Day 215 Nant Gwrtheyrn Granite Valley

Friday 6 November 2015

Trefor to Nefyn

10 miles

The Victoria Hotel, Pwllheli 

Bad weather seems to be setting in. My head was a bit sore this morning but I soldiered on through my full cooked breakfast. From Caernarfon there is a short walk (mostly on minor roads) around Foryd Bay and then it’s a long stretch alongside the main road again. I decided to miss this out and caught a bus to Trefor. This way I would have plenty of time to complete what looked on the map like a very hilly section.   

today I officially started walking the Llyn Coastal Path
 As I sat on the bus the rain became torrential and I could feel the wind moving the bus. I amused the other passengers by donning full waterproofs as we drove along. 

Trefor beach in the rain
 Trefor looked to be a fishing village, although I couldn’t see much through the driving rain. The coast path keeps to the low cliffs around Trefor and, only when I reached the end, could I just about see the huge mountain (Yr Eifl) looming ahead of me, shrouded by rain cloud. The path went directly up it. Zigzagging is for wimps! 
It’s not very easy to see Yr Eifl in this weather
 I walked up this long, steep hill as slowly as I could, trying to avoid sweating. It was a good idea but it failed. It wasn’t long before I was soaked both inside and out. Oh well. Despite the appalling weather conditions, very low visibility and slight hangover, I was enjoying myself. Needless to say I didn’t meet another walker all day and I revelled in the isolation that the weather had brought. I hummed and talked to myself (and the wildlife – these days I always talk to the birds, the cows, the sheep et al) and no one was there to consider me strange. It was just me, on my own, in a wilderness I couldn’t see. I was very appreciative of the excellent coast path signs as they made navigation a whole lot easier.   

Looking down on Nant Gwrtheyrn
 At the top of the first ‘cliff’, which was actually a pass between two peaks, 350m above sea level, I joined the North Wales Pilgrims Way. This was a well-trodden path across Graig Ddu (hardy lot those pilgrims) and led me to a deserted car park. From here there was a small road that went down the steep hill (30% incline but this time there were a couple of hairpin bends thrown in). At the bottom was the Nant Gwrtheyrn Welsh Language Centre. What a location! As I approached it my first thought was that I had found what the Welsh Assembly spends its money on but, after visiting the heritage centre, I’m inclined to be a bit more charitable.  
smartly refurbished workers’ houses
Due to the appalling weather and consequent lack of visibility I had no idea, until I arrived at Nant Gwrtheyrn, that I had been skirting a huge granite quarry. What a place; a granite valley, in the shadow of the 3 peaks of Yr Eifl, opening out onto the Irish Sea.  

The view from Nant Gwrtheyrn to the headland at Gwylfa
 In the 18th Century this small valley, which looked, from the photos, like a half-bowl open to the sea, was home to 3 farming families.  

Ty Hen, one of the 3 original farmhouses
 In 1851 The Nant’s first commercial granite quarry was opened and construction of Porth y Nant village began in this isolated place in 1863. By 1915 demand for granite was falling, quarries began to close and the last family left the village in 1959. The Nant Gwrtheyrn Trust bought and renovated the village and it became a Welsh Language Centre in 1982. It now looks very smart.  

The caffi and centre overlooking the sea
 I stopped at the caffi for a hot coffee and a scone (served with Cornish clotted cream, proving the village is no longer isolated). I was the only person they’d seen all day; however, I noticed they were gearing up for a wedding reception in the large room next door.  

Is this part of the oak tree from one of the local folk tales, the one about Rhys and Meinir?
 After half an hour I put my dripping waterproofs back on over my soaked clothes and headed out for the next instalment. The sea was loud and raging and I had another steep climb out of the valley.  

the cloud lifted slightly and I could see the Nant valley tucked in the cliff
 The thing about days when the weather is awful is that at some point the smallest thing, or the glimpse of a view, becomes so much more special. That moment happened as I came over the top of Gwylfa just as the rain stopped and the cloud lifted a bit. There, laid out in front of me, was a great view down to Nefyn and along the North Lleyn coast. Breathtaking. I fairly skipped the rest of the way. I reached Nerfyn just in time to catch the 3 pm bus to Pwllheli (the next one was 4.30).  

The view down to Nefyn suddenly appeared as I crested the hill – this photo does not do it justice
 Cheap accommodation is relatively scarce out of season on the Lleyn Peninsula, hence having to get the bus to Pwllheli. I had booked a room but, when I arrived at the horrible-looking bar where I was staying they couldn’t provide me with what is booked on After hanging around for 40 minutes, soaking wet, while the barmaid tried to sort out the right room I left. Thank goodness for 3G phone coverage as I managed to find the Victoria Hotel and the proprietor, Ross, was very helpful. This place was better and the people were friendly. My room soon looked like a Chinese laundry. (But I always leave it clean and tidy the next day.) 

Everything looks different when it stops raining; the beautiful North Lleyn coastline

3 thoughts on “Day 215 Nant Gwrtheyrn Granite Valley

  1. Chris Frazer November 8, 2015 / 2:29 pm

    Respect……proper map and compass weather……I can feel the rain dripping down the back of my neck as I type……….yuk! Talking to the animals is accepted but you know you have been on the trail too long when the animals start talking back! Kep going Juicy massive respect!


  2. Benno November 9, 2015 / 9:05 am

    Love the history lesson Lucy, though slightly concerned about liking the isolation and talking to animals keep up the good work x


  3. Zephyrine November 9, 2015 / 10:33 pm

    Loved today’s journey/descriptions – I would not be a quarter so intrepid, although I recently did a seriously wet 2.5 hr tramp (in my new boots), which has opened up a whole new vista of bad-weather possibilities. x


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s