Day 109: Moel-y-don to Malltraeth
Distance: 15.82 miles
Ascent: 619 feet
Weather: Misty First Thing, Otherwise Sunny
Accommodation: Pen-y-Bont Campsite, Malltraeth (Kindly Complimentary)
Well I woke up in the farmer’s field to the sound of a pheasant going berserk, I am not sure what was happening but he or she was a good alarm clock anyway. I packed up and even though it had been dry, due to the inherent dampness in the ground the dew and mist meant though I was dry the tent was soaking again this morning.
The path took me down to the foreshore where I followed the pebble beach for a while, the mist over the Menai Strait was starting to lift and there were two men out on the flats presumably collecting some form of shellfish as they were lugging mesh sacks behind them. The skies quickly became blue, the temperature increased and I was down to a single layer.
Just after Llanidan I entered a field with young small cows on the other side, about halfway across one came charging over though fortunately stopped a couple of meters away. So I carried on, but 50m later suddenly the whole herd of about 20 could be heard thundering behind me, I tried to keep calm and not run and turned round to confront them and fortunately they stopped a couple of meters short. I felt they were just inquisitive and not aggressive so carried on but a couple of them did get to friendly knocking me via my backpack a bit. But I finally got out of the field and they just stared at me, other than being a little anxious I had fairly calmly dealt with the situation.
From here the path crossed many large fields, some with interesting ‘fencing’ made of long thin pieces of slate, before I reached the little coast road. This road follows a very scenic route, and is obviously quite touristy as there was a Sea Zoo, Salt Museum and kids petting farm. It was not long till the path dropped back on to the pebble beach for a kilometer.
Where the path comes of the beach I immediately came up against a fairly impregnable bovine shield. I had disturbed a group of 15 or so quite large bullocks who had come charging over as soon as I appeared, luckily I was on the other side of the fence. I could not tell if they were inquisitive or aggressive, though they were fiery with one actually knocking another onto its side lifting it with its head under the others ones belly. The problem is my path went through this field, I built up some confidence and then opened the gate hoping they would back off but rather than back off one of them knocked the gate and me shut and out of the field. He then decided to just stand there so I couldn’t open the gate anyway. Fortunately there was a little track, that though marked private I could use to divert and rejoin the path 300m later.
From here I fortunately had no animal issues, the path followed an interesting route firstly along lanes and then tracks through some quite old farms. Suddenly there was a warning sign, saying it may be better to divert onto a longer route than continuing as a couple of the stepping stones had shifted. Given my previous issues with stepping stones you would have thought I would heeded the advice, but I decided to proceed anyway presuming the stepping stones would be fine when I got to them.
In fact when I got to the stepping stones they were huge, and 23 out of the 25 stones were absolutely fine, but 2 had sunk leaving them lower and at a fairly steep angle. These 2 were a little awkward to navigate with the backpack on but I managed it without any big issues.
Today there was very little choice of shops or cafes to get food, so I diverted into Newborough where I grabbed a little snack in a lovely little café (The Red Squirrel) and tried to get supplies in the ‘Premier’ shop for dinner and tomorrows breakfast. I gave up on finding stuff for dinner and just bought a bara brith for breakfast.
I rejoined the coast path just shy of Newborough Forest and the next stretch was absolutely stunning, heading through and around the edge of the pine forest, before heading West towards Llanddwyn Island which a friend had told me was one of the most beautiful places they had ever seen. The only issue being the mist was covering this one corner point and the tide was high so I couldn’t access the island or hardly see it. It was very strange and eerie because literally 100m before blue skies and sun and on heading of 100m the other side blue skies and sun, it appeared the only misty and in fact really cold area was around the island.
From here the path headed North through the forest on a track, after a while I suddenly thought I was a little further from the sea than expected. On checking my phone, I was on a different track than expected (so many tracks in the forest), and was on one parallel but about 200m further inland. It went the same distance and ended up at the same place, so didn’t really matter.
The track eventually reached the A4080 road where my last challenge was how to get the last 2 miles or so to the campsite as the official path went the wrong side of a lake but the most direct route followed the road which was to busy. Fortunately I managed to find a route that vaguely followed the road but the other side of the fence and with relative ease made the campsite.
The campsite (Pen-y-Bont Farm) had kindly let me stay for free, and it was a lovely site with clean, good facilities and the ground was actually quite dry which was great for me. I had arrived not long after 3 so pitched the tent immediately which gave it plenty of time to dry out which it did. Literally just as I arrived at the site my mobile ran out of battery as had my laptop the evening before, so I ambled up to one of the caravans and asked if I could charge them in there. The woman was very kind and allowed me to do so and went even further kindly making me a cup of tea. As my devices had no charge I had no option but to have a shower and relax which was really nice. My only issue was dinner as I hadn’t got anything earlier in the poor shop, so I had to walk the 1/2km into Malltraeth, where there was a shop come fish/chippy. The shop had nothing so went with fish and chips, which though they were pretty bad did at least fill me up.
So a short but successful day, and the couple of hours enforced relax was very needed.