Date walked: 10th October 2013
Distance walked: about 11 miles
Cumulative total of miles walked along The Wales Coast Path: 442
OS map required: Explorer 198: Cardigan and New Quay
This part of The Wales Coast Path comes within the Ceredigion Council’s area. Their Coastal Access Officers can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org
I had with me a copy of Liz Allan’s little booklet on the Ceredigion Coast Path (published 2009). This has some interesting background but no specific information about facilities. Also Mike Salter kindly sent me his booklet “The Ceredigion Coast Path” last updated in 2012 and obtainable directly from him at email@example.com priced £4.75 inclusive of posting . Illustrated with black and white photos, this publication is also brief and lacks detailed information about facilities but also has (sometimes different!) background and historical information than Liz Allan’s booklet even though it is not as well presented.
Having walked the wrong way from Penbryn yesterday (going anti-clockwise clearly put me out of sorts), today I was heading north to New Quay. I started off a little weary, not having had the best of nights under a sweltering duvet and overly firm synthetic pillows. Note to self: NEVER go on holiday again without my own bedding.
It was quite a long climb up from Penbryn’s car park to close to the mast that is situated on the side of the hill, but the view back towards Aberporth was worth the effort despite it reminding me of the static caravan invasions that have taken place on this stretch of coast.
I found that I had better views of the coves and cliffs than on yesterday’s walk.
Yesterday I was quite hard on Ceredigion Council’s failure to open several miles of the Coast Path. Today I was immediately impressed by how much work they had been doing here.A whole new section of path had relatively recently been carved out from the hillside and a bridge provided for the gully crossing.
Once crossed and after the climb on the other side it was an easy stroll down to a fine view of Yns Lochtyn.
Tucked into a bay before this headland, the village of Llangrannog was being assaulted by violent waves being whipped into a frenzy by the stiff wind,
much to the pleasure of two wet-suited men who were whooping with excitement as their surf boards shot them towards the beach. Llangranngog has a shop, pub – The Pentre Arms- , (ok food, nice beer- we ate there last night) toilets and two cafes, but it was too early for me to sample any of these facilities. I hoped that this might be the only railway carriage conversion of the day.
Above Yns Lochtyn the path rounds the hill (Pendinas Lochtyn) on top of which was an ancient fort (and some other not so ancient building). And then it shoots up the side of said hill: my strategy for such steep climbs is to go as slow as I like but never stop.
There was a fab view from the top giving me my first sighting (just) of the Lleyn peninsular and a hint of Snowdonia . And some sheep.
The fabulous view was quickly replaced by the sight of the Urdd (pronounced by me, “Ugh” or “Yuk” ) complex (incorporating a dry ski slope) and built for Yooth.
Shortly after this sprawling site, an elegantly carved slate sign mounted on a large lump of the same announces that this next section of the path was only opened in 2008.
The path has been excavated from the steep hillside and provides dramatic and sometimes quite scary views to the coves and cliffs below.
For the first time in the 400 or so miles that I had so far walked along the Wales Coast Path I felt some discomfort at this hillside being scarred for my benefit and some responsibility for the domestication of what would otherwise have remained a wild and remote place.
It was, nevertheless, a deeply enjoyable mile and a half’s continuous climb. High above the path a building gets an even better view out to the sea but I don’t know its purpose or function.
Just before reaching the highest point I stopped for a coffee from my flask and took time to take in the wonderful views in both directions.
It would be far too steep to take the shortest way down to the beach at Cwmtydu, so the path heads inland though a little wood before reaching the settlement to join a minor road, affording a view of the ubiquitous caravan site nestling (ok, i’m being ironic) in the valley’s bottom.
Cwmtydu is not going to win a pretty village prizes but I did note that it had toilets, at least one Bed and Breakfast and a café. And it has a fine pebbly beach that was being washed by equally rough seas that were lashing down on Llangrannog’s.
And it boasts a fine example of a restored lime kiln (used amongst other things as fertiliser by local farmers) by the side of the car park.
It had been a pretty dull day up until now but as I passed the mini island opposite the site of an Iron Age fort known as Castell Bach the sun emerged, casting shadows on this perky breast-shaped lump which showed its layered rock formation to great effect.
A descent to a little pebble beach fed by a small stream (Cwm Soden) was followed by a steady climb up to the cliff tops once more. One more drop at Coybal was followed by a climb back up to a very ugly little brick-built building with an odd stone annex and below it the altogether less offensive little whitewashed Cardigan Bay Lookout.
The lookout was last used by coastguards in the 1960’s. An explanatory board inside reproduces some interesting snippets of the log book of observations.
Rounding the headland before New Quay one is faced with a choice of routes. A very precarious one that offers a narrow path above steep drops to the sea, the other a rather safer inland detour.
The wind was still very stiff, so I naturally took the more dangerous option passing more wonderfully jointed cliffs before New Quay and its bay (and its caravan sites) appeared.
New Quay looks better from a distance than it does close to. It isn’t the best of introductions to find as you descend the path a fish factory sited on the cliff top.
The front gardens of the row of houses along the road that leads into town are unlikely to impress Britain in Bloom.
And many of its shops and houses could do with a lick of paint.
I did, however, in the interests of supporting the local economy, have a great bag of chips from one of the harbourside chippies. I reckoned that we could find the necessary supplies we required of wine (I’d set my sights low) and chocolate, although I wasn’t sure about decent bread and was happy enough with my view over the harbour as I waited for my lift back home to arrive (thank you, Anne).
I’ll finish on a highlight of the day.