Saturday, February 04, 2017

Current

Hello to all my regular readers! I know there are a number of you out there.
Thank you for your interest. 
Earlier this week I had my second new knee.  Same hospital and same surgeon, so I'm expecting the same fantastic outcome!  Lots of physio in the coming months, and then I'll be there!
The Grand Coastal Trek will resume some time later this year, we are determined on that.  Although there will be an approximate two-year gap in time, we will restart at the exact spot where we were forced to give up in 2015 -- in Abercastle, Pembrokeshire.  The best bits of the coast are still to be walked!!
Once again, thank you for your interest in our venture.
Rosemary
PS  Go to   www.bognorregisbeach.co.uk  to see what is happening NOW just left of Bognor Pier! (On the website, click on  'Live Webcam')

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Walk 338 -- Moelfre to Llaneilian

Ages:  Colin was 71 years and 84 days.  Rosemary was 68 years and 226 days.
Weather:  Wet at first.  Then dry, warm and muggy.  From lunchtime onwards, wet and windy.
Location:  Moelfre to Llaneilian.
Distance:  10 miles.
Total distance:  3492 miles.
Terrain:  Some quiet roads.  A little sandy beach.  A bit of squidgy estuary.  Mostly cliff paths, usually grassy. Very undulating.
Tide:  Out.
Rivers: No.414, Afon Goch.
Ferries:  None.
Piers:  None.
Kissing gates:  Nos.492 to 522 — until we reached the lighthouse road and decided the weather rendered it unsafe to continue along the cliff-top path.  Thirty-one kissing gates, an all-time record for a Walk!
Pubs:  The ‘Pilot Boat’ at City Dulas, where Colin drank Robinson’s ‘Curwr Ddraig Aur’ and ‘Unicorn’, and I had Stowford Press cider.
‘Cadw’ properties:  None.
Ferris wheels:  None.
Diversions:  None.
How we got there and back:  We were staying in our caravan on a remote farm in the middle of Anglesey.  This morning we drove to Amlwch where we parked in a residential road near the bus stop.  We caught a bus to Moelfre where the bus stop was within a few yards of the point where we finished the last Walk.
At the end we finished the Walk near the lighthouse having decided it would be too unpleasant, and dangerous, to continue along the cliff path to Amlwch in that weather.  We marched two and a half miles along the road to our car parked in Amlwch, having picked up fish’n’chips on our way through town.  We drove straight back to our caravan at Bodnolwyn Wen so that we could don some dry clothes before devouring the fish’n’chips which we kept warm in the caravan oven.
The next day it had stopped raining, so we took down the awning and drove home to Malvern.

It was pouring with rain when we woke this morning, and the downpour continued without a break all the while we were travelling and setting up the Walk.  So as soon as we got off the bus in Moelfre we put on our full wet-weather gear.  Almost immediately the rain stopped!  Very soon it turned hot and muggy, so we peeled off the layers one by one.
We sat on a bench overlooking the tiny harbour to eat our pasties — we thought we’d better take the opportunity while it wasn’t raining.  There was a good path round the edge of Moelfre overlooking the sea.  We soon reached the lifeboat Visitor Centre where we came across a lot of memorials.  The first one which caught the eye was a kind of stone chimney pot full of flowers dedicated to Leslie Allison who spent forty years living in Moelfre — “Best times of my life” so it said.
Then there was a rather fine sculpture in remembrance of the ‘Royal Charter’ which was wrecked on this coast on the 26th October 1859.  It is believed about 450 lives were lost.  We liked the statue of a fisherman at the wheel of his ship — it seemed full of energy.
We passed the lifeboat shed and ramp below.  Above was a plaque commending the bravery of the lifeboatmen who rescued the crew of the M/V Hindlea off this headland on the 28th October 1959.  There was mist on the sea though we could still see Great Orme in the distance.  We rounded the little headland where the rocky island called Ynys Moelfre situated just offshore came into view.  There were lots of rocks just there and all were covered in gulls and cormorants.  What a cacophony of sound greeted our ears!
We could see a large container ship out in the distance.  It blew out a cloud of smoke, but it didn’t move from it’s position for the whole of our Walk.  It just sat there.  I thought time was money with these things — if so, this ship was losing an awful lot of it.
We walked round to the next bay passing people fishing with rods from the rocks below.  A fisherman buzzed up in a small boat to check his lobster pots.  There was just one lobster big enough to keep, he threw three smaller ones and a number of crabs back into the water.  Not a very good catch.
The rocks we passed looked interesting — though it’s now twenty-five years since I did that Open University degree and I have forgotten most of it in the meantime.  The wild flowers looked spectacular, especially with drops of water on the petals.
We climbed the cliffs to yet another memorial stone.  This one also remembered the night the Royal Charter came to grief just offshore with the loss of so many lives.  There were spectacular views from the memorial stone.
We came down to the next bay, Traeth Lligwy.  We passed very close to a house where the dog barked and the owner told it to shut up.  We wondered if this happened every time someone walked past on the Wales Coast Path.  A notice on a fence was a protest against large modern windmills — we could see why the locals don’t want them there spoiling the view.
Traeth Lligwy Bay is lovely, with nice sand, a café and toilets which we were pleased to use.  We continued across the car park, into the dunes and out on to the beach where there was a slight breeze.  It was, by then, very warm and muggy, almost suffocating.
We read a stark warning about soft sand on the further end of the beach, but that is where the path led uphill through ferns so we didn’t have to put ourselves in danger.  However, we did note a couple of sand castles had been built on the soft sand where they warn you not to tread.  Was this sheer dare-devilism?
We came to no less than four men with strimmers — what a noise!  I always joke that “Man with Strimmer” follows me all over the world, I can’t get away from him.  But four!  Isn’t that a little too much?  At least they were keeping the path clear, which needed doing on many of the paths we have walked so far.  We waited until we were out of earshot before we thought about lunch.  We sat on rocks eating our sarnies whilst watching a lone fisherman, first with a net in the water, then from a rock with a line.  He didn’t seem to catch anything!
We could still make out Great Orme in the haze, and as we left we could see it was raining over there.  We came across lots of tents some in fields and others alongside the path continuing round the corner.  Most had their own private toilet tent, and we got the impression that it was some kind of rally.  There was no campsite marked on our map at that spot.
That was when the rain reached us, so it was on with the wet-weather gear again.  It rained relentlessly for the rest of the day, and I only managed to take one more photo (towards the end of the Walk) for fear of ruining the camera.  It was such a pity because the rest of the Walk, about three-quarters of it, was across the most spectacular scenery we had seen in a long time.
We didn’t take the dead-end path down to a knoll because it was raining.  Instead we turned back round a farm and continued along a track through a gate.  Three cars came, at intervals, making for the tented camp.  Colin politely held the gate open for the first one to save the driver getting out.  Then he said, “I’m not doing that anymore!” and walked off leaving the other two drivers to their own devices.  The track was narrow, and we were relieved to turn off it into fields so we didn’t have to dodge cars anymore.
We walked for about a mile across undulating fields with only sheep for company, until we came to the main road and a PUB!  I couldn’t believe it when Colin suggested we didn’t stop “because we’ll have to take off all this gear and we might make the floors wet!”  That’s what pubs are for, isn’t it?  To give rest and refreshment to weary travellers!  I ignored him and marched in, relieved myself of my wet-weather gear and made the floor wet — my boots were so wet they had been washed perfectly clean, like new.  It turned out this pub was in the Good Beer Guide, one of Colin’s CAMRA pubs, only he hadn’t bothered to look it up before we came.
We should have called a halt there, in view of the weather, and caught a bus back to Amlwch.  Why didn’t we?  Call it determination, stubbornness or bloody-mindedness — whatever — we just didn’t want to give up on a Walk again!  Surely the rain will stop sometime like it did this morning?
It didn’t.
So, after rest and refreshment, we donned our wet gear and carried on.  Neither of us enjoyed the rest of the Walk at all.  We had to go a short distance along the main road before we could turn off down a track towards the river.  We were relieved to find that a ford marked on the map turned out to be a footbridge — and a spanking brand new one at that!   It was a bit squidgy along the marshes for nearly a mile after that, but we coped.  We then turned inland up a lane, one kilometre uphill.  It seemed to go on and on — we both hated that.  The footpath cut across the corner of a field, then we had more lane, this time undulating, for another kilometre.
The lane took a left-hand bend but we went straight on following a track.  We came to an open barn, so we sheltered in there to eat our apples.  There was nowhere to sit down, nothing we could perch on and the floor was far too muddy.  But at least we were out of the rain momentarily.  We soon carried on, this time through open fields downhill towards the coast.  Even the cows were sheltering under hedges and trees, looking at us lugubriously as we passed.  We met a small walking group coming the other way — they were as wet as we were.  They had started at Cemaes Bay this morning and were making for Moelfre.  We chatted about the insanity of walking in such weather!
We came to the clifftop and turned left.  It was an excellent path, but challenging to walk in the rain.  It was very undulating, there were gullies with little wooden bridges at the bottom, and the stones and rocks were slippery.  There should have been spectacular views, but they were shrouded in mist.
We should have taken loads of pictures of this picturesque coastline, but we didn’t want to ruin our cameras.  I tried just one of the lighthouse on the headland when the rain abated for a fraction, but it wasn’t a very good picture at all.  We didn’t feel safe on that cliff path by ourselves in the mist, and with the stones under our feet being so slippery.  By the time we reached the lighthouse road we were wet through and totally exhausted.  So we decided to end the Walk there.

That ended Walk no.338, we shall pick up Walk no.339 where the Wales Coastal Path crosses the lighthouse road at Llaneilian.  It was quarter to seven, so the Walk had taken us eight and a quarter hours.  We route-marched miserably two miles along the road to Amlwch.  At one point we decided to take a short cut along a footpath, but it was so unused and overgrown we nearly got lost, and ended up taking longer than if we’d gone the long way round by road.  This didn’t help our mood.  As we approached Amlwch we passed a fish’n’chip shop, so we called in and bought our supper.  As we drove back to our caravan, there were rivers of water flowing down many of the roads!
The next day the rain had stopped and it turned into a very hot day.  We took down the awning, packed up our caravan, and headed for home.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Walk 337 -- Glan-yr-Afon to Moelfre

Ages:  Colin was 71 years and 82 days.  Rosemary was 68 years and 224 days.
Weather:  Quite a strong wind.  Very warm in the sun.  Cooler when cloudy.  Dry.
Location:  Glan-yr-afon to Moelfre.
Distance:  12 miles.
Total distance:  3482 miles.
Terrain:  A lot of grassy paths across farmland, and ferny paths along cliff tops.  Beach walking — some sandy and some stony.  A few quiet lanes.  Squidgy paths along the top of beach / marsh.  Undulating at the beginning and end of the Walk, the middle bit was flat.
Tide:  Coming in.
Rivers: No.413, Afon Nodwydd.
Ferries:  None.
Piers:  None.
Kissing gates:  Nos.476 to 491.  These were concentrated at the beginning and end of the Walk, none in the middle.
Pubs:  The ‘Ship Inn’ at Red Wharf Bay.  Colin drank Derby Brewing ‘Piggy in the Middle’ and Conway ‘Keneally’s Ale’ whereas I had a shandy again as it was a hot day.
‘Cadw’ properties:  None.
Ferris wheels:  None.
Diversions:  No.74 which we ignored because a local had told us we could ‘get through’, which we did.  (Most of the track had disappeared in a landslide three months ago.)  No.75 which we were unable to ignore because security fences had been put up.  Work was being carried out in an adjacent holiday park, and the official coastal public footpath had been fenced off with no notice of a diversionary route.  Fortunately we had just met a couple of employees at the Camp, and they told us how to get round the blockage, through the Park and via the beach.
How we got there and back:  We were staying in our caravan on a remote farm in the middle of Anglesey.  This morning we drove to Moelfre where we parked in a large free car park near the bus stop.  We caught a bus to Menai Bridge, then a second bus out to Glan-yr-afon.  This second bus was a real white-knuckle ride as we tore along impossibly narrow lanes, twisting and turning up and down hills.  Great fun!
At the end we finished the Walk in Moelfre very near the car park.  We partook of tea and chocolate biscuits, then drove back to our caravan at Bodnolwyn Wen.

We started today’s Walk at the road junction in the hamlet of Glan-yr-Afon which is just a handful of houses.  Further along the lane we passed a Methodist chapel which seemed to be in the middle of nowhere, yet it was still functional.  Opposite the chapel was an old quarry site which had obviously been cleared out recently — we wondered if it was a potential building site.  The wild flowers were gorgeous — honeysuckle, orchids and suchlike — big showy flowers.
After about half a mile we turned off the lane to walk paths and tracks across fields.  We stopped to talk to a man who was hanging bird feeders outside his isolated house.  He was saying how once common birds are now much in decline due to habitat loss, he had noticed the reduction in customers for his feeders over the years.  He also told us that there was a land slippage a bit further on and the footpath was closed.  The diversion was back to the road, but the notice telling walkers about it had been blown away.  He advised us to ignore it because, “Anyone who is agile can get past easily!”  We thanked him for the information, and walked on.
We skirted a farmyard, then saw the post from which the notice had disappeared.  We ignored it and carried on.  Further on we sat on a bank and ate our sandwiches — we had no pies today because there wasn’t enough time, when we were in Menai Bridge between buses, to go to the pie shop.  Colin complained that he was cold, but he hadn’t brought his coat because the sun was shining when we left the caravan this morning — he’s always doing things like that.  I told him to put his kag on, which he did.
We crossed more fields, then turned into a gully between ferns.  There we came across a sheltered seat with a magnificent view, it would have been an ideal place to have stopped and eaten our sandwiches.  How we wished there had been a prior notice warning us that this was coming up!
Colin disappeared into the bushes to change his pad, so I sat on the bench admiring the view and the colourful wild flowers which were all around.
The track took us steeply downhill from there, and we soon came to a gate with “Footpath Closed” notices and “Danger Keep Out”.  The security fencing had been laid aside, so we ignored them all and carried on.
Before long we came to the landslip.  Half the width of the track had disappeared leaving a gaping hole — but it was fenced off and there was plenty of room to get round behind it.  We didn’t feel there was any danger for walkers at all.  Honestly, we are more in danger on the average cliff path!  We looked over the edge, from the safe position behind the fence, and saw dead vegetation all the way down where a torrent of water must have whooshed past taking a big lump out of the track.  It would have been impossible to get a vehicle past the hole, and we did wonder if there were any cars stuck at the cottage behind us.  Perhaps the “Danger” notices were for them.
Looking back from a zigzag in the track further down we could see a digger working on the lower end of the landslip.  According to the man with the bird feeders, it had all happened some months back.  It will be a lot of work to restore the track so it can take cars again.
We came steeply down and emerged at the eastern end of Red Wharf Bay.  The beach was rocky at first, so we went up on to the narrow road.
At a passing place in this lane we past a “No Shooting” notice, and there were more of them further along the bay.  I don’t know what wildlife these ‘hunters’ take pot shots at, but I’m glad they’re not allowed to do it — for the wildlife’s sake as well as our own safety.
We met a couple from Liverpool and stopped to chat.  Then we went down on to the now sandy beach and walked two kilometres along the high tide strand line.  We had to cross several little rivers which were not on the map, but they were all shallow enough for us to paddle through in our boots.  We realised that we were too far out on the wide expanse of beach — the tide was beginning to come in by then — so we crossed some marshy ground to get back to the shore.
We were hailed by a couple who had emerged from a lane.  They wanted to look at our OS map because they were thinking of cutting across the sand directly to the pub.  Looking ahead, it did look as if this was possible.  We told them that we had originally thought of doing just that, but there was a river in the way which we couldn’t see from beach level.  They obviously didn’t quite believe us though we showed them the river clearly marked on the map.  They said they’d go away and have another think!
We sat on rocks near a collapsed building to eat our apples.  Far in the distance we could see another couple way out on the beach who had obviously thought they could cut across to the pub.  But they had reached the river and were walking up and down looking for a crossing point.  In the end they had to come inland to cross the river on the road bridge, like the rest of us!
There were lots of marshes now, it was a bit like Grange-over-Sands.  We were glad we were on the clearly marked beach track even though this was a bit squidgy in places.  We came to the river at last, and had to go on to the road to cross it — but at least this was no major diversion from our path.
The tide was only half in, so we decided to continue on the marsh path.  This was especially squidgy as we rounded a corner to head northwards.  We came to where the official path went slightly inland through woods, but we decided to remain on the top of the beach until we reached the pub because it was still a good path.  (Whilst sitting in the pub garden supping our drinks, this path got covered by the tide.)
The pub was very crowded and we found the beer to be good but expensive.  We sat on a seat outside in the shade where we had a lovely view across the beach and the bay.  Trouble was, we also had ‘lovely’ views of too many “builder’s bums” in the vicinity!  It seems to be the fashion these days to hang your trousers below your hips showing off your bum crease.  Some of the obese young men (this fashion is especially prevalent amongst such gross creatures) were almost ‘mooning’ when they bent over!  I don’t know how some of them manage to keep their trousers from falling down — and they look horrible!!  Yuk!  There were loads of FAT people on that beach — No!  Don’t go down that road again! — but it is sad to see so many fat children about.  They are all overloading the NHS who are finding it difficult to cope.
When we visited Red Wharf Bay on a Geology field course two years later (yes, it has taken me more than that long to write up this Walk!) we were taken further up the beach from that point to look at some geological wonders.  But we didn’t know about them today, and the tide was right in so we had to follow the official path which led part-way up the low cliffs.  We moved on towards caravan sites — the path went behind them because they were Strictly Private.  We came to a fork in the path where there was just a bare post, no signage.  I thought we went uphill, and Colin was convinced we went down.  Just as we were deliberating, a couple came along wearing the uniform of one of the Strictly Private caravan sites.  They said, “Don’t go up there, it’s only a field!”  (So Colin had been right, I do concede!)  They led us along the lower path saying, “This is the Coastal Path!”  But we quickly came to a barrier with a “Public Footpath Closed” notice.  Some workmen were lopping trees adjacent to the path, and they had blocked it off without showing any diversion route.  But our uniformed guides were very helpful.  They took us into their Strictly Private holiday camp where they showed us a path leading to a beach.  They told us that there was a sign further along the beach directing us back into the woods on to the continuation of the path.  Thank you to our helpful guides!
It was a small sheltered beach, and lovely and sandy.  It was being enjoyed by hundreds of holidaymakers, a good half of them morbidly obese — No!  Don’t keep going on about it!  But I can’t help it when they unashamedly display acres of flesh for all to see! 
We followed a pleasant path through woods which took us to Benllech, where we persuaded ourselves we deserved an ice cream each.  I fancied Thornton’s chocolate caramel, but Colin went over the road where he bought a double cornet with free topping.  We sat on a bench in the shade to consume these delicacies.
Benllech has a small but sandy beach.  We sat there and watched most of the crowds packing up for the day, taking their tired and whining children with them.  Too many of them were obese — see!  There I go again!  But I’m proud that I have managed to lose one and a half stone, that’s 12% of my body weight, since Christmas through careful eating and exercise.  I feel fantastic because of it!  And I still eat all the foods I like, just not so much of them. 
We continued northwards, and were soon on the coast path again.  But this section was very narrow and overgrown.  We met several groups of walkers to start with, but as we got further away from Benllech we were once more on our own.
It was very up-and-down, lots of steps and boardwalks.  We passed a number of seats, but there was no view from any of them because of bushes and trees which needed cutting back.  We felt this section of the Coast Path was in need of urgent TLC!
We battled our way through until we came to a headland where the grass was mown!  There was a ruined building in the middle of the headland, and notices insisting we kept to the footpath round the edge and not take a short cut through an estate of ghastly holiday homes.  We came to a seat on the north-west side of the headland where we could see our way ahead, so we sat on it to eat our chocolate.
We continued down to the beach, then up over fields to a car park where there was a toilet block still open — bliss!  I found someone’s handbag on the back of one of the basins.  I left it there because I didn’t know what to do with it otherwise.  I didn’t even look inside to see if there was a name.  There were hardly any cars left in the car park.  I just hoped the owner would remember where she had left it and come back for it.
Leaving the car park, we couldn’t see any sign for the continuation of the Coast Path.  We deduced it was through an unmarked rusty gate, and this proved to be correct.  We had a few more fields to cross and then we reached Moelfre, finding ourselves very near the car park where we had left the car this morning.
That ended Walk no.337, we shall pick up Walk no.338 in Moelfre, near the car park.  It was quarter past seven, so the Walk had taken us eight hours fifty-five minutes.  We partook of tea and chocolate biscuits, then drove back to our caravan at Bodnolwyn Wen.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Walk 336 -- Menai Bridge to Glan-yr-Afon

Ages:  Colin was 71 years and 80 days.  Rosemary was 68 years and 222 days.
Weather:  Warm with a lovely cooling breeze in exposed places.  (The rain stayed over in Snowdonia!)
Location:  Menai Bridge to Glan-yr-afon.
Distance:  12 miles.
Total distance:  3470 miles.
Terrain:  Some road-walking, but quiet roads.  Mostly grassy paths through fields, and paths through woods.  A little rocky beach.  Undulating.
Tide:  In when we wanted it to be out.
Rivers: No.412, Afon Cadant.
Ferries:  None.
Piers:  No.35 Beaumaris — with Lifeboats Open Day.
Kissing gates:  Nos.452 to 475 — these were especially concentrated in the last section of the Walk.  (Twenty-four total equals our record for a Walk!)
Pubs:  The ‘White Lion Hotel’ in Beaumaris, which we visited the next day.  Colin drank Jennings ‘Cocky Blonde’ whereas I had a shandy as it was a hot day.
‘Cadw’ properties:  No.6, Beaumaris Castle, which we visited the next day.  Also the local church.
Ferris wheels:  None.
Diversions:  No.73 about a mile after Beaumaris.  The official footpath led along the beach, but the tide was in and so it was impossible.  We had to go round by road which was much further.
How we got there and back:  We were staying in our caravan on a remote farm in the middle of Anglesey.  This morning we drove to Glan-yr-afon where we were amazed to find, in such a remote hamlet, a large car park opposite a bus stop!  The bus turned up on time, too, and conveyed us to Menai Bridge, a most enjoyable ride.
At the end we finished the Walk at the only road junction in Glan-yr-afon.  We walked a couple of hundred yards downhill to our car, where we partook of tea and chocolate biscuits.  Then we drove back to our caravan at Bodnolwyn Wen.

We sat in a shelter near the bowling green to eat freshly bought pasties which were still warm.  We had magnificent views across the Menai Strait, the iconic Menai Bridge behind us and Bangor’s pier in the distance ahead.  We chatted to a local man whose entertainment was sitting at that vantage point watching people making a mess of launching their boats below.
We walked on towards St George’s Pier (private), followed by a residential road which proved to be a dead end.  There had been no signs telling us where to go up to the main road, but we backtracked a little and found our way.
We had to continue alongside a busy road then, but we did have a pavement walk on.  We passed a private bridge over to an island in the Strait.  Colin admired some bright yellow flowers which we passed, and also a tree which looked like the sculpture of an iguana!
We crossed a ‘new’ bridge over a tidal inlet which had been built in the 1970s to replace a much older and more awkward bridge — very nice for the owners of the house tucked away down there next to the old bridge.
The official Coast Path signposted us on to a parallel back road because the main road continued between walls with no pavement.  We decided to follow the signs, even though it was slightly further from the sea, in the interests of safety.  Trouble was, as soon as we left the waterfront we lost the breeze and it got very hot. 
We passed a flock of sheep sleeping in the shade under trees — it was too hot out in the field even for them!  There were thick clouds over Snowdonia on the other side of the Strait.  Apparently it rained most of the day over the rest of the country, so we were in the right place.
We could see Bangor Pier down below in the Strait.  Even from there it looked as if it almost touched Anglesey — but it was an optical illusion.  We could also see the derelict bathing station in the grounds of Penryn Castle where hadn’t been allowed to go.
We came to a bend in the road where the Coast Path went straight on through woods and fields — the sign was a bit obscure and I would have missed it if Colin hadn’t noticed it.  There was immediate confusion as to where the correct path actually went.  The first, and most obvious, path we tried didn’t seem to be right after a few yards.  So we returned to base and tried another leading off at a slightly different angle.  We weren’t sure about this one either until, after climbing a hillock through ferns and brambles, we came across another arrow with the Wales Coast Path logo.  Next we came to a field where our OS map said we should cut a corner.  We cut it too much, and realised when we couldn’t get out of the field.  Colin looked in the woods to our right and found another sign.  We had missed a kissing gate — so we had a kiss anyway!
There followed a good clear path through woods — and cool because we were in the shade!  When we exited, I was in the lead.  We came to a Wales Coast Path sign which definitely pointed us to the right.  I was puzzled about this because our OS map indicated we went straight on at this point.  However, we followed the sign, battled through ferns and brambles up a hillock until the path came to a complete stop at the top.  We could see cottages down there on our left, but they should have been on our right!  We battled back through brambles and ferns to the sign and confirmed we had followed it correctly as indicated.  So we ignored it and went straight on along a slightly better path.  We came out into a lane by the cottages, as we had been expecting.
We passed lots of rose bay willowherb (fireweed) blooming in all its glory, and a profusion of other showy wild flowers.  We descended quite steeply down a lane and under a bridge.  We thought, at the time, that it might be a disused railway bridge, but looking at the map we decided it wasn’t — more likely a track on a private estate.  We descended into the picturesque town of Beaumaris — called “Beautiful Sea” by the French-speaking aristocracy in the 13th century.
Down at the waterfront we sat in the shade in a little park to eat our sarnies.  Then we walked along the seafront, passing families playing on the beach and a ghastly pink house which was part of a terrace.  It was the first Saturday of the school summer holidays, the weather was warm and sunny, and there were a lot of people out enjoying themselves.
We visited Beaumaris Church on a different day, but I mention it here because it is very interesting.  Originally built in the 13th century as a part-fort, and much embellished since, it has fancy stonework on the outside all round its castle-like roof.
Inside there is a set of medieval misericords — always a fascination for Colin — where Solomon and the Queen of Sheba mingle with local people carrying flagons and sheaves of corn.  On the north wall is a brass triptych which is, apparently, very rare.
The centre panel shows God the Father and his crucified son.  Beside them is a figure of St John holding a poisoned chalice!  The piece is pre-Reformation, and I have no idea of the significance of the poisoned chalice.
In Beaumaris itself we saw lots of FAT people — no! I mustn’t go on about that again — and passed a kiddies' paddling pool which was not green like the one in Llandudno.  We walked on the little wooden pier where many families were engaged in catching crabs — this seems to be the latest craze at seaside resorts.
There was lots of sailing and canoeing going on, and good to see so many children involved in these activities.  The local lifeboatmen were holding an open day with stalls, etc, and children were throwing wet sponges at men in the ‘stocks’.  Everybody seemed to be having a good time, there was a very jolly atmosphere.
We saw Beaumaris Castle across the car park, but we visited it on a different day. 
Beaumaris  Castle 
The castle is part of Edward I’s ‘Iron Ring’ of castles he built to subdue the Welsh.  It was built in the 13th century in its strategic position at the mouth of the Menai Strait.  Edward I regarded it as his ‘perfect castle’ because of its symmetrical concentric planning.  But it was never finished because he ran out of money!
It doesn’t actually have much of a history, though taken once by Owen Glyndŵr, and was never much damaged in warfare.  It escaped ‘slighting’ after the Civil War, and fell into gentle ruin through neglect in the 17th century.  It retains its moat to this day, which gives a peaceful feel about the building. 

We continued along the waterfront, and came across a notice saying “DANGER  GUNS  KEEP CLEAR”  There was another such notice facing the other way about twenty yards further along the prom.  This was quite puzzling because it was such a peaceful afternoon by the seaside in the sunshine.  We looked around, but couldn’t see nor hear any guns.  So we legged it across the gap, and got away with it!
We began to climb a grassy path over sandy cliffs.  Looking back we could see a derelict tidal pool which must have given much pleasure on days like this in the past.  Colin remarked that it was a long time since we had walked over cliffs, but he had to make the most of it because, within half a mile, we were back at sea level.  There we thought there was a lower prom to walk on, but it was too sloping so we went back to the pavement.  This was full of potholes and collapsed tarmac.  When we got to the other end we passed a “Footpath Closed” notice which had fallen over.  So where were we supposed to walk?  On the road?
Shortly after that the road turned inland, but the Wales Coast Path was signed to continue along the beach.  All very well at low tide, but the tide was in and there was no beach!  So we had to go inland on the road, traipsing round two sides of a triangle which wasn’t much fun.  At least for the very last bit we were able to walk on a parallel path above a stream, which was quite pleasant.
The road met the shore, but after only a few yards it swung away again.  We’d had enough of this!  The top of the beach was held together by strong wire netting, so we walked along the top of it.  I didn’t like it, but I did it because I didn’t want to walk on any more roads.  There were a couple of big steps at the other end, but we got through.  There we chatted to a woman with a dog who had watched us negotiate the netting.  Then we were stopped by a couple walking the other way who wanted to know if they could get through if they walked along the top of the netting.  We reassured them it was possible.
We walked along a stony beach to the next bit of roadway.  Looking over towards Snowdonia, one of the mountains sported a cloud formation which made it look like a volcano!
The Wales Coast Path followed the road inland round the next loop, but we decided to follow the beach top because it was only a short way.  It was a bit rocky round that tiny headland, but we have negotiated worse in the past.
We were along the waterfront again.  In the distance we could see lime kilns and a chimney at an ancient derelict ‘works’.  We sat on a wall to eat our apples.
Then Colin continued walking along the top of the wall, but I didn’t feel like balancing so I stayed on the pavement.  We stayed on the road then, uphill and uphill, because there was no beach anymore.
We came to the ancient Penmon Priory.  There was a toll, £2.50 for cars but free for pedestrians, which we thought was for driving down to Penmon Point which is private land.  But the next day, when we drove up there and parked by the priory to look at the church behind it we were asked for £2.50 just to park for twenty minutes.  So we moved the car fifty yards back down the road and walked up!  There are four ancient monuments within a few yards of that car park — we visited two on our Walk, but due to time pressure we came back the following day in the car to visit the other two. 
Penmon  Priory 
There has been a priory on this site since the 6th century, established by St Seiriol, a Celtic hermit.  But the present ruins date from the 13th century when the original Celtic priory was reorganised as an Augustinian Priory.  The refectory was on the first floor with cellars below and dormitories above.  At the east end of the building, the remains of the kitchen and warming house date from the 16th century.  Only the bare walls remain today. 

Penmon  Church 
Penmon Church, dedicated to St Seiriol, dates from the 12th century, but the chancel was added in the 14th.  The Victorians also restored the building, adding a porch over a new entrance from what was once the cloister of the original priory.
The most interesting artefact in the church is a 10th century cross with Viking markings on it.  This would have originally stood outside, of course, but it is now housed inside the church for its protection.  We noticed the font had similar markings on it, and we later found out that it could have been the original base of the old cross. 

Holy  Well 
A footpath leads past fish ponds, established by the Augustinian monks, to an ancient Holy Well.  It is said that St Seiriol lived in a cell next to the well, but the present building dates only from the 18th century.  The healing powers of such wells are believed to date back to pre-Christian times. 

The  Dovecot 
After the Reformation the estate was given to the Bulkeley family.  They built the dovecot at the beginning of the 17th century to house pigeons for eggs and meat.  It is well preserved, and we could go inside. 

So much history in one place!  We walked on down the road for about half a mile to Penmon Point.  It was only half a mile but it seemed to be a long way.  We were tired!  It was a busy road too — the toll collector must have been making a fortune today.  It was a narrow road, and we had to keep dodging the traffic.  There was a café at the bottom which we didn’t want to patronise, but the only toilet was for “café users only”.  I didn’t need to go, and Colin went off and found a bush!
Just off shore at Penmon Point lies Puffin Island, but I don’t think there have been any puffins out there in many a long year.  There were lots of people on the beach, many of them fishing so it must have been a good place.  There was lots of boating activity too.  We got chatting to a canoeist who told us there were seals on the other side of Puffin Island. There was a small lighthouse just offshore which tolled a bell every thirty seconds.  This began to get annoying, so when we felt we could stand it no longer we decided to move on.
The coast now went north-westwards, but there was no beach and the path was inland.  We didn’t see the sea again this Walk.  We started up and over mounds covered in ferns, but it was a good path well-signed — and it had recently been strimmed.  We met a walking group coming the other way.
We entered a wood and the path was crazy paving!  It looked like we were walking up someone’s garden path.  The path continued for over two miles up and over fields, then past houses.  There were lots and lots of signs, we couldn’t possibly miss the path.  Lots of kissing gates too, which helped to pass the time!
We met a woman with children in tow who was obviously a holidaymaker just arrived.  She asked us the way to the beach and was disappointed when we told her that this part of the coast was cliffs, the nearest beach being two miles back.  Eventually we climbed over a “Granny’s teeth” type stile on to a road, which was a quiet country lane.  We finished the Walk at a road junction where we turned south to get back to our car at Glan-yr-afon.

On our way down to the car, we stopped to chat to a young couple who were renovating a house.  They told us they had completely rebuilt the cottage using the stone from an old derelict one, and they were pleased when we admired their stonework.  They didn’t know when it would be finished, it seemed that it had been going on forever!  We wished them good luck.  We were amused by a cartoon picture of a house on a blank wall — they told us it was for rent “very cheap”!
That ended Walk no.336, we shall pick up Walk no.337 at the road junction just north of Glan-yr-afon.   It was quarter past six, so the Walk had taken us eight hours twenty minutes.  We had our tea and chocolate biscuits, then we drove back to our caravan at Bodnolwyn Wen.