Post image for Wales Coast Path: Porthmadog to Criccieth

Wales Coast Path: Porthmadog to Criccieth

June 29, 2014 · 18 comments

Date walked: 10th May 2014

Distance: 6.5 miles

Cumulative “official” total of miles walked along The Wales Coast Path: 601

(A guide to the whole path published by St David’s Press in May 2014 claims that the route is 892 miles)

The website of the Wales Coast Path is http://www.walescoastpath.gov.uk/default.aspx

OS map required:  Explorer 254- lleyn Peninsula East

I get all my maps from Dash4it. They are well discounted, and delivery is free and fast.

I had two guides that I referred two for the first 5 days of walks on the Lleyn:

The Lleyn Peninsula Coastal Path by John Cantrell and published by Cicerone (2010) and Llyn Peninsula – The Official Guide- by Carl Rogers and Tony Bowerman, published by Northern Eye Books (2014).

Both books assume that you are walking from north to south. This is the “official” direction but I am walking in the opposite direction. This makes both guides  of limited use as any written instructions are impossible to follow backwards.  I would hope to do a post comparing the two guides once I have completed the whole of the Lleyn stretch.

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For this and the next four posts I was based in Criccieth, staying at 29 Castle Bakery booked through Menai Holiday Cottages (which is directly opposite the castle and is on the route of the Wales Coast Path). Anne came too, so whilst I braved the elements she didn’t.

After a late breakfast of Tesco Finest Croissants I caught the No. 3 bus back to Porthmadog and made for the Tourist Information Office by the harbour. Porthmadog didn’t exist before 1811, when local MP and landowner William Maddocks built The Cob across the tidal estuary and created the harbour. The very helpful man at the tourist office printed off some bus timetables for me, and wished me luck. Outside the squally showers upped their game to a downpour, so I took the opportunity to put my waterproofs on and feeling heroic, ventured forth.

Porthmadog marina, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

I just noticed the rather good red streak in this otherwise fairly monochrome picture

 Even on a wet day, a harbour is a cheery sight and the path runs behind many boatyards, the sail lines of the boats clattering like mad in the strong winds. Half a mile from Porthmadog is the pretty little village of Borth-y-Gest, which had several cafes and Bed and Breakfasts and public toilets.

Borth-y-Gest, near Porthmadog, photographed from The Wales Coast path by Charles Hawes

And somewhere is a very sad little lad who’d lost his Spider Man trainers

The tide was out, so I knew that shortly I would be able to take to the beach.

Sailing boat in the harbour at low tide at Borth-y-Gest near Porthmadog, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Christine was temporarily stranded

Borth-y-Gest continues the Welsh tradition of beaching boats on the harbour-side and filling them with plants.

Planted boat on the harbourside at Borth-y-Gest on the Lleyn peninsula, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

For once, quite a nice little alpine garden

I left the path, which skirts a caravan park a bit early and headed for the beach , giving myself a bit of a clamber over rocks and somewhat soft sand.

Beach near Garreg-goch, Lleyn peninsula, pphotographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

There was a warning sign about the soft sand but you know me

At the National Trust sign for Morfa Bychan I opted to stay on the path for once rather than head for the beach. It leads past the Porthmadog Golf Club, overlooked (natch) by a caravan park.

Porthmadog_to_criccieth_-23

I know this is paranoid but those caravans look like they may be thinking of pouncing

Needless to say on this wet day, the beach below the golf course was deserted.

Beach below Porthmadog Golf Club, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

If you are a really bad golfer I guess you might think of this as a big sand trap

At the far side of the cove is a lime-kiln by the beach.

Lime kiln at Morfa Bychan, photographed from The Wales Coist Path by Charles Hawes

This is said to have also been used by Maddocks in the construction of Porthmadog

Another bit of a scramble over the headland of Yns Cyngar brought me to the south end of the two-mile stretch of Black Rock Sands. I went back along the sands for a better look of a house that has been built right on the edge of the headland. I gather it was used to unload gunpowder used by Maddocks in the construction of Porthmadog.

Porthmadog_to_criccieth_-27

Architecturally a bit of a dogs breakfast

Black Rock Sands is unusual in that for some reason cars are allowed on it.

Warning sign on Black Rock Sands on the Lleyn peninsula, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Interesting how high this sign is

The Official Guide  says “it’s not the place for peace and quiet…, even in winter”. Well this was May and it was pretty quiet apart from the distant waves the whistling wind and the pattering of the rain on my hood.

Black Rock Sands, Lleyn penisula, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

At low tide its a long way to open water

The view inland was to the hill called Moel y Gest.

View to Moel y Gest across Black Rock Sands, photograpghed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Stumped for words

There were some hardy types playing around in the surf and who had taken advantage of the beach parking.

Cars parked on Black Rock Sands, Lleyn peninsula, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Well to do surfers car park

And clearly the beach offers plenty of room for the inexperienced driver to practice.

Car driving on Black Rock Sands, Lleyn peninsula, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

“You don’t seem too happy on a road, shall we try the beach?”

But my attention kept being taken back to a kite-surfer who was racing up and down at an amazing speed, launching himself into the air as  waves sprung him skywards.

Kite-surfer at Black Rock Sands, Lleyn peninsula, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

I really should have tried a video

 And I rather enjoyed the line of red buoys heading out to sea that might have passed as some kind of art installation.

Buoys on the beach at Black Rock Sands, Lleyn peninsula, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Maybe it IS an art installation

The idea that the beach could be crowded with cars is a little appalling, but the presence one solitary vehicle gave me a photographic interest that superseded my concerns.

car parked on beach at Black Rock Sands on the Lleyn peninsula, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Car as portable beach hut: I barely noticed the inevitable caravan park on the cliff top

The Cicerone Guide offers the possibility of a scramble around the end of Craig Ddu, but on a day like today I opted for the official detour inland past a beach-side caravan and camp-site……

Shenanigans Bar at Black Rock Sands on the Lleyn penisula, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Too wet and windy for shenanigans today: “boom. boom”

….where the planted berthed boat tradition was being upheld.

Office building to caravan and camping site at Black Rock Sands on the Lleyn peninsula, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

As was the tradition of filling your garden with stuff

A modest climb up the hill gave me my first sighting of sheep of the day…..

Sheep above Black Rock Sands on the Lleyn peninsula, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

To my expert eye they looked a bit pissed off

…. and then took me passed the entrance to what I had thought of as the caravan park but was in fact an exclusive little settlement of Luxury Lodges.

Entrance to Taliesen Lodge Park, plleyn peninsula,hotographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

There’s posh for you

 Having rounded the back of Craig Ddu, the path descends towards the railway line, giving me a view of sorts of Criccieth, the castle just about visible through the misty sky.

View to Criccieth from Graig Ddu, lleyn penisula, photographed from The wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Wonky horizon, sorry.

 I missed the opportunity, I think, to get onto Criccieth’s beach but having crossed the railway my compensation was a beautiful field of low growing blue flowers.

Field of scabious near Criccieth, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

they looked like a low growing scabious – correct me if I am wrong

On the other hand by keeping to the path by the railway line, I couldn’t help but be struck by the heaps of rubbish that, (presumably) had been flung out of the windows of passing trains.

Litter by the railway line near Criccieth, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

You never see anyone throw things out of train windows so how come all this is here?

I didn’t fancy keeping to this litter strewn path, and climbed over the railway line’s fences to get onto the pebbly beach. Where of course there was litter a plenty but here I managed to do the very easy trick of finding sea-borne litter interesting rather than shocking.

The High Tide line on the beach at Criccieth, photographed by Charles Hawes

Rich pickings for the beachcomber?

Towards the town someone had managed to make a hut from the seafarers castoffs.

Hut made from flotsam and jetsum on the beach at Criccieth, photographed by Charles Hawes

I especially liked the blue rope

Raining still, Criccieth’s castle seemed all of a piece with its surroundings on this grey day.

View to Criccieth castle from the beach, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

A study in grey

I left the beach and made for the promenade and the Cafe Morannedd.

Porthmadog_to_criccieth_-56

Yes, that’s me in the top right hand pane

I wish I had realised at the time but I understand now that this building was designed by Clough Williams-Ellis.

Criccieth has, of course, made its own contribution to boat planting.

Planted up boat on the promenade at Criccieth, photographed from The Wales Coast path by Charles Hawes

I reckon I could do a book of these

At the bottom of the hill leading to the castle, the rain began to pelt in earnest but I thought you deserved a shot of the lifeboat, waiting in readiness to rescue the foolhardy and unlucky.

Lifeboat at Criccieth, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

It’s very difficult to show rain in pics so was rather pleased with this.

 Time for a cup of tea, I think- 29 The Bakery was just 100 yards up the hill.

 

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Iain Robinson June 29, 2014 at 10:10 am

Another very enjoyable instalment…sorry better weather couldn’t have been organised for you. That structure on Ynys Cyngar does indeed look to have a powder house as it’s central feature, with the addition of windows, chimneys etc. I didn’t know about that- must go and have a look. I always forget how grim the coast is north of Borth, at least until Criccieth is reached. Reminds me of a series of P.o.W. camps, especially the Meldrum Leisure development…Taliesin would be spinning. At least Black Rock and environs does give a lot of people pleasure in season. Looking forward to the next post, cheers,
Iain

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Charles June 29, 2014 at 10:15 am

Hi Ian. Thanks for this. BTW the granite quarries on the north Lleyn Coast are amazing – but I expect you know them. Would love to have climbed up for an explore. (Won’t come out here til August).

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Paul Steer June 29, 2014 at 8:29 pm

Charles, despite the rain the pics give a true sense of the place. The red line in the harbour shot reminds me of a Ben Nicholson painting. We’ll have to get lost on another walk soon – I promise to take crap photos.

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Charles June 30, 2014 at 4:12 pm

Thanks. Actually it would have been better without the orange buoy, wouldn’t it? Yes indeed we must make a date.

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julia June 30, 2014 at 10:35 am

lovely low tide pics and by the way why do you prefer to frame the images?

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Charles June 30, 2014 at 4:35 pm

Thanks Julia. I haven’t thought a lot about the framing question. Because I tend to caption my pics it does give a space for the caption to sit in. Interestingly the framing doesn’t appear when I view the blog on my phone; I think I’m OK with it either way. Do you not like the frames?

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julia June 30, 2014 at 7:29 pm

No, I like the frames. Have got so lazy with presentation that I just wondered the ‘why’ and now might look at the ‘how’. Hats off to you doing this on phone; I can’t even manage on Mac Book only on large screen.
Must come up to the garden at some point. Have fun.

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Charles June 30, 2014 at 8:14 pm

Gosh I don’t write the blog on the phone. That would drive me balmy and besides I couldn’t do it. I write it on a PC but I do check it on the phone just to be sure it displays OK there, too. You must come and see us and have tea (and cake).

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John June 30, 2014 at 8:51 pm

Favouritism! I’ve brought cake with me but I’ve only ever had tea!

Frames are probably a theme thing too. It’s notoriously difficult to turn photo frames off in a Wordpress theme that uses them (or vice versa – mine doesn’t). But the frames often don’t show on devices other than PCs or in emails sent to subscribers.

Anne Wareham June 30, 2014 at 7:19 pm

I enjoyed this post – and especially because, of course, I was happily ensconced at our holiday home with a good book and it reminded me of a very happy holiday. Except for Breaking Yawn Bad.

You’re quite fun, really, aren’t you? Xxx

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Charles June 30, 2014 at 8:12 pm

I’m glad you enjoyed it. The blog is ereally just to keep you fully aware of what I get up to on my walks. Yes, I am a lot of fun.

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John June 30, 2014 at 8:58 pm

The shady ladies of Penrhyndeudraeth will agree totally with the last sentence. Not sure whether the second is entirely sustainable; now without “fully” maybe ……

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Charles July 1, 2014 at 6:27 pm

“Shady ladies” of Penrhynwotsit. Surely not? I guess we mix in different circles. Still, its an eye opener.

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Louise April 24, 2016 at 6:53 pm

Just discovered your blog whilst trawling the Web. Walking from Porthmadog to Criccieth tomorrow and am looking forward to it even more having read your description and admired your beautiful photographs. I’ve now subscribed to your blog to whet my appetite for more walking adventures. Thank you.

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Charles April 24, 2016 at 10:55 pm

I’m very glad you enjoyed the blog and I hope you continue to find the posts of interest. Criccieth is a great little town. I hope you have good weather for your walk. Always interested in receiving feedback about things that might have changed on the route.

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Naomi May 8, 2016 at 2:06 pm

Thanks for this blog Charles, it’s been very useful. I’m going to be camping at Black Rock Sands next weekend & plan to walk into Porthmadog, catch a train or bus to Criccieth & walk back to the campsite along the beach. Thanks to your blog I can see that this should be pretty straightforward. I’ll be hoping for better weather than you got ! Thanks again. Naomi Wayte (Nottingham)

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Charles May 8, 2016 at 2:13 pm

You’re welcome Naomi. Yes, in decent weather it should be a great walk. I really must get my tent oot and take myself off somewhere remote very soon.

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Charles July 1, 2014 at 6:29 pm

Your generosity of providing food and drink to the deserving of Veddw is legendary, but i must point out that you wouldn’t even accept a cup of coffee when you came last 😉

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