Day 100: Gwerniago Farm to Llwyngwril
Distance: 20.16 miles
Ascent: 3010 feet
Accommodation: Hendre Hall Campsite (Kindly Complimentary)
Well day 100 of the walk had arrived, and it was no different to any other. I got up early and as it was forecast to possibly rain from 8am I took the tent down as quick as possible and was leaving the campsite by 7:30. The first part followed a small country road as I headed down the other side of the River Dovey estuary, down to Pennal where I joined up with the Wales Coast Path.
A bit like yesterday the Wales Coast Path would be heading inland but unlike yesterday there were no decisions to be made as it was the coast path, or a busy road with no verge at all and I am not wanting to be run over so would take the coast path. The first part took me up through a holiday chalet complex and then slightly strangely followed the parks ‘Trim Trail’ which took me a while to realise why it was called that but realised it was a fitness trail.
The path crossed over the A493 and followed a small farm road steeply up (which happened to have a few escaped sheep on it), which flattened out on a sort of plateau and after the hill I decided to take a break next to the lane which I felt was quite remote. 1 minute later a quadbike with a farmer herding some sheep in the field behind me passed and had a quick chat. Then almost simultaneously a car passed on the track which turned out to be his adult daughter but as she opened the gate and saw the escaped sheep she made me laugh (inwardly, I managed to hold it in), ‘Daddy there’s a sheep in the road’, he just looked at her very unimpressed probably expecting her to just usher it through the gate. This made me laugh because I have a few friends who are farmers daughters or sons and they are either very practical/outdoors orientated or the complete opposite (only you know which one.)
I must say that the inland diversion today up onto this plateau was a welcome and surprising treat, the farm road became a sort of historical track sometimes rock, sometimes mud and the views and dramatic landscape were stunning, and the walking wasn’t too difficult and though overcast the rain stayed at bay for this bit. It felt so remote and felt as if it probably hadn’t changed in a couple hundred years.
The path did eventually drop down from the plateau to Aberdovey, where I decided to have a quick tea and as I had half expected the rain arrived at this point. When it came to leaving I put all my waterproofs on though it actually stopped raining within 20 minutes and did not rain again for the rest of the day. From Aberdovey the path heads onto the sandy beach flanked by dunes and the following 3 to 4 miles to Tywyn were covered very quickly. The beach was lovely, and half way along there was a pillbox that had slipped down from the dunes onto the beach over time.
At Tywyn I diverted a few hundred meters inland to get supplies at Co-op and then rejoined the coast path which takes a slightly depressing route out of Tywyn on a quiet road wedged behind the railway line, passing a sewage works and lots of rubbish (for any future coastwalkers you could actually walk along the beach as it is possible to walk under the railway bridge at Aber Dysynni). Then slightly bizarrely it comes to a very impressive footbridge which feels completely out of place.
On the other side of the bridge things improved again, as the path followed a quiet country road which passed several farms. I was even beginning to think about writing in the diary how I was starting to become more confident passing sheep fields again (I pass hundreds some days in wales) and how fascinating they are when you spend more time around them. There was one horrible moment today where I could hear a ewe making a literally blood curdling sort of sound and I couldn’t work out why and then I saw the reason her little lamb was lying just over the bank presumably recently dead with the little red ring of blood around the sockets where the rooks had pecked out the eyes. We like to think animals don’t have the same emotions as us but this ewe was definitely mourning.
The path crosses over the A493 again and leaves the farm roads and heads onto paths around the fields instead, and just after thinking about how I had got more confident passing sheep fields guess what happened?! Yes an aggro ewe charged me, though this time stopped short unlike the previous time and then about 8 or 9 others came running, they stopped just short, occasionally doing little charges and started aggressively baaing at me, this wasn’t nearly as bad as last time, but they made it very clear that I had to leave and fortunately there was a gate out of that particular field not far away. This was not nearly as bad as last time, but has re raised my anxiety around sheep. All I have to think is I have passed at least 1000 sheep fields (maybe several thousand) on the walk and only had issues in 2 of them.
I actually diverted of the coast path just shy of my finish point Llwyngwril which took me closer to the coast, by following the A493 for the final kilometer into the village and was at Hendre Hall Campsite fairly soon, where they had kindly allowed me to stay for free for the night. It is a lovely little site, with great views, clean facilities and even an intriguing sheperds hut. I am in fact the first tent they have had of the year so they were kindly mowing the lawn for me to pitch on as I was arriving.
Baaring the sheep which were actualy only a small issue, an incredibly efficient and enjoyable day. Which fortunately allows me a little time to do admin for the next few days where some things are not finalised.
NB - It's been a bit of a shame not using my camera quite a lot recently due to rain or forecast rain, as my phone doesn't take such good photos.