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Wales Coast Path: Aberdaron to Mynydd y Gwyddel

September 7, 2014 · 17 comments

Date walked:  21st June 2014

Distance: about 4 miles.

Map required:  OS Explorer  253: Lleyn Peninsula West.


For this and the next two walks I was based at a Bed and Breakfast just up the hill from the village called No 2 Dolfor. There are only two other B&Bs in the village (and two pub/hotels) so I was lucky to have been able to book rooms for me and for my friend Phillip, who was joining me the next day. Rather than have a 5 hour drive before starting a days walk, I decided to come up the day before.

And I was glad I did. It was a beautiful day and after a friendly greeting from Jan I was able to settle into my very comfortable en-suite room and study the route. Phil was driving up from Cardiff, which was also a 4-5 hour drive. Phil is  a bit of a dinosaur, tech wise, so won’t use a GPS.  Meaning  that he would take longer than he might otherwise have done to get here.  So around 5pm I decided to shave a few miles off tomorrows walk and thereby take some pressure off his arrival time.

The coast path takes the road out of the village past the end of the road where I was staying.

View over Aberdaron from The Wales Coast Path, photographed by Charles Hawes

Pause to admire the view

It then wiggles down to a little valley where the Afon Saint  enters the sea at Porth Simdde.

The Afon Saint entering the sea at Porth Simdde, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

And where there is another little beach

It then wiggles back up again.

Wales Coast Path at Porth Simdde near Aberdaron, photographed by Charles Hawes

This is actually the down-wiggle

A half a mile on a narrow but flat surface provided open views out to the azure-blue, sea of Aberdaron Bay.

Aberdaron Bay photographed from The wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

I reckon the sea colour gets bluer as the sun drops on such fine days – there must be a reason

Another little valley at Porth Meudwy has been taken advantage of by several fishing boats, their jaunty tractor parked up on the beach.

Tractor on Porth Meudwy, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

If I had a beach tractor I’d paint it these colours

According to the official guide, Porth Meudwy means ‘harbour of the hermit’ and this was an embarkation point for pilgrims heading to Bardsey Island. About half a mile further on I saw another small harbour;

Porth Cloch near Aberdaron, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

I reckon this one is Porth Cloch- ‘Harbour of the bell’

the official guide says that there are two more that I didn’t see (Hen Borth – ‘the old harbour’, and Porth y Pistyll – ‘harbour of the waterfall’).

As I rounded this most westerly point of the Lleyn, called Pen y Cil, I had the first view of Bardsey Island.

View to Bardsey Island, from The lLeyn peninsula, photographed by Charles Hawes

Said to be the burial place of 20,000 saints (what tosh!) I think it is now mostly frequented by bird watchers.

In the ground, a slate (what else) plaque commemorates the purchase of  Pen y Cil by the National Trust in 1970.  The National Trust own a significant part of the Welsh Coast and  I am sure that they do a good job but I do wonder sometimes about who they are accountable to.

Slate plaque at Pen y Cil on the lleyn peninsula, photographed by Charles Hawes

After Pen-y-Cil the path crosses open farmland where cattle were grazing in the warm evening light.

View from near Pen y Cil to Aberdaron and hills of the Lleyn peninsula, photographed by Charles Hawes

I’d say that the cattle were “contentedly grazing” but that would be an awful cliche

The next headland, announced by a National Trust visitor board, is called Mynydd Bychestyn. The Wales Coast Path finger-post was being minded by a cow so docile that it couldn’t be bothered to move away as I approached.

Cow on the Wales Coast Path at Bychestyn, on the Lleyn peninsula, photographed by Charles Hawes

And was quite unfazed by my using flash to add a little highlights to her face

The evening light was becoming quite magical, catching the bobbing flowers of thrift in a bank which divided some fields.

View to Bardsey Island from near Mynydd Bychestyn , Lleyn peninsula, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

It looked even better than this

I was beginning to feel torn between wanting to carry on walking and knowing that I needed to be back at Aberdaron at a reasonable time to get something to eat. The sea at Porth Felen was looking positively mediterranean.

View over Porth Felen to Bardsey Island, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

It would have been a great night for camping out

I reckon the grazing sheep were overdue a haircut, they had begun to spontaneously shed (or most probably had worn it off) their fleece.

Sheep on Mynedd y Gwyddel photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Backlit sheep; nice eh?

The steep valley dropping down to the sea hides St Mary’s Well, which the Official Guide describes as “a hairy scramble” and which Christopher Sommerville includes in his book “Britain and Ireland’s Best Wild Places”.  I’m always up for a scramble but not at the expense of a pint, so I headed inland to find the little road that would take me back by a more direct route to Aberdaron.

View to Bardsey Island from above St Mary's Well photographed from The wales Coast path by Charles Hawes

I had already decided that my treat tonight was going to be fish and chips followed by a drink on the terrace of  the Gwesty Ty Newydd  which overlooks the beach. I got back in time for a shower and then legged it down the hill to join the queue at the chippy for three quarters of an hour (excellent fish, hopelessly undermanned shop); it was nearly 10 when I got my well-earned pint. Or was it two?

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

rob grover September 7, 2014 at 6:48 am

What a beautiful day!
And what a fine beast standing proud by the WCP post; do I sense a shift of affection from sheep to cows?


Charles September 7, 2014 at 6:54 am

It was indeed a fab afternoon. Regarding my love of cattle, nothing can ever replace my affection for Aubracs as you will see from my posts on walking The Way of St James. We, like sheep, of course but they are a poor substitute for an Aubrac.


Marice Bertorelli September 7, 2014 at 7:18 am

A glamorous evening walk, one of the best so far. Did they do tractor rides?


Charles September 7, 2014 at 7:42 am

It is so lovely to walk in the evenings but usually I have done a long day by then so am only fit to flop in front of a pint. No tractor rides on offer. Anywhere. It’s very sad.


Anne Wareham September 7, 2014 at 5:36 pm

When did it ever stop at two?


Charles September 8, 2014 at 5:58 pm

Always when I am driving and even sometimes when I am walking (but never when I am with Bob).


John September 7, 2014 at 6:14 pm

A nice little afternoon stroll (and you can’t beat getting all up close with a cow). Now is the actual down wiggle based on the official path route or your unofficial path route (i.e. the opposite direction which would make the actual down wiggle actually the up wiggle). It’s confusion like this that results in people getting lost.

Seriously, there is a reason for the sea appearing to get bluer. It’s all down to the absorption of red and angles but I’ll let you research that.

And I missed a couple of invisible apostrophes earlier though, in my defence, you have still missed 4 hyphens.


Charles September 8, 2014 at 5:57 pm

Thank you, and for your proof reading, though I think I may have to live with the paucity of hypens, much as I appreciate you mentioning them. Life’s too short and there are more blogs to get on with. That down wiggle is definitely on the path so no one should be worried about getting lost though of course you make a perfectly valid point. As to the colour of the sea, do I have to do everything myself? This is your opportunity to show off your superior knowledge and impress the other readers.


Deb September 7, 2014 at 6:40 pm

My Sunday evening is made!

And, thanks to this post I’ve subsequently been learning about photons and nitrogen and oxygen molecules. Everyday is a school day…


Charles September 8, 2014 at 5:52 pm

I’ve scheduled the next one for next week just for you! If you arrived at the answer to the blue sea, do share!


Deb September 8, 2014 at 6:53 pm

I shall wait with breath bated.

Blue sea…something to do with wavelengths (I don’t believe any pun is intended) and refraction of light at different angles. Apparently!


Gillian September 8, 2014 at 7:16 am

What a beautiful walk and stunning photographs (of course). I love the idea of up wiggles and down wiggles.


Charles September 8, 2014 at 5:50 pm

Thanks Gillian! Glad you like to directional wiggles. Hope your recovery progresses apace. xx


Julia September 8, 2014 at 10:19 am

almost, just almost Mediterranean. Like the ‘nature abhors a straight line path’ + the shaven bottom.


Charles September 8, 2014 at 5:49 pm

Yes, just needed some sail boats in the sea views and the occasional Taverna and it would have been perfect. I like a shaved bottom myself.


David Marsden September 9, 2014 at 6:11 pm

Stunning photos, Charles. You are selling me this path. And I do like a wiggle. And flash-photography on a cow. Who’d have thought? I’ve made a note as the result is brilliant. As to the accountability of the NT. Well, I worry a little less about them than most landowners. Having said that, I spent a fascinating evening with a senior NT exec recently and she was very worried about how they are becoming increasingly money driven, with hugely paid consultants advising on how to earn ever more cash from their properties. Understandable to an extent but money is increasingly more important than almost any other consideration according to her. And that does worry me. Dave


Charles September 9, 2014 at 6:30 pm

Thanks Dave. And you really must get over there sometime. The lleyn is a great place to start. I think my cow must have been browsing on magic mushrooms. She seemed out of it. Yep there’s nothing like a good wiggle. Interesting what you say about the NT. I know from my contact with a few head gardeners that they are under pressure to constantly increase takings. Hence all these events taking place in the gardens.


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