Distance: 8.71 miles
Max Altitude: 51 m
Min Altitude: 7 m
Height Gain: 148 m
Height Loss: 109 m
I woke up at the crack of dawn, literally. It had just turned 5am. I tried to get back to sleep but couldn’t do I decided to do something practical instead – I re-waterproofed my kit. It was long overdue too.
I wandered back and forth to my tent, feeling smug at how efficient I was being with my time (a rare thing in my life). Pitched next to Clark Tent was another tiny tent. I had mistakenly made assumptions about who was inside when I saw a bike next to it. So when Pam (who I’m sure won’t mind me saying that she’s a little bit older than I am) came over to say hi, I was full of admiration because I learnt that she was cycling from Cardiff to Holyhead solo. We spoke for ages about all outdoor matters – kit, load carrying, feet, distance, water purification, maps; geeky stuff, you know.
Pam also had a close relative die from pancreatic cancer so understood the severity of the disease. I was touched and energised when she praised my efforts. Being admired by someone who has travelled the world, biked across America and climbed mountains far and wide was high praise indeed. I watched her pack her bike and waved her on her way.
Hopefully Pam will have reached Holyhead safely and will by now, be back at home on the Isle of Wight. I hope we keep in touch.
It was time for me to get packing. As I was filling my dry bags, I heard an “Excuse me”. The lady from the large tent on the other side was calling to me. “Would you like a hot drink?”, she asked. Well, I didn’t need asking twice. What a kind gesture.
I joined Katherine, Kol and their two children – from the Wirral – for a coffee outside their tent. We talked for long time while we sipped our drinks. When you travel alone, and suddenly get the chance to talk to another person or people, the effect is overwhelming. We exchanged details and I went on my way.
But it wasn’t long before they had donated to my page and left the nicest message for me too. As with Pam, I hope we stay in touch.
Thank you to Pen-y-Bont Camping for giving me a complimentary pitch for the night. Highly recommended, not least because they have laundry facilities, which is fairly thrilling when you are stinking like a dog. I am, as ever, grateful for the generous gesture.
When I left camp, I had about a 1.5 kilometre hike back into Malltraeth, where I intended to grab breakfast. Disappointment greeted me –
So I went into the village to the shop, where I had a rather depressing egg bap. Food was food though.
I needed to cross the Malltraeth marsh on the cob to get to the forest on the other side. Tidal doors first designed by Thomas Telford about 200 years ago were replaced a few years ago. But the originals can still be seen in a display.
Hitting Niwbwrch Forest meant the start of a very long walk through the forest. The weather was looking iffy and rain was forecast.
A few kilometres later I rejoined the coast again as the Wales Coast Path touched the beach. It was wide and there was barely a soul around.
Despite not being on the WCP, I had already decided to visit Ynys Llanddwyn. It would have been criminal not to. Llanddwyn means ‘the church of St. Dwynwen’. She is the Welsh patron saint of love, and generations of people have made a pilgrimage to this island. My turn was long overdue.
Up ahead was the Tŵr Mawr Lighthouse. And you know how I enjoy a good lighthouse by now.
On a fine day, Eryri (Snowdonia) and Llŷn would be clearly visible across the water but today were shrouded in cloud.
I found this cannon a bit odd. Why was it pointing inland? Any ideas?
Eventually, after several kilometres, I left the bizarrely sand-ridden forest. Fine rain had been coming down for a while and yes, I was walking in wet and sandy shoes yet again. I was overjoyed to walk on grass again after trudging through the sand; honestly, it really is the small things in life.
My feet were paining me though. Probably the result of yesterday’s over-zealous 18.5 miles. But I had no choice but to wince onwards. I would take it easy over the next couple of days to make up for it.
Grass turned to country roads and I ended up at a historical place of interest that I’d never heard of, and I felt a bit ashamed. Llys Rhosyr was a court belonging to the native royal family before they were killed and Wales conquered by Edward I in 1282. The site was explored and excavated in 1992. I had no idea it even existed; so much for my A Level in history eh, (though I never did see the point of studying Protestantism in England in the 16th century, but there we go).
With the rain coming down harder, I had to rush to get to camp in Pen-lôn. When I got there I put Clark Tent up in lightning fast time in order to avoid getting soaked. I jumped inside as soon as he was pitched and slid into my sleeping bag. I felt pretty glum.
Eventually I got to sleep despite the best efforts of the Olympic snorer in the tent next door, who managed to produce a noise of Harley Davidson proportions.
Today was the fourth anniversary of my dad’s death and it had been on my mind for the entire day. I wondered what he’d make of my walk.
Cwsg mewn hedd, Dad.