Day 103: Afonwen Farm to Hell's Mouth
Distance: 23.09 miles
Ascent: 2911 feet
Accommodation: Wild camp Hell's Mouth Dunes
Waking up in the bed was lovely and after writing up yesterdays diary, doing some admin and a little faffing I set off later than expected. It was dry, though overcast as I walked of the farm, and the first section of path was completing the main road section from yesterday.
At Afon Wen the path leaves the road and heads back to the coast, where it skirts the outskirts of a large Haven static caravan park, with a rather bizarre exercise trail around the outside. You may wonder what is bizarre about an exercise trail but it was more the ground surface at some of the points, the press up and burpee area had a gravel ground surface which would obviously be very painful on the hands.
From here the path followed the low cliff (more of a bank) and the beach all the way to Pwllheli, which had quite a large harbour with a lot of nice yachts which didn’t really fit with the rest of the town or housing. I stopped for some breakfast and I am glad I ordered a small breakfast as it was one of the biggest things I had ever seen and even in my ravenous state only just finished it.
From Pwllheli the path continued in a similar vain partially along the cliff and then along the beach to Llanbedrog. Slightly surprisingly the sun came fully out, the temperature rose and for the first time on the walk I went down to a single layer. The coast path goes slightly inland at this point but there was another path shown that went more directly up the cliff. I found this and it turned out it was incredibly steep steps so had a snack break at the bottom to get prepared. These were incredibly steep steps, and a significant amount of them, so I was incredibly thankful for the handrail. In fact, I think this may have been the steepest (not hardest) short section on the walk.
At the top it came as a surprise how suddenly remote and beautiful it was, weirdly this is one of my favourite short sections of the entire walk, partially to how it juxtaposed to what was before but also to just how beautiful it was. A mixture of views, sort of heathland and the blazing sun made it memorable though it was not long till I dropped down Warren Sands.
It was time for the sun cream to come out as I walked along Warren Sands, which was flanked by the poshest looking static caravans/lodges, in fact they were just single story posh houses really, that I have seen. It was not long till I reached Abersoch where I had to head inland a tiny bit to cross the two rivers, and I also stopped for supplies here and once again the local shop (a londis this time) was absolutely terrible. I headed down a jetty presuming I could follow the sand around the headland at Abersoch but this was easier said than done. Firstly some rocks, which normally may not be too hard to clamber over but with the backpack on was hard and probably was a slightly stupid idea though got over safely, then secondly the yacht club slipway which annoyingly I had to chuck my rucksack onto it and then climb up before climbing down again on the other side where I was back on the beach Borth Fawr.
I walked the whole length of the beach hoping that there would be a way up the low cliff/bank the other end onto the path, and fortunately I found a concrete water outlet slipway which was easily walkable and got me onto the path. From here the path followed the higher cliffs, around the plethora of sheep fields with views out to the St Tudwal Islands. I felt I was slightly low on water, and that there would be no options to get any early tomorrow so I boldly climbed a couple of gates to get to the closest farm I could see to ask if I could fill up on water and they kindly let me. Filled up with water, there were a few ups and downs but I finally descended down towards Hell’s Mouth Beach.
On the eastern end where I entered the dunes I decided to pitch and found a lovely little spot and had pitched by about 6pm and as the sun was still out decided to head in for my first sea swim of the walk. The water was very bracing, so I didn’t stay in long, but it washed of the sweat and relaxed my muscles.
I had thought my pitch spot was remote but suddenly a few surfers arrived, and it turned out I was pitched right by where they access the beach when the swell was in this direction. This was not an issue and this was probably my best pitch location yet.
So a really nice day in the sun.