head first as well

The path then hugged the side of a steep cliff and was dangerous in places but the sheep seemed to cope.

On the side of a steep cliff
Hold on Sharon
We made the right choice, there is no way we would be walking along the beach there

Finally the path dropped down to a campsite and then along a road and before we knew it we were back by the car.

Caravan park in the distance
Caravan park close up
The end of the walk and the end of the weekend

For those who like statistics, and who doesn’t…..today was 11.3 miles in 4 1/2 hours, and 155 storeys. So this weekend was 46.1 miles in total. Our total distance walked is now 384.8 miles and 489.9 miles to go. Another 53 miles and we will be half way!!

Mumbles to Oxwich Bay

24th February 2018

Our first coastal path walk of 2018, and it’s going to be long one. We started off with a drive to Swansea where we left the car strategically close to a bus stop for later. We then biked the 5 miles down to Mumbles pier and a nice breakfast.

Ready to bike with Bonnie in her basket
Our breakfast view
In a dog friendly restaurant, so Bonnie was very excited

So at 10.25 we set off from the restaurant and headed up some steps to Bracelet Bay and Mumbles lighthouse, before passing Rams Tor and Limeslade.

Up up and away
Rams Tor

There was then a nice new concrete path to take us towards Langland Bay, but not before a rather steep climb up steps.

More steps – a theme of today
A few of the outcrops we will pass today
Langland Bay

And on we went after stopping for a not particularly nice cup of coffee at the Surfside restaurant. 2 miles later we arrived at Caswell Bay, at which point we had to take to the road as the tide was in.

After some more climbing we reached Pwildu bay, with a stream running to the beach and a bridge to cross over the river.

Climbing up through the woods from Pwildu Bay we met a fellow walker – who was walking from Mumbles to Southgate for the 2nd day running (his phone had told him to walk 208 miles this month apparently, and he listened to it!!).  We chatted and walked for a while but we were clearly slowing him down so we said our farewells and he headed off into the distance……

Our fellow walker heading off into the distance

We then headed towards Three Cliffs Bay and a stop for lunch at the halfway spot.

We then dropped down a steep sandy path (glad we didn’t have to walk up it) to a flood plain and stepping stones.  Now anyone who has been following our adventures will know that Andrew has had issues in the past with stepping stones – but not today – all the practice paid off and Andrew cleared them without stopping.

Sharon lagging behind

After walking past Great Tor on the cliffs we knew we could drop down to the beach to complete the walk to Oxwich Bay.

Great Tor

And that was our 12 mile walk, done by 2.45pm.

The end of the walk, joining up with the previous walk

But then we had to wait for the bus, so we popped into the hotel for a nice afternoon pot of tea, and very reasonably priced as well.

Then up the hill for a mile to the bus-stop.

And we got the 118 back to Swansea and the car, and then off to get the bikes.  12 miles completed taking us to 336.7 miles completed and 535.0 miles to go.