CEREDIGION COAST PATH
Our final day found us back at the car park at Aberystwyth. This is a section of two distinct halves with Aberystwyth to Borth being a challenging yet popular section while the section between Borth and Ynys-las is completely flat. The path here leaves the bridge in the town centre, through the yard of a pub and back to complete the circumnavigation of the harbour before emerging onto the promenade the railings and shelters of which were in the process of being painted. In spite of a gloomy forecast, the sun was shining although visibility was rather poor.
We reached the base of the cliff and started the first climb of the day on this final section (rated as HARD by the guide books). Our path took us up alongside the cliff railway which we passed over twice.
The cliff railway at Aberstywth
We reached the top and continued on what has been described as an exhilarating and tough section of the coast path. Not the word I would have used as it was quite uppy and downy in a big way all the way to Borth. It was also quite busy with other walkers.
Near Ty Mawr
Perhaps one of the most remarkable features on the coast is the Sarn Cynfelyn ridge a glacial moraine left by receding ice sheets at the end of the last ice age forming a causeway which stretches out to sea for 6 or 7 miles at Wallog and just before a pretty steep climb.
The Sarn Cynfelin ridge
Craig y Delyn
The distant war memorial overlooking Borth
We eventually reached Borth and made the descent onto the sands. About Borth? Less said, but there is a huge amount of work going on adding new sea defences to prevent flooding. Personally I think it might be kinder to let mother nature reclaim the land.
The coast path at Borth strangely dives inland and runs parallel with the road about half a mile or so away from the sea. Being brave soldiers, and as the tide couldn't have been more out if it tried, we walked the 3 miles along the sands and at the appropriate (thank you Garmin) we crossed through the dunes and found Mike's car.
Looking down into Borth Ynyslas can be seen in the far distance
Mike Beryl & Geri setting off for Borth
The final long stretch along the 3 mile length of Borth sands
Just 10.5 miles today making a total for the 5 days of 51.44 miles. Geri & I would like to thank Mike and Beryl for the pleasure of their company and hope we can do it next year.
Ynyslas at the end of the coast path
Day 4 and what a contrast to yesterday - starting out dull and overcast we left Llanrhystud and headed through the Pencarreg Caravan Park and made our way upwards. This stretch of the coast path is quite a challenge and the ups always seem to be much longer than the downs. Fortunately a cold wind from the north kept us cool as we went along. This is one of the least walked sections of the Ceredigion Coast Path and despite being challenging this section of coast is dramatic, lonely and extremely worthwhile.
Looking back towards the caravan site at Llanrhystud
Beryl & Geri climbing out of Llanrhystud
Still climbing - we did a lot of that
This part of the coast path is quite remote and is dotted with abandoned farm buildings and other dwellings some of which appeared to be in the process of being brought back to life.
One of the brand new kissing gates along this stretch
The top of another hill with great views
A natural arch formed by windswept trees near to Ffos-las
By-passing the derelict and ramshackle remnants of the farm at Ffos-las we carry on eventually coming to the final peak overlooking Aberystyth. We made the final steep descent and walked along the beach into the largest town in Ceredigion.
Panorama of Aberystyth
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Dropping down into Aberystwyth
The harbour at Aberystwyth
We passed through the harbour area to a town centre car park where we called it a day having completed 9.8 miles.
Day 3 dawned with bright sunshine and clear blue skies. This was to be the easiest section of the coast path and we started off from the quayside at New Quay walking along the beach; clambering over rocks and in some cases falling over!
We headed away from New Quay (sea on the left) and cut inland at the eastern point and made the gentle grass covered and shady ascent at Craig Ddu.
New Quay Bay
Cei-Bach - inland east of New Quay
Craig Ddu and the gentle ascent
As we approached the meandering Afon Drywi which carves some interesting topography before becoming a waterfall that plunges onto an inaccessible beach, there was a slippery slope that unfortunately caught Beryl out and as a consequence a bit of kit rearrangement was called for - fortunately no damage done.
Our next port of call was the holiday village at Gilfach-y-Halen. This place was formerly a dairy farm and today, pre-season was just about deserted with still signs of building works going on in preparation for the forthcoming season.
Gilfach-y-Halen holiday village
We were now heading for the colourful Georgian town of Aberaeron and the promise of an ice cream. We made the gentle descent into the town and walked around the delightful harbour.
First sight of Aberaron
The outer harbour at Aberaeron
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It was now really warm in the sun and we eventually found the recommended ice cream shop. Only Mike abstained so the three of us settled down on a bench seat and indulged ourselves. It has to be said the the chocolate ice cream (double of course) was delicious but at £3.75 I question value for money - maybe the single scoop at £2.00 would have been a better choice? Nope - I'd do the same again.
Inner harbour at Aberaeron
Reluctantly we left Aberaeron and headed along the path to Aberarth, one of the earliest settlements on this coast.
Aberarth - the mouth of the River Bear
Leaving Aberarth we climbed up onto the cliffs once again and headed towards Llannon. Encouraged by the weather and the gentleness of the day's walk, we decided not to stop here but to press on to Llanrhystud. The coast path here goes inland to the A487 and then back out again, but at low tide a short if slightly uncomfortable walk along the shingle beach brings you back onto the path with a saving of more than a mile
This shortcut along the beach saved an unnecessary walk inland and out again
St Non's church at Lnansanffraid
Passing the church at Lnansanffraid we joined an old pilgrim road and headed across a number of fields towards a group of four old limekilns, now an ancient monument site and which is managed by theWildlife Trust of West Wales.
The path continued easily across low lying fields until a coast car park at Llanrhystud marked the end of day 3 but not before a flooded area of low lying fields had Mike and Beryl grabbing for their binoculars again to identify the wading birds there - a small flock of Sanderlings were busy on this temporary lake together with a few ducks and gulls. A good day for us with 13 miles completed.
2 and having been dropped off at our start point we climbed up and out of Llangrannog.
Out of Llangrannog and on our way
We were heading for a peninsula at the tip of which was an island Ynys-Lochtyn.
Ynys-Lochtyn from the south west
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Leaving Ynys-Lochtyn we keep heading east and eventually arrive at the top of the (currently deserted) dry ski slope at Urdd Centre
Top of the dry ski slope at Urdd Centre
Guess which way the prevailing wind blows!
We came to a small headland called Trwyn Crou and spotted a ladder propped rather precariously against the stone face and not particularly inviting to go and explore.
The steep sided gorge at Trwyn Crou
This stretch of the coastline is a paradise for bird lovers. Stonechats galore, choughs, whitethroats and wheatears are commonplace as well as the numerous herring gulls and a rare glimpse of the lesser black-backed gull. Mike and Beryl found to their frustration that the bird that just sat looking calmly at us vanished in a wink of an eye as their binoculars came up to their eyes
Now where's it gone? Missed it again!!
We eventually arrived at the National Trust owned tiny habitation of Cwmtydu - most of which was closed until the summer, and so we passed on through to the shoreline, passing the old lime kiln near the beach and climbed up and onto the cliff tops once again and heading towards New Quay.
The lime kilns at Cwymtydu
Folded rock formation at Cwymtydu
This section is an excellent area to view coastal geology with some extreme examples of folded rock formations being clearly visible. It later runs past the former coastguard lookout at Birds Rock which is a great area for spotting both marine wildlife and seabirds.
A peaceful looking bay east of Cwymtydu
Coybal looking east towards Carreg Draenog
Near to the lookout building at Newquay
Eventually we paused at the top of the hill above New Quay. Mike decided to inspect Birds Rock and I pushed my way through a thicket to join him. However my rucksack caught on a branch which spun me round and to avoid falling I had to step rapidly round and found myself back on the path where Beryl tried hard not to burst out laughing at my antics and my sudden reappearance. Finally we took the long gentle descent to the information centre in New Quay. End of day 2 and a short one having walked 8.3 miles on this stretch.
The 1st day of our 2012 coast path walk. This year, as the Ceredigion Coast Path is now (almost) completely open, we thought it would be a jolly good wheeze to give it a go. As the initial part of the path is still subject to a legal dispute between council and a local farmer (having already lost 2 appeals) we made our start point Mwnt - a name that my Sat Nav failed to articulate at all pronouncing it 'Emm-Doubleyou-En-Tee' - stupid woman!
It started cloudy with a hint of drizzle in the air which was short lived as we set off from the National Trust Car Park. Right from the outset Mike gave sage words of warning "Keep the sea to your left" which to be fair we managed to adhere to for about 95% of the time.
The delightful white-washed church at Mwnt
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A brief visit to the church believed to commemorate a battle in 1155 near here between the Welsh & the Norman Flemings was in order before we set off on our walk northwards. Very soon our first choughs were to be seen flashing in and out of the gaps in the cliffs (to our left of course). This part of the coastal path is quite new and a lot of effort has been made by local walking groups to have the work complete.
Choughs were whizzing in and out of this cleft
Traeth Bach & Llyn Ysgaw (no idea which is which)
Traeth y Gwyrddon looking west back along the path
Ahead in the distance the headland that is the home of the Qinetiq (Defence Evaluation and Research Agency) establishment at Aberporth. As we got closer our attention was taken by a cautionary sign attached to a fence surrounding an outpost of the Aberporth establishment. Quite what we were expected to do is beyond me but for safety's sake I put on my hat!
..right. Now what?
The path leaves the coast to avoid the DERA site and after passing through Aberporth we were once again back on the coast. Leaving Aberporth behind us we walked along a very pleasant stretch of 'made up' footpath heading for Tresaith.
The eastern bay at Aberporth
Old railway carriage beautifully converted to a holiday home near Aberporth
Then further along the coast we passed through the tiny hamlet of Penbryn before the final few miles to the end of day 1 at Llangrannog. This is one of the toughest sections of the Ceredigion Coast Path.
The bay at Carreg y Nodwydd
Carreg Dol-y-fran & Pen-rhip
We then headed off to our B&B for the next 4 nights having completed 10.3 miles. A word about our accommodation. Oak Lodge is in Gilfachreda just outside New Quay
Our B&B - Oak Lodge
The accommodation is quite splendid and the food is totally scrummy. We can highly recommend this as a location for exploring the Ceredigion Coast Path for walkers - have a look at their Walkers deals - B&B, evening meal, packed lunch plus a lunch box for your walk. Really hard to resist.