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.

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.