The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Monday, 2 June 2014

WCP: Sychnant Pass to by Penrhyn Castle (Bangor)

Monday 2 June (0605-0955)

Distance: 11.9 miles

Weather: Light rain showers

Anyone with an uncommon level of attention to detail, coupled with a good memory, may remember that four days ago I described this as a three-day trip. It would have been more precise to say that this was a 72-hour trip as, having set out from Chester at 10 on Friday morning, we needed to be on our way home again at 10 this morning so as to be in good time for an appointment this afternoon.

Four days (even where the fourth day has to end by 10am) is a much better timescale than three days to complete a walk of just over 76 miles, and thanks to having walked as far as I did yesterday, it was looking feasible that I could today achieve my objective of reaching the point where I’d ended my Anglesey trip at the beginning of May (the end point of that trip not being on Anglesey, but by Penrhyn Castle, east of Bangor).

An early start was called for to achieve the objective, so out I strode at just gone 6am, past the ponies grazing by the van, and down the road. Then I went back up the road, collected my hat, and started over.

The inland route of the coast path doesn’t go over Foel Lus, but I did. It seemed rude to skirt such a nice looking hill, moreover, when there was a very good path to its summit (why is there such a well-used path? I can’t find this hill on any hill list to suggest that it’s a ‘bagger’s’ target.).


As well as the good path, there’s a substantial shelter on the summit, again suggesting that this is a popular little hill:


The views from the top made the effort to get up there worthwhile. Here’s a snap back to Great Orme, with cloud just starting to drift in at low level (good job I was up there early, before the cloud came down):


On the plus side, by taking a direct line up Foel Lus (whereas the official coast path zig-zags up the steep hillside then skirts the top of the hill), I had knocked a mile of distance of my day, bringing it down to just over 12 miles. On the negative side, by 7.30am I had covered only 3 miles, which was making my 10am deadline look in jeopardy – and I really didn’t want to have to stop short unless I really had to.

As well as picking up the pace, I resolved to minimise faffing (which usually takes up a good chunk of my day) and forego any breaks. That resolution lasted until just after I spotted this:


A rainbow ahead of me didn’t bode well for a continued dry day, and sure enough, within ten minutes I was having the first of a few waterproof-faffs. In between showers it was far too warm for a jacket, so it was on and off repeatedly.

A combination of jogging down the joggable downhills and cutting another bit of distance by taking an public footpath which represented the short edge of a triangle of paths (whereas the official route, inexplicably, switches back along the two long edges), meant that by the time I strode through Llanfairfechan I was moderately optimistic that I wouldn’t be many minutes late in arriving at my destination.

Forgetting to pick up my poles after stopping for another waterproof-faff, forcing another retracing of steps, and then another backtrack when I thought the path had been re-routed around an area of erosion, caused me to have to march through the last few miles. Fortunately, even my marching pace is still slow enough to take in the surroundings, even if I didn’t pause for many photos. I did quickly grab a snap of this chap (ex-chap) who made me jump when I looked where I was about to put my foot:IMG_4100

I strode across the litter-strewn car park (McDonalds and Costa detritus, mainly) at my finish point at 0953, but Mick wasn’t there. Whereas at the beginning of May the height barrier had been open, today it was closed, barring Colin from entry. Squeezed instead in a farmer’s gateway, he hadn’t been able to desert Colin to walk out to meet me – but he did have a cup of tea waiting for me when I arrived Smile.

Back to the Midland we then came, having had a thoroughly enjoyable 72 hour trip (well, I thoroughly enjoyed the walking, and I believe Mick enjoyed his bit of walking and all of the reading he did). That section of the coast was so much better than I had expected it to be.

Thanks to this morning’s short jaunt, when I return to do the rest of the coast (which may be over two trips, rather than just one), I can finish at Menai Bridge, having now completed all of Anglesey and all of the coast between Chester and the Menai Bridge.

1 comment:

  1. I also took that inland route from Llanfairfrechan to Conway (south to north for me), and rated it as one of the highlights of the whole trip.

    I never had worries about sticking to a formal LDP because it hadn't been inaugurated then, and I settled in my mind to keep within about two kilometres either side of the border wherever possible. I hope you stick to your plan and walk the rest of this excellent route.