For some reason I do not appear to have many photos of this walk and the first one I have is very strange indeed – captions very welcome…….
Anyway, after leaving the car in the station car park at Porthmadog we take the coast train to Harlech and start walking northwards. The terrain is pretty featureless, one flat field after another until we hit the concrete service road for the recycling centre at Morfa Harlech – yahoo!
From here the path winds up through scrubby heath which then gradually turns into marshland the nearer we get to the coast. It’s not that clear but you can see Portmeirion across the estuary (the white buildings in the distance).
Trudging along with heads down we miss the turning over the footbridge and have to retrace our steps (it’s at this point I realise how tired I am from yesterday’s walk).
At one point we climb over a stile and are directed onto a narrow, uneven path. I decide to take it very slowly as I do not want to twist my ankle again. We follow this path for about 2 miles and half way along I see two women and their dogs coming towards us in the opposite direction. They are walking briskly and quickly and to my dismay I realise that on the other side of the fence is a wide flat track going in exactly the same direction…..ah well, too late now.
Eventually we cross the railway line and head up to a minor road where we turn left. We are both faint with hunger but there hasn’t really been a good place to stop for lunch. About half a mile up the road we spy a shelter on the platform at Llandecwyn station but it is a modern structure with very little shelter from the cold wind – we walk on.
Just around the corner is the shiny new road bridge over the River Dwyryd and on the other side a sheltered little picnic spot with tables and benches – yippee!
The view over the river is beautiful………..all the more so on a full stomach.
Refreshed, we follow the road though a town with the impossible to pronounce name of Penrhyndeudraeth where we find somewhere for a cup of tea. Everyone in the cafe is speaking Welsh apart from a young girl with a baby who is sitting at a table full of Welsh speakers who intermittently break into English to keep her in the loop. I am fascinated and listen hard to see if I can recognise any words – I get thank you and goodbye. I think it is the first time in my life that I have been surrounded by Welsh speakers, since although I was brought up in Wales, practically nobody spoke it in my part of the country.
After that little interlude we have some main road walking to do. The cars whizz by at what seems like a devilish speed, but they’re probably only doing 40 mph. I take a break to photograph these unlikely beasts.
After a mile or so we pass through the town of Minffordd, one of the stops on the Blaenau Ffestiniog railway. This is a narrow gauge heritage railway which stretches for 40 miles within Snowdonia National Park – it seems to be closed for the winter.
And now it’s time to turn off to take a look at the fantasy village of Portmeirion.
Well known as the location for the 1960s cult TV series The Prisoner, Portmeirion was designed by the architect Sir Clough Williams Ellis and stands on its own private peninsula, surrounded by acres of parkland. Here is the link:
Alas, the village is closed so we consult the map and decide on a footpath that looks like it may take us back to the road a mile further up. I am slightly worried about the path as the little dots seem to peter out when they come up against the railway line but we decide to take our chances. We end up in a field behind someone’s house nervously expecting a yappy dog to come shooting out of the hedge, hell bent on taking a bite out of our ankles.
We wander around the field a few times, really not wanting to retrace our steps, until I spy a path on the other side of a stone wall and there is a gate which we climb. Gratefully we tumble down on to the gravel path which takes us through a pleasant patch of woodland, over the railway line and back to the road.
It is now getting late but we have only the bridge over the estuary to cross before we reach Porthmadoc. The bridge has a cycle path, a road for cars and a footpath which runs alongside the narrow gauge railway.
I apologise for these two videos – they were meant to be photos but my finger must have slipped.
After our reunion with the car we drive off to our BnB, tug very muddy boots off our tired feet and nip across the road to the pub. The Union Inn has an open fire and everybody is speaking Welsh – wonderful!
Distance: 13 miles