Posted by: natsevs | April 15, 2010

Aberystwyth to Borth y Gest

I woke to another miserable day in Aberystwyth, but did have the exciting prospect of warmed up hot cross buns for breakfast, they could have done with a bit of chocolate spread in them though. I also had the pleasure of meeting a Newton Faulkner lookalike which is always a good way to start your day.

I trudged along the promenade in the torrential rain and wind before climbing Constitution Hill. At the top is the camera obscurer but today you couldn’t see the town at all so I wasn’t about to waste my money by going in there. I think I may have then taken the wrong path onwards, going up instead of down, but I hesitantly made my way downhill to the woods then had to walk down steep bike trails. Well, slip and slide down them actually.

I came out at a caravan site where the umpteenth little kid asked me to get him fags, I’m going to have to get a sign or something to stop them asking me. From there it was up onto the cliffs where the wind really got going. My bag cover was soon flying up the hill but luckily got snagged on some gorse so I could retrieve it. This happened one or two more times before I gave up on keeping things dry for the day and packed it away. I was also slipping a fair bit and my face was going slightly numb, it wasn’t brilliant.

I eventually reached Borth where I walked through another caravan site and onto the sea front and along the promenade. I took the opportunity to hide in a toilet from the relentless weather for a minute or two, I was soaked through, even my feet again. When I carried on I had the temptation of visiting the Borth Animalarium who’s sign had a lot of animals on that I was pretty sure would not be present at the actual attraction.

Walking towards Ynyslas I was informed that the Aberdovey Outward Bound group would be willing to take me over the river, saving me quite a round trip, so this lifted my spirits. So at Ynyslas I continued over the dunes and onto the beach to meet the boat. I ended up having to go right out on a sand spit which was slightly sinky but a lot easier than an extra few miles. I then stayed in Aberdovey for the night drying out my stuff and buying some replacement gloves as mine had flown away at some point.

The following day’s weather was worse, unbelievably. As soon as I rounded the corner of the river mouth I was battered by really strong wind straight into my face. The rain that accompanied it was particularly heavy, but when it is being fired at you at that speed, not only is it quite painful but it also manages to get you pretty soaked.

The initial journey was through a golf course, but that then turned to fields before I eventually arrived in Tywyn where the weather let off slightly but was on and off continuously for the rest of the day. It was here that I was forced inland by yet another river adding about four unnecessary miles to the journey.

Via a mixture of road and footpath I made it back to the coast and headed along the coastal road. It was here that the google streetview map car went passed me, so A493, look out for me when it updates. The road was flanked on one side by mountains and the other by a wall, then the sea, so there wasn’t much room for me.

I stopped in a bus shelter for some food in Llwyngwril by which time I had experienced rain, sleet, snow, hail and the continuous battering wind. As I approached Fairbourne, I caught the view of Barmouth, which is nestled against the mountains with the sea in front of it and looks incredibly picturesque.

Once through Fairbourne you take the railway bridge over to Barmouth for the toll of 70p. It is definitely worth it though considering the views you get from the bridge itself. Besides I wasn’t about to go around. I had arrived just after 4pm so made really good time and was able to have a real relax in the b&b. It obviously became pretty sunny now that I’d stopped but when I headed towards the beach I realised the wind was still very much present and doing its thing.

I was pretty slow setting off in the morning and once I did the tide was right in so there was no option of beach walking. I went along the promenade and enjoyed watching as the waves smacked against the sea wall sending spray everywhere. At the end, I had to head back onto the road again right up to Talybont where I stopped for a second at a bus shelter and luckily avoided a major downpour. After that, I headed to the beach then along behind the dunes next to an abandoned military airfield which still had the signs up forbidding any photography.

The path disappeared for a while and I was back to jumping gates and fences again before it reappeared further on. Not long back on the track, there was a pile of faeces of definite human origin right in the middle. The scattered toilet paper gave it away. I was kind of wondering how it had got there when a tent suddenly popped up in front of me. Well I popped up in front of the tent really I guess.

A little further on there was another one, tent I mean, and I soon realised I’d reached Shell Island camp site. It is disappointingly lacking in shells but looked to be a really nice site, excluding the poo. I had to go right through the site to get out then along the one road which was only just above the water level and apparently floods at high tide, hence why it is called an island. A footpath led off the road along the side of the estuary and the map showed a bridge over the river around the corner so off I went down there, saving a little bit of distance.

When I got round the corner though, the rail bridge was there but there wasn’t a footbridge to be seen, this psed a dilemma. In the end I ran over the rail bridge despite the fine warnings and hopped over the fence at the other side just as a train came speeding passed.

That last bit might possibly be a lie, there wasn’t any trains to be seen at all.

It was road walking again to Harlech, another pretty place with an awesome beach. Unfortunately. this beach only has one path on and off and I did not realise this until I had made my way onto it. So I ended up going back on myself a fair bit to get back inland to the road which was the only route onwards. The weather at least had brightened up by now and I de-waterproofed before carrying on.

I was a little behind time now so was going for it along the road then over another bridge and headed towards Porthmadog. Going over the Cob and looking back up the Glaslyn river towards the mountains has to be one the best views I have had so far.

I met my friend Ceri in Porthmadog and she walked with me to her grandparents house (Marian and Hefin) in Borth Y Gest where I was gate-crashing the birthday of Ceri’s dad, Neil. We had a lovely meal followed by a very relaxing and pleasant evening.

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