232 Caernarfon to Y Felinheli

I arrive in Caernarfon at 3pm and drive around, looking for a parking space. It’s taken me longer than I anticipated to travel here from Lincolnshire and I am feeling both irritated and unusually fatigued. Eventually, I park in the car park just beyond the Victoria Dock.

leaving Caernarfon, Ruth's walk along Wales Coast Path

I walk back through the town and pick up the trail where I left off last time, among the jumble of narrow streets by the castle. At this point, as far as I can work out from my map, the Llyn Coastal Path comes to an official end and the route continues as just the plain old Wales Coast Path again.

Retracing my steps, I circle the dock. There are some smart ships moored here.

01 Caernarfon marina, Ruth Livingstone's coastal walk

At the far end of the marina is a new development of apartment blocks. I’m sure the views are lovely, but these places always look soulless to me.

soulless Victoria Dock, Ruth's coastal walk, Caernarfon

The Menai Strait is narrow here and looks more like a river than the sea. The land on the other bank is… well, it must be Anglesey. My plan is to reach the island by the end of today.

03 looking over to Anglesey, Ruth walking the Wales Coast

But first I have to walk to Bangor. I’m expecting to make rapid progress, as the route is along a cycleway with a straight, flat, easy surface. And there’s nothing much to distract me, except some weird sculptures along the route – looking ancient but in reality very modern.

04 cycle path to Bangor, Ruth in Caernarfon

I start at a good pace, quickly overtaking the strollers ahead of me…

05 long cycle path to Bangor, Ruth Livingstone hiking in Wales

… and being overtaken in turn by the occasional cyclist.

06 still a long cycle path, Ruth Livingstone

The trouble is that cycle paths make boring walking routes, and I’m relieved after 5 miles of plodding to reach my half-way point, the village of Y Felinheli.

07 Y Felinheli, Ruth's coastal walk, north Wales

I walk along a minor road that takes me through an area of light industry. It’s a Monday afternoon, nearly 5 pm, and I feel the usual emotion (guilt tinged with joy) as I see people beginning to leave work. How lucky I am to be able to go walking on a weekday!

07b tiny lungs, Ruth Livingstone

I come across a children’s play area and, feeling very tired for some reason, sit on a bench for a rest. Perhaps its the dullness of the day, or the tediousness of the route, or the long drive to get here, but I feel I’ve walked much further than 5 miles.

The sign by the playground indicates that smoking is banned. Or is it? The sign is unclear. Maybe it’s only discouraged, although I remember hearing that a beach in Wales – Little Haven – recently became the UK’s first non-smoking beach.

I force myself to start walking again, surprised by my level of fatigue and the strange aches in my muscles. Nearly there. I’m nearly there. I cheer myself up by taking photos of Anglesey across the water. The pretty collection of houses across the water is Moel-y-don.

08 Moel-y-don across the Menai Strait, Ruth's coastal walk in Wales

As I leave Y Felinheli I come across a roadside pub. If only it was open – I yearn for a comfy seat and a refreshing drink – but the place looks derelict. Shame.

09 another derelict pub, Ruth hiking in Wales

Beyond the pub, the path leaves the road and continues as cycle route number 8. By now, every step is becoming an effort.

10 cycle route 8, Ruth walking the Wales Coast Path, towards Bangor

I check my watch. My pace has slowed. What’s wrong with me? I should be able to maintain a steady 3 mph – or more – on such an easy surface, but I’m having to urge myself to keep moving forward.

The cycle way joins a road and I find myself marching along the busy B4547. It’s rush hour. Traffic heading home. Every step becomes an effort… and then I see a bus stop sign ahead… and my heart lifts.

11 bus stop, Ruth walking to Bangor

It’s only another 4 miles until I reach the Menai suspension bridge at Bangor – but it seems a hundred miles away. I check the bus times. Yes, there is a bus back to Caernarfon from here, and only 10 minutes to wait.

I conduct a furious internal discussion with myself:
Logical me: Come on! It’s only 4 more miles.
Emotional me: But I’ve had enough. Time to stop.
Logical me: Stick with the plan. Keep going.
Emotional me: No! I really, really don’t want to walk any further.
Logical me: Call yourself a long-distance walker? You’re pathetic.
Emotional me: I know. The whole idea is stupid. In fact, I HATE walking.

The bus arrives, and I have the foresight to note the name of the bus stop (‘Nant-y-Garth’) before I get on, knowing I’m going to have to get back to this place tomorrow in order to restart my walk.

Emotional me: You should have stuck to the plan. Loser!
Logical me: Too late. I’m on the bus now.

Miles walked today = 6.5 miles
Wales Coast Path so far = 813 miles
Total distance around the coast: 2,320 miles


About Ruth Livingstone

Walker, writer, photographer, blogger, doctor, woman, etc.
This entry was posted in 16 Anglesey and North Wales and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to 232 Caernarfon to Y Felinheli

  1. Rita says:

    I think ‘us walkers’ can be very tough on ourselves sometimes – I’m glad the ‘logical you’ won! It’s amazing how much difference feeling/being tired, can make to progress. I know I get very cross with myself if I don’t ‘make target’, but after all, we’re meant to be enjoying it….most of the time anyway!!

    • Indeed. And after this walk I gave myself a stern talking-to. My number one rule is to enjoy each and every walk. If the whole venture becomes an ordeal… it becomes pointless.

  2. I concur with Rita, I try to consider a plan B and C on each walk, although rarely don’t complete the desired mileage, but on occasion I have done just the same thing and just jumped on a bus or train. Occasionally it does cross my mind that if it isn’t fun any more then take a break or stop! I don’t think I would be in a good place mentally straight after such a long drive, although I plan to walk that awfully convulated Weston – Burnham section (apparently the sluice is STILL closed!) straight after a train journey from Hastings in a couple of weeks. Anyway, keep walking, I love receiving emails informing me of your latest adventure!

    Best wishes, Gemma.

  3. Gill Rance says:

    Oh yes I’ve experienced that myself on more than one occasion when you just feel too tired to carry on. You made the right decision especially after that long drive. And after all you are supposed be enjoying the walking. A good night’s sleep works wonders.

  4. “it’s supposed to be fun” is pretty much my only rule.

    Also, although the Halfway House pub is indeed sadly derelict, there was another pub in Y Felinheli itself, somewhere near the dockside, which I was very glad to find. Railway lines turned cycle paths are often a bit dull on account of being so straight and level, in my opinion.

    • Shame I didn’t find the other pub. Although it might not have been open, since this was the ‘dead zone’ between late lunch and the usual 6:30 opening time. And you are right about your rule – it should be the guiding principle for every walk.

  5. tonyhunt2016 says:

    As others have said, the only real reason for walking is pleasure, so if it’s not enjoyable, stop it. Maybe on another occasion you’ll be in the mood and walk some extra distance for the fun of it. Still, it’s always nice to know we all suffer from similar internal conflicts!

  6. Di iles says:

    Not surprised you were tired Ruth doing a long drive before this. To be honest I did that walk last year except in a north to south direction, it’s the only walk on the WCP I didn’t enjoy very much, it seemed very long and boreing. If it makes you feel any better we also had to stop a couple of miles before Caernarfon and catch the bus back to Bangor because my husband couldn’t make it ( he doesn’t usually come with me) I was gutted we didn’t finish and still have to go back and complete those last few miles. 👣👣👟🚶

    • Hi Di. 🙂 So it wasn’t just me? That’s a relief. Actually, if you only have a couple of miles to do I bet you find it flies by next time.

      • Di iles says:

        Hoping to complete it next week on my way down to do part of the Llyn Peninsula. Thanks for all the great info and photos on your walking there, will be very helpful Ruth.

  7. theresagreen says:

    Not the most inspiring section to walk even on a good day!

  8. Marie Keates says:

    I often have those same arguments with myself on walks.

  9. Karen White says:

    My yoga instructor calls those logical / emotional tussles ‘listening to our ego’. Our ego always wants to do the best and not give up, even if that is the wrong thing to do. I’m glad that in the end you didn’t listen to yours!

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