96. Pen Cemaes – Trefdraeth (Newport)

96. Pen Cemaes – Trefdraeth (Newport)

Distance: 13.85 miles

Max Altitude: 178 m

Min Altitude: 1 m

Height Gain: 595 m

Height Loss: 697 m

It had been a difficult night’s sleep in the blustery weather. Bleary eyed, I started rounding Pen Cemaes.

What struck me straight away were the rock formations in the cliff, the layers, folds, colours.


Looking across, I was keen to get a decent photo of Ynys Aberteifi but in glum weather it was hard.

In a similar situation to Ynys Seiriol in the north, Ynys Aberteifi was once the home of puffins and Manx shearwater. But when a ship ran aground there in 1934, rats made it ashore and subsequently wiped out the island’s population of puffin and Manx shearwater. They’ve never returned. At least on Ynys Seiriol an effort was made to eradicate the island of rats, meaning that the puffins have returned.

I made my way past an abandoned Coastguard’s lookout and suddenly felt a ‘whoosh’ overhead. I looked up but saw nothing but then from the corner of my eye spotted two peregrine falcons jousting in sky. I had almost been collateral damage. Plus I wasn’t quick enough with the camera.

As I came to the crest of yet another cliff top I noticed a mass of rocks perched on a ledge. How vulnerable the coastline is, no matter how rugged the cliffs look.


The route certainly wasn’t forgiving. Lots of steep climbs, flat sections, steady downhills and then back up again. I didn’t enjoy it.

On one of my descents I saw yet another rock formation. It was at times like these that I wish that I had paid more attention in geography.


This section of the Wales Coast Path is notoriously remote, with very few facilities. However, due to it being the famous Pembrokeshire Coast Path, there were walkers everywhere. In fact it was busier than most other places I’d walked through.

I caught up with a group of ‘proper ramblers’, as I call them.  I come across them most days. They are identifiable because they’re always in big groups, wearing the same kit, usually have maps inside plastic pockets worn around their necks, and generally give me looks of disdain or ignore me completely. I think I could write a sociology book about the various types of walkers in existence when this challenge is done.


I was finally homing in close to Trewyddel (Moylgrove). As I approached I could hear the waves crashing in the cove. Around the last corner was a bench, with a memorial plaque on it advising me to sit and observe the view.  So I did as instructed, took a seat, listened to the waves and watched them smash against the rocks.  I then followed the path down to the beach at Ceibwr.


It was a melancholy little beach, compared to others. It made me a little sad so I didn’t stop for long.

I stopped for a bite to eat and got mesmerised by the rhythm of the crashing waves once more. I find it so hypnotic. The sea looked almost like ice.


I had read about Pwll y Wrach (which mean’s ‘witches pool’) but it wasn’t what I was expecting. It’s certainly one of those natural phenomena best seen rather than explained. IMG_8888

It was, without doubt, confusing.  On the seaward side, there was a ledge above sea level, so no tide seemed to be coming from there.  There was a small cave, but the flow of water wasn’t enough to produce the tide within the pool.  On my flying visit I was unable to solve the  mystery. I think another visit and some prior reading will enlighten me. IMG_8889

I then passed a natural arch created from the cliffs by the water. In the distance was Pen Caer (Strumble Head).


By this time I was starting to flag. I had plenty of water and supplies, but the weight of the pack coupled with the ups and downs were taking their toll on both my legs and my morale.

With my spirits waning I walked past a field of cows. They were the curious types and stumbled towards me wanting a better look. I stared at them and they stared at me.  I even tried feeding one of them a handful of fresh grass.  To my amazement, the one on the right below took me up on my offer and seemed grateful for the face-height offering.


Then I spotted the odd one out – different colour, different hairdo and a different swagger to the girls.  Yes, it was a bull and as you can see he wasn’t too happy with my appearance. If looks could kill…


However, there was a fence between he and I. Talk about relief.


I was nearing Trefdraeth (Newport) and was literally counting down the metres, staring at my GPS constantly.  I then looked back and realised just how far I had come from Pen Cemaes.


It started spitting with rain and I had to pick up the pace. But I stopped in my tracks when I saw this little character and his personal surroundings. He wasn’t with the rest of the flock and seemed quite content with his home. More bahjou than bijou (terribly sorry, couldn’t resist that one).

My attention returned rather sharply when I was faced with this view. The path gave way to this drop a little too quickly for my liking.


I found my way on to the nice flat sand of Trefdraeth.


The tide was out so an easy stroll to the village? No. I hadn’t accounted for the Afon Nyfer and gotten a bit too excited about finishing walking for the day. I conceded that as much as I wanted to take the short cut and wade across the river, it wasn’t going to happen.

So I linked back up with the coast path using the main bridge to cross the Nyfer, which is known for its variety of bird life.

I made it to Trefdraeth banjaxed.

Fortunately, my bed at Richard and Chris’ house was waiting for me.

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