Wales Coast Path: Aberdaron to Penllech

wcp-aberdaron-penllech19 November 2016 – 15.4 miles

We stayed at a very nice B&B in the centre of the Llyn Peninsula. The owner was chatting to us and said they had a lot of walkers staying there, including another Ruth, who was also walking the Coast Path – yes, I follow her blog! (coastalwalker.co.uk). He very kindly also followed us as we dropped off our car from the turn around point, then drove us down to Aberdaron, so we could do a linear walk. wcp-aberdaron-penllech-2

We had a quick look at the beach and bay at Aberdaron, then set of along the cliff paths. At the next bay we saw a man heading for a dip in the sea! Now, it was a pleasant day for November … but …! wcp-aberdaron-penllech-3

We headed west along the coast, with the bulk of Bardsey Island ahead of us. We climbed over the headland to reach the tip of the Llyn Peninsula, and you could see some of the buildings on the far side of the island. wcp-aberdaron-penllech-4

The coastline became more rugged, with cliffs and jagged rocks facing the Irish Sea. From the high point of the headland, you could see for miles around the coast, up towards Anglesey, south across Cardigan Bay, and inland to the snow-capped peaks in Snowdonia. There was a small coastguard lookout here and there had been an RAF station there during the War – some concrete foundations were visible around the area. wcp-aberdaron-penllech-7

We met a couple of groups of people by the headland. Later we met a runner and a couple of dog walkers, but otherwise it was fairly quiet. There were still a few people around when we reached the wide sandy beach at Porth Oer, families, well wrapped up and kids in wellies. Time was getting on and so we decided to play safe and take the waymarked path on top of the cliff, rather than walking along the beach and finding out why it was called Whistling Sands, just in case there wasn’t an obvious route off the beach at the far end (there was!). wcp-aberdaron-penllech-9

We were conscious of the time, and the light fading. I think this section had a lot of wishful thinking – that bay ahead of us is the one we are heading for! – but it wasn’t. The path was still pretty good, and we could see where we were going, but we knew this would not last for much longer, and so decided to head inland. wcp-aberdaron-penllech-10There were not many signposts, but we headed across a field that looked like a used path heading to a group of houses . At the far end there was a waymarker. We got to the house, walked the short distance across their back garden (sorry! – didn’t set off any alarms or anything!) and to a long farm track back to the road.

By this time, it was almost dark so it was quite a relief to just walk the last mile or two on quiet roads back to the car park. The route actually turned out to be a bit further than we’d anticipated (closer to 16 than 13 miles!) and maybe if we’d checked properly we would have walked a little faster in the morning. Another adventure!wcp-aberdaron-penllech

 

 

Wales Coast Path: Aberdaron to Rhiw

wcp-aberdaron-rhiw-420 November 2016 – 11.14 miles

We left our nice B&B, turning down the offer of a lift for a linear walk so that we had the option of lengthening or shortening the walk as we felt like it! We parked again at Aberdaron, heading slightly inland up a small river valley and through fields. wcp-aberdaron-rhiwWe did head down to a caravan site before realising it didn’t look right. Further back up the track there was a waymarker, more easily visible when you were going the ‘wrong’ way! wcp-aberdaron-rhiw-2

This took us back towards the coast, over rolling hills high above the sea. It was another beautiful day, sunny and clear, and fairly warm for November. We looked across Cardigan Bay, taking a bearing and decided that we actually could see Pembrokeshire on the horizon! There were a few sheep grazing and a number of ponies.wcp-aberdaron-rhiw-3

We headed inland up a lovely valley with a stream and waterfalls, and the remains of old mining industry.wcp-aberdaron-rhiw-5

The path then headed back to the coast on open access moorland, again high rolling hills. It appears that the path has been diverted and improved to run closer to the coast than it does on our map, although it has been pretty well waymarked. wcp-aberdaron-rhiw-6

We reached a minor road, close to the National Trust property of Plas-yn-Rhiw and at the western end of Hell’s Mouth Bay, and decided to make that our turnaround point. wcp-aberdaron-rhiw-7

We followed the quiet minor road back to Aberdaron, reaching it just as the sun was beginning to set. wcp-aberdaron-rhiw-8wcp-aberdaron-rhiw

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.

wcp-beaumaris

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

20160723-p1070193

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

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

Graffiti

Graffiti

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-8

Oystercatchers

WCP Greenfield to Fynnongroyw

WCP Greenfield to Fynnongroyw

 

Wales Coast Path: Colwyn Bay to Conwy

WCP Colwyn Bay to Conwy-15Sunday, 9th November, 2014 – 15.9 miles

We set off from home fairly early (for a Sunday morning!) and got to Colwyn Bay about 9:15. Plenty of free parking along the prom, so we parked very close to the pier and set off. Bright but crisp air with a few dog walkers on the beach and quite a few runners and cyclists.

Victoria Pier, Colwyn Bay

Victoria Pier, Colwyn Bay

We were rather surprised to see that there is very little evidence of ‘seaside resort’ in Colwyn Bay anymore, with no cafes or arcades evident on the prom. What was obviously once hotels or guest houses were being renovated into apartments. It looks like a pleasant residential place nowadays. Slightly further along, Rhos-on-Sea had more of the resort about it, with a good number of cafes and restaurants on the prom. We also came across St Trillo’s chapel, reputedly the smallest church in Britain, seating six.

St Trillo's Chapel

St Trillo’s Chapel

St Trillo's Chapel

St Trillo’s Chapel

We had a slight detour from the promenade here when the path had a short alternative route along the beach, with a good view across the bay to the Little Orme. It was good to get to the Little Orme and have a grassy footpath to walk on. We wandered around the headland for a bit, taking in the views back across the coast, then took a steep path uphill which had once been the inclined plane for the quarries.

View from Little Orme

View from Little Orme

Uphill on the Little Orme

Uphill on the Little Orme

Up here it was a lot quieter. Obviously fewer people are willing to make the climb. As we took the path downhill on the far side, the sound of ‘Land of my Fathers’ drifted up. It was Remembrance Sunday and there was obviously a service nearby, but we couldn’t see where the sound was coming from.

We were now walking round Llandudno Bay. There were a lot more people around here and from the numbers wearing dark clothes and poppies we could see they had attended a Remembrance Service. At the War Memorial, they were just packing away the PA, etc. There are large poppies on either side, one saying 1914, the other 1918.

Llandudno war memorial

Llandudno war memorial

A slightly more frivolous memorial is to Lewis Carroll. There is a trail around the Great Orme dedicated to Alice in Wonderland as apparently Alice Liddell’s family had a house here and Lewis Carroll stayed there.

Mad Hatter, Llandudno

Mad Hatter, Llandudno

We had lunch on a promenade bench, then headed for Marine Drive, which goes around the Great Orme. An ominous black cloud was heading out of Snowdonia towards us and it rained for about half an hour – not heavy, but I was glad it stopped when it did before I got wet feet.

Vintage bus tour on the Great Orme

Vintage bus tour on the Great Orme

We also saw the biggest fairy ring of toadstools I have ever come across!

WCP Colwyn Bay to Conwy-14

Toadstools

As we came down from the Orme to the west shore of Llandudno, it felt a lot cooler. We had been sheltered by the Orme earlier in the day, but here it was much fresher!

Looking south across the Conwy estuary

Looking south across the Conwy estuary

The route here took us along the Conwy estuary, past Deganwy, where we had spent New Year. The storms had caused a lot of damage. Eleven months on, the debris had been cleared but the promenade had not yet been repaired.

Storm damaged promenade, Deganwy

Storm damaged promenade, Deganwy

We walked into the sun to Conwy. We had a bit of time to wait for the train so we went into a cafe, where we were met by what can only be described as a baleful look … it must have been nearly closing time! The coffee and cake was nice – a smile wouldn’t have hurt …

Conwy Railway Arch

Conwy Railway Arch

It was quite surprising (and gratifying) how far the train journey back to Colwyn Bay seemed to be.WCP Colwyn Bay to Conwy