Day 115: Benllech to Abergwyngregyn
Distance: 27.74 miles
Ascent: 2933 feet
Weather: Sunny Spells, Moderate WInd
Accommodation: Wild camp Near Abergwyngregyn
Well after a lovely rest day, and having eaten plenty of food I was up early and the sun was out so I decided to leave early just after 7. It was sort of in the back of my mind that I might walk a bit further than scheduled today, as it was meant to be dry today whereas tomorrow is meant to be pretty bad.
The start of the day was fairly flat, the path heads along the promenade above Benllech Sands before after heading around the back of a static caravan park and around the headland you reach Red Wharf Bay (it was lucky I looked at OS map whilst writing this as was adamant it was Red Dwarf Bay). There was actually a really nice looking pub here before the path heads out onto the mud flats, marshy verge of the estuary/bay. This section of path was really cleverly done and interesting to walk as it first followed the foreshore, then a little track, then up onto the top of a thin old sea wall before rejoining the road near Tywyn.
The path then climbed up what was signposted as a new changed route, and indeed it was different to my OS map but rejoined the original path after about 500m. It topped out near, Bwrdd Arthur, which I presume must be named after my little nephew.
It was here that I hit the first field of bullocks, and these were big boys. Fortunately the farmer was actually in the next field so assumed if any issue he would step in. As soon as I entered one came jogging over and I lost my bottle. The farmer I think noticed and walked into the field and said it was safe in fact he actually said ‘They are just about young enough they are not dangerous yet’ which I think was supposed to make me feel confident but it didn’t. They were fairly feisty with each other, but let me through with only gentle nudging. In fact the farmer didn’t seem overly confident stood in the middle of them jumping all over the place, I have a feeling he will move them into adjacent field off the path pretty soon.
I encountered another 3 or 4 other fields of bullocks over the next few miles though fortunately none of them took any interest in me. The path took me down to the most easterly point of Anglesey where there was a stunning view of Penmon Lighthouse and Puffin Island. Unfortunately the puffins were still on the West of Anglesey and had not arrived here yet.
Not long after starting to head south I came across an incredibly intriguing looking building (photo below) and it was only with research tonight I found out it was a large dovecote. It was built over 400 years ago, and used to have a 1000 nesting boxes and a central pillar with a revolving ladder that allowed access to all the boxes.
The next part varied between dropping down onto the beach and following the lane all the way to Beaumaris. There were so many cars parked here, either there was something on (though didn’t look like it) or this is just a very popular place with tourists. There was a great castle and unusually as it was a tourist attraction it still had a moat full of water.
Soon after Beaumaris the path diverts inland a little as the main coast road had no verge for a mile and it was not long till I was in Menai Bridge, unbelievably that is the name of the town. I recrossed over the Menai Suspension Bridge and was back in mainland Wales. I diverted inland a little to get to a Morrisons to stock up, it was in here that I noticed all the students and then remembered it was a university town, in fact I think the university maybe a fair amount of the town.
I had originally proposed to stop and pitch near Porth Penrhyn but as it was early I decided to carry on. The path actually diverts inland massively (maybe 5 miles) to get around a National Trust Property, but on my map there was a track right across so I had emailed the National Trust Penrhyn Castle the other day to ask if they could let me know whether there was any reason I couldn’t walk this track and as I had had no answer I decided that I could walk the track. All went very smoothly and I even got a glimpse of the castle, and got to within 1 meter of the path I was aiming for when there was a fairly significant issue. There was a massive wall in my way, which I hadn’t seen on my map and the gate wouldn’t budge. I literally struggled to find a route around, though knew I didn’t want to head back as it would take hours to get back and then around the inland diversion and back. Finally on the other side of the river annoyingly I found a gap in the wall and got down onto the foreshore. The only issue is I had to get across the various streams of the river that were heading down the beach. I had to take my boots of and wade through the water on the muddly pebbly surface. It was actually quite hard going as it was quite slippery, but fortunately the water never reached knee height. My feet were absolutely covered in sticky gooey mud by the time I got across. I think the whole debacle probably wasted at least 45 minutes if not an hour but was far quicker than heading back.
This debacle rather than annoying me (well it did until finding a solution), actually had the strange effect of making me really happy once across, and I was smirking to myself a lot and going through possible schedule changes and admin in my head for the rest of the way. It was lucky I had found it this evening rather than first thing tomorrow.
Now all I had to do was find somewhere to pitch but as it was not quite 6 I had a little time to play with. This was lucky as it took me almost another 2.5 miles to find a lovely little pitch spot in a wood just 50m of the path, near a very Welsh sounding place Abergwyngregyn.
So a long but successful and enjoyable day. I have got a little ahead of schedule which should help with the wet conditions forecast for the next few days.