Post image for Wales Coast Path: Pwllheli to Abersoch

Wales Coast Path: Pwllheli to Abersoch

July 27, 2014 · 19 comments

Date walked: May 13th 2014

Distance: about 10 miles

OS map required: Explorer 253- lleyn Peninsula West

I had two guides that I referred to: 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 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 both contain various and differing practical information and historic background and I will refer to them as I feel so moved.

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For this and the next two 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. )

I drove to Pwllheli and planned to get a bus back from Abersoch that afternoon.

The route out of Pwllheli has a pleasant start with a walk by a reed-lined tidal lake. According to The Official Guide this is part of the Lon Cob Bach local nature reserve.

Tidal pool at Pwllhehi, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

My map has a bird symbol but they were mostly hiding

On the far side there was a nice view back to the town before the path heads for the coast, passing a school.

View to Pwllheli from across  The  Lon Cob Bach Nature Reserve, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Nicely framed don’t you think?

The path joins a road running along the seafront of fairly ordinary modern houses before allowing access to the beach, where the a more pleasing Victorian seaside terrace was painted in tepid pastels.

Victorian terrace at the ddge of Pwllheli, photographed from The Wales Coast path by Charles Hawes

I wonder if the terrace is listed?

There followed a two-mile walk along the beach only passing some dog walkers.

Traeth Crugan on the Lleyn peninsula, photographed from The wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Unusually the dogs were not interested in me.

At the end of the beach there was a little climb over the headland called Carreg y Defaid, the land behind the bay being protected by a sea wall of massive boulders.

View to Carreg y Defaid from Traeth Crugan, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

I couldn’t see a way back to the beach but it was nice to be a little higher up for a while and the path along the low cliffs heading for Llanbedrog was easy walking.

View to the beach at Llanbedrog photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

You can have too much walking along beaches

There was nothing protecting these  soft cliffs and half way along a fence hung in the air where storms or a high tide had bitten out a chunk.

Collapsed cliff near Llanbedrog, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

One hopes that the livestock (and humans) keep away from the edge

As the path nears the village a series of steps descends to the beach where there are “some of the most photographed beach huts in Wales” (according to the official guide).

Beach Huts at Llanbedrog, Lleyn Peninsula, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

You couldn’t not photograph them really

Beach Huts at Llanbedrog, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

I couldn’t decide which view I preferred.

Better than the beach huts was a nice little cafe (and toilets) at the end of the beach so I stopped for a pot of tea and a sit, denying myself cake for no good reason.

View from the Cafe at Llanbedrog, photographed from The wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

I could even have had an ice cream

A little lane takes the path up a short hill and then turns left into the drive of  the Plas Glyn-y – weddw Arts Centre (and tea shop).  Despite only just having had a break I thought I’d have a nosey round this Gothic-styled building. It has several gallery rooms on two floors and I made my way upstairs somewhat embarrassed to realise half way up that I was depositing neat sandy footprints on the plush red carpet.

|Inside Plas Glyn y weddw, photographed by Charles Hawes

This green tinged lighting isn’t of my making

Most of the rooms were being re-hung; there wasn’t much that took my fancy.  One was devoted to a pottery collection (yawn) and several boards about the history of the house and of the village. At its heyday Llanbedrog had a tramway bringing day trippers all the way from Pwllheli and boasted several hotels, a sauna and a dance room.

Outside, a newly constructed amphitheatre with some dodgy surrounding planting is clearly going to be used for performances.

Amphitheatre at Plas Glyn-y-weddw, photographed by Charles Hawes

That hut looked a bit pants,too, next to such good stonework

From the house the path climbs up steeply through the mature woods of the estate.

Woods of the Plas-Glyn - y weddw estate, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

A most unusual feature for the walk

The path climbs the side of Myndd Tir-y cwmwd; quite a mouthful for a 400 foot bump.  Near the top is a rusted metal sculpture called the Tin Man which is (officially) famous.

The Tin Man above Llanbedrog, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

The Tin Man (not made of tin)

Looking back although only from modest height, the view back over the beach and to Llanbedrog was fab.

View to Llanbedrog from Mynydd Tir -y -cwmwd, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Sooper

A few minutes later, the views ahead to Abersoch were truly shocking. I know that I bang on about static caravans but the extent of the development behind the beach was breathtaking (not a word I overuse).

View over static caravan site near Abersoch, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Speechless

Bear in mind that these are not houses where people can live, but holiday homes, and yet on a beautiful day in May there was no one making use of the very thing – the beach – which supposedly justifies their existence. It is madness.

Static caravan park near Abersoch, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

As deserted as the beach

In fact there appeared to be very few people there at all. The path drops down to the beach, lined with these white boxes. I passed a couple who told me that one of these on the beach front had sold recently for over £500,000.

Static holiday homes on the beach at Abersoch, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Writing this now a month later I still feel shocked at the extent of the development here.  At the time, I did my best to enjoy the great pleasure of having this perfect beach almost to myself.

The beach at Abersoch, on the Lleyn peninsula, photographed from The Wales Coast path by Charles Hawes

The magic of a wet beach

I passed one chap who was walking along whilst his dog swam in parallel. He would pick up a stone and chuck it ahead of the dog which was enough incentive for it to keep swimming. The man told me that if he stopped throwing the stones the dog would get distressed and come out of the sea.

The beach at Abersoch, on the Lleyn peninsula, photographed from The Wales Coast path by Charles Hawes

If dogs are very stupid, man is definitely more so

As I walked along my attention kept being drawn back to the holiday homes that now were making footholds onto the beach itself by flights of wooden steps.

Pwllheli_to_Abersoch_-42

It was like an exercise in meditation. The homes representing thought and the sea representing the intake and outlet of breath.

Sea…..

The beach at Abersoch, on the Lleyn peninsula, photographed from The Wales Coast path by Charles Hawes

Homes…

The beach at Abersoch, on the Lleyn peninsula, photographed from The Wales Coast path by Charles Hawes

Sea…

The beach at Abersoch, on the Lleyn peninsula, photographed from The Wales Coast path by Charles Hawes

As I neared the town I passed a group of three women carrying their shoes and socks. The river Soch runs into the bay ahead and I asked how deep it was. “Normal” came the heavily eastern European accented  reply.

Heron in the River Soch at Abersoch, photographed by Charles Hawes

This was one of the least cautious herons I have come across

Normal or otherwise, whilst it may have suited the wading heron, I decided to maintain dry feet and made for the Lifeboat station at the shore. I walked up the slipway and round the back of the station to join the A499 as it crosses the river.

Lifeboat station by the Afon Soch in Abersoch, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

I like buoys (and sheep)

Abersoch was quiet, not yet swelled by the summer hoards who will fill the cafes and update their beach-wear. I dutifully made the short-circuit of the town as the official path dictates, wondering if the Competition Act covered the costs charged by private car parks.

Car park sign in Abersoch photographed by Charles Hawes

Car park sign in Abersoch photographed by Charles Hawes

Car park sign in Abersoch photographed by Charles Hawes

 

Car park sign in Abersoch photographed by Charles Hawes

I made for the beach at the far side of town where I accepted being ripped off for £4 for a tuna mayonnaise sandwich from a cafe.“It’s freshly made” she said, when I remonstrated about the price to the girl serving.  I sat in the sun and watched the beach huts being repaired.

Borth Fawr at Abersoch, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Borth Fawr

I had finished the days walk about an hour and a half before the one bus would leave for Pwllheli so I did something I had not done for years. I hitch-hiked. I found a good spot just opposite the lifeboat station and stuck my thumb out, remembering with some nostalgia the many hours that I had spent doing this in my 20s and the thousands of miles that I had traveled this way in this country and abroad. My positive thoughts must have done me some good. After about half an hour a guy about my age (also an ex-hitch-hiker) picked me up in his open-topped sports car and took me (slightly out of his way) to Pwllheli.

 

 

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Anne Wareham July 27, 2014 at 11:26 am

Nice. Even if it’s not enough. What do you expect when you sat opposite me while I read it and we discussed it?

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Marice July 27, 2014 at 1:48 pm

Hi well making it very easy for us to sample the best bits when we decide to venture further west or north. Liked the wet beach photo. I have never seen the caravan /holiday home development as untamed as in Wales but given what has beed going on with our local campsite it fits. By the way stupid people not dogs,

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Charles July 27, 2014 at 7:27 pm

Glad to be of service.x sorry about my dissing doggy brain. But they are just short haired sheep aren’t they? 🙂

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juia July 27, 2014 at 7:19 pm

Graceful light feel to these images – some expertly framed and some without frames – all quite lyrical – I feel swept away. By the way, caravan parks on the south coast are much more extensive – the Welsh – mere babies in this regard.

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Charles July 27, 2014 at 7:36 pm

Thanks Julia. That’s a very nice observation/assessment of the pics. I think I’m going to keep away from the coast after this! Maybe they keep them off the Scottish Coast? But that’s a long way.

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John July 27, 2014 at 8:43 pm

Caravan parks aside, I’m interested that you seem to find the rather garish run of beach huts attractive but the more elegant Malibu-style beachfront “houses” otherwise. If you’d spoken to the dog, he would probably have told you that if he didn’t humour the chap throwing stones into the sea ……… If ever you happen to be owned by a dog (or even better, a cat), you will understand!

Most striking for me is the haphazard acknowledgement of Welsh in the parking notices. My favourite pic this time is the one you’ve captioned “Sooper”. Can’t wait to find out Paul’s choice.

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Charles July 28, 2014 at 6:17 am

Hi John. I am sure you don’t really see beach huts and caravan parks in the same vein! Yes, dogs are probably ruling the world. Hence all the mess everywhere. Paul’s too busy running his garden down.

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Paul Steer July 28, 2014 at 10:29 pm

Vanity, vanity all is vanity says the teacher! It’s a kind of inverted pride that drives me to write a blog especially one that criticises my own garden. But on a bad day or a true day that’s how I see it! I agree with John about the ‘sooper ‘pic it is very painterly.

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Charles July 29, 2014 at 8:40 pm

I always love it when you describe me as “painterly”. Did you get my comment on your garden self-flagellation?

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Paul Steer July 29, 2014 at 8:55 pm

No ! Where is it ?

John July 30, 2014 at 3:32 pm

I have long thought that something in Paul’s blog setup eats comments. I commented too and got a “your comment will be published after moderation” message. But it has disappeared altogether today.

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Charles July 30, 2014 at 4:10 pm

Perhaps he could be persuaded to go over to Wordpress.

David Marsden July 31, 2014 at 7:10 am

Only ex-hitchhikers seem to pick up hitchhikers. I haven’t thumbed for years but do occasionally still give a lift. It’s a payback of sorts for all the miles I covered in my youth, like you. Dave

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Charles July 31, 2014 at 4:06 pm

Yes, we’re a dying breed. One more generation and they’ll be no more hitch hikers. Unless a recession creates a revival?

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rob grover July 31, 2014 at 8:11 am

Lots for everyone here, and I like the little snatches of memorable conversation that you enjoy along the way.
And, after three punishing holiday home shots, you reward us with the fabulous wet beach; when your eyes are tired from trying to match reflection to sky, you can let them zoom out to the horizon, taking in the tiny human figures on route – fantastic

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Charles July 31, 2014 at 4:10 pm

Thanks Rob. I always enjoy your feedback. There is always a balance between the horror and the beauty. I’ve found Anglesey to be fairly caravan park free. (Well an AONB ought to count for something).

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Rob August 3, 2014 at 1:39 pm

Hi Charles

I’ve popped in for inspiration and certainly got it. I was starting to think I was getting down on the WCP but I clearly have a lot to look forward to.

Regards
Rob

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Charles August 3, 2014 at 4:20 pm

Glad it gave you hope. There’s been a few days with not that much to recommend them and I can’t say I’m looking forward to the north coast stint much but mostly it’s been a fabulous journey. Do stay in touch.

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Rob August 3, 2014 at 5:12 pm

Thanks Charles, I will do!

Even on the short sections I’ve found at least one point of interest but I agree there are certain sections which just don’t inspire me; it’ll be head down and walk…

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