Walking Gwynedd (Part 2)
Updated: Nov 19, 2019
With a long weekend to rest before my final week, day 27 to 30 rivals views and walking paths to that of Pembrokeshire. The tip of Llyn Peninsula offers tranquil landscapes and wildlife galore. Being joined by friends and family makes it even more special.
REST DAY! I can’t believe it’s here already. Thanks to the shorter walking week I gave myself, I have a longer weekend to catch up on all the sleep I’ve missed before I give one final push in my final week.
I spend the day helping my dear friend Ally clean and pack away her glamping bell tents for winter. She’s given us her lovely static caravan to relax in over the weekend, where you can see a sleepy Tegwen is enjoying the view from.
I wash all my clothes as I have nothing but a vest and swim shorts which I parade around in. I also have to wash my sleeping bag for 2 reasons, both concerning Tegwen. At the beginning of the week, I woke up to a grunting noise, I take out my earplugs to immediately realise that it’s Tegwen in my sleeping bag, vomiting. I hastily struggle to open the zip as it catches on the fabric, I scoop Tegwen out where she vomits again on my food containers and then I throw her out of the tent, void of anything else to throw up she looks at me with an air of nonchalance. A couple days later, as I packed away my sleeping bag, I noticed several mud-like stains on the inside. A quick sniff tells me it’s not mud and somehow Tegwen has rubbed her bottom throughout my sleeping bag, which I’ve just slept the whole night in. So yes, don’t let these pretty pictures of Tegwen fool you into thinking she’s an angel, she’s still very much a dog!
I later attempt to write my blog descriptions and respond to work enquiries, I comprehend that my life is still in motion even if I am walking 20 miles of Wales everyday but when you’re exhausted, it’s very easy to procrastinate, like watching The Bodyguard drama (which btw, is amazing!).
My day ends with a home cooked meal by Ally and an early night in a comfy bed. I’m almost a week from the finish and it doesn’t seem real.
Our last week! 500 miles down, 100 to go. I have another rest day before we tackle the rest of the Llyn Peninsula. It feels like I’ve been gone for months but at the same time, it’s sad to know that it’s already ending.
I think back on all the challenges that have faced me, like finding myself wet in a bus shelter with nowhere to sleep, being chased by bulls (twice), dealing with bag sores, getting lost and stuck in mud. Walking mile after mile, through rain and salty, cold wind trying to keep both myself and Tegwen dry, fed and watered. Cleaning up after Tegwen’s mishaps, sometimes feeling lonely, the daily setting up and packing of the tent, all the cooking on the small stove and keeping calm with all the creepy crawlies around me.
Yes they were difficult times but so what?! They didn’t kill me, they were never going to and I’ve been able to experience so much because of those challenges. I think about the beautiful towns, beaches, old ports, landscapes, wildlife and pubs I’ve encountered. I remember the inspiring and friendly people that I’ve met and who have supported me along the way. I’ve been able to share this with family, friends and those watching from their screens, knowing that these challenging times and beautiful experiences are worthy of donations to help a fantastic charity, ParkinsonsUK.
Between here and the finale, I have Storm Helene to contend with. 50mph winds with 75mph gusts I know it’s going to be a challenge but ultimately, that’s what has made this whole journey so rewarding.
Start of week 5! A day to explore the furthest point of the Llyn Peninsula. The morning is drizzly but soon clears to give clear, blue skies to enjoy the scenery. I’m joined by my younger sister, Ellen and my Dad, Phil. My older sister Sarah leaves us that morning after only staying 1 night, it’s not often we’re all together so it’s more special when we are.
Only a couple miles away from camp we come across the famous surfing beach, Hell’s Mouth. The long bay is surrounded by green farmland, with the high tide and white horses, it is breathtaking.
The coastal path winds up and down the hilly landscape, jumping from soft paths to hard concrete roads, although they are pretty quiet. We later arrive at Aberdaron, the furthest village on the peninsula, it’s beach is filled with beginner surfers and it’s a perfect place to catch our breath. I’m not much of a fizzy drink drinker but the sugar boost from a cold can of coke hits the spot after a long day of walking.
We arrive at the view point of Uwchmynydd, where a spectacular view over Bardsey Island can be seen. The island was once renowned as an important pilgrimage site, it’s now known for it’s wildlife, including seals and many birds as it happens to be on the path for many important migration routes. My time at some very interesting places have had to be brief due to the nature of my walking challenge. There are so many islands, castles and other treasures that are now firmly on my agenda to visit and spend more time at sometime in the future.
We end the day at beautiful Porthor, aka Whistling Sands, due to it’s squeaky sands as you walk. The sun was still shining, the water a bit chilly but we decided to jump the waves, including Tegwen! It was a great moment to share with loved ones and a great way to start my final week.
Only 5 days left! Today I am joined by school friends and their respective partners. Over the years we have studied and lived in different cities but every so often we are still able to meet up.
We were all, as per usual, mesmerised by the views of the Welsh landscape, as the Llyn Peninsula stretches out in front of you. The clear, aquamarine waters allow you to see the rocky seabed and contrasts against the low cliffs and farmland which surrounds it. It’s a little wet and windy but our spirits our high, it feels like a group adventure and puts a twist on my daily walk.
We encounter hundreds of sheep and cattle passing our first few fields, I make sure Tegwen stays close and doesn’t give in to her instincts to chase. We pass cormorants, ducks and a heron going about their daily life without giving much interest in us. All of a sudden I see a little black head, it’s a large seal and closely behind is her pup! We continued walking and I couldn’t believe my eyes, within a sheltered bay were at least 25 seals. We are less than 10 metres away and their dog like faces show their inquisitive nature. I’m glad my friends were able to experience it, catching a glimpse of what my walk has been like. Despite the wet weather and walking woes, these moments make it all worthwhile.
We end our day at Ty Coch, voted one of the world’s best beach pubs. It’s a small, quirky place that internally doesn’t differ much from many other pubs throughout Wales but it’s setting makes it special. It sits in a large bay in the village of Porthdinllaen, it’s a must see if you’re in this part of the world, and would be a perfect spot on a sunny day.
We ended the day with fish and chips, a hearty, guilt free meal. Perfect after a long day’s walk. Thank you my friends for joining me today and supporting this epic journey.
Walk it yourself?
Rating - 5*
Why? - Although less I covered in this blog piece the end of the Peninsula and it’s northern shores are the most spectacular where you could easily stay a weekend or a week! With several surf beaches, blue waters and lush green farmland you can’t help but fall in love. The paths are mostly off roads and hug the coastline keeping you close to the wildlife and views. The Llyn Peninsula gives Pembrokeshire a running for it’s money, it’s a different type of landscape but equally breathtaking, the stark difference is the calmness in which the Llyn arm instils.
Highlights - Abersoch, Hells Mouth, Aberdaron, Bardsey Island, Ty Coch Inn
Tom’s Tip - I’d recommend staying in Abersoch or camping somewhere nearby. The small town has all that you need with some great eateries. I’d walk the entire route from Abersoch, clockwise around and back again! It’s all so beautiful and peaceful.
Accommodation - Abersoch has plenty of options, as well as clamping options in many campsites.
Travel - Local buses connect you to all parts of the peninsula but the nearest train is at Pwllheli.