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]

Thursday, 18 September 2014

WCP: Furnace to Tywyn


Thursday 18 September 2014

Distance: 24.4 miles; Ascent: 4500’

Weather: cloudy morning, sunny by mid-afternoon


Today was an inland day necessitated in order to cross the nearest bridge over the River Dyfi. For some reason, I didn’t perceive that an inland day in the midst of a coastal walk would be good or interesting; in that perception I was proved completely wrong.

Whilst my day didn’t start on the official Wales Coast Path (having diverted down to last night’s campsite, I took an alternative route to pick it back up further along this morning), it saw me with woodland on my left (mainly birch) and a bank of bracken on my right and it was a whole lot more attractive than those words make it sound. Then, back on the official path, came a walk alongside a delightful stream. The only mar on the first couple of hours was the recently widened forest track, which screamed ‘wind farm coming soon’ to me.

Arriving in Machynlleth a minor diversion was taken to visit Mick and Colin, residing in the car park, and after second breakfast and a cup of coffee, Mick joined me for the walk to the edge of the town, before he turned back in search of a newsagent and TGO Magazine (mission successful; he has his TGO Challenge application form).

Out of Mac, an attack of laziness caused me to shun the official route uphill through forestry, and instead take to the road for a short while to pick up a riverside path, which on paper looked more nicer. A complete lack of waymarks and a number of obstructions and missing stiles dulled what should have been a perfectly pleasing walk.

Back on the official path, I knew that I didn’t need to pay attention to the map any more. The route is so well marked that the map feels almost superfluous. Oh, such complacency! Five minutes later I overshot a turn and having backtracked, my inspection of the junction (a turn off the road out of Penall, as it heads into the MacDonald resort) still didn’t reveal any waymark. They were, however, perfectly plentiful going through the resort and beyond.

The next bit of route saw me climbing up to follow an elevated byway in glorious surroundings, made even more so in the afternoon sunshine. Mick missed the best bit of that walk, meeting me shortly before I descended down to Aberdyfi.

I would have ended my day at Aberdyfi (4 miles in a straight line from yesterday’s lunch spot; 27 miles walked to get there), as had been my original plan, but it was only 3pm which felt a bit early to stop, particularly when the next few miles were flat and easy along the beach. So, onwards to Tywyn I went where, whilst I set about removing half a beach from my feet and footwear, Mick disappeared off and came back brandishing two ice-creams. What a star!

After today’s excellent weather, as I type this (8.15pm) the wind is howling outside. I do hope it calms itself before tomorrow, although I understand there’s a very strong chance of me getting wet the next couple of days.


  1. I do hope you remembered your waterproofs!!

    1. Two full sets of Paramo, and one full set of hard-shell! Overkill?

  2. Its not going to rain. PMA.
    When you get to Fairbourne you can walk to the end of the little railway and then there is a very small ferry boat that takes you the 100yds across the harbour into Barmouth. I think it cost £3. Its nicer than the bridge and makes a bit of a change from the walking. But you may consider this cheating.

    1. You were right about the rain (well, it rained very heavily the one night, but I've had eight dry walks so far).

      I wouldn't have considered the ferry to have been cheating at all, but hadn't even contemplated that it would be running on a week day in late September.