Day 241 Sunshine on the Ceridigion Coast

Wednesday 30 March 2016

Aberaeron to Llangrannog 

15 miles

Highbury Guest House, Cardigan

A fairly chilly start but it was bright. Deb kindly sent me on my way with a packed lunch, including her homemade cake. I climbed up the hill onto the cliff top heading South.  

Looking back on Aberaeron
 The theme of today’s walk was ‘up and down’. I lost count of how many cliffs I climbed only to drop down to the next little cove, across an outlet stream and then up the other side. It was incredibly beautiful and rather tiring.  

not far to New Quay
 It was such a clear day that I could see Snowdonia and parts of the Lleyn Peninsula all the way to Bardsey Island. It was beautiful.  

I can see for miles up the coast
 I reached New Quay at lunchtime and stopped to enjoy my picnic sat on a bench overlooking the beach and the sea wall. The sun was bright, it was warm and the town was busy; there were plenty of people on the beach and some brave souls taking a dip.  

busy on New Quay beach
 Another pretty town, brightly painted. There were plenty of references to Dylan Thomas as he made New Quay his home from 1944 and it was the inspiration for the town of Llareggub from Under Milk Wood.  

New Quay
 It felt like summer had arrived and, if I hadn’t been so muddy, I would have put shorts on. I had to break out the suncream. To celebrate I had my first ice cream of the year, and it was a good one.  

it doesn’t get better than this!
 Another climb out of New Quay, up and around New Quay Head.  

leftover from Easter I presume, on New Quay Head
 Suddenly the Irish Sea stretched out for miles, with varying shades of blue and green. It was a lovely sight.  

the Irish Sea
 I saw plenty of people on the coast path, some on several day hikes (they always ask me the same question: “are you doing the whole thing?” I must just look like I am) and some out looking for the Cardigan Bay dolphins.  

amazing rock formations around here
 It was wonderful to be on the cliffs in the sun, listening to the sea and the birds; a real sense of freedom and I walked with a permanent smile. The views were amazing at every turn (and every up, and every down).  

Looking down the coast to Pendinas Lochtyn Hill and Ynys Lochtyn
the view back to New Quay Head was just as stunning
 There was a nice little beach and caravan park at Cwmtydu, where cargoes of coal, limestone and salt where landed in the 19th Century. It was also used by Siôn Cwilt, a famous smuggler. I carried on, up yet another steep climb.  

looking down on New Quay Head
 The tiny island of Ynys Lochtyn, jutting out at the base of the Pendinas Lochtyn hill fort (stone-iron age) had been visible since I rounded New Quay head and was my destination.  

Pendinas Lochtyn Hill and Ynys Lochtyn
 I followed the coast path around the hill fort and admired Ynys Lochtyn but had no energy left to walk the extra mile onto it. Just around the corner was Llangrannog; another picturesque town. This one was tiny so probably more like a village, although it did have 2 pubs, shops and a couple of sandy beaches.  

Llangrannog tucked away
 The beaches are separated by a big rock called Carreg Bica. This is the tooth belonging to the giant Bica.  

Carreg Bica
Bica suffered from toothache and a dwarf called Lochtyn told him to stand with his feet in the sea to cure it. This he did, one foot creating Llangrannog beach and the other creating Cilborth beach. His tooth fell out and as a reward he ran his finger through the headland just above Llangrannog to create an island as it was Lochtyn’s wish to live on one.  

Ynys Lochtyn
 There were people on the beach and surfers in the sea. I decided to get fish and chips as an early dinner while I waited for the bus. Unfortunately the bus never came (the timetable was confusing and the bus only runs twice a day, but not every day, in summer). The nice locals in The Ship Inn called me a taxi after advising me that was my only option to get to Cardigan (which I was lucky to get after only 45 minutes as apparently it’s common to wait 3 hours!). So much for staying in Cardigan to keep the cost down! 

 I didn’t get to my accommodation until 7.30pm by which time I was very tired. Fortunately nothing could dampen my spirits after a lovely day. 

Day 240 Aber to Aber (rhystwyth to aeron)

Tuesday 29 March 2016 (Happy birthday Peter)

Aberystwyth to Aberaeron

18 miles

Friz and Deb’s house

I didn’t sleep well, I think it was trepidation and nerves at starting walking again. The sky looked pretty dark but it wasn’t raining when I walked along the front at 8.30am. As soon as I rounded the castle I was nearly blown off my feet by the wind. Fortunately it died down a bit during the day but I was walking into a noticeable headwind and did wonder if it would have been easier to walk clockwise?

Coming out of Aberystwyth I crossed the Afon Ystwyth that flows out into the harbour and climbed a (almost vertical) grassy cliff. I got a great view of Pendinas hill, with its fort and monument, and Constitution Hill, with its cliff railway and camera obscura; Aberystwyth town was snuggled in between.  

The Ystwyth valley, Pendinas Hill and Aberyswyth
 The weather was very changeable, lots of heavy showers, but I was lucky that the sun came out so I could admire the view back to Aberystwyth. I could even make out the Lleyn Peninsula in the distance.  

the rugged coastline south of Aberystwyth
 I spent a lot of time walking along cliffs today. There were lots of gulls about, and some fulmars, enjoying the wind, but the brown sea looked cold and empty. I was reminded of home by the number of red kites that I saw swooping about over the land and the sea. Spring has definitely sprung as there are plenty of lambs about.  

Spring has sprung
 I walked 10 miles over the cliffs in solitude, passing only one caravan park, to the next settlement of Llanrhystud. Between rain showers I managed to stop for a quick picnic of homemade scones – the last of the food from home. 

Lookig down on Llanrhystud caravan park
 The going was muddy and slippy in places but thankfully I had poles to keep me upright.  

definitely a poles and boots day!
Llanon to Aberaeron was across fields next to the stony beach, and in some places the path had eroded to the extent that the path had disappeared and I was forced into the stones. I survived an hour long heavy rain burst that included a rather painful hailstorm.  

raining again – smiling before the hailstorm hit!
 I made it to Aberaeron late afternoon, just as the sun came out again. Such a pretty town with its painted houses set out around the harbour.  

 A quick stop at the shop for a bottle of wine and then I was treated to a lovely evening in the company of Friz and Deb, in their beautiful house overlooking the harbour. I did wonder if it wise to have covered 18 miles on my first day back – a few aches and pains! 

loving the freedom in the sunshine

WALK PART 2 – Day 239 Back to Aberystwyth 

Monday 28 March 2016 (Easter Monday)

Train to Aberystwyth 

Lynwynygog Guest House

After 4 winter months at home it’s time to get back walking. I think I made the right decision for me to go home for the winter. Hopefully I’ve avoided the worst of the weather and can look forward to a summer back on the coast. I enjoyed Christmas, catching up with family and friends, and managed a skiing holiday. I could get used to being retired!

I picked Easter Monday as my re-start date purely because that’s the day I started last year. How was I to know that day would coincide with Storm Kate and horrendous weather? I’m getting a sense of déjà vu! Perhaps it’s just another element of symmetry – I postponed my walk and left Aberystwyth being battered by Storm Clodagh and I made my way back as she was subjected to Storm Kate. At least I was tucked up at home for the intervening 7 storms. 

Second time around I have been noticeably much more chilled about everything; hopefully that’s a good thing. I packed last minute and only have a plan for the first 2 days. It’ll all work out. 

The train journey was sunny and I approached the coast alongside the River Dovey with a great view across to Aberdovey.  

Looking out of the train window along the Afon Leri and across to Aberdovey
 It was a lovely sunny evening and so I wandered down to the sea front to take a look (just in case it’s raining tomorrow). Ah the smell of the sea, the sound of the waves, and the sight of the fading sun on the water. Bliss. I’m glad to be back and looking forward to a sunny summer (fingers crossed).  

Aberystwyth sea front and Constitution Hill at sunset