83. Borth to Machynlleth

Quite an easy day with only a short 60 mile drive to Machynlleth where I parked in the rail station car park. It was still dark when I caught the 06:47 train to Borth. I knew today I would have a fair bit of tarmac to walk over, but with the weather being still and dry I did not mind. I arrived in Borth and made my way down to the sea wall. Although It was just getting light I wore my flashing strobe head torch.

 

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Looking across to Aberdyfi

The official Wales Coast Pat cuts inland almost straight from the rail station, but I had decided to walk along the sea wall then along the beach to round Ynyslas, which is where the official Ceredigion Path starts/finishes. The tip of Ynyslas is actually only 800m from away from Aberdyfi, with the Afon Dyfi providing the barrier that has necessitated the inland diversion.

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The remote Dovey Junction station

After passing a boat building yard I was back on the B4353 which I stayed on until I reached the A487 and the village of Tre’Ddol. The next 5 miles was through fields and upland tracks which gave a elevated view of the Dyfi valley and views back towards Aberdyfi.

 

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The clock in Machynlleth

When I reached the Llyfnant Valley I opted to turn left and head for a country lane down towards the main road at Derwenlas, which had a good footpath all the way to Machynlleth. I arrived back at the car some 5.25 hours after starting out from Borth.

Distance today = 15 miles
Total distance =   1258 miles

 

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82. Aberdyfi to Machynlleth

This was to be a rather short day with a relatively meagre 12 miles to walk between Aberdyfi and Machynlleth. I parked my car in the Machynlleth railway station car park, like most mid and North Wales rail stations it’s free to park if you are a train user. I used my Senior railcard to purchase a discounted ticket to Aberdyfi at a cost of £2.90. The rail card has saved me quite a bit on a number of trips so far around the WCP; it cost £15 (bought with Tesco vouchers) and I get a third off.

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Lonely road above Cwm Maethlon

It was dark when the 6:43 train left Machynlleth and only takes about 18 minutes to reach Aberdyfi. By 07:05 I required my head torch as it was still quite dark. The two things about this section  of the walk is that, not only do you walk away from the estuary but you also climb quite high. Nobody, if they followed your route would imagine that you are walking the Coastal path, but there is a good reason, the estuary road has few if any footpaths, with no verges.

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Looking south towards Borth across the Dovey estuary

I climbed high above Aberdyfi and the next  three miles was a delight, walking high along a small quiet tarmac road along Tyddynbriddell Hill    with commanding views down into Cwm Maetholon. I caught a glimpse down into the Dovey estuary with the lights of Borth twinkling in the distance.

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Looking towards Tarrenhendre and Tarren y Gesail

I was also afforded ever increasing views of Tarrenhendre and Tarren y Gesail, both displaying traces of alpenglow before the sun eventually rose. I had previously climbed these two hills on two seperate occassions some 6 and 8 years previously. They are both classified as HEWITTS (Hills in England, Wales and Ireland above Two-Thoousand feet).

The path eventually dropped down to the A493 and detoured off to the east. I donned my hi-vis vest and decided I would keep on the main road, there was no footpath, but the road was quiet. I passed through the small villages of Cwrt (pronounced  Curt) and Pennal.

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Looking down on Machynlleth

At Pennal, the path climbed up high again following forestry tracks, before emerging high above Machynlleth, where a steep descent brought me to the bridge over the river Dovey and the short walk to the railway station.

I managed the 12 mile walk in 4.25hrs

 

Distance today = 12 miles
Total distance =   1243 miles

81. Fairbourne to Aberdyfi

I had spotted a potential  weather window between some the recurring storms, the forecast looked good with sunshine and low wind speeds.

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Looking down to Fairbourne and Barmouth (r)

I drove very early to Aberdyfi Station were I parked the car, it was pouring down, but I believed in the forecast that it would stop before I started walking. I caught the 07:02 train to Fairbourne. The conductor was not with it and gave me a ticket from Tywyn to Fairbourne and only charged me £2.65. I questioned it but he told me not to worry about it!! Result. The mornings were beginning to slightly draw out which although it was not quite light yet, i did not need my headtorch.

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Upland tracks and green lanes

I Followed the path along the seafront art Fairbourne before looping back to climb high above the Tywyn road. I passed through a disused quarry. It was steep climbing to gain the height but the views down to Fairbourne, Barmouth, up towards  Porthmadog and all along the Lleyn Peninsular were spectacular. Unfortunately, my camera did not capture this vista that well. The high route was due to the main road, the A493 not having footpaths or a verge. The path dropped down to the sleepy village of Llangwngril, before re-ascending up a steep road, which ascended and descended, twisted and turned, making me very frustrated, so with the main road in sight again I decided to don the hi-vis vest and take my chances on the main road.

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The eloquent footbridge over the Afon Dysynni

The next 3 miles were basically climbing up onto walls, criss-crossing the road so that traffic could see me and really getting a move-on! I had a couple of instances where traffic from opposite direction met me, which was interesting! I would not advise it though, as there’s always a boy-racer about or somebody reading their texts!

I was pleased to get off the main road and join up with the path again along a quiet road that ran alongside the railway. The recently built footbridge across the Afon Dysynni was quite impressive and led along a road that took me straight into Tywyn.

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The snow-capped peaks of Cadair Idris

The seafront at Tywyn had seen better days, but the view out from the promenade stretched from Bardsey Island to Strumble Head and was magnificent, with the coastline of Ceredigion and Pembroke on show. The sea vista was also not the view on show, to the east the snow-capped peaks of Cadair Idris and Tarrenhendre were cloud free. The final few miles into Aberdyfi was easy walking along the golf course and then onto the beach, before skirting inland to pass underneath the railway line.

I made reasonable time in doing the 16 miles in 5.5hrs

Distance today = 16 miles
Total distance =   1231 miles

 

80. Llanbedr to Fairbourne

Well, yet again the weather forecasters got it wrong, well for the first half of the day anyway. It poured down with rain as I drove very early to Fairbourne railway station where I parked my car. I caught  the 7:30 train to Llanbedr which cost me £2.95.

The WCP passes right past Llanbedr railway stop (hardly a station!) so I immediatley carried on from my previous trip. Unfortunately, the weather was not playing ball and for the next 2 hours it continued to rain with hale and sleet thrown in. This first part of the walk was along roads which skirted the perimeter of the old Llanbedr airfield now used as industrial offices and with a  local flying Club. The path was winding its way out to Shell Island (if you ever go there you will realise how it got it’s name!) and the promise of some beach walking.

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The Three Alpacas

When I eventually hit the beach I was fortunate to have the wind at my back, so I literally sail-boated in a southerly direction for three miles. However, there was a river crossing coming up and that necessitated an inland diversion to Talybont and a bridging point. It was quite tough following the way signs and cross-referencing with the map, it was bitterly cold and my fingers were feeling it!

Some of the fields, particularly the ones with cattle in were an absolute quagmire to cross. However, an encounter lightened my mood as I continued to  plough through this diversion. Have you ever got that feeling when you you are walking that something is behind you? Well I had just crossed this small field and was about to go through a gate, when I had this feeling that something was behind me. Well imagine my surprise when I was confronted by three alpacas. They had followed me silently across the field and were about 2 metres away. It was quite funny because I had watched, about two days previously, the Aardman production of Shaun the Sheep: The Farmers Llamas which was very funny. Anyhow it cheered me up.

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Dolphin statue Barmouth

Eventually, I reached the  main road which meant pavement walking all the way into Barmouth. I was rewarded by the elevated road looking back and seeing the whole of the Lleyn penisinular, including Bardsey island.

 

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Looking across to Morfa Mawddach

I passed through Barmouth and crossed the Mawddach Estuary over Barmouth Bridge via the wooden planked footpath (which also allows motorcycles strangely!). As I was crossing the bridge a train was coming in the opposite direction. The views up to a snow covered Cadair idris were amazing. The sun eventually came out  as I walked into Fairbourne completing the 16 miles in 4.5hrs.

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The Fairbourne narrow gauge railway

Distance today = 16 miles
Total distance =   1215 miles

 

79. Porthmadog to Llanbedr

The first walk of 2016!!

The weather forecast, again, was miles off, forecasting cloud, but instead it rained heavily for most of the walk. This was a very early start and required me to drive to Llanbedr and park in the free car park just outside the village. It was pouring down as I made my way into the village to catch the 06:38  #38 bus to the Oakley Arms, Tan-y-Bwlch then the no. 1B bus to Porthmadog. Both buses were very busy, as there was a train drivers strike on Arriva Wales.

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Looking back to Porthmadog from Penryhn -Isaf

I set off from Porthmadog in the dark walking along the sea-wall. Visibility was ok and it improved as the morning wore on, but still raining most of the time. I walked around Port Merion, but not the actual “Village”. For those who have never visited Port Merion it is well worth a visit. I remember watching “The Prisoner” as a child, where the series was filmed.

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The Snowdonia National Park HQ in Minffordd

I walked down the main road into Minfordd then into Penryhdeudraeth before taking the upgraded road out past the small train request stop at Llandecwyn. The path continued out towards Morfa Harlech on a levee, which unfortunately cattle had been using; so I therefore jumped down and walked along a rough track on the shore side.

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Looking across to Port Merion

Before coming out of Morfa Harlech, I took a wrong turn, I heard some shouting and the farmer was pointing in a different direction, I retraced my steps and found a partially obscure sign. I opted for a more direct route which did not take me into Harlech itself, but headed straight through the golf course. Although the ground was very wet, I was not greatly hindered by flooding.

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Looking back at a very gloomy Morfa Harlech

The final mile saw the rain beating down on me again, but my new Scarpa boots held up really well, both in comfort and dry feet. I made excellent time for the 16 miles taking 4hrs 50 mins.

 

 

 

Distance today = 16 miles
Total distance =   1199 miles