13th July 2021 Cemaes Bay to Church Bay

The last walk of our long weekend, and our last walk on Anglesey as well. Today was supposed to be a lovely sunny day so we set off early so that we could get most of the walk done before the heat of the day, 410 metres of climb today so that was going to be fun. It was 8am outside the campsite again and a shorter bus ride today, but today we were prepared and had had breakfast already. At the other end of the bus ride in Cemaes Bay there was our end point from yesterday but this time with bright sunshine behind it.

And off we set, the first couple of miles were beautiful, with Harry Furlong the buoy who used to mark the dangerous rocks, and named after a man who legend has it used to extinguish the beacons.

But then about 2 miles in to the walk and the sea mist rapidly came inland and obscured the view, and indeed it was quite disconcerting not being able to even see the sea.

So there was a lack of pictures for that section, except to say there was a strange part where the coastal path goes through a gap in a wall, then around a headland and back through the same wall but about 50 metres along. This completely confused me in the fog but Sharon luckily worked out that we had already been through the gate or I would have been there all day going around and around like Winnie the Pooh around a tree.

After leaving the power station area the walk detoured through a nature area, which was again a long-cut and we would have been better off sticking to the road, and then along some paths fenced off besides fields. It then went across various paths and moor land and came out on the beach at Cemlyn Bay. Again, with the fog we didn’t realise there was a land bridge in place across the Bay and you could walk across it at all but the highest tides. As this snap from Strava shows ….we went the long way.

This building was some sort of walled house but now sits on the Cemlyn Nature Reserve.

The path then headed up hill and right though some cow fields at Hen Borth.

And along the edge of the coast as the mist started to clear but it was still a chilly breeze.

We stopped for lunch on a beach section where we could shelter in a cave, and then the White ladies came into view.

Our lunch spot.

After lunch we felt warmer and the sun started to come out.

This is a close up of one of the white ladies – 3 giant structures used by ships to avoid an invisible reef known as Coral Rock.

And here you can make out West Mouse Lighthouse.

We then had more climbing to do as we went over Penbrynyreglwys.

And the paths were now little more than worn down grass areas which crisscross the landscape.

Plenty of ins and outs along this coast.

With very little to stop you from falling off into the sea.

Looking back at some of the climb.

This was Ynys Y Fydlyn which looks connected at low tide.

It has an arch you can swim through on the right hand side.

But to get there we had to go down a steep hill and

then back up the other side again.

A close up of the arch.

On the path goes, by this point we wondered if Port Swtan would ever come into view, we were already over the 11 mile point.

But finally it did come into sight and we knew the end was not far.

Porth Swtan, the beach of Church Bay.

After crossing a couple more fields we were back at the Wavecrest Cafe, and Tuesday meant an ice cream and drink.

That ended the coastal path of Anglesey, but we still had to walk up to the main road to catch the bus which was a further mile, and this is the church of church bay.

So today was 12.6 miles of coastal path and I would highly recommend this section as one of the most beautiful (if you can see through the mist). I have recalculated all the totals in this complete list of walks from North to South and I make it that we are now at a massive 710.8 miles completed and 196 miles to go- yes we are under 200 miles left. We could even be done by June next year all being well.

12th July Amlwch Port to Cemaes Bay

Not the longest walk today but quite a hilly one, and we were at the campsite entrance at 8am to flag down the bus. Almost 45 minutes later and we are at Amlwch Port, last seen when we started here and walked to Moelfre back in April 2019.

First task – find where we left off last time….. there it is, right in the middle of the port area.

After a mixture of road and grass we made it to the coast, and looking back behind us we could see the water tower.

This little island is Ynys Amlwch not surprisingly named, but we continue left along the coast.

The early part of the walk was quite low down, and we were wondering when the height would start to come into play.

Behind us was what looked like a prison but was actually a Bromide extraction plant which closed in 2004. Ahead of us we could just make out Bull Bay, which hopefully would be a stopping point for breakfast as we left without any this morning and there was nothing obvious in Amlwch.

Strange cloud formation over Bull Bay

And here is Bull Bay, one sign suggested a hotel had breakfast, but it was all boarded up and there are no cafes here, so they are definitely missing a trick. Oh well, we decided to have part one of lunch instead and hoped we could find more lunch later somewhere.

This part of Bull Bay is known as Traeth Dynion, which in Victorian times was the beach for men, with the women’s beach about half a mile further along – that would have stopped naughty goings on!!

How about this for a house built out of the rock – couldn’t be much more on the coastal path really.

We now started to get some height in us as we walked in and out of several coves towards Trwynbychan.

I’m not good with heights so took this picture from way back and long arms.

A quick look back to the slightly less hilly morning section as we now started some more serious climbing.

As we rounded Trwynbychan we seemed to be almost in the clouds.

A left turn took us inland and across Porth Wen we could see the old brick works, which has a series of beehive kilns and it’s own dock to export bricks, but no roads in or out and hasn’t been used for some time.

The coastal path passed right through the garden of a cottage at sea level and then up again through some fields behind the brick works.

Looking back at Porth Wen

And in the centre of this picture is the very top of the brick works chimney.

The route then kept climbing, just look how high we were now… and then bent left through the great quartz quarries which fed the brick works.

That is the aptly known Hell’s mouth.

And that is my lovely wife taking a look at Hell’s mouth and enjoying the view before we almost certainly had to descend to ground level and back up the other side.

How well we know the coastal path by now, yes there goes Sharon down the steep steps and looking ahead there is the climb back up the other side again.

This is Hell’s mouth from the inside 😉

After another the descent on the other side of the next climb we reached the Clay works at Porth Llanlleiana where porcelain was made from local china clay until 1920.

The Clay works

The hill we came down to get to the Clay works.

Porth Llanlleiana and Yyns Badrig in the distance.

According to the guide book we follow “the path continues to bound along the joyful undulations of the coast” – that wasn’t quite the phrase we were using by now, and we weren’t quite bounding.

In the distance is Wylfa nuclear power station which is tomorrow’s walk, so we knew we didn’t have far to go today.

Sure enough we rounded another jutting out bit and Cemaes Bay was almost in sight,

First we passed the church at Llanbadrig where St Patrick is said to have founded the church after being shipwrecked on the way to Ireland.

Then down a lane and along some narrow paths as the power station loomed nearer.

A quick look back to Porth Padrig (which you can walk on at low tide if you fancy even more rise and fall).

At this point Cemaes bay appears from nowhere and Sharon, who by now is very hungry (it is 1pm now) does a quick google to find that a) there are no decent places for lunch and b) there is a bus in about 20 minutes which goes right back to the camp site.

So after stopping for the obligatory panoramic photo…

we headed into the town and across a blue bridge which marked the end point of today’s walk…..

or to be more precise this sign does.

So a good day’s walking and back home by 2.30 for a late lunch/early dinner. 8.1 miles walked today, making 681.5 miles walked in total and 206.3 miles to go (depending on whether you look at what’s left in the book or subtract the miles walked from 887 miles in total). I think from now on we have to go with the miles left on the walks we have to go to be clearer otherwise we will end up in negative numbers. So from tomorrow we will do that, and what a walk we have to finish the weekend – 11 miles and 410 metres in height.

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

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

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

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

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

The beach is a not the best along here

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

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

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

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

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

Sharon and Lola pick up the pace

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

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

But with some walkways

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

Gorad Beach

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

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

Back along the beach

Back through the brambles….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sharon and Lola lead the way again

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

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

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

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

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

Over a little bridge…..

past Porth Crugmor…..

and we find Church Bay.

With a lot of people looking out to sea.

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

This is Porth Swtan, Church Bay.

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

Now that must have been a big wave

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

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

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

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

Fairbourne to Tywyn

20th September 2020

The third and final day of our weekend and again last night the wind picked up from nowhere and kept us awake most of the night. Today there are no trains so we are going to get the bus from outside the campsite to Fairbourne where we left off yesterday.

Look at that sky again

But the early part of today’s walk is not along the coast as there is no path between the sea and the cliff edge so it is inland we have to head and on one serious climb. In fact today is the 2nd biggest climb on the whole coastal path apart from Aberdyfi to Machynlleth (and we can still remember how hard that one was). That day was 620m of climb over a 12 mile walk and today is due to be 600 metres of climb but a 16 mile total walk.

What a beautiful sky today, going to be too warm

Slow down Bonnie, need to save those legs

Under the railway line to the road

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

You can start to see the hill

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

Hopefully this shows the gradient

Within about 25 minutes we had this view….

And there is Barmouth.

Even at this height there are still bridges to cross.

And here is where we stopped for our coffee break, on a convenient bench right next to someone’s house.

And the climb isn’t finished yet, as we now hit a woodland area with a single track road, and down below is Fairbourne where we started out.

Sharon leads the way along the road.

Still getting higher, we would be in the clouds if there were clouds today.

Just past this gate we could wait no longer and stopped on a slope for lunch.  Straight afterwards we had a steep decline down to sea level and the village of Llwyngwril which had a pub (closed till 2.30pm) and a train station. After 100 metres of walking through the village the path turned off to the left past a cemetery and back up another steep hill for the 2nd large climb of the day.

Over a bridge into the village

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

At the top of the hill the path turned right and through a farm.

Then past a house which Sharon fancied “doing up” as a holiday home.

In need of some minor repairs

Finally the sea, but still a way to go.

We crossed some very well signposted fields where the farmer was rounding up his sheep using a quad bike – very friendly chap.

And then we started a descent again.

And along a path which probably doubles as a river bed and was very very muddy.

Before we crossed the main road and turned left to go through some more fields,

After walking along some further muddy paths the path then crossed another farm. Sharon asked some locals where the path went, and I think it was at this point we first went wrong – they directed us left and slightly uphill, but I think this was a different path. But on we ploughed  -never turn back!!

This path was not well used.

This path took us into the quarry, where we again found a coastal path sign, but unfortunately it was for the optional longer loop which used to be the main path before the bridge was build over the estuary.

By now Bonnie had had enough, and we took turns to carry her for a while, she didn’t seem to mind!!

And we cut down through the quarry

To get to their main gate, and walking around the edge of it took to the main road and a short walk back on ourselves to get to the new bridge – Pont Tonfanau

The new raised path on the way to the bridge, it crossed what would otherwise be a very marshy area.

Once over the bridge the end was almost in sight.

Along a road beside the top end of Tywyn beach.

And through a caravan park where we found a shop selling ice cream.

Finally we had made it back to the beach and to our starting point 2 days ago – just the small matter of the 1 mile walk back to the caravan now.

So with the sun setting we had completed the whole weekend with a day to spare – still, we can collect some shells and do some shopping tomorrow now.

The total walk today was over 17 miles and 16 miles of coastal path, making 35.5 miles over the 3 days, and our total is now to 621.2 miles completed and 254.4 miles to go. Time for some dinner and a well earned rest.

Llanbedr to Fairbourne

19th September 2020

Day two of our weekend and this is going to be a longer one. Due to timings of buses and trains we had to first of all start further away that we wanted (Llanbedr station was closed so we had to go to Pensarn and walk back), and at the other end we were planning to stop in Barmouth …..more about that later.

We had not had a good night’s sleep – from nowhere the wind picked up massively and 3 times in the night I had to go out and peg the awning back down and for the rest of the night things thumped against the side of the van. Anyway, up we got and off we walked to the train station, so that was our first mile (which didn’t count towards the coastal path).  At Pensarn we walked back to Llanbedr (another 0.7 mile which didn’t count) and finally we could start the walk.

Remember this bridge? Bonnie does

Here is our start point

The path immediately crosses the railway line and the station we would have got off at if it was open, and then it heads down towards Llanbedr airfield.

That would have saved 0.7 miles

The airfield

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

Can’t go to Shell Island so left we go

Our leaders

The path through the marsh

Interesting sea creatures in the marsh

The path then heads towards our first glimpse of sea of the day as it reaches Morfa Dyffryn, but first there are some sand dunes to climb over.

Morfa Dyffryn is a nature reserve

Over the dunes

I see the sea

The next 2 miles of the walk are along the sand, and we stopped here for a coffee break before heading on – we had heard it was a nudist beach but I don’t think that Sharon was quite prepared for all that was flapping around in the wind!!

I’ll take the photo from a distance for decency

The beach got busier and busier as we entered the “with clothes” section and then there was an exit to the left with a coastal path sign – someone was holding an ice cream which gave us hope of an ice cream – but could we find the van? Nope not at all 😦

The exit point from the beach

So up the boardwalk we went (not under it).

Through a car park and then along a road, before turning right into a field. We then end up following signs across the field, right, then left and then right which mean we ended up not far from where we started.

Through the fields

Over a wall, and across the bridge and we then met some Alpaca who tried to give us directions but we end up making some funny circles on Strava as we wandered around the fields.

Eventually we found ourselves back on the coastal path and on the main road into Barmouth, which we then followed for a couple of miles.

Ah-ha

The road is quite a way from the coast

After the church….

The coastal path turns right and down a steep hill, over the railway line and along a promenade. Sharon tried to get the land train to stop and give us a lift – nice try!

The beach with sand dunes

It is another lovely day

By now we were getting rather hungry so we stopped for a sit down chip dinner.  Then we had to take a decision whether to wait a few hours for the only train of the day to get us back home (the train goes over the Barmouth bridge) or to walk over the bridge and catch an earlier bus (the buses don’t go over the bridge and have a 40 minute inland detour).  We decided to go for the bus and keep on walking!!!

So through Barmouth we walked and over the old wooden bridge, paying the toll to the troll.

Yes there really is a troll toll

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

We then decided that it would be easiest to walk along to Fairbourne as we could then get the bus from there if we got a wiggle on and it would be easier to start from there tomorrow.  The next part of the walk goes along the other side of the estuary on a cycle path towards the coast again.

Afon Mawddach

The road along the coast at Fairbourne

You can just make out a miniature railway track beside the road and again Sharon was hopeful of a lift, but the little trains had stopped running for the day, so we pushed on along the promenade.

And the end point of today’s coastal path as well as the starting point for tomorrow.

We just had time to walk into town to the bus stop and get an ice-cream from the passing ice cream van while we wait.

The total walk today was over 17 miles but 15 miles of it counts towards the coastal path total. That takes our total up to 605.2 miles completed and 270.4 miles to go. Hopefully it won’t be as windy tonight and we will sleep well.

Tywyn to Aberdyfi

18th September 2020

We had this long weekend planned for a while, but ended up having to escape RCT an evening early before lockdown came in.  So after a night rough camping on my parents drive we set off for the Meirionnydd section of the path to complete the remaining 3 walks in that section over this weekend.

Our plan was for a shorter walk the first day and then to get to the campsite to set up – but we didn’t realise just how easy and short the walk would be!!

We parked in the Tywyn train station car park and walked to the coast.

Our starting point
Our starting point

The walk today is along the beach to Aberdyfi, joining up to a section of path we last walked back in March 2014 on my birthday weekend.  How different the world is now.

The first part is along the promenade

When the promenade ends the path takes you down onto the beach and then you can either walk across the sand or along the path running through the grass – we decided on the beach….. well why wouldn’t you on such a glorious day (as usual!!).

The hills are off to the left of us – I still remember those hills 30 months later!!

Bonnie loves the beach

But today is as flat as can be – and Bonnie leads the way.  There isn’t much more to say on this one really – beach, sunshine and coffee at the end of the walk – that’s all you need for an opening walk on the weekend.

Shorts and straps
And here is Aberdyfi

So only 4.5 miles today, and done inside 90 minutes, leaving us plenty of time for the coffee and then a bus back to the car. That takes our total up to 590.2 miles completed and 285.4 miles to go.  There will be more challenging days on this weekend, that is for sure.  Now off to get basecamp set up.

Aberffraw to Four Mile Bridge

1st September 2020

This walk was completed in 2 stages, the “end” part we actually completed on the Friday when we arrived and had set up the van (hence you will notice a change of clothes and more clouds in the last few pictures), and the beginning we undertook today on a beautiful sunny day.

We walked to the bus stop and watched the fighter jets taking off in pairs from the airfield by our campsite. The bus ride was about 40 minutes and when we arrived at Aberffraw we were straight onto the coastal path which runs alongside Afon Ffraw.

Bridge over the river Ffraw
Bridge over the river Ffraw
What a glorious day already

The tide was heading out, and the path was moist but fine to walk on, and it headed up to a field and around the corner, my do we pick amazing days to go walking.

Snowdonia watching over us

We found a small cove of a beach, and then along some paths, where some helpful men were strimming the long grass and nettles back for us.

Much easier to walk on it now

The path then rounded a bend and we could see this church in the middle of the bay, surrounded by water. It is St Cwyfan’s Church-in-the-sea, and it was built in the 12th century but over the years erosion meant that it got cut off from the land. In 1890 they build a wall around the church to protect it, and now it is only accessible at low tide (or by boat).

St Cwyfan’s Church-in-the-sea

Just past the church the path heads up to the right and past a farm. We then entered a cow field (and at this point Sharon was on the phone and not concentrating so we got a bit lost). We wandered around the cow field for a bit and tried to avoid treading in the worst of it before finally heading towards another fence which we climbed to escape from the cows and back on to the path. For those following our adventures and completing this walk – turn left when you enter the field and head down to the sea!!

Not sure who was more surprised that we were there

The walk then continued along the cliff top for a while before reaching Porth Trecastell where we dropped down and across a car park. As we climbed back up the other side there was a strange circular solar panel on a mound.

What is it?

When we walked down to the bottom of the mound all was revealed with a gated entrance to Barclodiad y Gawres, which was a prehistoric chambered tomb. It has lovely carved stones inside the passageway, but unfortunately to protect it, it is only open for official visits, and our visit didn’t count apparently even though all you lovely people would love to see inside it.

Just the outside sorry

The walk then took us through a lot of dunes and along the beach and up to Rhosneigr which was our planned stop for some lunch.

Will Sharon make it to lunch?
She is going well
Oh no, she’s fallen, can she make it?
We made it!!

And this is a happy Sharon post coffee and cake. The walk goes right though the town and back to the beach on the other side. Well, to be honest, you aren’t supposed to go on the beach as it hits a river that you can’t cross, but we headed over some dunes and rejoined the coastal path in time to cross this bridge besides the golf course and over Afon Crigyll.

Afon Crigyll

The walk then heads besides the RAF Valley airfield through more dunes and finally back onto the beach. By this point we felt under attack with planes taking off and landing right over our heads.

Back onto the beach
Two of the fighter planes taking off

There were also some older planes taking part in the session, and as we left the beach and went through the car park (which floods at high tide) we could see the airfield more clearly.

They do everything in pairs

That concluded the Tuesday part of the walk as we met up with the point at which we started the walk the previous Friday evening.

The end of Tuesday and the start of Friday, notice the increased cloud on Friday evening

This part of the walk starts by zig-zagging across some fields and past the landing lights for the airfield.

On the approach

We then followed the estuary up and there was an inlet called Penrhyn-hwlad which was a one mile detour where you have to do 3 sides of a square as the more obvious route of just the fourth side would result in wet feet.

The estuary
That’s the fourth side we wanted to walk across but it wasn’t clear that you can get off the other side.
The 3 sides you have to walk around
To get back here looking at the 4th side from the other side.

From there on out it was fields, a few horses, and a few walls to climb over.

No we didn’t pick some tea!!
A raised section above some “tidal doors”

And we made it to Four Mile bridge, with plenty of time to then walk back to the camp along a bike path to test out the biking route for the rest of the weekend.

Four mile bridge and the end of Friday but the start of Saturday.

So this section of walk was 10.5 miles on Tuesday and 3.6 miles on Friday making 14.1 in total and our weekend total was exactly 40 miles.

We have now completed 585.7 miles, with 289.5 to go. We have one more walking weekend planned this year, lock-down willing.

Holyhead to Trearddur Bay

Sunday 30th August 2020

So a long bank holiday weekend in Anglesey to try to complete 3 more of the walks on the big island off Wales. We arrived on the Saturday and did a few miles of the 2nd walk, but more on that later, as today we set ourselves a mammoth challenge for our first coastal path walk in 10 months:

The plan was to bike 2.5 miles from the campsite to a spot near the coastal path, and then walk a total of over 20 miles, not all of it coastal path as we needed to finish up where we started (no buses today), and then bike back to the campsite.

Our start point

The starting point for the walk today was Four mile bridge, not named because it is 4 miles long, far from it, more because it is 4 miles from Holyhead. The coastal path headed along the side of the estuary across some very marshy and muddy land to get to the only other way to cross to Holy Island, the Stanley Embankment.  It would be easy to get lost here as the signs go both ways, up towards Church Bay or left to Holy Island – left it is today.

Along the path

Great views of the estuary

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

Penhros Coastal Path

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

Up we climb

But the views were worth it

We then walked along the cliff tops….

and on to see the ruins of a naval battery used as a defence in the Napoleonic War.

Selfie time

and then around a football pitch before dropping into Holyhead itself and along a residential road, past the port and the railway station.

Hunger was setting in by now, and we found a nice little cafe which was serving breakfast still at 11.30am, the Beach Hut Cafe.  A nice stopping point,  and I got to count the lorries coming off the ferry (I’ll claim for the time later) and then off we went again up out of Holyhead and past the breakwater.

A strange concrete shrine

You will notice from the pictures that we were climbing all the way now and there is a good reason for that which came into view as we rounded North Stack and got sight of Holyhead Mountain, the highest point on Holyhead.

It really was this steep

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

The walk doesn’t quite hit the peak of the mountain – and if we weren’t doing 20 miles today and we weren’t socially distancing from the crowds, then we might have made the small detour to the summit, but onwards we went with the downhill part now, and the approach to South Stack lighthouse.

Just time for Bonnie to pop to the loo….

Toilet break – is this the ladies?

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

South Stack Lighthouse

We continued the descent and took a wrong turn, following a coastal path sign in the wrong direction, but a swift U-turn and we passed some amazing rock faces:

Can you see him?

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

Here he is

Ellin’s tower, a folly, was also not open so we walked down a step road to Abraham’s bosom – no it is just a broad bay – and a good place for a late lunch.

Ellin’s folly

Abraham’s bosom

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

Bonnie on the moon

Stunning landscape

You pass a beautiful beach with a suitable toilet stop…

Porth Dafarch

The last part of the walk kept us walking along a road with no pavement, then deviating off to the right down the path to the coast, then back left to the road at least 5 times….it would have been less distance to stay on the road, but never mind as the sight of Trearddur Bay was worth the walk.

Finally our end point

Well actually Trearddur bay might have been the end point for today’s coastal path but not our walking; we still had 2 miles to walk back to the bikes and 2.5 miles to cycle!!

One last look at the beach

Thankfully we found a nice pub on the walk back and had a cider and a delicious meal, before getting back to the campsite very tired but full. Over 20 miles walked and for the record that was our longest single day ever.  16.7 miles of coastal path takes us to 562.4 miles completed and 312.8 miles to go still. And another walk tomorrow.

 

Llanbedr to Penrhyndeudraeth

6th October 2019

As the weather forecast for Monday was terrible we knew that today would be our last walk of the weekend. Unfortunately when we swapped walks yesterday we didn’t realise that there was no Sunday bus for the walk we planned (Llanengan to Llanbedrog) but there was a bus at 9am from Penrhyndeudraeth to Llanbedr, so we decide to do that walk instead.

In the book this was shown as 2 long walks, as the wooded bridge had collapsed, but we had read recently that a new road and rail bridge had opened, and this meant that we could tackle the whole walk in a single day.

So we stood at a bus stop in the rain in Penrhyndeudraeth waiting for a very late bus, wondering why the weather was not as planned. Eventually the bus turned up and we set off, getting off 20 minutes later in the centre of Llanbedr and walked along the river to get to the coastal path.

Our starting point

The first part followed the river on a raised grass bank, and then crossed the river on a new bridge which wasn’t in our book.

Sharon led the way

Better than trying to swim it

The path then cut left through the Pensarn boating centre and by the harbour and then across some very boggy marshland. Rather than head on to the beach the path then cut inland slightly and along the road.

Pensarn

The clouds looked ominous

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

Before we dropped down on to the beach

The beach at Harlech was wide and quite busy with visitors.

After about a mile we turned off into the sand dunes, up and over, and along the path towards the famous Harlech Castle.

Exit point

Over the dune

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

As we were in less of a rush than yesterday with no rain planned we decided to try to find a cafe for lunch, but there was nowhere around without going up into the town so we sat in the bus stop and had our sandwiches and coffee.

Not quite the Ritz

The path then continued on the road out of Harlech and turned through a housing estate, across a few fields of sheep and then along a very long road through a wood.

We couldn’t even see the end of the road

A few more fields followed and then some steps down and back up before reaching Llanfihangel-y-traethau church.

The path was well sign-posted across some fields and around a farmhouse, and then it dropped down to the estuary edge.

Thankfully a rainbow without the rain

Portmerion in the distance across the estuary

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

Can’t go through the marshland

The old bridge across the marshland

Along the mound

For some reason the coastal path then hugs the top of the sea wall, inside the field and in long grass. With hindsight we could have saved a lot of effort by instead walking just the otherside of the wall nearer the estuary which had a decent track – never-mind but hopefully someone else will learn from our experience.  The path then crossed the train track, around a hill and met the main road and the new bridge which cut 8 miles off the total walk.

The bridge

And that brought us back to the train station in Penrhyndeudraeth and to the car.

The total walk was 12.9 miles of coastal path in 4 hours and 20 minutes, a much slower pace than yesterday. That is almost 40 miles over our 3 day walking weekend and the grand total now stands at 545.7 miles and 329.5 miles to go. There may not be any more walks now till the spring, time for a wedding and the honeymoon, Christmas and celebrations.

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.