September already, we waved goodbye to Anglesey and set off to the very end of North Wales: walking the Llyn Peninsula with thoughts of the Snowdonia mountains ahead of us. Once we rounded the furthest tip of the peninsula, we were also mindful that we’d feel like we were back on the ‘homeward straight’, that views over Cardigan Bay would inevitably turn our thoughts to home.
We felt that our walk along the Llyn Peninsula began in earnest when we reached Trefor, just outside Caernarfon. Heading up the side of a mountain-come-old quarry, we decided to pitch up in the lea of the disused quarry building up at the summit. Turns out that there can’t be many more perfect spots to camp in the whole of Wales, especially if you are treated to clear skies and sun – amazing views back over Anglesey in one direction, and to mountains and fields in the other.
Wild camping and unexpected challenges
Another perfect campsite awaited us the second day. Our miles were taking us along the north coast of the Llyn peninsula, walking along the beach in part. An abortive attempt to pitch on our first night on the Llyn, when we were unable to hammer in our tent pegs, meant that we fitted in more of the path than we originally planned, and pitched up at the end of a farm track (with the farmer’s blessing) at the head of a gorgeous stony cove. Finding places to stop weren’t our only challenge on the Llyn. Our second full day led us to Penllech Beach. We scrambled down from the coast path and continued to walk by the sea, deciding to camp sea-side rather than climbing back up to the cliff top that day.
Time and tide…
As we pitched, a concerned beach walker mentioned the possibility of a very high tide, but we had set up 2 metres above the high tide mark so felt confident that we would stay dry. Not so confident a couple of hours later as the tide crept closer and closer – within a metre and a half of the tent. Alex hastily abandoned his attempts to find a signal on our radio and we made contingency plans, packing up as much as we could (although leaving the beds out) in case we had to make a hasty retreat to the rocks. Thankfully, with centimetres to go, the tide turned, and we could relax. Sleep came, but late!
We hadn’t yet rounded the corner where we would get views back across Cardigan Bay towards Tresaith, but thoughts of home jumped to mind in Porth Dinllaen where the little red pub reminded us of the Pentre Arms in Llangrannog, just up the coast from Plas y Wern. Those views welcomed us as we reached Aberdaron and prepared to walk a circular path round the tip of the peninsula the next day. We had another teaser for home as Bardsey Island came into view – Bardsey lighthouse is a familiar beacon on our horizon here In the Welsh Wind as we look north and west up the coast. Yet again, we were blown away by the diversity of the coastline. The tip of the Llyn is very different to the rest of the coast path in that corner of the world. Long beaches, both pebbled and sandy, and rocky headlands gave way to steep hills and plenty of down into little coves, and then straight back up again.
To the mountains…
From Pwllheli we were ready to move on – Snowdonia’s mountains were calling us. We were also very aware that we were on the last leg of our journey and that soon we’d be back in real life. We were determined that the final miles would really count.