Day 095: Newport Sands to Foel-y-Mwnt
Distance: 23.79 miles
Ascent: 9227 feet
Weather: Very Windy, Wet & Some Sunny Spells
Accommodation: Camping Ty Gwyn
I was up early and making stuff for both breakfast and lunch in the hostel before leaving around 7:30. The weather felt nice as I left the hostel but there were strong winds and some rain forecast for later. The first part took me across the bridge over the Afon Nyfer before heading down the other side of the estuary that I had come up yesterday. There were some lovely and quirky little houses along this section, before the path headed across the golf course and began the steep climb up onto cliffs.
There was a stern warning here stating that the following path was rugged, hard and remote all the way round to Poppit Sands, and may take longer than expected. I have had a couple of these warnings on the walk most notably when Eddie and Malcolm joined the walk and one wooded section which had no route out once started made it very clear that the section would take significantly longer than expected. I knew this section today was remote and was prepared for it.
As I was climbing the hill, my phone suddenly pinged signifying something very rare in these parts that I had signal! I called my dad, but unfortunately this coincided with the strengthening of the winds until we could not really hear each other down the phone. It turned out this wind was in for the majority of the day and in fact much stronger than forecast, and not ideally blowing off the cliff so I ensured I kept as good a distance from the cliff as possible.
I had been warned the stretch from here was both very tough and muddy by several people in hostels over last couple of days so was a little apprehensive. Fortunately, with the sun yesterday and the wind today many of the mud sections had dried up to an extent, and I have got used to tough sections of path so made fairly quick progress to Traeth Bach. Here the path spectacularly climbs over a small natural stone arch which creates a sort of lagoon. Not long after the path drops down to Ceibwr Bay, where I had a little rest and a snack.
The path sign had a laminated sheet on detailing a diversion and stating the path had fallen into the sea. I was dubious, as the path wasn’t actually blocked, but took the diversion anyway. Luckily, I had memorised the couple of mile diversion as contrary to it saying diversion was signposted there was not one sign! In fact, the diverted route was quite nice through a couple of farmyards, and interesting lanes before returning to the coast path. Strangely there was no sign this end detailing a diversion, either the sign had blown away or you could actually walk the path.
I had been lucky with the rain so far, but that was about to change with the wind somehow increasing above it’s already strong state and the rain absolutely chucking it down. I quickly got into my waterproofs, and carried on, spotting lots of seals swimming several hundred feet below me. I rounded Cemaes Head where after a quaint little campsite Allt-y-Goed, the path reaches a narrow country road, which actually gave me some respite from the wind. On this good surface I made quick progress and soon reached St Dogmaels. After being battered by the wind and rain I tucked into the little pub to get some respite for 15 minutes and fortunately by the time I came out the rain and wind had reduced significantly.
The path crosses over a boring pedestrian bridge next to an impressive road bridge into Cardigan. Cardigan seemed to be busier and have more things than all the towns added together that I had passed on the coast path in the last couple of weeks. It had all sorts of galleries, cafes, castle, clothes shops but was missing one thing an actual proper food shop in the centre. I had to make do with a Premiers Stores where is was hard to find anything for dinner or breakfast but I got some bits and bobs.
I followed a lane out of Cardigan and by this time the rain had stopped completely, and the path soon passed Gwbert before heading inland a bit around Cardigan Island Farm Park. The final few miles were relatively straight forward and after a tough day I finally arrived at the campsite at Foel-y-Mwnt.
A long, steep, windy, and at times wet day, so glad to be in my tent and sure I will fall asleep early tonight.