Monday, 14 December 2015

Christmas Greetings from Aberdaron

Advent Sunday at Felin Uchaf

This is to wish all our customers a happy Christmas and a healthy and prosperous New Year! The striking photo above is of the Advent celebrations at the Iron Age roundhouse in Felin Uchaf - truly a magical way to start the Christmas season.

2015 has been a good year for us.

The Wales Coast Path continues to be upgraded by the local authorities with funding from the Welsh Assembly Government. The way is clearer and the signage is much better.

The coast path near Traeth Penllech. 
New for 2015 - a wonderful section which goes all the way along the coast from near Aberdaron to Rhiw. This is 8 miles of some of the best coastal scenery in the world and as good a reason as any for coming back to Aberdaron and enjoying this unspoiled and tranquil part of the world.

The WCP's distinctive "Dragon Shell" logo.

New route along the coast from Rhiw to Aberdaron.
In late October we were visited by a film crew preparing a program for Channel 4 about the walk around the Mynydd Mawr headland. We helped the crew research the route and gave some advice on what to see. The program will be presented by Ben Fogle (and his lovely Labrador puppy Storm) and should be broadcast in the spring.
Ben and Storm at Porth Oer

The film crew on Whistling Sands
Peter has made an investment in the future of the business by buying a disused shop in Uwchmynydd, west of Aberdaron. While the building may not seem terribly prepossessing at first glance, Peter has some big plans for it. First we will be running Llŷn Cycle Hire from here which will free up some space in Dolfor and Manaros. 

The old shop at Uwchmynydd. It has potential... very well hidden potential.

But the views from it are fabulous.
We’ve had some considerable success in letting out Glandwr cottage down in the village. Glandwr is owned by a friend of Peter’s family and we’ve been letting it out as self-catering holiday accommodation on his behalf. The property is a cosy little fisherman’s cottage directly opposite the slipway to the beach between St Hywyn’s church and the Ty Newydd Inn, and is an ideal getaway location for a small, budget conscious family or group of friends. Prices for a week’s rental start at £275 with short breaks also available. For more information see

Glandwr's situation in the village, opposite the beach.

Cosy living room.
Our nearest town Pwllheli has seen some substantial investment in the past year with the opening of the new sailing academy Plas Heli. We’re hoping that this will bring a lot more visitors to the area to take advantage of these new facilities.

The futuristic Plas Heli Centre at Pwllheli harbour.
The Edge of Wales Walk has had a very good year, with one of our busiest summers for years. We’ve been lucky enough to have several big groups from North America doing the walk that we put up in Manaros.
The Ontario Walking Club from Canada, led by Mr Colin Banfield

Gay Elliot and friends, also from Canada, enjoying a meal at Manaros.

The church has a new roof and a new vicar. Aberdaron is turning very much into a popular food centre which offers a variety of meals from special seafood supper at the Ship, a meal overlooking the beach at the Ty Newydd or a takeaway fish and chips in the Sblash restaurant overlooking the river or a fantastic takeaway pizza from Eleri Stores’ new kitchen at the back of the shop.

Looking forward to 2016, we are spending time and money upgrading Manaros, including buying some new bedroom furniture and repainting to keep things looking fresh and sharp.

We have extended our walking holidays southwards to Cardigan Bay, another magnificent area with some beautiful river valleys leading down to the sea. We can carry your bags all the way to Aberystwyth.

The mountains of Southern Snowdonia that form a stunning backdrop to the Coast Path in Ceredigion.

One of the beautiful estuaries that break up the coastline.
Bookings are proceeding nicely for Manaros, Glandwr and Edge of Wales Walk, so get in touch now to avoid disappointment! Our availability page is filling up but, as it happens, we do still have the Christmas period available up until the morning of the 27th. We are offering the 6 nights beginning Monday the 21st for £900. You can phone us to book this, or any other period of interest in Manaros or on the walking route on 01758 760652, or you can email us. You will be assured of a warm welcome!

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Great Weekend of Adventure

Visit Wales are organising a Great Weekend of Adventure on the 2nd and 3rd of April 2016 as part of their "Year of Adventure" activities. As part of this they are encouraging Welsh tourism businesses to offer special activities and offers on those dates.

We at Edge of Wales Walk have decided to run an Introduction to Geocaching here in Aberdaron. For those uninitiated into geocaching or "muggles" as they are otherwise known, Geocaching is a terrifically fun way to motivate kids to get out into the countryside by encouraging them to find hidden "treasure" using GPS technology. In reality the treasure chest is usually a Tupperware box containing little trinkets like key-rings and toys left by other players, but that certainly doesn't diminish the challenge and excitement of hunting for them. Traditionally on finding a cache you take something you like, but leave a new object behind of equal value for the next person, so there is a strong community and sharing aspect to the game.

To whet people's appetite for the game, we plan to create some new caches around the end of the peninsula and along the newly opened stretch of the Coast Path south of Rhiw, and invite people to be earn the prestigious title of "First to Find". We will also place some goodies of various sorts in the caches which early visitors will get to keep.

On the weekend itself we will be leading an introduction to geocaching event and will lend some of our GPS units to participants so they can try out hunting for the caches for themselves.

If you would like to participate then please get in touch with us by email at

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Aberdaron's Wild Weather makes the news again

Storm Barney has blasted its way across Britain, hot on the heels of Storm Abigail, and once again Aberdaron has made the evening news as one of the windiest places in Britain. Gusts of up to 85 miles per hour were recorded on Tuesday night. The wind is still strong, with choppy seas at the moment.

Fortunately we don't seem to have had any disruption to power supplies here, but sadly my tv aerial is currently dangling on its wire.

Aberdaron does seem to regularly make it into the list of windiest locations in these kind of storms, due no doubt to our exposed position at the end of a peninsula. But a bit of wind is a small price to pay for living in such a stunning area.

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Christmas is coming!

2015 has been a vintage year in Manaros with practically 100 per cent occupancy Easter through to Bonfire night. Twixmas and New year have also been sold. But mid November through to the day after Boxing Day is all vacant. This means that you could still come for a low cost break this Autumn or bring the whole family for Christmas. The house can be fully decorated, the local celebrations and religious activities are a joy to attend and both the Ty Newydd and the Ship Hotels will be offering fantastic meals. And we have all the kit for a great Christmas feast at Manaros. See for a 360 degree tour of the property and our availability page.

Our Autumn rates are £352 for a 3 night break, £416 for a 4 night break and £595 for a 7 night break. Our Christmas period begins on Saturday the 19th of December, and our rates are £589 for 3 nights, £732 for 4 nights and £1155 for 7 nights. If you would like to book please phone Peter or Simon on 01758 760 652.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Calling all sea lovers- or lovers of the sea!

Here is a chance for you to shape policy. Everyone likes walking by the sea. But, do we want to be looking out at wind farms, fish farms, waste dumps, oil rigs, gas pipelines and sewage farms? Well, now's the time to have your say. The Welsh Government is developing a Welsh National Marine Plan to ensure that any development on the Welsh coast or out to see happens in a sustainable way. To that end they are holding a number of drop in sessions around the country to invite Welsh citizens to share their views and concerns. These sessions are being held at the following locations and dates:

Flintshire - Friday 6th November, 3-7pm. Flint Library, Flint, CH6 5AP

Pembrokeshire - Monday 9th November, 3-7pm. Fishguard Bay Hotel, Goodwick, SA64 0BT

Swansea - Thursday 12th November, 3-7pm. Swansea Grand Theatre, Swansea, SA1 3QJ

Ceredigion - Monday 16th November, 3-7pm. Bellevue Royal Hotel, Aberystwyth, SY23 2BA

Gwynedd - Thursday 19th November, 3-7pm. Penrhyn Meeting Room, Reichel Building, Bangor University, Bangor, LL57 2TR

From the Welsh Government Press Release -

"If you have an interest in the Marine area, onshore or offshore, whether it's watersports, fishing, conservation, renewable energy or any other concern and want to have a say in how the Marine Plan is shaped, why not come along to one of the drop-in sessions being hosted around the country?"

If you would like more information then you can also follow this link to the Welsh Government website.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Fire on the Llŷn!

While driving around the end of the peninsula the other day, we noticed that there were quite a few plumes of thick smoke rising from the upper areas of Mynydd Rhiw and its surrounding hills.

Alarming as these may seem, they are actually a normal occurrence around this time of year and are actually a deliberate tool of land management.  These slopes are covered in a distinctive mix of heather, bracken and gorse, which supports a unique mix of wildlife. Without a regular programme of burning the heather would first become woody and over grown, and then eventually be replaced by more and more shrubs and trees until the land reverted to forest which is the default state or "climax vegetation" for the British Isles. While woodland is, of course, attractive and desirable in itself with its own different mix of wildlife, maintaining the heather heathland in this way brings a rich variety to the landscape and enables it to support more and different wild species than it otherwise would. The fires generally move quickly and burn out fast, which prevents the soil and roots of the heather being damaged so it can quickly send up new green shoots. Traditionally these shoots were encouraged to provide food for shooting birds such as grouse, although I don't know if much shooting for sport goes on around here these days.

Usually only small sections are burnt at a time, giving rise to the stripes and patches of growth often seen on upland slopes. This allows wildlife to escape from a burning area.

Friday, 23 October 2015

Another 15 minutes of fame for Porthor

You may remember seeing Porthor, or Whistling Sands beach featured on the BBC programme Coast a few years ago. This kind of thing is always good for the area as it raises public awareness of it as a possible holiday destination. So, when Peter and I were asked for some advice on what to film by a TV production company doing a feature on walking the Wales Coast Path we were more than happy to help out. The programme will be coming out next spring on Channel 4 and this will be one of several segments in the programme including walks in Dorset and Pembrokeshire, each visited by a different celebrity. In the Llŷn's case this was Ben Fogle, who brought his very friendly one year old labrador Storm along for the walk.

Ben and Storm

The crew and their mountains of heavy equipment.

Ben doing an establishing shot.
Approaching Whistling Sands with the cafe visible in the distance.

The weather was a bit temperamental, but fortunately stayed dry enough for them to film. The first stop was the eastern end of Porthor beach.

Luckily the sand was dry enough to make its famous "squeak" when walked on.
The crew planned to carry on to Mynydd Mawr to take shots of the classic view of Bardsey before walking north to Porth Meudwy to interview Colin Evans, the Bardsey Boatman and then to Aberdaron itself. We're very much looking forward to seeing some of the peninsula's spectacular scenery on screen next year.

Friday, 25 September 2015

Cardiff woman beats off global competition to be named Bardsey Island Manager | News

Cardiff woman beats off global competition to be named Bardsey Island Manager | News

 Those of you who know Aberdaron are aware of how important Bardsey Island is to the area. As an important site for pilgrimage in North Wales, visiting it forms a natural climax for many of our walkers' holidays. The strenuous (but hopefully very enjoyable) journey along the coast path is completed, and their reward is a boat journey to this beautiful and peaceful island, where the nearest thing to noise pollution is the sound of seals barking their greetings to one another.

Consequently, we're very glad to see that management of the island will continue to be in the hands of people who love it as much as everyone here. Sian Stacey, from Cardiff, first visited the island at age 10, and years later met her partner Mark there who now works at the Bird Observatory. Sian beat off competition from 300 other applicants to earn the post.

“Bardsey has always played a big part in my life and I’m honoured and excited to be a part of Bardsey’s life now." said Sian during an interview in the Daily Post.
“It’s such a beautiful, rugged, rich in wildlife, tiny island which is steeped in history, being able to experience these things every day will be a huge privilege.
“I’m looking forward to living on Bardsey and being part of the island community, meeting the people who visit and stay on the island and working hard to make sure that everybody enjoys all that Bardsey has to offer.”

Sian will begin her stewardship of the island this autumn. Croeso i Enlli Sian!

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Walking Opportunities in Conwy

Our customers spend most of their time on the Llŷn Coast Path and enjoy the delightful coastal scenery that it provides. However, visitors, especially overseas guests, are increasingly spending a few days in Snowdonia on their way home for a change of scenery and a chance to climb the iconic mount Snowdon. They also look for opportunities to meet local people as well as to follow local walking routes. I am glad to see that Conwy Council have again teamed up with the Conwy volunteers to provide an autumn walking programme that will enable our guests to fulfil all these requirements.

You can find a full programme of the upcoming walks here.

The walks are free, but a voluntary donation of £2 per person is much appreciated to help cover costs.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

A Tale of Two Gardens

I took the opportunity at the weekend to visit two gardens just north of Aberdaron. They were both excellent examples of different types of garden. The first was at Felin Uchaf, an organic garden with a heavy concentration of vegetables, but also some interesting garden designs and decorative structures.

Helen in the vegetable garden.

An insect hotel. This helps to encourage beneficial insects such as bumblebees in this organic garden.

Summer-house, Gazeebo or Folly? You decide.

A classic example of a cleft oak gate which they manufacture here.
The second garden was at Bodrydd right next door. This features a magnificent new-built farmhouse set in a garden given over largely to lakes, lawn and heather. It has a modern feel to it, partly due to the two dominating wind turbines which are part of this farm / caravan / fishing lake complex.

Some people object to these turbines, but in this setting they look quite sculptural.

A first class heather garden that looks particularly good in late summer.

The trout lake. Bring your fishing rod.

Escape from Hell's Mouth!

Porth Neigwl, or Hell's Mouth is a highlight of the Llyn Coast Path, and indeed the entire Wales Coast Path. A sandy beach stretching for almost 4 miles from Mynydd Rhiw to the Cilan Headland, it can be stunningly beautiful walk on a good day with a low tide. Unfortunately Mother Nature doesn't always make things easy, and access down to beach can be difficult from its western end. The cliffs at the northern side of the beach are made from glacial clay and are constantly eroded by the strong tides and waves that make the beach so attractive to surfers. The path that lead down from the western car park has now suffered severe slippage and getting up and down it can be a muddy scramble, as the campers we met the other day discovered.

These campers were trying to get back up to the site above. I would imagine that it would be even more unpleasant going downhill in wet weather.
Although there is an inland route for the Coast Path that can be used at high tide, its a shame not to include this magnificent beach in a walk around the coast if conditions allow. As it is such a highlight for our walkers, Peter and I set out to find a more permanent route down to its western extremity.

After parking at the new car park below Plas yn Rhiw we headed up towards the entrance. Opposite the entrance to the manor house there is a bridleway from the main road that runs past the stone out-buildings in the centre of the picture below, and then snakes its way down the hillside to a boat launching area at the western end of the beach.
The bridleway in front of the stone building with the black doors is not signposted but is still marked as a right of way on OS maps.
The path is steep but has a good surface.

After a hairpin bend, the path heads north to the beach.

The boathouse at the bottom of the track. Gorgeous location.

This is the slipway down to the beach.

As we continued east it became apparent why few walkers choose this route. The beach is covered with large, loose boulders here which makes picking your way through quite difficult. It's very easy to turn your ankle as the stones shift under your weight.

Watch your step!

As you continue east some sandy stretches appear. It was nice to finally be able to look up from our feet to enjoy the view!

Finally we were on firm sand. Because the tide covers most of the beach the sand stays wet and firm, making it easier to walk on than the very dry, soft sand found on some beaches.
Neither of us fancied scrambling up the muddy cliffs, so we went back the way we had come. Despite the danger and difficulty of walking over the large boulders at the western end, we think this could potentially make a good access route to the beach. Perhaps Gwynedd Council could send a bulldozer to clear a path through if they feel there is enough demand for it? We certainly hope so, as Porth Neigwl really is one of the most magnificent beaches you could ever hope to see, and it would be great if more people could enjoy it.

Upgrades to the Wales Coast Path

Gwynedd Council has recently improved the section of the path that runs through Rhiw at the western end of Hell's Mouth. The path now takes a more direct route from the Penarfynydd Headland to Plas yn Rhiw and cuts out some steep sections that were particularly tiring.

The new route is highlighted in red above, and the old route in green. Going from south west to north east, the steep climb from Pen yr ogof to the main road in the centre of Rhiw has been replaced with a downhill section that then flattens out into a walk through a very pleasant wooded area. It then crosses the main road at a much lower elevation at the entrance to Plas yn Rhiw, enabling walkers to visit the house, gardens and tea room before moving on to Hell's Mouth. Peter and I walked this route the other day in the opposite direction from the new car park below Plas yn Rhiw.

New path furniture has been installed along with plenty of signage. This is the kissing gate opposite the entrance to Plas yn Rhiw.

The path then heads downhill across an open field to the corner of the woods beyond.

Views of Hell's Mouth and the Cilan headland are everywhere along this path.

A new and well-built wooden bridge crosses the gully at the edge of the wood.

This is a very pleasant deciduous woodland that provides some welcome shade on a hot day. This is a bluebell wood so it should be magnificent in the springtime.

Another new gate leading out of the woods. Gwynedd Council have clearly invested a lot of time and effort into improving the path here.

The path then climbs quite steeply up through the bracken to the Penarfynydd Headland.

This is looking back the way we came from the point at which the new path rejoins the old one. 
All in all, we were both very impressed with the changes made, as it made the walk from west to east much less strenuous, and provided a nice change of scenery with the woodland. It's well worth taking a stroll here if you are in the area.