Haltwhistle to Lambley

pennine-way-hadrians-wall25 October 2016 – 18 miles

Today was possibly one of the best and worst days of the Pennine Way!

Staying in a holiday cottage just outside Haltwhistle, we had a short walk up the road to join the Pennine Way where it runs alongside Hadrian’s Wall. It was a beautiful, clear, sunny day. Walking along Hadrian’s Wall was great, interesting and easy wayfinding. There were quite a few walkers about, some obviously just visiting the Wall with others looking as if they were doing some long distance walking. We had lunch at Walltown Crags picnic site, showing how the area had been quarried in the 19th and 20th century – it seems unthinkable to be quarrying until relatively recently in such an historic area!

pennine-way-hadrians-wall-2

Walking further along the route of the wall, we came to the rather impressive ruins of Thirwall Castle.

pennine-way-hadrians-wall-3Shortly after this, the Pennine Way splits from the Hadrian’s Wall Path, and we saw no othe walkers – apart from one man in the distance on the moors.

After crossing the busy A69 we headed towards open moorland, first on a good track which soon petered out. Some of the ground was very wet – there was a board walk along one stretch but as there was a huge muddy area in front of it, we skirted round. The path was very difficult to find and we ended up following a fence line to get back on course. Even looking back, the path was not really visible on the ground. Blenkinsopp Common was very wet, and we just had to find the best route across while staying on course (luckily the Pennine Way runs in a pretty straight line). This was where we saw the other walker – he was walking alongside a wall – I wonder if the ground was any more solid? At least it was just wet, not as muddy and peaty as some sections further south.

pennine-way-hadrians-wall-5The next section was similarly wet, with some boardwalks, but not nearly enough! I think we were not quite on the route for some parts, but we were just keeping going to get off the moor!pennine-way-hadrians-wall-6

The next section was rough ground, but a lot drier. The GPS had been going through batteries all day, and now the last set gave up. But we set off in what we thought was the correct line, then ended up at the road about a mile north of where we should be. We had over-compensated to the left, but this was no bad thing as we walked down the road to where we had intended to be – much easier!

This took us to the village of Lambley from where a disused railway line has been turned into a foot & cycle path to take us back to Haltwhistle. It began at this viaduct over the River Tyne.pennine-way-hadrians-wall-7pennine-way-hadrians-wall-8

We had realised that it would be getting dark and so a railway track would be a feasible walk. It was completely dark when we got back to Haltwhistle, very glad to be there and very glad of the hearty dinner in the Black Bull (which had been recommended!).

haltwhistle-to-lamley

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 – 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

20140622-P102085620140622-P1020857

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