Thursday, 21 January 2016

It doesn't get much better...

The weather has been brilliant today. A frosty start but wall to wall sunshine and clear views. The entire staff of Edge of Wales Walk went out to test the new sections of the Wales Coast Path to the east of Aberdaron.

We started from the valley beyond Llanfaelrhys church with the intention of walking to the coast and then heading back to the office in Aberdaron. We started with a walk along the stream past the manganese mines. These were very active during the First World War. See following blog.

On reaching the sea the landscape opens up dramatically with coastal views to the left and right. We headed west over the bridge (don't be tempted to cross the stream before this point, keep to the east of the stream.)

Walkers now have the opportunity of walking down to Porth Ysgo beach itself. There is a very good, but extremely steep, wooden staircase that enables you to do this. I wouldn't try it with a push chair! There is a lot of driftwood here and some sand. There is also a beautiful waterfall. Views towards Bardsey are enticing.

There are just enough signs to get by. Look out for the wooden posts with a white painted top and the blue and yellow seashell logo of the Wales Coast Path. Beware of walking on past one of the new black kissing gates. If you find a kissing gate then it's a pretty good bet that you are meant to go through it.
This is a photo looking back eastward. The long flat topped hill in the distance is Penarfynydd; which translates to Head or End (Pen) of the (ar) Mountain (mynydd, mutated to fynydd).

Here is the rock known as Maen Gwenonwy. It has been said that this rock (Maen) was named after Queen Guinevere, wife of the (legendary?) King Arthur who fought Mordred at the battle of Camlan, which is supposed to have taken place nearby, at a farm now called Cadlan. The wounded King Arthur was then taken to Bardsey Island, (perhaps Avalon) for medical attention before (possibly) sailing off to run the kingdom of Brittany. Place name evidence has its limitations!

Congratulations to the WCP team for the high quality fittings on this route. The gates are excellent and all the gorse on the path itself has been removed.

One of the treats on the walk is to come across ponies who do a good job keeping down the grass and bracken. In summer this is also a good stop to see the dolphins, chough and cormorants. Today we saw the snow capped peak of Cadair Idris in the distance.

Most of the walk is not too demanding. With all of the wet weather we have had there were a few muddy sections, but generally the path is in good shape and a real effort has been made to cut back the vegetation.

The path rounds Penrhyn Mawr (the headland to the east of Aberdaron) and comes out on the cliffs above Aberdaron beach. It would have been nice to have been able to walk down to the beach and approach Aberdaron from the seashore, but these cliffs are unstable and it would require a ladder worthy of St. Jacob himself.

The path heads inland towards Morfa Mawr farm, where you have the option of walking back to Aberdaron along the tarmac lane or heading down into the Daron valley (see following blog).

This is a fine path and, together with the weather, made for an unforgettable day. The WCP team and Gwynedd Council deserve a big thanks for all their hard work in creating and maintaining this path.