227 Porthor to Morfa

My B&B host drops me off at the bottom of a quiet track, and I cut across a muddy yard to reach the coast path. It’s a windy day. Porth Ferin is deserted and, since the tide is high, its little beach is covered with water.

01 Porth Ferin, Ruth walking the coast, Lleyn Peninsula

I head north eastwards along a newly created section of the coastal path, where recently erected fences keep me hemmed into a narrow strip of land above the sea.

02 Llyn Coast Path, Ruth Livingstone hiking in Wales

Unfortunately, this is farmland, and the sheep have not been deterred by the new fencing. They’ve obviously been enjoying the lusher grass along the shore, and the coast path has been churned into a slippery mess by their hooves.

03 mud on the Lyn coast path, Ruth walking in Wales

I make slow progress, because I’m fighting against the wind and slowed down by mud. At one point the path is totally obliterated by a landslip. A mudslide. I clamber across with difficulty.

04 muddy landslide, Ruth walking the Wales Coast Path

Here are the likely culprits – a whole flock of them. Why have you left the path in such a dreadful mess?

05 sheep mud-makers, Ruth hiking in the Llyn Peninsula

Looking ahead I see the cliffs are ridged with corrugations, folds and furrows, and scarred with patches of bare earth where the ground has slipped away. This whole section of coastline, along with its newly created coastal path, seems determined to slide into the sea.

06 coastline, north side Llyn Peninsula, Ruth Livingstone

The area feels lonely and remote, and I meet no other walkers. Despite the sunshine the wind is fierce – blustery and cold. I cross over a waterfall, where the water is whipped by the wind and appears to be flowing uphill!

After rounding the headland of Penrhyn Colmon,  I come to Porth Colmon, and one of the few points of road access along this stretch of the shore. With the change in direction, I find a temporary respite from the wind.

07 Porth Colmon, Ruth walking the Wales Coast Path, Llyn

Climbing up and out of Porth Colmon, I walk along low cliffs above the bay of Traeth Penllech. The full force of the wind hits me again. Gusts of 21 mph were predicted, but this feels stronger.

08 Traeth Penilech, Ruth walking in Wales

The path dips up and down, at one point going down onto a beach, where I have to wade across a stream. I take the opportunity to wash the worst of the mud from my boots.

09 beach walking, Ruth on the Llyn Peninsula

It really is a lovely walk, despite the wind and the constant mud.

10 cliffs, north Llyn coast, Ruth walking

I stop for a picnic lunch, hunkering down in a hollow to shelter from the gale, and trying not to worry about the huge cracks in the earth on either side of the gully – evidence this whole area is destined to slide into the sea.

After lunch I reach a lovely sheltered cove, Porth Gwylan. On a fine day this would be the perfect spot to spend a day on the beach.

11 Porth Gwylan, Ruth walking the Lleyn coastal path

Beyond Porth Gwylan the path runs across flat and open heathland. It’s boggy underfoot, and my boots become coated in heavy, yellow mud. The wind is ferocious. Huge waves splash up against the cliffs below. In the distance is some sort of ruin.

12 Porth Ysgaden, Ruth walking the Wales Coast Path, Llyn

As I get nearer, I’m surprised to see a small car park and few people huddling in the shelter of an old wall.

10 Porth Ysgaden, Ruth Livingstone in Wales

I walk past the ruined building, disturbing gulls and oyster catchers, and look ahead. Below me is a small fishing cove, with a collection of fisherman shacks. Ahead is a village. Towyn? Rhos-y-llan? And, rather sadly, a small caravan park.

13 Porth Towyn, Ruth hiking the coast, Llyn, Wales

I take a self-portrait of myself, leaning into the wind.

14 Ruth Livingstone, windy Llyn Peninsula

The next section of path is extremely difficult, despite the apparent closeness of civilisation. The fencing forces me to stick to the slope, but the slope is crumpled and crumbled, studded with sheep prints, and very, very, muddy. I slip and slide and curse the farmer for fencing off his fields while still allowing his sheep to trample the path into oblivion.

15 crumbled and muddy path, Llyn Coast

Actually, I am surprised the path isn’t closed. It’s dangerous in places. Even the flatter stretches are difficult quagmires.

16 mud, Towyn, Ruth walking the Llyn coast path

Eventually I reach firmer ground, cross over the caravan park, and set off on the final leg of the walk. The sky is dark, threatening rain.

17 storms over Nefyn, Ruth walking the Wales Coast, Llyn

I stop and pull on my waterproof trousers – with difficulty because my boots are caked in mud and the ground is very soggy when I sit down. No sooner have I got my waterproofs on, the sky clears. The wind is howling a gale, knocking me sideways. I’m staggering so much I must look drunk (luckily there is nobody else out and about to see!). My waterproofs make it worse because they catch the wind like a pair of sails.

Sitting down, I remove my waterproof trousers again. That’s better. But a few minutes later I look out to sea and notice another rain cloud is rushing up behind me. Back down onto the ground I sit, and pull on my waterproofs again. Just in time…

18 storms over the sea, Ruth hiking, Lleyn, wales

… the rain comes lashing down. But the wind is moving the clouds so quickly, the storm is over almost as soon as it’s begun. And I’m treated to an amazing rainbow.

19 rainbow after the storm, Morfa Nefyn, Ruth Livingstone

I know other walkers have used this path, because I can see the treads of their boots in the mud. But up until now I haven’t met any. Now I meet a couple coming towards me. They are soaking wet, and tell me they got caught in the storm on the golf course. Golf course?

They also tell me the mud here is worse than they’ve ever known anywhere else. I agree. I’m about to tell them the mud is going to get very much worse in a moment – just wait until they get around past the caravan park – but I bite my tongue. They look depressed enough.

Onwards. Ahead is another cove where the stream, Aber Geirch, empties into the sea. My map also tells me it is crossed by a ‘pipe line’. Yes, there it is. A brown streak running under the cliffs on the far side.

20 Aber Geirch, Nefyn, Ruth walking the Wales Coast Path, Llyn

The walk down to Aber Geirch is very tricky. The path turns into a river, but not a clear-flowing stream, more a boggy mass of mud and slime. The climb up the other side is a rocky scramble, somewhat terrifying but mercifully clear of mud.

I reach the golf course. It’s strange after miles and miles of mud and rocks to come across manicured lawns. There are even a few mad golfers, trying to hit balls despite the howling gale.

22 Nefyn Golf Club, Ruth Livingstone hiking in Wales

The coast path follows the edge of the shore and I look across another little cove, Borth Wen, towards the isthmus of Porth Dinllaen. I was planning on walking to the end and back again, but I am feeling exhausted, and the lighthouse at the far end seems a million miles away. (Actually, it’s not a lighthouse but a watch tower, although I don’t know that at the time.) I decide I’ve had enough.

21 Borth Wen, Ruth walking the Llyn Coastal Path, Morfa Nefyn

I turn inland, and follow a rough track up the hill towards the golf clubhouse. It’s a private road but also a public right of way.

23 road up to Nefyn Golf Clubhouse, Ruth hiking in Wales

At the top of the hill I use my zoom lens to take a photograph of the hilly coast ahead. But that walk will have to wait for another day.

24 tomorrow's walk, Ruth Livingstone, Morfa Nefyn, Wales

My car is parked in a village called Morfa Nefyn, but which everyone calls plain Morfa. It’s a long slog up the road but at least, for a welcome change, I have the wind behind my back and it pushes me along.


Miles walked today = 13 miles
Wales Coast Path so far = 764.5 miles
Total distance around the coast: 2,371.5 miles

Route:


About Ruth Livingstone

Walker, writer, photographer, blogger, Doctor, woman, etc.
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18 Responses to 227 Porthor to Morfa

  1. owdjockey says:

    Hi Ruth, I thought the path south of Tudweiliog was tough going with its underfoot conditions. The sheep churning the ground up into skiddy mess. Mine you, it could have been worse, It could have been cattle!!

  2. tonyhunt2016 says:

    I find that walking trousers made of soft-shell material are showerproof enough to obviate the need to put on my waterproof trousers for all but all-day rain. They also dry very quickly even if the rain is more persistent than I anticipated. Plus, I hate walking in waterproof trousers!

    • Hi Tony. I confess I don’t normally wear waterproofs – in fact, this was the first time I’d ever worn them while out on a walk! (After my near-death experience at Hell’s Mouth I was feeling really nervous about getting wet because I knew the wind was going to be strong and cold.) I will investigate soft-shell trousers. Usually, I just wear thin ones that claim to be water resistant, but never are 🙂

      • tonyhunt2016 says:

        Probably worth pointing out then, that the term ‘soft shell’ covers arrange of possibilities. I’ve two jackets, one which is stiff and not very comfortable (but maybe a bit more weatherproof) and another that is brilliant and I hardly notice wearing. My trousers are Berghaus and very good. Although the particular model is no longer made, I’m sure the new ones are as good or better. Compare the market 🙂

  3. owdjockey says:

    I agree Tony. Although I do have a pair of waterproof trousers I use them mainly when there is a fierce cold wind blowing.

  4. Di iles says:

    Hi Ruth, sounds tough. I’m doing that walk in a couple of weeks myself, so hope weather and path improved by then. Thanks for great review though and love the pictures 👣💨💦🚶🌾🐑

  5. Di iles says:

    Isn’t it just Ruth? I’ve done sections of it there many times and know the pub well but want to walk the whole chunk at once like you did, can’t wait! There is a film called ‘half light’ staring Demi Moore that was filmed there, although in the film it’s supposed to be Scotland, you may have seen it already. Looking forward to hearing more from your adventures.

  6. theresagreen says:

    A wild and woolly walk indeed, handled with your usual aplomb! The landscape there is glorious and I love your rainbow photograph.

  7. Marie Keates says:

    I have the same issue with waterproof trousers. They also make me very hot. This sounds like one of those walks that is horrible at the time but you look back on laughing fondly, much like my Moonwalk training twenty two miles with rain, wind and goat in the trees that made me think I was hallucinating.

  8. That does seem like quite a treacherous route, with the cliffs slipping away and boots repeatedly sinking in to the mud. I am also surprised to see it has not been closed or diverted! Or, are the Welsh on this side of the country more hardened and used to it?! 🙂

    • Either the Welsh think nothing of a few landslides and mud-swamps, or they had no idea how badly the path had deteriorated. I suspect it’s much improved after a few weeks of dryish weather,

  9. Sounds like quite a difficult walk with the combination of the weather and the mud but you got there in the end.

    I love the rainbow photo, I think the contrast of blue sky and dark clouds makes it look quite atmospheric 🙂

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