Wales Coast Path: Beaumaris to Mariandyrys

wcp-beaumaris-824 August 2016 – 9.8 miles

Another lovely day. We packed up the tent and left the car at the campsite, then walked down to the coast. We had walked back to the campsite along the Coast Path on-road route last night; this morning we did it again, but along the shore. The tide was well out, but some of the shore was rocky, some parts were muddy, but there were lovely views across to Snowdonia, and Puffin Island coming into view at the corner of Anglesey. We saw a few boat trips from Beaumaris heading out that way. wcp-beaumaris-2

We then moved inland at a small car park where a river came down to the sea. I’m sure I saw a flash of a kingfisher here!

We had a rest on a dangerous bench.wcp-beaumaris-3

wcp-beaumaris-4The route was now mostly along the road, although it was fairly quiet. We passed some old works – presumably from the quarry a little further inland – then arrived at Penmon Priory. We took a little time to look round the priory ruins, the church and the dovecote before continuing along the toll-road.

Penmon point was quite busy. It is such a familiar view from photographs, but neither of us had ever been here before. There was a little excitement – I think someone had decided to swim out to the lighthouse, and had got into difficulties. People on the shore began to shout and wave at a passing yacht to get help, but soon dismissed it shouting “It’s okay. He’s alright now!”wcp-beaumaris-7

We met very few people once we headed away from this point. The route heads away from the coast, but still gave views back towards Puffin Island for a while. We then headed through farm paths and lanes, until we reached a small junction near Mariandyrys which seemed a convenient point to stop.


From here it was a straightforward couple of miles back to the campsite.wcp-beaumaris-to-mariandyrys


Wales Coast Path: Tal-y-bont to Beaumaris

wcp-bangor23rd August 2016 – 4.9 and 8.2 miles

A walk of two halves.

We camped (in our new tent, following our Shetland adventures) near Beaumaris. We took a morning bus into the centre of Bangor then walked to the pier where we took up the coast path. Always the hardest bit of navigating, finding your way out of a town centre!

The route out of Bangor started on a disused railway line, through shady woods. We saw hardly anybody, despite it being a pleasant, easy path on a sunny August day! I think the line had been used to take slate to the harbour.wcp-bangor-2

At the end, there was a short walk along a road, then a sign, which we nearly missed, lead us across a field then onto an ‘estate’ of new roads but with no buildings whatsoever! It looked like it was earmarked for business or light industry but there was nothing there except the road. Very odd. It was popular with a group of skate boarders though. wcp-bangor-3

We were quite glad to get to the end as it just didn’t feel right. On the map this is shown as an alternative route and it does stop you from having to walk along the road as on the original route. Another mile or so took us past the village of Tay-y-bont and onto the main road where we caught the bus back into Bangor. Forewarned, we didn’t believe the timetable and kept a watchful eye on the road – sure enough, a bus came along, completely unrelated to the timetable!

We got off the bus close to the coast near the pier where we had started. Very convenient. The route then went along the coast, past the University, and through woodlands above the sea.wcp-bangor-4 There was a bit of a walk along pavements to get to Menai Bridge and so cross into Anglesey. It was good to walk along the bridge and see the views along the Straits. I’ve always had the impression of Anglesey as being a bit dull, but when I go I am always surprised and impressed with how lovely it is!wcp-bangor-5

It was a little unclear which way the path went, but we headed through the town of Menai Bridge, following the coast, through clusters of small houses. We stopped for a welcome drink at the Liverpool Arms (all pubs round here are called the Liverpool Arms …) then headed inland across the main road.

The path here is set inland from the coast, following a quiet residential road for quite a way with wonderful views across to Snowdonia. wcp-bangor-6It started to feel like it had been a long walk and I was rather glad to get back to the coast and enter Beaumaris which was busy with tourists crabbing off the pier. wcp-bangor-7wcp-talybont-to-beaumaris

Wales Coast Path: Conwy to Tal-y-bont


23rd July 2016 – 14.4 miles

A nice early morning drive to Conwy. We parked outside town at the Marina. We had walked from the centre of Conwy to here last year as a short afternoon walk. I haven’t written it up, but we did do it! We passed a memorial with the information that some of the D-day Mulberry harbours had been constructed here. 20160723-p1070157

We walked along the beach for the first part of the walk, following the last part of the Conwy estuary, then turning the corner of the coast with Anglesey coming into view. wcp-conwy

The next part runs along the busy A55, and while it might not be the most picturesque walking route, it was interesting as we have driven this way so many times. We followed the bike path round the outside of the cliff through which the Penmaenmawr tunnel runs.20160723-p1070163

At the next tunnel, the footpath is taken between the carriageways on a footbridge, which we had never noticed when driving, up onto the hillside. Here we met many cyclists on a charity ride. I didn’t take a photograph of them and wish I had now.20160723-p1070177

We entered Llanfairfechan through a rather grim estate, but it eventually turned into a rather pleasant, quiet seaside town. We had lunch in a park shelter (it had turned rather breezy) watching a swan with cygnets on the lake. wcp-conwy-8

The next section was very different, as the road moves inland, and we followed the coast through wetland nature reserves with large flocks of birds on ponds just set back from the shore. 20160723-p1070188

It was satisfying to see that we were making progress. Where Anglesey had been on the horizon this morning, we were now past Puffin Island and opposite Beaumaris. In the distance, we began to see the tower of Penrhyn Castle on the outskirts of Bangor.

wcp-conwy-9The route here moves inland around the grounds of the castle. When we got to the main road, we saw a bus stop and checked the timetable for the next bus back to Conwy – another 20 minutes to wait … and then one zoomed past! We looked after it in surprise and another one appeared. We quickly stuck our hands out and got on! It dropped us off a short distance from the Marina, where we had a pleasant coffee and cake sitting outside.wcp-conwy-to-tal-y-bont

Garrigill to Kirkhaugh

south-tyne1st June 2016 – 15.4 miles

We packed up our campsite and drove the short distance to Alston, where we parked the car and bought a few supplies (lunch!). It was a bit drizzly, and we met another walker sheltering in the square who was waiting for his friends to do a similar walk to our planned route to Garrigill.alston

We left Alston along the river bank, skirting the back of the  Youth Hostel, and trying to recognise it as the one we stopped in about 20 years ago (we think it could be a different building). The path went through fields, following the river, but some way uphill for much of the way. There were plenty of sheep with lambs in the fields and many dry stone walls to cross. We met a couple of families of walkers coming in the opposite direction, which is unusual enough to mention.lambs

As we got closer to Garrigill, the valley got narrower andthe path ran closer to the river South Tyne. Where we crossed the footbridge, we met the man from Alston, who obviously had not met up with his friends, heading back towards Alston. He was doing a circular route and he told us something about a diversion on his route.

The last section seemed further than expected. The guidebook says something about it being dreary amd full of spoil heaps and scrap yards. That did seem a bit of an exaggeration. Yes, there were a few spoil heaps closer to Garrigill, but I probably wouldn’t have noticed them if the guidebook hadn’t mentioned them. And, yes, there was one scrapyard, but it was quite an interesting and rather eccentric place!scrap-yard

I was glad to reach Garrigill and have lunch. We returned by the same route – which, as usual, seemed much quicker. sialge

The afternoon had brightened up, so we continued north from Alston. We passed Harbut House, rather grand, with a peacock, then crossed the A689 and headed uphill  to more open country. Route finding was not always obvious, but we did manage to get it right. Crossing a stream meant we had crossed into Northumberland – pretty much the last leg of the Pennine Way, but it is a pretty big county!boundary

I noticed some unusually shaped mounds in the distance and was quite surprised when we got closer to see we had reached the Roman fort sooner than expected. I also hadn’t expected the fort to be earthworks – I think I’d expected some visible stone walls. earthworks

At this point the Pennine Way lead back downhill and across the main road. The South Tyne trail runs nearby, along the South Tynedale narrow guage railway.

We followed this all the way back to Alston. It was nice to have an easy, level route back after a pretty long day (a long three days in all!). alston-eveningAnd the sun shone in the end!garrigill-to-kirkhaugh



Garrigill to Cross Fell

Greg's hut

Greg’s hut

31st May 2016 – 15.9 miles

We drove a short way over the hills from Haggs Bank campsite to the village of Garrigill. The Pennine Way follows a wide track out of the village and uphill between fields. There must have been nesting birds in the land either side as the lapwings and curlews were very active and vocal as we passed. We saw a few birds we didn’t know (not surprising as we aren’t particularly clued up on birds), standing on small mounds and calling. I took a rather blurry picture for identification – golden plover, so now there’s another one I know!

Golden Plover

Golden Plover

The open country higher up is obviously managed for game. There was a line of grouse butts and there were traps set into logs running across drainage ditches.



The area was once heavily mined for lead. There are shafts, levels and workings marked on the maps. today we saw a few capped shafts – most are now filled in, leaving just hollows in the ground. We didn’t see any evidence of where the miners lodged though and wondered if they slept in the levels (although the Internet suggests they could have walked to and from the workings each day – a long walk!).

Capped shaft

Capped shaft

The weather was better than yesterday, and there was only a little cloud around at the top of Cross Fell, where we had another welcome break in the shelter, along with two German women.

Cross Fell shelter

Shelter on top of Cross Fell

We had decided to loop back to the south of Cross Fell and follow a bridleway back tothe Pennine Way. We walked up and down the saddle point looking for where the path left, eventually resorting to the GPS and going across trying to avoid the worst of the bogs. We soon came to a gate with a blue ‘bridleway’ waymark so knew we were in the right place, but very soon the path petered out. There was nothing visible on the ground so we decided to contour round Cross Fell and rejoin the Pennine Way. It wasn’t as bad a route as it could have been (we only had to climb over one fence).

We were very glad to rejoin the Pennine Way, with the German women just behind us. We leapfrogged each other a few times, going down the path. It seemed a long way back, with the landscape not changing much a few points of reference until we reached the grouse butts, and we were soon back to the lapwings and curlews warning us off.



Garrigll Post Office

Cross Fell to Garrigill


Pennine Way – Cross Fell


Cross Fell in mist

30th May 2016 – 15.4 miles

Hello, Pennine Way. It’s us again! Three years, new knee, interesting medical adventures, but we’re back.

Three years ago, we abandoned the walk from Dufton to Cross Fell before reaching the ridge as it was knee-deep or more in snow. The problem now was we had to gain the ridge again to get to the Pennine Way.



We camped for a few days at Haggs Bank, near Alston. Today, we drove and parked in the tiny village of Milburn (I wish I’d photographed the school – one small building in the centre of the village square) and headed straight uphill, on a reasonably good path. Once we hit open access land, the going got a little harder, with no visible path over rough ground.

We stopped for a drink, thinking we were making good progress, then checked the GPS and realised we hadn’t gone as far as we thought. A short plod further uphill and we came to a track which we followed around the hill. We had seen some sort of pylon on the horizon and, as we got closer, I remember the map had shown ‘ski-hoist’. Apparently there are currently ski runs on the other side of the hill, but this area has seen better days …


Ski hoist

A short way ahead of us, we could see what looked like a road, coming to meet us uphill. I knew that the map had only shown a bridleway and had decided that it looked a longer and harder walk than the one we had taken. We thought it must be a track … but it looked like tarmac. It must be a private road … but there’s a car parked at the top, and a cyclist getting his bike out to ride down! You mean … we could have driven up here, and walked the Pennine Way part without the 2-3 hour slog uphill??? Rather dispirited by this, we had lunch and made a unanimous decision not to loop back a mile to the point we had previously reached but to keep going (maybe one day we will feel guilty enough to do that!).


The road up

Having finally reached the ridge, the route was clear, although the  ridge was now covered in low cloud. We initially followed a broad track, but realised we were heading away from the golf-ball radar station on Great Dun Fell, and retraced our steps a short way.


Great Dun Fell

After this, we were back to the familiar stone flags across slightly boggy ground, to Little Dun Fell with the large stony bulk of Cross Fell looming ahead in the mist.A slighlty rocky route led to the flat top. We were rather glad of the line of cairns to show the way in the mist, although it is so featureless they are probably useful even on a clear day. We reached the shelter, glad to sit down out of the cold wind, having reached the highest point of the Pennines.


Heading up Cross Fell


Summit cairn, Cross Fell

Heading north and downhill, we met three separate pairs of walkers, the first (and only) people we saw all day. At a T-junction, the Pennine Way headed right, towards Garrigill. We headed left on a good path and then a track, marked on the map as Pennine Journey. Heading downhill, the cloud cleared and we could see across the Eden Valley toward the Lake District fells, although the views weren’t as clear as last time, in the snow!


Horse-drawn caravan

We followed quiet country lanes back to Milburn, passing a horse-drawn van, one of several in the area, gathering in readiness for Appleby Horse Fair later in the week.

15.5 miles, of which about 3.5 were actually the Pennine Way!Cross Fell



Wales Coast Path: Greenfield to Ffynnongroyw

WCP-11Saturday, 2nd March 2013 – 13.5 miles

Our first day – written up over 18 months later!

We decided to have a go at walking some of the newly created Wales Coast Path. It’s not too far from home and didn’t look too strenuous for Robby whose knee was being troublesome. As we had already cycled what looks like the same route from Chester to Bagillt, we opted to start further down the coast at Greenfield near Holywell, where we knew we could park.
Almost straight away, we came to somewhere we hadn’t known about – Greenfield dock. The tide was out, leaving a muddy inlet with an unexpected number of small boats.

Greenfield Dock

Greenfield Dock

The path led alongside the River Dee which was calm and still with great views back towards Wirral (where we live). I rather liked this carving looking out over the river.

Looking over the Dee

Looking over the Dee

The path led between the river and the road and railway, with quite a high embankment to the river. You could see how this land was part of the coastal plain with embankments and ditches everywhere.

We got to Mostyn where the old ship Duke of Lancaster is still moored. Many years ago it was used as a nightclub but now stands empty and unused except by graffiti artists!

Duke of Lancaster

Duke of Lancaster



The path then went inland, past Mostyn docks surprisingly busy – and along the road for a while, with some short stretches leading through grass or trees at the roadside.It made for a slightly less interesting walk, although the old station building at Mostyn was worth a photo.

Mostyn station building

Mostyn station building

Relief on Mostyn station

Relief on Mostyn station

We got to the village of Ffynnongroyw, a street of small houses and many pubs. This looked like a suitable place to turn round, with on-street parking for next time. It was the day after St David’s day, and most of the houses were flying Welsh flags, or St David’s flags, although one brave soul had an England flag on display.

We took an alternative route back, which took us inland and round the back of a hill. It was a bit further and harder walking but a lot more interesting and pleasant than returning by the same stretch of road. It also took us under this building, part of the Mostyn estate. I think this is the ‘Dry bridge lodge’ which has a carriage drive passing through the building while the public road goes underneath.


Dry Bridge Lodge, Mostyn Hall

Dry Bridge Lodge, Mostyn Hall

From here, we returned by the same route along the river. The tide was in and we were treated tot he sight of flocks of oystercatchers flying round.



WCP Greenfield to Fynnongroyw

WCP Greenfield to Fynnongroyw