Wales Coast Path: Bangor to Caernarfon

WCP Bangor to Caernarfon4th August 2017 – 11.8 miles

I’m not really sure why we haven’t done much of our longer walks in spring or early summer, but here we are again. The forecast looked better today than it has been for a while, and Friday is a better day than Saturday to drive into North Wales in August!

We found a parking place in a semi-residential area above the suspension bridge, then walked down to the bridge, only to find there were several convenient places we could have parked down there!

We soon came across a Botanic Garden. The path lead along the coast, through the trees, including this impressive Lucombe Oak.

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Lucombe Oak

It was a very pleasant walk, with glimpses of the Menai Strait and the Britannia Bridge, though it was obscured by trees preventing a good photograph. Just past the Britannia Bridge, we found this section which we later learned is a section of the old bridge which was damaged by fire in the 70s.

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Section of the old Britannia Bridge

The next section was through National Trust woodland in Glan Faenol, where we came across this impressive (and slightly spooky) mausoleum.

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Vaynol Mausoleum

Leaving the woods, we had lunch in a field with views across the Menai Strait to Plas Newydd on Anglesey.

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View to Plas Newydd

The route then took us inland along an A-road. There were few waymarks here so it was good to find some at the junction taking us onto a cycle path. We walked this section with a local lady. She told us how she had joined Slimming World and begun to walk every day. She has since lost 5 stone and stopped taking tablets for various medical conditions. She took a fork in the path to head down towards the coast and return to Bangor while we carried straight on. We later found we should have followed her, but we walked along the main road in Y Felinheli until we met up again with the path.

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Old station building

From here, the Wales Coast Path and the cycle path are part of the Lôn Las Menai which is easy to follow, although a few Coast Path waymarkers would be nice. It was pleasant and easy walking, although again trees prevented us from getting a clear view of the sea.

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Lôn Las Menai

We followed the path into Caernarfon and round to the far side of the castle.

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Caernarfon

We crossed the river, so we can park there to begin the next leg of the walk, then took the bus back to Bangor, very close to where we had parked. WCP Bangor to Caernarfon

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: Towyn to Penllech

Friday, 15th August, 2014 – 7 miles

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Llyn Coast

We had stayed overnight at Bryn Gwynant Youth Hostel – as pretty much the nearest hostel to the Llyn Peninsula, then driven down to Towyn (via Tesco in Porthmadog to get suncream … which we would definitely have needed if we hadn’t bought it!). We parked at a farm/campsite/caravan site and even put something in the honesty box. This was a little way north of where we had turned round last time, so we initially covered about a mile that we had already done. However, it was a convenient spot!

We headed for a building on the headland which we had seen as a landmark on our previous visit. It was the gable end of a building, with some other small buildings (fisherman’s huts?) lower down, in the shelter of the cliff face. WCPSlightly further on was a launching place for fishermen (Porth Ysglaig), where there were several cars and vans parked, and a family who had been kayaking drying off and warming up. There was also a brick lined pit, which I assume had something to do with fishing, but I have not managed to find out anything so far (I wonder if the guide book to the Coast Path has interesting snippets like that?).

Cormorants

Cormorants

At the next bay, Porth Gwylan, we were a little disconcerted to see a fully-clothed man standing thigh deep in the water. We wondered if we ought to be concerned for him, but then noticed he was photographing a seal, bobbing in the water a few yards away! We stayed and watched, taking a few photographs as well!

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Porth Gwylan

WCP-3We had lunch in a small bay, watching birds who were well camouflaged among the pebbles. We also found this happy pebble …

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Happy pebble

We then reached the wide, sandy bay of Penllech. It was a sunny day, but with a cool wind. There were quite a lot of people and families on the beach. We were rather confused here over the route as it very definitely led us on to the beach, although the OS map shows it as above the high water mark and off the sand. We came to a set of rocks, where the tide was occasionally lapping in. There didn’t seem to be anything for it but take our shoes off, wait for a wave to be out and go for it! Once we got round, we realised it wasn’t nearly as wet as we had expected and you headed away from the water just round the first small outcrop.

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An unexpected paddle

We then followed the path inland to a car park which made for a convenient stopping point. However, there should be a path heading along the coast, which we didn’t see! We didn’t walk as far today as we might have as we were heading to Prestatyn to spend a weekend with the extended family. WCP-11

The wind dropped as soon as we were slightly inland. We walked back along deserted lanes, seeing hardly any traffic, apart from a quad bike and a herd of cows crossing the road, then treated ourselves to an ice cream at the caravan site/car park.

WCP Towyn to Penllech

Wales Coast Path – Morfa Nefyn to Porth y Nant

Sunday 22nd June 2014 – 13.2 miles

Nefyn

Nefyn

Packed the tent away and left the car at the campsite. Followed the footpath to the coast and turned north. This took us to the top of the village near the church. Here, we went a bit wrong, walking up the main road for a way, until it became clear we had gone too far, so retraced our steps and realised we should have gone to a footpath at the side of the church. This led us gradually up the hill overlooking the main road and the coast.

Nefyn church

Nefyn church

We had to cross a huge buttress of spoil from the old quarries which we had been able to see from quite a way off, and then headed back down to the main road.

Nefyn quarry

Nefyn quarry

Nefyn quarry

Nefyn quarry

The path then led on the coast side of the road across rough fields. It wasn’t very clearly waymarked – there were a couple of times when it was unclear which route across a field to take.

Worn signpost

Worn signpost

This part of the path also forms part of the Pilgrims Way, from Holywell to Bardsey Island. We came across a lovely little church, St Beuno’s chapel, which had been part of a pilgrim route over the centuries.

St Beuno's Church

St Beuno’s Church

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We then went over a headland to a view of Porth y Nant bay, with steep cliffs heading down to a deserted beach. There was a little bit of cloud rolling in and covering the peaks.

Porth y Nant

Porth y Nant

There was a steep path leading straight down to the beach, or one that stayed higher up. We chose this one, following it around the hillside, through a wood of small, gnarled trees that had obviously grown up in salt-spray and coastal wind.

Trees

Trees

This path then led down to the beach, past some old quarrying machinery, then steeply uphill.

Remains at Porth Y Nant

Remains at Porth Y Nant

We had seen a few people on the beach at the end of the path, and we were quite surprised as we headed uphill to meet quite a number of people. When we got to the top we realised why – it is now a visitor centre, Nant Gwytherin, with a car park and cafe. Not many of the visitors had gone all the way down to the beach though!

We made the most of the visitor centre and had an ice cream. The old buildings have been restored and there is a heritage centre and miners cottage. It’s also a Welsh language centre, and most of the people, unsurprisingly perhaps, were speaking in Welsh.

Visitor centre at Nant Gwytherin

Visitor centre at Nant Gwytherin

We had decided to make a loop on the route here, and follow the Pilgrims Route inland, so we headed up the steep switchback road. There is a car park at the top, which will be useful for the next leg – deserted, as everyone must go down to the visitor centre! It also looks like a good place to start a route up Yr Eifl.

Carved stones near Yr Eifl

Carved stones near Yr Eifl

We followed the path across farm fields, including one with lots of young bulls in. That wouldn’t normally bother us, but they got a bit excited and curious about us, and one in particular was very jumpy! We were very glad to get to the other side of the fence! We also came across this herd of blue sheep …

Blue sheep

Blue sheep

We took the quicker option of following the roads back to Nefyn and then Morfa Nefyn.

WCP Morfa Nefyn to Porth y Nant

WCP Morfa Nefyn to Porth y Nant

Wales Coast Path – Morfa Nefyn to Porth Ysglaig

Saturday 21 June 2014 – 16.4 miles

Rocky shore, Llyn Peninsula

Rocky shore, Llyn Peninsula

We camped at a very pleasant site in Morfa Nefyn. Quite a lot of caravans in one field but very few tents in ours. A footpath opposite the site led to the Coast Path on the cliffs overlooking the bay.

Morfa Nefyn bay

Morfa Nefyn bay

It was a glorious day – warm, sunny and clear and the views all day were stunning! We kept stopping to take it all in and saying how you could be in a tour brochure, it looked that good!

The path followed the cliff path around the bay, dropping to the beach where the road from Morfa Nefyn came down, then rising again and following the road to the golf course. This was not terribly well signed. We followed a tarmac road through the golf course which took us to Porth Dinllaen, where the pub on the beach looked like it was going to have a good day’s business.

Porth Dinllaen

Porth Dinllaen

We then decided that we were supposed to be following the headland, so followed a track over the hill towards the lifeboat station, then around the cliff toward the lookout post where they were just putting out the flag.

Flying the flag

Flying the flag

We then had to use a bit of common sense to find the way around the edge of the golf course – wary of golfers, although we did find the ball that one group was searching for!

The path then led down to a reedy river as it joined the sea, then carried on over gentle hills and dips, overlooking deserted rocky bays and beaches.

Aber Geirch

Aber Geirch

Shells

Shells

We passed a set of caravans where there were a few people enjoying the beach, although there was quite a breeze, and another set of caravans which looked as if they were in the middle of nowhere! There was a rather rough access road, but not the sort you imagine taking a caravan up and down. I don’t think they get moved very often.

Caravan

Caravan with sheep motif

We carried on a bit further then decided that a small concrete water tower could be our turn-around landmark.

Water tank

Water tank

We returned along the coast path for a few miles, before heading inland along quiet country roads. We did this partly for ease, and a shorter distance, but also as we were looking out for a good place to eat. We called in and booked a table at the pub in Edern, which is now more restaurant than pub. We were amused by an old lady sitting in her garden opposite as she looked like a traditional ‘Welsh lady’ wearing a red shawl and black hat – unfortunately it was a woolly hat not a high Welsh hat!

WCP Morfa Nefyn to Towyn

WCP Morfa Nefyn to Towyn