252 pm Llandudno to Colwyn

I walk along the promenade and reach the end of Llandudno. The water in an empty pool looks irresistibly blue. Across the bay I can see the folded striations of the Great Orme, dwarfing Llandudno’s Grand Hotel and the pier.

a01 Llandudno, paddling pool, Ruth Livingstone

The far end of the bay is guarded by another impressive headland, the Little Orme. But this time there is no dramatic Marine Drive taking me up to the top. Instead, I have to follow an ordinary road as it curves inland around the base of the rocky mass.

a02 Little Orme, Ruth hiking in Llandudno, North Wales

I nearly miss the footpath off to the left. It doubles as both the Wales Coast Path and the North Wales Path.

a03 path up the Little Orme, Ruth trekking in North Wales

Up the slopes of the Little Orme, the path leads me through thickets of brambles, gorse and ferns. I was hoping for some great views towards the west across Llandudno bay. Instead, I have to be content with sporadic views towards the east. A stormy Colwyn Bay.

a04 Little Orme Head, view over Colwyn Bay, Ruth Livingstone

According to my map there is another footpath that branches off the main one and leads right to the top of Little Orme’s Head, but either I miss the turning or it’s become too overgrown to spot.

I reach higher ground and the view across Colwyn Bay is pretty impressive. Shame about the dark clouds dropping rain over there. Is that Prestatyn in the distance?

a05 rainclouds over Prestatyn, Ruth's coastal walk, Wales

I see a man walking a dog, the only other person I’ve met so far on the Little Orme. Where is everybody? I follow an obvious track through the grass, heading towards Colwyn.

a06 wrong way towards Colwyn, Ruth hiking in Wales

But I soon come to a steep drop – a cliff really – and the track disappears down into a mass of prickly gorse. I realise I’ve lost the proper path and turn back. The man with the dog has disappeared too. He must have gone somewhere…

Now I’m heading toward the tip of the Little Orme and the slope below me gets steeper and steeper. Will I ever find a way down?

Just when I think I’ve gone too far, I spot a path leading down. It’s steep. Very steep. No attempt to zigzag here, just a long straight line.

a07 steep path, Little Orme, Ruth's coastal walk, North Wales

I head down, glad I’m wearing proper walking boots and glad of my pole.

At the bottom the ground flattens out and I walk along a grass sward below the rocky face of the Little Orme. The original path runs closer to the sea and has crumbled away. It’s fenced off and a newer, tarmac path has been created.

a08 towards Rhos on Sea, Ruth hiking in North Wales

It’s a pleasant spot, a stretch of parkland, and I meet dog walkers and strollers. All too soon, I have to leave the park area and walk through residential streets. This is Penrhyn Bay.

a09 through housing estate, Penrhyn Bay, Ruth's coastal walk, North Wales Path

The official path follows the street, but I spot a footpath leading down to the beach. It’s better down here. The rain clouds ahead are even darker than before and I’m worried about being caught in the downpour. But I enjoy walking on the sand.

a10 Penrhyn Bay, Ruth hiking in North Wales

At the end of Penrhyn Bay I run out of sand. A mass of riprap rocks forces me back onto the pavement. This is Rhos-on-Sea.

a11 promenade, Ruth hiking towards Colwyn Bay

I follow the coast road as it winds around Rhos Point. A lower walkway takes me away from the traffic, and I discover a tiny little church. St Trillo’s Chapel. Apparently it’s the smallest chapel in the British Isles and can only hold 6 people.

a12 St Trillo's Chapel, Ruth Livingstone in Rhos on Sea

A little further along I pass the entrance to a marina and, in an alcove with a bench, a homeless man has set up camp. He is lying on his back, staring at the ceiling of his shelter, surrounded by piles of plastic bags and pieces of bedding. It’s a sad sight. (Over the next few days I drive past this point several times and he is always there.)

It’s a bad introduction to Colwyn Bay. And I find little to like about the place. The marina is nice enough…

a13 ships inside breakwater, Llandrillo-yn-Rhos, Ruth's coast walk

… and there is an interesting sculpture of a fisherman, woven out of cane.

a14 Colwyn Bay, Ruth hiking the Wales Coast Path

But the bay itself is soulless. The promenade is empty of features and empty of people. Just the occasional shelter – standard affairs with no character – looking uninvitingly damp and slimy. At least it isn’t raining – although the clouds are still chucking it down over Prestatyn.

a15 Colwyn Bay, promenade, Ruth's coastal walk, Wales

Colwyn Bay is supposed to be a popular holiday destination. I’m not sure why. It seems desperately in need of some sprucing up.

I reach the pier. What a mess. A derelict ruin.

a16 Colwyn Bay pier, Ruth Livingstone hiking in North Wales

At the end of the pier I turn inland, walking under the railway bridge, to find the railway station. I’m hurrying, thinking I only have a couple of minutes to buy a ticket, but I needn’t have rushed. The train is running 40 minutes late.

High points: The Little Orme and St Trillo’s chapel. There is a wonderful YouTube video of the chapel here: https://www.youtube.com/

Low points: Colwyn Bay. You can find out more about the homeless man here: http://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/what-been-done-stop-rough-11621901 Seems like he might have been evicted recently. Evicted? From the bus shelter? It doesn’t seem right.

Miles walked today = 15.5 miles
Wales Coast Path so far = 1026 miles
Total distance around the coast: 2,533 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.

23 Responses to 252 pm Llandudno to Colwyn

  1. Martyn says:

    I walked down that slope on Little Orme in January…or should I say “slid” down on my bum!😂😂😂😂

  2. Julie Elliott says:

    Nobody from North Wales is going to thank me for this, but I’m surprised how ‘gently’ pretty the landscape is! (I’m from South Devon) You’re doing so well!

  3. I’m surprised that Rhos-on-Sea was devoid of people in July; was it very early in the morning when you were there? I went there when I was a kid (during the Llandudno holiday) and vaguely remembered there being nothing there, but when I went four years ago I was surprised to find there was more there than I thought. It was a lovely sunny day and the place really did look quite pleasant. I discovered St. Trillo’s chapel too, it’s so tiny I’m amazed it’s still in use.

    • I have to confess, Eunice, that I’m writing up this blog several weeks after doing the walk in June. (I’m behind because I had several other writing commitments that took priority, including my soon-to-be-published book on coastal walking!). There were people about, but not many.

  4. Anabel Marsh says:

    I remember going to Colwyn Bay as a teenager with my sister and cousin. No idea why or what we did! I don’t think it was very exciting then either.

    • Maybe I’m being unfair on Colwyn Bay. On a lovely summer’s day it might seem different. But to a tired walker, it just seemed like a long and uninteresting slog! Of course, I didn’t see anything of the town itself, apart from the railway station. I wonder if the pier was open when you went there as a teenager.

      • Anabel Marsh says:

        It might have been, but I honestly can’t remember – which suggests the place was not very interesting. I remember visiting Llandudno and Rhyll, but Colwyn Bay? Nothing!

  5. owdjockey says:

    Hi Ruth, I think most of the North Wales coast is a little run down. However, I did manage to get to the top of the Little Orme, which afforded some great views down to Llandudno.

    • Yes, it was very run down – with the exception of Conwy and Llandudno. Shame. These resorts have to compete with cheap Mediterranean places for family holidays, and they really need to offer more.

  6. Di iles says:

    When I did this I got the train to Rhyl and walked south to Llandudno. It was forecast rain so I went in full waterproofs, after a sprinkling of rain the sun came out at full force, it was really hot and humid but I had no alternative trousers to my sticky waterproofs, there was a scary diversion next to a very fast road and I therefore walked 21miles because of the diversion in what felt like a plastic bag! Any walker knows after proofs can get wetter on the inside. My shower in that B and B was the most appreciated shower I’ve ever had. I still loved the walk in spite of all that. Thanks for lovey pics and reminders Ruth.

  7. Hi Ruth. I agree that Colwyn Bay is run down, especially the pier. I’m from Colwyn Bay & have fond memories of growing up there & going to the pier when I was a teenager when it was a night club 🙂 it wasn’t as derelict then!

    • It’s a shame, Michelle. I found an official document talking about rejuvenating the promenade and some work has been done to repair the surface, etc. But the pier is an eyesore.

  8. Just walked the Conway to Colwyn Bay section where the North Wales Path follows the Coast Path. I agree with your highs and lows, the promenade at Colwyn is dreary, they should pull that pier down.

    • I wonder if the homeless man was still there?

      • Di iles says:

        What homeless man do you mean Ruth? It’s not the 30 something man who sings and plays the guitar around Conwy is it? I see him every time I go there.

        • Sorry, I realise the link at the bottom of the post wasn’t working, and I’ve corrected it. No, Di, he was older – in his 40s I would think. I don’t believe he does any active busking/begging, just hangs about in the bus shelter. Very sad.

          • Di iles says:

            Very sad, remember a homeless man in Llandudno sat on the pavement of that age. My son left our restaurant table 1/2 through our meal to buy him a sandwich from sainsburys cos he felt sorry for him. Wonder if it was him.very sad indeed.

  9. Marie Keates says:

    How sad for that poor homeless man.

  10. Karen White says:

    I can’t imagine being homeless, it must be dreadful, especially at night in cold weather. I see it more and more in Southampton city centre – when we moved to the area nearly 35 years ago it was unheard of.

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