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.

Moylgrove to Newport Parrog

4th May 2019

Today is another day where we have already done part of the walk – so although in the book the walk is from St Dogmael’s to Newport (Parrog) we have already walked from St Dogmael’s to Moylgrove (with the kids, well the other way from Moylgrove to St Dogmael’s actually) so today is now slightly easier.

We drove to Parrog car park and waited for the bus. This has to take the record for parking close to where the bus picked us up from. This bus only runs on a Thursday and Saturday in low season, and adds a 3rd day per week from the end of May.

Yes that is the car outside the bus window
And a first for Bonnie – her own ticket

The bus dropped us, and quite a few other walkers, in Moylgrove village and we knew it was about a mile to get to the coast. The others all set off while we were still getting ourselves sorted and it took a while for us to find the woodland path to get to the coast but it was a lovely walk with a stream running below us and plenty of spring flowers.

Then suddenly we appeared at the familiar sight of Ceibwr Bay and the walk proper could begin.

Ceibwr Bay

The first landmark is Witches Cauldron, which is a collapsed sea cave.

Note the arms in shadow – I wasn’t getting any closer to the edge so had to reach up for the picture

A little further along the path dropped to sea level but on the left was a beach with the tide going in and out right underneath us.

Of course, after going down we had to then climb the other side, for some further magnificent views including Bwn Bach which is a small perfectly formed archway and then along the top of Traeth Cell-Howell.

We reached a spot where we could see a further drop ahead of us and then a massive set of steps, and decided that this would be a good spot to stop for lunch to build up the reserves for the climb.

The lunchtime view
Before this climb
High above the beach

We had a couple more descents to sea level and climbs back up again, including a chance for Sharon to re-live the stepping stones experience.

Careful does it

And then the sight of Newport Sands appeared around a corner.

Newport Sands

A very steep descent followed…

and by now the coats were off, the sun was shining and the sky was a deep blue – typical walking weather for us.  Newport Sands came ever closer.

The path then dropped almost to the beach before frustratingly going back up again, so at this point we decided to do a little bouldering and get ourselves down onto the sands and enjoy the beach.

What a stunning beach

After a coffee and cake stop we headed across the golf course, and followed the river inland to get to the bridge.

With the tide out we were able to see the Pilgrim’s stepping stones, which we had made a pilgrimage of our own to see previously.

Over the “iron” bridge

The walk then continued back along the other side of the river to Parrog.

And to the car-park where we started. A day of contrasts and beautiful weather, and 9.2 miles of new coastal path for us with over 215 storeys of height.  For those keeping score (like me) that makes 494.2 miles completed and 381 miles to go (roughly)

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.