Post image for Wales Coast Path: Llanfairfechan to Conwy

Wales Coast Path: Llanfairfechan to Conwy

October 4, 2015 · 12 comments

llanfairfechan to conwy-20Date walked: 12th August 2015

Distance: around 11 miles

Map used: OS Explorer OL 17: Snowdon and the Conwy valley

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Paul was joining me today, driving up from his home near Swansea; another good excuse for a lie-in and a leisurely breakfast of  Elizabeth’s scrambled eggs. He was there when Ian and I arrived around 11am, so after a brief introduction (far too brief as it turned out that Paul hadn’t a clue who Ian was), we parked up and made our way into town.

Llanfairfechan had already made an impression architecturally and in crossing the town we passed several other interesting buildings.

House in Llanfairfechan, photographed by Charles Hawes

Pre-cursor of design for space rockets?

Masonic hall in Llanfairfechan, photographed by Charles Hawes

No more Masons in Llanfairfechan?

Tal y bont to llanfairfechan-39

We were taking the “official” alternative mountain route to Conwy – a few miles  longer (John, please note) than the route which hugs the coast (and embraces the A55), but likely, I thought, to be much nicer.

Alternative route sign for Wales Coast Path at Llanfairfechan, photographed by Charles Hawes

Just so that you can see that this was official!

 Yesterday, after I had finished the day’s walk I had explored The Close – where most houses were designed by The Arts and Crafts architect Herbert Luck North , but I did not think we had time to deviate from our route so soon to take Ian and Paul up there.

Sign for The Close at Llanfairfechan, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Street sign

I didn’t feel too bad at depriving them of  seeing The Close, as we passed yet another building of great individuality.

House in Llanfairfechan, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Sorry, didn’t record the name of this one

It was a warm and sunny day and as we walked up the steep little lane I was already glad of the shade.

The alternative mountain route of the Wales Coast Path near Llanfairfechan, photographed by Charles Hawes

Paul striding forth

We were climbing the flank of Penmaen Mawr, and the elevation soon gave us a splendid panorama over the bay and to Anglesey.

View to Anglesey from above Penmaenmawr, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

The lane was dotted with several properties, one last one echoing the Arts and Crafts style that we’d found in some of the other buildings in the town.

Plas Heulog, near llanfairfechan, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

This one called Plas Heulog

We passed the entrance to a disused quarry and then took a farm track…

Mountain route of Wales Coast Path near Penmean Mawr, photographed by Charles Hawes

Looking back

…. Ian pointing out the interesting wedges that had been used as gate-closers.

Wedges as gate closers on the Wales Coast Path, photographed by Charles Hawes

For splitting slate?

The view inland was wonderfully empty, save for a few horses and sheep…

View towards Snowdonia hills from the Wales Coast Path near Penmaen Mawr, photographed by Charles Hawes

and a string of electricity pylons

We passed several reassuring waymark posts – this alternative route of the Wales Coast Path sharing the existing North Wales Path. Paul found something of interest in the post.

Waymark post for the Wales Coast Path near Penmaen Mawr, photographed by Charles Hawes

I don’t know about taking pics with your sunglasses on

At around 1300 feet the path flattened out, but we were high enough now to get views out to sea, making out through the haze the massive off shore wind turbine installations….

View to Foel Lus and off-shore wind turbines from the mountain route of the |Wales Coast Path, photographed by Charles Hawes

I feel quite positive about off shore wind turbines but still doubt they make economic sense

…..and the peninsular of the Great Orme that Paul and I would walk around the next day.

View to Great Orme and Foel Us, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Hope it stays fine for tomorrow

We made a brief stop for lunch and a sit (and a renewal of sun barrier cream) . Whether it was the heat of the day, the unfamiliarity of the assembled company or a reverie created by such engaging landscape, but none of us seemed to have much conversation.

A wild horse and its foal stirred us into a brief speculation as to whether the foal was afflicted with something, its coat patchy and rough in places and why its mother was so thin.

Wild horses on the Wales Coast Path near Penmaenmawr, photographed by Charles Hawes

What do you think?

Up there in the open moor, there wasn’t a lot of shade to be had. A small farm had a welcome avenue of trees…

Fram track near Penmaenmawr, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Ian making an admirable foreground object

I felt guilty that we had to disturb a group of sheep that were enjoying the cool shade of one of the high dry stone walls that lined our track.

Sheep in shade of wall by the Wales Coast Path near Penmaenmawr

Bet they are wishing someone would come and shear them

The path headed north and would have taken us around the hill called Foel Lus and then down to the settlement of Dwygyfylchi, but none of us fancied losing the altitude only to have to make it up again.

Wales Coast path near Penmaenmawr, photographed by Charles Hawes

it’s a very nice path, I’m sure but not for us

Instead we headed east, taking a clear path down to the clear stream called Afon Gyrach.

Bridge over Afon Gyrach, near Penmaenmawr, photographed by Charles Hawes

It seems that it is only a couple of miles in length

It was difficult to resist cooling off our feet in its twinkling water.

Afon Gyrach, near Penmaenmawr, photographed by Charles Hawes

It’s fed by a reservoir a bit higher up

According to map there was evidence of several ancient settlements, though none were apparent to us. The mountain was sparsely populated with farms, noticeable where clumps of trees had been planted to create shelter.

View to farm from near Maen Esgob, photographed by Charles Hawes

Sometimes the farmstead had been abandoned and the trees contained their ruined walls.

Dry stone wall near Maen Esgob, photographed by Charles Hawes

The views out to the blue sea were set off perfectly by swathes of purple heather.

View to Dwygfylchi from near Maen Esgob, photographed by Charles Hawes

Slightly bleached out in the pic by the sun

We  were beginning to descend gently now……

View to Great Orme from Maen Esgob, photographed by Charles Hawes

….passing a sign attached to one of the tall stone walls for the Pensychnant Nature Reserve.

Sign for the Pensychnant Nature Reserve and Farm, photographed by Charles Hawes

The path drops down to the Sychnant Pass. We passed a cyclist coming up from there, Ian and I agreeing that this would not be our idea of fun on such a warm day.

Cyclist near the Syschnant Pass, photographed by Charles Hawes

A small car park at the pass did not, sadly, include an ice-cream van.

The Sychnanat Pass, photographed by Charles Hawes

We re-joined the official alternative route here.

We crossed the road and found a network of tracks and for the first time in the day, several other people.

The wales Coast Path alternative route at Conwy Mountain, photographed by Charles Hawes

This last couple of miles followed the edge of the Conwy Mountain, which hid views below of holiday parks and golf courses and provided instead a better view of Great Orme and the Conwy Sands.

View to Great Orme from Conwy Mountain, photographed from The Wales Coast Path mountain route by Charles Hawes

Spot the para-gliders

The descent to Conwy was a delight, giving us a constantly improving view of the castle that sits on the edge of the river.

View to Conwy photographed from the Wales Coast path on Conwy Mountain by Charles Hawes

There’s an ice-cream down there with my name on it

The path was steep in places, but not so much so that we had to watch our feet or strain the knees.

The Wales Coast Path mountain route near Conwy, photographed by Charles Hawes

A little building in a field to our right created a surge in speculation as to whether it was a chapel, folly or a mirage. Pausing to try to locate it on a map got us nowhere and it would be too insignificant to show up in a picture; I really shouldn’t have bothered mentioning it!

The path took us over the railway line…..

Railway line at Conwy, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

… and then after a meander through some back lanes of the town we entered the town through the impressive castle walls.

Conwy town walls, photographed by Charles Hawes

Clever of them to anticipate how wide cars would be

Conwy was bustling and immediately struck me as a really attractive town. We found the Castle Hotel easily enough, where Paul and I were staying. Opposite it was a fabulous ice-cream parlour and Ian treated us. Paul and I had time to check in and have a quick shower before Elizabeth arrived  to pick Ian up. We found “probably the best fish and chips” in north Wales, and had a long wait to find that it probably wasn’t, but we enjoyed it nevertheless, sat by the river, fending off the seagulls. Then Ian found Conwy’s best pub – The Albion– and we had a couple of much-needed and excellent pints.  Definitely one of the best days.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

John October 4, 2015 at 10:34 am

I notice that when you have walking companions, they are always more energetic than you – you’re always trailing along behind! Remember when those red waymarkers first appeared (at the end of my garden)? Which reminds me that the stretch from Kenfig Dunes towards Port Talbot is now open (though perhaps not as we would have liked thanks to Tata’s intransigence) and you did promise a post update just after jumping on and off that incomplete bridge.

The Masonic Hall is still listed as active – maybe the closed off windows are a security/secrecy thing.And as the medieval residents of Conwy made their gates wide enough, haven’t you ever wondered why they made them so high? Don’t tell me they anticipated the height of modern lorries!

As long as you stay on any “official” route, that’s fine. But we deduct Footios from your account if you stray off-piste.

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Charles October 7, 2015 at 2:31 pm

Yes, I am always trailing after my companions in hope that they will provide some foreground interest or, in Paul’s case, some aspect of their stance I can mercilessly comment on. Any way, thanks for the update on the Kenfig stretch. If you had posted this comment on that post it would have been there for all new readers to see!

Maybe the ‘Feckin Masons are intent on keeping a low profile. Anyway, thank you for your (qualified) permission to deviate. Are Footios like Cheerios?

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John October 7, 2015 at 3:30 pm

I was thinking more of Avios (modern version of Airmiles). I will add a comment to your Kenfig post once I’ve had an opportunity to stroll along the new bit with a camera and my new (prescription) drug-induced ability to walk more than half a mile at a go 🙂

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Michelle October 4, 2015 at 11:40 am

Hi Charles. The alternative route looks more tranquil than the coastal route we took – the A55 being quite noisy. Though I doubt we would have managed the climb up the Sychnant Pass as we had walked from Bangor to Conway when we did that stretch of path. Your pictures of Conway mountain bring back childhood memories of horse riding up there. I am looking forward to your next posts now that you’re in my neck of the woods. Michelle

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Paul Steer October 4, 2015 at 1:52 pm

I look as though I wanted nothing to do with you or Ian in those photographs – perhaps I felt a bit out of my depth. I took some photographs of the insignificant building that John would probably be able to identify ! Don’t know how to attach them here though – also had one of the ice-creams !

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John October 4, 2015 at 3:10 pm

You can’t attach pics directly to a comment but you could upload them to a file sharing service (Instagram, Photobucket and Flickr are examples) and then include the links to them here. Like this photo of some wine drinkers I know! (this is a photo on my own blog) http://blog.rivendellgarden.wales/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Anne-Charles-Clare-Hoffman.jpg

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Charles October 7, 2015 at 2:38 pm

Nice pic, John!

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Charles October 7, 2015 at 2:34 pm

Well, I wasn’t going to say anything……,. I’ll have to let you explain regarding James’s query about your depth. If you have a nice ice-cream shot send it to me and I put it in the post.

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James Golden October 4, 2015 at 2:28 pm

I certainly enjoyed this walk. I’m wondering if you push yourselves, or stop frequently to enjoy the views, to think about the meaning of it all. What does Paul mean by “out of my depth”?

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Charles October 7, 2015 at 2:35 pm

Good. It was excellent. Well, its always a bit of a push – especially on the hills on a warm day. I don’t stop nearly enough.

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Sheena October 9, 2015 at 7:45 pm

I can’t wait to walk in Wales. I am smitten with your blog. It’s all just so stunning.

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Charles October 10, 2015 at 10:58 am

Glad you like it. Do come!

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