Magnificent mountain views … but barely a hill to climb!

7 July 2022

Day 17

So many days, after Steve’s done his planning, he’ll say “it’s a long walk tomorrow but it’s pretty flat” … and I fall for it every time. Today, however, he wasn’t far off the mark. It was scenically stunning with the Welsh mountains as a backdrop all day but the few inclines we had were nothing compared to the mountain paths that were in view. A road hill right at the beginning and another road hill right at the end were the two worst offenders … so mustn’t grumble!

We got the train to Llandanwg and the plan was to walk 11 miles or so back to Minffordd. By the time we got off the train it was already hotting up – so waterproofs got packed away in the rucksack. Lovely blue sky – yippee.

Right from the off the coastal path signs were pretty non-existent today – one of those days that without the app we would have struggled – so many possibilities of taking the wrong turn … but we got it perfect (no thanks to Coastal Path signage)!!

It wasn’t long before we were on the fabulous stretch of Harlech Beach – so expansive … it took so long it was like walking across a desert.

Harlech Beach

Once off the beach we walked into the town of Harlech – once again it had an imposing castle poised on a hill, dominating the area. Magnificent piece of history on your doorstep.

Harlech Castle

The Harlech Dragon

We walked through Harlech and then turned off to walk through miles of farm fields – very straight paths going through field after field after field, all busy with grazing sheep. Then we were on a very straight concrete path that seemed to stretch for miles. All this happening in extremely hot weather – we were so far inland that there was none of that lovely coastal breeze …. moan, moan. Still had stunning mountain views surrounding us though.

The long concrete path

These two seemed so fond of each other … they were either kissing or fighting – couldn’t decide!

The very best thing about this stretch of the path was that we could view Portmeirion from across the estuary – nestled into the hillside, absolutely stunning. At points the views were so remarkable that you wanted everyone to be there to see it and share it.

Portmeirion – where Italian Riviera meets rural Wales

Around about this point we got to thinking about trains back and as there was 2 hours between trains we set ourselves the mission to get back to Minffordd for the 2.45pm train. This involved a really speedy sandwich stop and a certain pace to get there on time.

After passing this bridge we had a hellish 2 miles walking through overgrown prickly paths that seemed to be never-ending … and SO HOT still. We were even relieved when this was over and we got to walk along a main road (which we usually hate) and we were upping our pace to get us to the station in time … even up a steep hill. So relieved when the station was in sight, we casually crossed the road and headed to the tunnel to take us to the other side of the track …. but then, in panic mode, had to run down the slope as the train had already pulled in. Now, this was a station that you have to wave the train down to stop – so it was thanks to lovely people on the train that had requested a stop to get off that we were able to make it all. Phew – we would have had to sit there for two hours feeling mightily disgruntled.

So all’s well that ends well. We even fitted in a fabulous swim when we got back … and now enjoying a chilled glass of white wine while I blog …. well I think I deserved it. 11 more miles in the bag.

Pwhelli Beach where Steve and braved the seas today – we were the only swimmers across the whole stretch – it was fabulous

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