Aberporth to New Quay

6th October 2018

Day two of our double-header, and I make no apology that today will be full of photographs, as this has to be one of the most stunning sections of coastal path. It needs to be though or people wouldn’t attempt it, as it is single day with the biggest climbs of any – over 780 metres if the guide book is to be believed.

So we are planning for this walk to take all day, and Bethan arrived at 9.15 to get us to the start point (thank you Bethan again). The early start is OK though as I have been promised breakfast when we get to Tresaith. I am not sure how Bonnie’s little legs will cope with all the hills today either.

Looking down on Aberporth

The first part of the walk is on a new tarmac path, and you walk past several houses which have been converted from train carriages – explains why we couldn’t get a train to our start point today!!

A carriage with a view

The walk was already teasing us with the views ahead of us.

Just a part of what is still ahead of us today

We arrived at Tresaith at just after 10, only to find the cafe shut and the only pub stopped serving breakfast at 10.

Tresaith ahead of us

So we soldiered on up the hill out of Tresaith, and towards Penbryn Beach.

Penbryn Beach
The view behind us and the hill we were walking up

Penbryn also took us in land slightly to get past a river, and we decided to stop in the wooded glen, complete with ferns, to have our breakfast – which was actually half of our lunch (a bit early).

A waterfall by breakfast

We then climbed up the other side of the wood and found ourselves in a National Trust car park, complete with a tea room.  The air did turn rather blue at this point!!

This tea-room looks nice – if doing this route then make sure you plan a visit to it!!

The views behind us got better and better as we got higher and higher.

And ahead of us now was Carreg-y-ty with it’s sandy cove.

Bonnie leads the way to Carreg-y-ty
Come on in, the water looks lovely

It looks like there is a little door inside

The view ahead then got better still as we approached Ynys Lochtyn, which is used as the main picture to advertise the Ceredigion coastal path.

The next landmark on the way to Ynys Lochtyn was Llangrannog, the village rather than the activity centre that kids stay in. We had been told of a lovely coffee shop on the sea front, and it didn’t disappoint. At this point we were 5 miles in and around 120 flights of stairs, so we still had a way to go.

Llangrannog
Sharon makes friends with St Carannog who founded the first church in the area
The beach at Llangrannog
A close up of Ynys Lochtyn

The coast line ahead still showed a lot of undulations, with Cwmtydu now the distant part.

One last glimpse back to Ynys Lochtyn

And then out of no-where comes the Llangrannog activity centre with ski slope and go karts

The climbs seemed to get steeper and steeper, and New Quay still wasn’t in sight, and ahead was the worst climb of them all, cut into the hill side.

You can just make out the path ahead of us

And then, not since our first walk nearly 4 years ago in Chepstow, Sharon once again uttered the famous words “That’s a pretty sheep”.  And, to be fair, it was.

Who’s a pretty girl then

The next big drop through a forest took us into Cwmtydu, and a welcome, if somewhat expensive ice-cream stop

It’s a long way down

We didn’t have time to stop at the tractor table
Ice-cream on the go for us
Some sort of smuggler cave maybe at Cwmtydu

We still had a massive climb to go, and then from the top the view looked like this, where is New Quay?

Another descent followed, and on a bridge in the middle of no-where was this….

A bit late!!

I could have done with that a few hours earlier!!

Our final climb
Sharon and Bonnie lagging behind, and Sharon looks like she is puffing a bit

After all the dangerous walking it was a surprise to see this warning sign right at the end, but we did follow the safer route.

Which finally gave us a glimpse of New Quay

New Quay over the hedge
The harbour wall

What a welcome sight that was and what a view

The route then took us down through the town, past houses, and the harbour, ending our day with the walk out of New Quay to the caravan site.

And we are back home

Strava records it as 14.6 miles and 4,148 feet of height (which is 1,264 metres).  This is higher than walking up Snowdon.

What a bumpy ride

And that was our weekend done – 27.2 miles in total, making a grand total of 430.9 miles walked and 443.3 miles to go. One more day of walking and we should be halfway around the coast.

New Quay to Llanrhystud

6th October 2018

Our last walking weekend of the year – and also our first since May (which is very remiss) and we got off to a delayed start as the weather was so bad on Friday and on Saturday morning, so only 2 walks this weekend, but they will have lovely scenery.

Today we are walking the 13 or so miles from New Quay (where we have hired a static caravan) to Llanrhystud to join up with this previous walk. We chose this way as it is relatively flat (compared with the walk we are saving for tomorrow) and we should be able to complete it in an afternoon rather than having an all-day adventure.

You can see the sea from our caravan!

We headed down to the beach and walked along till a river meant we had to head inland.

The view back to New Quay
New Quay beach below Quay West Haven park

 

The view even further back towards New Quay
The hills ahead of us

 

Some stunning landscape around Craig Ddu
The beach below Cwm Clifforch

And before we knew it our lunch-spot of Aberaeron was right in front of us.

The coastal path led down, through a forest, over a bridge and past an orange roman style house, complete with horse statue in the garden, to the town of Aberaeron.

It’s not moving
Sharon is not afraid of heights

We met up with Bethan (our taxi driver for later as buses are infrequent) and bribed her with pancakes and nutella, and then set off around the lovely harbour and back to our walking.

The walk now was mostly flat for the rest of the afternoon, which was exactly what we needed to keep the pace up and get to the end before 5.30.

That’ll be us

Just before Llanon we got a little bit lost and had to ask for directions. The alternate Blue route goes in land to Llanon itself to get over the river, but the red route allows for you to do a bit of stepping stones (I did OK!!) over the river and then walk along the beach to the second tower and then the paths rejoin.

The tower to get off the beach

At this point we stopped to collect some driftwood for future projects, but it did look more like Sharon had been to the bakery!!

Baguettes anyone?

We then had to weave through the small town of LLansantffraed, and over a bridge next to the church of St Brides before heading past four old lime kilns, used historically to burn limestone to spread on the fields to make them more fertile and improve drainage.

Lime Kilns

Then a stop for a coffee and cake on the beach watching the waves hit the shore from the strong wind….

and then the coastal path takes you up a long straight road towards the main road.

It’s me again – but look at that sky

And you arrive at the entrance to the campsite which marked the end of the previous walk.

The coastal path would then head back into the camp site and up the hills to Aberystwyth, but for us that is the end of the day, and a moment to relax before Bethan arrives to take us back to the campsite. 12.6 miles in total and around 450 metres of height gained today. Time for dinner before tomorrow’s adventures.

Machynlleth to Borth

25th March 2018

If yesterday was all about height then today continues that theme but also adds in distance as we not only have 590m of height and 11 miles of walk to contend with for today, we also have about 5 miles of walk left from the leg on Friday to join up.

So we start the day by walking to Borth railway station….not part of the 16 miles for today!!

Sharon leads the way
A railway station with a view

The train (with the same friendly conductor as yesterday) took us to Machynlleth where we picked up from where we left off yesterday.

The first part of the walk is flat through the town and past the clock tower and school.

Machynlleth clock tower

We then turned left and up the Roman steps which were part of the original highway into the town.

The Roman steps on a frosty morning

After a steep climb we “undulated” for a while through the Llyfnant Valley, which was a beautiful wood. It was here we once again met our fellow walkers from yesterday….they had stayed in Machynlleth overnight and seen our train arrive this morning whilst climbing the first big hill.

A further climb

We then had a rapid descent back to sea level and across a river but then, to our dismay, the path climbed steeply again on the other side.

Steep climb number 3
The benefit of a climb is the views

At this point we stopped for lunch and had a long debate about exactly where we were on the map. I felt that we still had one big climb to go, Sharon thought we had already done it.

Lovely sky, buzzards over head and wonderful views

But alas I was right, we did still have another descent to get across a river, and then another climb.

Up we go again

But the view was worth it.

Looking back across the estuary
But a muddy and rocky climb to get there

We skirted Craig Caerhedyn to the West, and a rocky mount made a good look-out point.

Bonnie looking out
So Sharon does the same

Then a final descent to join the A467 and a nice new coffee shop at the village of Tre-Taliesin.

On our way down
Across the river

We enjoyed the coffee and cake, well deserved after 11 miles and well needed with another 4 or 5 miles still to go. Just as we were leaving the coffee shop who should arrive but our fellow walkers who had kept up a good pace today (or we were getting slower!).

Now on to the left-over walk from Friday. This was the flat part of the day, but the downside to that was that it was also across marshland.

This part starts out on a nice tarmac path, great for some pace

But then the ground got wetter and wetter, and muddier and muddier. Every step was giving us that sinking feeling, but by now we didn’t really care.

Marsh marsh baby

Aother fellow walker caught us up at this point and walked the last section with us….he only started walking the path in January 2017 and had already made it from Chester to here and planned to complete the whole path in 2 1/2 years, half of our target. Anyway, Borth station appeared in front of us and then a quick walk down the sea front and we were back at the caravan.

The back of Borth station
Muddy Sharon and Bonnie
And I didn’t escape the mud

So today was 16.1 miles and 590 metres elevation. It took us 5 1/2 hours as we were a bit slower today. The grand total is now 371.5 miles completed and 500.2miles to go. One more walk tomorrow.

Continue reading “Machynlleth to Borth”

Aberdyfi to Machynlleth

24th March 2018

Day 2 of our weekend and the hilliest day with 620 metres of height ahead of us. But first our journey to get there. Today we drove to Machynlleth and got a train from there to Aberdyfi. But not before Sharon discovered the cleanest railway toilets in the country.

Machynlleth station
The cleanest toilets on the rail network
Bonnie and Sharon waiting for the train

Once in Aberdyfi (which is our first walk in the Meirionnydd section of the coastal path) we headed along the coast on the flat and found a nice little cafe for breakfast. Fully recharged we headed off on our walk through the town, but soon we were directed up to the left up a steep slope.

Up we go

The path started up steps and soon opened up to fields and woodlands, with a stream running through the path….

And a field which included one where the sign had been knocked down, so Sharon was able to make her own directions.

Which way?

Already the views were magnificent, but today was going to be about estuary views rather than beach.

Looking across the estuary
Sharon alone in the world

At this point we caught up some fellow walkers who we had seen setting off while we had breakfast, they were also on day 2 of the weekend and heading the same way as us but at a slower pace.

At times we couldn’t see the estuary but instead could see inland towards Snowdonia National Park and the Happy Valley.

Cwm Maethlon or Happy Valley

We climbed higher to Tyddynbriddell hill where a slate marks the spot where King Arthur’s horse Llamrai’s hoof scarred the rock according to legend.

Continue reading “Aberdyfi to Machynlleth”

Aberystwyth to Borth

23rd March 2018

Yes it is time for one of our 4 day walking weekends, and we are heading halfway up the west coast mainly in Ceredigion for this weekend. But before we start in Aberystwyth we have time to have a selfie with our coffees (thank you Suzanne and Laurence for the voucher).

We parked the car up in Borth near our base for the weekend and got the bus back to Aberystwyth for a short afternoon walk to start the weekend off gently.

The sun was shining as we headed along the promenade at Aberystwyth to Constitutional Hill. This is quite a steep climb, and has the hillside cliff railway which was not open today.

The promenade
Half way up the hill

And hills were going to become the theme for this weekend, as we realised we have chosen to do the 4 consecutive walks on the coastal path with the highest combined total height gained of any stretch of coastal path at 1960 metres, but more of our pain later in the weekend! For today we got the Strava record for fastest ever hill climb in the section, and we stopped for photos on the way doh!!

Still half way up

At the top the view towards Clarach Bay was wonderful and it was less than a mile to get there.

The view towards Clarach Bay
Typical views

For most of the rest of the walk the views were from the cliffs down to the rough sea below. We did drop down at Craig y Delyn to sea level but decided not to risk the beach route so then continued back up the hill to the War Memorial.

Dropping down to Craig y Delyn
The war memorial

And in a sign of how easy today was we were still smiling at the end of it.

So today was 5.7 miles walked and 320 metres gained. Our total is now 342.4 miles completed and 529.3 miles to go. Tomorrow is going to be much tougher.

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.

 

South Wales Coast and Severn Estuary Completed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Andrew and Sharon