Porthor or Porth Oer/ Whistling Sands to Aberdaron – Wales Coast Path

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This is the wildest, most remote and breathtaking (in both sense of the word). The views are spectacular, there are quite steep gradients, a totally engrossing walk.

We started from the National Trust car park in Porthor. Walk between the toilet blocks( thankfully open), onto the path. You are almost immediately out onto the cliff top path, leading to the heathland of Mynydd Anelog, down by an old wall , a little dog leg and down towards Porth Llanllawen. The path wanders nicely along the Coastal inlets.

Where there are gaps in the way mark signs, just follow the most defined path, up Mynydd Mawr. This is a steep walk, at one stage it looks virtually perpendicular. At one stage you think you have reached the top, but there is more climbing to follow, until you reach the coastguard station.

Once you reach the summit, there are splendid views across to Bardsey Island – it is reputed that 20,000 saints are buried on the island. It is quite thought provoking to think you are walking in the footsteps of pilgrims.

The concrete road leading away from the coastguard station provides an easy descent, and the path takes you close to the edge around Braich y Pwll, the very edge of Wales- no sign here to indicate we at “Wales End”.

Following on over the common and then a rocky patch we
didn’t go in search of St Mary’s Well, blessed by the Virgin Mary, so says the legend, it was blustery and I was a bit reluctant to go near the shore line.

The only place where we felt an additional sign would have been useful was at Pen y Cil, where the natural instinct would be to turn inland, but the path actually continues passing a cairn on the right.

Turning towards Aberdaron, we were glad to be sheltered from the wind. There is a steep walk down into Porth Meudwy, where the boats cross the sea to Bardsey in the summer, followed by a flight of steep steps up the other side.

It wasn’t long before we were walking down the steep set of steps to the beach at Aberdaron. We took one look at the steep steps leading up to the headland, and decided to walk across the beach to the village, and take our chances with the stream dissecting the sands.

Aberdaron to Llanengan – Wales Coast Path

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Depending on which mileage chart you read, this walk is either 11 miles, 12.5 miles, or according to Louise’s fitness tracker we had walked 14 miles. The only certainty is that it was the muckiest winter walk since starting on the Wales Coast Path.

An early morning drive from Abersoch to Aberdaron certainly made us appreciate the remoteness of this part of the Lleyn, and also it’s raw beauty.

Aberdaron is a small wind swept seaside village, with mainly white washed houses. The National Trust membership has helped with the parking fees in this part of Wales yet again.

We had a debate at the Spar as to which direction to take, our guide book soon put us right, and we turned into a field and were on our way.

The path as far as Porth Yago was well defined if somewhat wet. The industrial ruins add to the atmosphere.

The lane leading up to a guest house is covered with deep mud, and the electric fence running along side seems forbidding.

It was after the iron gate leading out of the farm yard that the confusion began. The book says turn left, the signs mark the route as straight on and with one sign pointing randomly towards the heath.

We went straight on – only to come to a superb view point looking out on Bardsey Island, but no clear indication of the path.

Louise went over the top, Lucy and I retraced our steps to the gate to follow the guide book.

A helpful gentleman walking his dog told us that up ahead was very muddy, better take the road or stay high on Mynydd y Graig which we did, and the signs are clear again.

We cover the track to Rhiw fairly quickly. A helpful National Trust volunteer at Plas y Rhiw told us that it was impossible to access Hell’s Mouth beach further down the road, as there had been a landslide. His suggestion was to go passed the National Trust car park and follow the lane. He warned us that the beach boulders were very slippery and to take care. He was right.! We slid and slipped our way across to the long sandy stretch, with the very vulnerable crumbling cliffs to our left we walked the rest of the way along the beach.

The WCP takes you inland, but what a shame to miss out on Porth Neigwl/Hells Mouth.

Three tired women picked up the path again at the end of Hells Mouth and made our way to the Ship Inn to pick up the car. Catching sight of the super moon as we ended a long day.

Llanengan to Machroes – Wales Coast Path

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The day started with some very frisky cattle being moved along the road to new pasture – it looked as if the whole farming family was out in force to help with the operation.

We parked up in the Sun Inn car park in Llanengan before making our way through the fields to Pentowyn, then climbing up the cliff to follow the waymarked route..

I hadn’t realised that lead was mined in the area, but the Tan rallt leadmine is testament to the industrial history of the late 19 century.

Once we had accessed the route we found it was plain sailing.

The walk is varied, common land of Mynydd Cilan, around Trwyn Cian and Trwyn Llech y Ddol (Trwyn is the Welsh for nose – not surprisingly we are at the tip of this Peninsula).

The heather and gorse are rather dull in the winter light, but would add glorious colour when in bloom. The rust coloured bracken adds colour and richness to the winter landscape.

There is an easy grassy stretch across the cliffs overlooking Porth Ceiriad, following the curve of this picturesque beach to reach Trwyn yr Wylfa – the highlight of the walk for me was around Penrhyn Ddu, with the offshore St Tudwal’s Islands catching my eye at every turn. Bear Grylls now has a home on one of the islands. St Tudwal was a Breton Monk.

We followed a stoney road down to Machroes – the road itself is closed and in bad state of repair.

Reaching the car park, we drove around to Llanengan to where we had parked Lucy’s car and had a pleasant lunch at the Sun Inn while watching the Wales v South Africa rugby match. Rubbish game despite a Wales win.

Machroes to Llanbedrog – Wales Coast Path

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A straight forward route. We elected to stay on the beach until Abersoch, then to the road via a car park, passing through the village to the junction by the garage and Londis stores. Passing the harbour with its colourful boats and buoys. We head up the hill on the Pwllheli road, before taking one of the paths back down to the beach.

We are blessed with golden December sunshine, turning to amber in the late afternoon.

We walk along the beach passing The Warren, probably one of the most expensive and exclusive chalet parks in Wales. One chalet is known to have been bought for half a million pounds sterling!

We were grateful for the easy stroll across the sand, before turning off up a sandy path and following the signs up the forbidding Mynydd Tir-y-Cwmwd. Our reward are the great views back across the bay after a steep climb.

On the whole, the rocky headland is a comfortable walk, considering the time of year. The bare rocks are a help not a hindrance.

Around the headland before the steep steps down, is the outlook down to the beach at Llanbedrog and across to Pwllheli. It is now dusk and the sky turns pink and the moon appears.

Lucy draws my attention to the Tin Man, a replacement for the original wooden man – a ship’s figurehead.

Then came the steep descent down the steps to Plas Glyn y Weddw we are just in time to pop in and see the latest art exhibition and browse in the gallery and shop.

Heading back into Abersoch, we are joined by our guest weekend walker Louise Tambini.

One of the nicest thing about our walking exploits is joining in with whatever is happening in the area. We were lucky enough to join in with the Abersoch Christmas festivities.

Watching Father Xmas arrive by fire engine, excited kids and parents. The shops were open late offering bubbly and chocolate. An enjoyable evening at the end of a glorious day’s walking.