Date walked: 25th June 2014

Distance walked : about 16 miles

Map required:  OS Explorer  253: Lleyn Peninsula West and 254 Lleyn Peninsula East.

I had three guide books to refer to for this walk:

Llyn Peninsula – The Official Guide- by Carl Rogers and Tony Bowerman, published by Northern Eye Books (2014).

The Wales Coast Path- a practical Guide for walkers by Chris Goddard and Katherine Evans and published by St David’s Press (2014). I have reviewed this book elsewhere on the blog.

The Lleyn Peninsula Coastal Path by John Cantrell published by Cicerone (2010) and

All of the above guides assume that you are walking north to south. Since I am doing the opposite the detailed directions are of limited benefit but all contain various and differing practical information and historic background and I will refer to them as I feel so moved.

*********************

I had wild camped last night by the sea about half a mile off the A499 and had slept as well as anyone does when camping. So so.

Wild camp off the A499 near Trefor, photgraphed by Charles Hawes

Another nice day; it must be summer

Dawn woke me around 5am and by 6 I was packed up and ready to go. My visitor last night said that I could walk along the beach to the campsite at Aberafon and then head back onto the path. “She doesn’t like people doing that but she won’t be up then” he helpfully volunteered. This would take the best part of a mile off my 5 mile slog alongside the A499 and the tide was out so was a no-brainer.

The beach near Gryn Goch on the Lleyn peninsula, photographed by Charles Hawes

And it was a superbly peaceful morning

 The beach was a bit rocky but having to pick my way a bit carefully only served to wake me up. The low sandy cliffs were perforated by the homes of Sand Martins.

Sand cliffs on the Welsh Coast near Gyrn Goch, photographed by Charles Hawes

At least, that’s what my Mum thinks they were

The sea was so calm that it was a wrench to turn my back on it to make my way through the campsite.

The coast off Gryn Goch, photographed by Charles Hawes

Swapping this for 5 miles alongside the A499 was very hard

The campsite only had a handful of tents and no one was up which somehow made the assault of emerging on the A499 and its thundering lorries all the greater. It’s a great shame that Gwynedd Council has not found a better route than this marriage to such a busy road but I had a survival strategy. I plugged my noise-cancelling RHA earphones into the iPhone and found the album “Hourglass” by Kate Rusby. There could be no better antidote to the screaming traffic than to be transported somewhere else by her sweet voice.

After a mile, just before reaching the village at Clynnog Fawr I paused to have a look at Ffynnon Beuno which is right by the road.

Saint Beuno's well by the Wales Coast Path at Clynnog fawr, photographed by Charles Hawes

Saint Beuno was reputed to have miraculous healing powers

Inside, someone clearly still believes in his powers.

Offering in St Beuno's Well photographed by Charles Hawes

The garage at the village was just open. I was too early for the delivery of fresh pastries but the very kind woman on the till made me a cup of coffee and I breakfasted instead on a flap jack. I wandered over to the rather fine St Beuno’s church but it was locked up.

St Beuno's church at Clynnog Fawr, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Basically C16th

Nothing much else caught my attention over the next 4 miles. It was a beautiful morning and the moon daisy filled verges were perfectly illuminated.

Verge of the A499 near Aberdesach, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

In detail, too, sometimes the planting was as good as you might find in any garden “meadow”.

Roadside verge by the A499 photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

I’d be happy to have this in our garden

It may have been at Aberdesach that I was amused by a seaside themed garden.

Garden on the A499 near Aberdesaach, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Nicely over-the-top

In truth, walking with Kate’s company, I was quite content, but nevertheless glad when around 8.30am I was able to leave the A499 behind and take the road heading back to the coast at Dinas Dinlle.

At this sleepy little village none of the cafes were open. The official guide has an aerial photograph of the remains of the hill fort but knowing that the view I would have if I made the effort to climb up there would be nowhere near as impressive I settled for a little sit and an apple juice from a shop.The reliance on aerial photography in the official guide is irritating to me as it gives a wholly false impression of what you will see from the Path. I took the opportunity of the warm breeze to unpack my dew-soaked tent and dry it off by treating it as a low flying kite.

The beach and hill fort at Dinas Dinlle, photographed from the Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

a realistic view to the hill fort

The coast here is entirely low-lying as it nears the stretch of water that separates mainland Wales from Anglesey. The dead straight path follows the beach for about a mile.

The Wales Coast Path at Dinas Dinlle, photographed by Charles Hawes

Very pretty, scattered with Thrift

It then takes a sharp right, skirting Caernarfon Airport.

Caenarfon Airport, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Nice grassland around the runways

A placard advertising an Aviation Museum also mentioned a bistro so I popped in for a well-earned mug of tea and a bacon baguette second breakfast. Yum.

The path then circulates the edge of Foryd Bay Nature Reserve, most nature today being invisible to the naked eye.

The Wales Coast Path at Foryd Bay, photographed by Charles Hawesy

Nature is sometimes elusive

The next few miles were a little dull. The coast path takes some minor roads and there being no bridge near Foryd Bay over the River Gwyrfai, forces you inland for a mile so that you can cross the river at Pont Faen, only to bring you back on a road again to the Bay.

The Afon Gwyrfai, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Afon Gwyrfai

I had decided by now that I would indulge myself in a Bed and Breakfast in Caernarfon for the night and had managed to find a room at Victoria House which was highly rated on Tripadvisor. I was already looking forward to a bath and a snooze.

Still following the road, there were some nice open views across the Bay to Anglesey….

View over Foryd bay towrds Anglesey, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Coming soon: Anglesey!

….but the highlight of this last few miles was to see St Baglan’s church, ringed by a circle of oaks and a stone wall in the middle of a field.

St Baglan's Curch, near Caernarfon, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Officially it’s redundant and friendless

This was another of those times when the aerial photograph in the official guide actually detracted from the experience on the ground as its isolation is not visually so dramatic at ground level. I was disappointed that the church was locked up, but I was pleased to find several gravestones with the stylized weeping willow that I had come across in Penrhyndeudraeth.

Gravestone detail in St Bagln's Church, photographed by Charles Hawes

Having complained about the guide, I was quite pleased with a final pic I took of the church as I walked away.

St Baglan's Church near Caernarfon, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Why so far from anywhere?

This minor road runs by a golf course and some houses but there wasn’t in any sense a suburban feel to the approach to Caernarfon, so that the view approaching the town was dominated by its castle.

Caernarfon Castle, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Splendid

A soft ice-cream van was parked below the castle walls. Pause for a 99 and a contemplation. I felt very happy to be in this bustling, attractive place with the prospect of a leisurely remains of the day.

Caernarfon Castle and the River Seiont, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

See the ice-cream van!

I found my Bed and Breakfast (Victoria House in Church Street) easily enough and was greeted by the proprietors daughter who showed me my large and comfy room. She had been forewarned by Jan the proprietor that I would like a bath (the room only having a shower). I was very kindly allowed to use the families own bathroom and after unpacking I luxuriated in a huge foam filled rolled top bath and contemplated what I fancied for supper.

{ 13 comments }

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