66. Cemlyn Bay to Amlwch Port

I chose to do this section primarily due to the absence of any reasonable public transport further along the route. So this was quite a short walk of 13 miles.

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Y Wylfa nuclear power station

I drove to Amlwch and parked close to the bus stop in Amlwch (pronounced Am-Luck, with ch as in the Scottish loch). I caught the 6:55 #61 Arriva bus which dropped me off at the Douglas Inn, Tregele. I was then faced with a 1.5 mile walk down a quite road to Cemlyn Bay. Not long after getting off the bus, I was amazed to see number of demolished and fenced-off properties. Apparently, this was the doing of the nearby Y Wylfa power Station, for “Research” purposes or something like that. It all looked a bit of a mess really and I don’t think the locals were best pleased with this decimation.

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The chapel and graveyard at Tyn’n-llan

Soon after leaving Cemlyn Bay, Y Wylfa dominated the skyline for the next 5 or 6 miles. The footpath is poorly signposted around the power station and eventually leads you to the nearby town of Cemaes Bay. Quite early on my legs were feeling rather tired, its not the weather ( which quite cool and overcast) or the terrain. The tiredness disappears soon after. It is very quiet in Cemaes Bay, with very few people about.

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The old porcelain works at Llanlleiana

About a mile outside of Cemaes Bay, I passed the small chapel and graveyard of Tyn’n-llan which is virtually on the path. A number of ‘up’ and ‘downs’, which are a bit of a shock after all the level walking, as I pass the ruins of the old porcelain works at Llanlleiana and a mile further on the old brickworks at Porth Wen, both relics of a once busy industry.

Eventually I came to Bull Bay (Porth Llechog) which does not seem to have much, do or see, just seaside houses.

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Andy Whitfield as Spartacus

As I approach Amlwch Port I think of the actor Andy Whitfield, who was born in Amlwch and played Spartacus in the popular satellite TV series. Although, not to everybody’s taste, it was a series that I watched and enjoyed. The sad tale here is that at just 39 Andy was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin Lymphoma and died in 2011. He left a wife and two children. His parents still live in Bull Bay today.

I am had a bit of a scare entering Amlwch, as I had dropped my specs and hurridly retraced my footsteps some 400m back along the path to find them!

I managed the  13 miles in a leisurely 4.25hrs

Distance today = 13 miles
Total distance =   992 miles

65. Llanddona to Amlwch Port

I knew this was going to be a tough day, not only because of the distance, but the weather forecast was for high temperatures.

I had to use Menai Bridge as my Point C as there is no direct bus service between my two walk points. I drove early to Menai Bridge and parked close to the bus terminus. I caught the #53 bus to Llanddona and walked 2 miles out towards  Brwdd Arthur where I rejoined the WCP.

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Stranded vehicle

As I walked along Red Wharf Bay, the going was easy and flat. The sun had yet to rise high in the sky, so it just lovely and cool, but sunny. The path made use of a small concrete seawall which had a handrail for short section.

As I came to Red Wharf Bay I could hear a car alarm going off. The alarm was incessant and I could just make a car out in the bay, up to its axles! I spoke to a dog walker who told me  that it was abandoned overnight by some clowns who got stuck… instant karma!

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Vintage car advertising The Ship Inn at Red Wharf Bay

I continued to walk along the beach to Red Wharf Bay itself and continued to Benllech and then moved onto Moelfre. Just outside Moelfre is a memorial to the steam clipper Royal Charter which foundered on the rocks just a hundred yards away in 1859 with the loss of 400 lives.

There is a lovely beach at  Traeth Lligwy and this is where I found the second outdoor painting by Anthony Garratt. To be quite honest I could not see any difference between this one and the one I saw at Penmon Point. I never did see the remaining two paintings on my journey around Anglesey.

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The Isle of Anglesey Coastal Path sign

The sun had risen in the sky and it was getting very warm. As I made the inland detour of Traeth Dulas towards the A5025 I was flagging. Fortunately, a pub was on the coast path, The Pilot Boat Inn. I decided to get some respite from the hot sun and get myself a nice pint of shandy. Knowing that perhaps two shandies was not a good idea I asked for a pint of orange squash, which the young girl did not charge me for! Perhaps she felt sorry for me?

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The Pont Lynas lighthouse

I  went slightly off route around the Bodagon Estate which had a large inland diversion. When I emerged back at the coast the geology had changed to something more akin to North Cornwall, with more ups and downs and rougher  terrain which meant I started to slow up. I was glad to finally pass the Pont Lynas lighthouse as I knew Amlwch Port was not far away. The port at Amlwch has seen much better days, but was very busy in its heyday. My bus did not go for another hour so I had another pint of bitter shandy in the Adelphi Arms.  I caught the #62 bus back to Menai Bridge. About 22 miles in 7.25 hours.

Distance today = 21.5 miles
Total distance =   979 miles

64. Llanddona to Bangor

My first section on  Anglesey which would see me returning for a number of trips covering some 132 miles of the WCP.

I drove very early to Bangor and parked in a free car park near the Beach road. I then walked into the town to catch the #53 bus at 6:07 to Llanddona. Llandona is not on the WCP and required two miles of road walking to get to the WCP. I asked to be dropped off at corner just before the bus turned around. The driver was a miserable old git, which I put down down to the early hour of the morning!

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Black Point Toll by Anthony Garratt

My actual WCP part of the walk started at Bwrdd Arthur, which offered great views back across to the Great Orme and further north-west up the coast to Benllech. The path stayed more or less inland all the way to Penmon Point, where I visited the Pilot House and observed some artwork. The painting on display was by an artist called Anthony Garratt whose ” Outdoor Gallery” would display 4 paintings made outdoors at different sites across Anglesey. The painting would be removed at the end of October.

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Penmon Dovecote

The majority of the route back along the southern shore of Anglesey was on tarmac. I passed trough Penmon Priory and had a look in the Dovecote.

I managed to walk along most of the foreshore towards Beaumaris, which was quite muddy in places. Beaumaris was quite a charming little town, with impressive castle ruins and a number of colourful but quaint shops.

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Colourfully decorated bicycle

Upon reaching the edge of the town, the WCP was diverted up a parallel side road which continued virtually all the way to Menai Bridge (which is also known as Porthaethwy). The diversion was due to a number of sections of the road having no footpath or verge to escape traffic. It is a occurrence that will occur many more times on this path.

On reachingMenai Bridge the path diverted down to the small piers where the Oceanographic research boats are tied up.  I was soon walking below the Menai Bridge itself and what a wonderful structure it is!! Almost 200 hundred years old and still carrying traffic. A fantastic piece of engineering.

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The iconic Menai Bridge

I cross the bridge and walk back towards Bangor. I walked past Bangor City FC footbal ground and then through a nature reserve which had a bewildering path structure with continuous up and down steps of 6 steps or more. I took 5.5hrs to walk the 17 miles.

Distance today = 17 miles
Total distance =   957.5 miles

63. Conwy to Bangor

Today I would be continuing on from where I completed a short section of the WCP some 2 years previously as part of a charity walk.

I parked in Bangor at a free car park off Beach Raod and walked back into town to the railway station. I caught the 08:02 to Conwy and as this was a request stop I had to ensure the conductor knew I wished to alight there (I had had already bought my ticket at Bangor). The train was bang on time and by 8:20 I was walking towards Conwy Castle.

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Conwy Castle

The weather this morning was beautiful and sunny, with hardly a breath of wind. I walked along the quay, passing a house reputed to be the smallest in Britain. Also known as Quay House, it was lived in until 1900.

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Quay House

I pass a new built marina development, before crossing the A55 for what will be the first of many times today. The path swings out towards the Conwy estuary before turning west following Conwy golf course before re-joining the A55. The A55 or North Wales Expressway, will be with me for most of my journey today. Where I re-join the A55 the road passes through its second tunnel, (the first was under the Conwy River). This second tunnel, called Penmaenbach, is a wonderful piece of engineering, where road, rail and footpath vie for space around the rocky headland, that juts out right to the sea. The west bound carrigeway has its own double lane tunnel, while the east-bound route clings to a rocky ledge together with the WCP. The railway has its own tunnel. The whole process is replicated a few miles up the road at the third tunnel, the Pen-y-Clip.

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Looking east along the A55 from Penmaenmawr

I proceed around Penmaenbach and carry onto Penmaenmawr where the WCP crosses and re-crosses and crosses again the A55 by a complex series of bridges. I emerge around the headland of Pen-y-Clip and head down into Llanfairfechan. Anglesey, meanwhile, has got considerably closer and I can make out the small town of Beaumaris just across the Menai Strait.

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The Pen y Clip tunnel

After Llanfairfechan the path gradually moves away from the A55 and it is nice to have a bit of piece and quiet. At Aber Ogwen the WCP makes a large inland detour to get around the National Trust property of Penrhyn Castle. I will not get back onto the coast until I enter Bangor and I feel rather aggrieved that the NT does not allow the path to follow the shoreline……I am a member you know! The walk around Penryhn is made easier by the availability of some lovely tasting roadside blackberries. I rejoin a main raod into Bangor, which has a good footpath

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Rock anchors , with sensors attached

I complete the 18 miles in 5 hours.

 

 

 

 

Distance today = 18 miles
Total distance =   940.5 miles

62. Rhos on Sea to Llandudno Junction

Quite a shortish walk today, while trying to take-up from where I deviated inland on my charity walk which involved a complete tour around the periphery of Great Orme.

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The view towards Llandudno and Great Orme from Little Orme

I parked up in Llandudno Junction and caught the 7:18 bus to Rhos on Sea. The driver was a bit unsure of the route, but we managed to get where I needed to be and I began walking at 7:50 on a beautiful summers morning. I started opposite Rhos on Sea Golf course and continued along the promenade towards an housing estate. These houses sit below The Little Orme, the little brother to Great Orme. Although, the WCP goes over Little Orme, it did not visit the summit. With only a small deviation I opted to climb through the old quarry workings to get to the top at 141m. The view was well worth the effort with great vista down to Llandudno and the Great Orme and Anglesey. I descended down steep slopes and back-tracked a bit to get on the road. The remainder of the walk would now be totally on tarmac.

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The Toll Road

I followed the promenade along to the peer. I noticed a number of statues depicting Alice in Wonderland characters. Apparently, there is no concrete evidence that Lewis Carroll ever visited the town and the association seems rather contrived.

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Feral Goat

I was looking forward to the next section which involved taking the Toll Road (aka Marine Drive/ Happy Valley) around the outside of the Great Orme. Although the toll is still charged for those with vehicles, pedestrians can walk free. The bulk of the Great Orme is made up of Carboniferous Limestone, which exhibits fantastic bedding structures and fossil remains. The road clings close to the cliffs and gives the place a feeling of a corniche in the south of France. I pass a few white feral goats, they seem oblivious to my presence. This perimeter around the Orme operates on an anti-clockwise one-way system. About half-way to the Great Ormes Head, another road descends from the summit, through twisty zig-zags. The traffic is very light at this time of the morning, so I can relax and enjoy the views out to Liverpool Bay.

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Great Orme’s Head

At Great Orme’s Head there is a lighthouse and a cafe – The Rest and Be Thankful. The cliffs at this point are very dramatic and host a number of bird colonies. I can now see across to Anglesey, with Puffin Island in the foreground. I can also make out Bangor in the far distance. The road and footpath begin to descend slowly with views now opening up towards Conwy,  I can just make out the Castle.

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Looking towards Conwy Castle from Deganwy

I pass a shelter with a bench inside. The shelter has been built in memory of a young lad, Blair Gow (aged 16) who died while walking in the Welsh mountains. There are some poignant words on the wall in the shelter. I do not linger as the stench of stale urine, seems to desecrate the place.

The path moves down to Deganwy and follows the estuary close to the railway line back to Llandudno Junction. I take a leisurely 4 hrs to cover the  13 miles.

Distance today = 13 miles
Total distance =   922.5 miles

61. Prestatyn to Abergele

A very short walk today, as I needed to tie in with my Charity walk the previous year. I decided to bring one of my three dogs along, Kiefer-Slash, (the wife named him thus), he’s a sort of Spaniel cross. He had never been to the seaside before, so I was wandering how he would react. He stayed on the lead virtually the whole walk.

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Kiefer-Slash in Prestatyn

The walk in a nutshell was simply walking along a long promenade linking the two towns. We had views out to the gas fields offshore. This whole part of the North Wales coast I find really ‘tacky’ and run-down. I can find no redeeming features about the place other than it is flat and has good transport links.

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The Rhyl Lifeboat being pulled ashore

We drove to and parked at Abergele & Pensarn station. We then caught the train for the 8 minute ride to Prestatyn. Kiefer was excellent on the train.

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The Pont y Ddraig at Rhyl

We walked down the main street towards the beach. Kiefer did not know what to make of the small waves lapping on the shore. He was also very wary of seaweed for some reason. The rest of the walk was him sniffing around, as dogs do, or maybe he was just as unimpressed of the place as me!

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Looks like a tribute act for Richard Nixon

We soon came to Rhyl, which was just like Prestatyn. We crossed the recently constructed pedestrian and cycle  footbridge called Pont y Ddraig – Dragons Bridge. The footbridge cost £10m and can be raised for boats.

Just outside Rhyl we come across an ASDA trolley dumped in the sea – just about sums it up for me.

It took 3 hours to walk the 8 miles, which is really quite pedestrian for me. If Kiefer had been off the lead then perhaps we may have been quicker.

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Kiefer examines some Sea Holly

 

 

 

 

 

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My lasting impression of this section of the coast

 

 

 

 

 

Distance today = 8 miles
Total distance =   909.5 miles

60. Flint to Prestatyn

This was to be the second walk of the Wales Coast Path for and appeared to be a very straightforward section requiring just to stick close to the coast.

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Flint Castle

I parked at the free car park just next to the castle in Flint and started walking north-west. This part of the Flintshire coast is littered with old industrial ruins, most being old docks and quays that served the local hinterland and bigger towns such as Liverpool. Flint Dock was one such place and is now just a relic of a time gone by. The path goes along the substantial seawall which runs all the way to Bagillt, at which I come across the Bagillt Beacon, a metal dragon sculpture housing a brazier which is lit on special occassions.

At Greenfield Dock I find an information board telling me how the Airbus A320 wings, which are made further up river at Broughton, are shipped down the Dee to the working port of Mostyn on a special barge for onward transport.

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The Duke of Lancaster
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John ‘Jack’ Irwin

The weather has remained cool and overcast which has enabled me to make good time on the flat terrain. I then come across the highlight of the walk, the beached ship The Duke of Lancaster. This was amongst the last passenger-only steamers built for British Railways in 1956. The ship had been there since 1979 and has quite an interesting history particularly surrounding how or what ‘she’ will be used for. The ship is covered with graffiti, some good, some bad. My favourite piece of artwork is a picture of the ship’s first captain, John ‘Jack’ Irwin. The ship is berthed at an old quay and is fenced off with barbed wire. The WCP skirts inland to the main road road to get around the quay.

On arriving at Mostyn Docks the path follows the main road which has a good footpath running alongside it. At Ffynnongroyw the A548 splits into a dual carriageway and I am directed off through the small village and eventually emerge at the A548 again which requires care in crossing both lanes. The path emerges at a sewage works and I cross the main railway line by means of a bridge. I am now amongst the overgrown roads of an old derelict industrial site, which sits next to a fully operational gas terminal.

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The Point of Ayr lighthouse

The path enters the Point of Ayr Nature Reserve which culminates in the road end at Talacre. I am suddenly surrounded by beach-goers who are enjoying the mid-afternoon sun. I round the Point of Ayr and pass the lighthouse. I am now heading into quite a stiff breeze, which will be head-on all the way to Prestatyn. I can also make out parts of the North Wales including a distant Great Orme. Prestatyn is also busy with holiday-makers and I quickly head up the main street to the station to catch the usually frequent train service back to Flint. However, not today as the train is delayed by 40 mins due to the knock-on effects of a tanker fire on the M56. I also get the double-whammy of huge congestion at Chester on my drive back on the A55. Walked about 18.5 miles in 5.5hrs.

Distance today = 18 miles
Total distance =   901.5 miles