My B&B host provides a drop off and pick up service for walkers. This is excellent news, because I’m fed up with trying – and failing – to catch buses. So it should be an uneventful journey to Aberdaron and the start of my walk.
First we need to drive to a little cove, called Porth Iago, where the map shows a convenient car park close to a new section of the coast path. Here I plan to leave my car so that I can walk back to it. But it’s all a bit mysterious. Firstly, there doesn’t appear to be a road leading to Porth Iago – at least, not according to my map. Secondly, my B&B host has never heard of this car park, although he can remember visiting Porth Iago many years ago.
Undaunted, we set off in convoy, and end up bouncing down a rutted and muddy farm track. My host spots the pay and display machine, sited next to a barn and only reached by getting out of our cars and wading through some thick farmyard slurry. I would have missed it on my own and driven straight past. (Actually, if I was on my own I think I would have chickened out and turned back long before I reached the pay machine!)
I put £3 in the ticket machine and we continue down the track, navigating through puddles and zigzagging around deep holes, until we reach a water-logged field.
field car park is empty of any cars. I stop on the driest patch I can find and, somewhat reluctantly, leave my car to join my B&B host in his. We bounce back along the farm track and make our way to Aberdaron.
From there on, everything gets better. The coast path is clearly marked and the route looks interesting. The sky is clear and the sea is beautiful.
I walk along the edge of the cliff, the path slowly rising higher, and with a wonderful view back to Aberdaron.
At Porth Meudwy there is a collection of tractors and boats, and it seems this is an active little fishing harbour – something that has been surprisingly lacking in North Wales so far.
The path continues and the view across Aberdaron Bay is entrancing. The cliffs are made of hard rocks here and, with little in the way of sediment, the water is beautifully clear. It reminds me of Cornwall. Or Pembrokeshire.
The area is popular and I meet several walkers, including this group of three young women who are studying their map earnestly. I ask them if they’re walking the coast path, but they confess they’re just going for a wander and have no specific plans.
I reach the high ground of Pen y Cil. This stretch of coast, from here onwards for some miles, is owned by the National Trust. The views are wonderful.
And further out to sea is Bardsey Island, a place of birds and of pilgrimage, and possibly the burial site of King Arthur. It looks mysterious.
I join a muddy farm track for a while. There is a new section of coast path running closer to the coast, but I manage to miss this, and continue walking along the edge of fields.
After a while I realise I’ve strayed from the path and pull out my map. A trio of walkers pass me – mother, father and daughter, I think.
I catch up with the walkers a short time later. We’re standing on a narrow road and it’s not clear where the continuation of the coast path is. I approach the group, who have their map out and seem lost, and I offer to show them the route on my Garmin, but they cold-shoulder me. They don’t refuse to look, or explain they want to read the map for themselves, they just completely ignore me. It’s as if I’m invisible.
This is the first time a group of fellow walkers has refused to speak to me. Usually everyone you meet is very friendly. Most odd and rather rude.
Leaving them to figure out where they are for themselves, I head off down the road and soon find the coast path again. Looking back, I see the trio are following in my wake, but I quickly march on ahead, determined to leave them behind.
This section of the walk is lovely. The path continues over National Trust land, getting narrow and more rugged as it rises up to follow the shoulder of a hill, Mynydd y Gwyddel.
Around a corner, and it plunges down towards a little stream. I meet other walkers, who look nervous on the steep path, and I soon overtake them.
This is the tip of the Llyn Peninsula, and it’s truly beautiful. Up goes the path again.
I reach the high point of Mynydd Mawr, where there is a narrow road and a car park. Great views.
Just past the car park, on a patch of gorse-covered heathland, I stop for lunch. I’m now on the north coast of Llyn. No longer can I see back to Hell’s Mouth or across to mainland Wales. I’ve turned the corner.
The view is stunning. The hill ahead is Mynydd Anelog.
Having met many walkers around Aberdaron, I now meet nobody else for several miles, until – on the other side of Mynydd Anelog, I see two figures in the distance. It’s a sign I’m approaching civilisation again.
I’ve been looking forward to reaching Porthor (or Porth Oer), otherwise known as ‘Whistling Sands’. Will it live up to its name?
Porthor turns out to be a pretty beach and popular with families. There is a café down on the sands, and I stop for a cream tea.
After an enjoyable rest, I head to the top of the beach and walk above the high-tide mark, because it seems the ‘whistling’ sound only happens if you find dry sand. I scuff my boots along. And, yes, the beach does whistle! Or rather, the sand makes a high pitched singing noise. Magical.
At the end of the beach are some dramatic rocks. I stop and take far too many photographs, reluctant to leave this pretty place.
Onwards. I walk up and over the cliff and continue along the path. Again, this section of the path is new, as previously you had to go inland and follow the road for a couple of miles. I’m grateful the route has changed.
Ahead are a couple of walkers. And, on top of a distant slope, I see two cars. One is mine. The other theirs. They must have managed to find the same car park!
I don’t go directly back to my car. Tomorrow I need to start my walk from today’s end-point, and I don’t want to face the muddy farm track again, or make my kind host drive down it either. So I continue onwards along the coast path as it curves around the next headland.
It’s very muddy underfoot. Recently erected fences are designed to keep walkers on the proper path and out of the fields. But there are gates in the fence and these have been kept open for the sheep, who have left the fields and churned up sections of the path. Mud, glorious mud. I grit my teeth and mutter rude things about farmers… and carry on.
Round the next bend and I’m looking into Porth Ferin. It’s another pretty – and deserted – cove. Nothing there but a couple of cottages. Farms? Or holiday homes?
I find the roadway I plan to use tomorrow, and check the footpath that leads between the road and the coast path. Is it passable? It is not signposted, and is very muddy too, but there are no obstructions.
Happy that I can avoid another farmyard trip tomorrow, I turn around and walk back along the coast path, back to my car.
Miles walked today = 12.5 miles
Wales Coast Path so far = 751.5 miles
Total distance around the coast: 2,358.5 miles