Bangor to Llanfairfechan 19.4.23

So here we are in Bangor after a seven month break from walking – goodness knows what we’ve been doing, a lot to do with a new flat in Copenhagen I think. Back to the lovely pier and its small jewelled towers.

There is a blue sky above but a strong gusty wind that propels us down the road to a point where we turn off right. Following the red diamonds of the Welsh Coast Path on the OS map we walk past rotting wharves and down at heel housing estates – to what we assume is the path but actually isn’t. We are brought to a halt in front of one of the entrances to a private estate with its own castle. Penrhyn Estate is the reason the path is now heading south, away from the coast – we have to walk all the way round it.

Retracing our steps across the bridge we spy the cheery coast path signpost which leads us through a stone arch, over another bridge and onto a peaceful tree-lined path where the only disturbance is the occasional cyclist.

It is a beautiful morning and we are now sheltered from the wind by woodland on both sides of the path – a small river can be seen through the trees off to the right. At one point the tall arches of an imposing red brick bridge spans the path. Further research tells me that this is a well-preserved example of an early railroad bridge, built between 1798 and 1800 to carry the Penrhyn railroad over the lower reaches of the Afon Cegin (the river). It is likely that the Cegin Viaduct is the oldest known multi-arched railway bridge to survive above ground in Wales and possibly the world. The precision and symmetry of the brickwork are astonishing.

Soon we come to the end of the path which then joins up with a narrow tarmac lane. A little further up the lane the Welsh coast path suggests we turn off through fields to Llandygai but we decide to stay on the road as I am hoping to find somewhere for a cup of tea in the village. Disappointingly Llandygai is simply a collection of houses with no real centre, but just outside we stumble across a pub, right into the middle of a staff meeting when they were not expecting any customers.

Out of the pub we follow the main road back in the direction of the coast. At one point we walk past what I think is the main entrance to Penhryn Castle – a photo opportunity.

We now follow a quiet road, still skirting the stone walls of the Penhryn Estate until the map indicates a turn off into a small nature reserve called The Spinnies. At the entrance to the path is a very strange looking gate which Damian has to investigate.

Dotted around the reserve are hides where one can while the time away watching for waders, wildfowl and small birds – not sure I’ve reached that stage in my life yet.

From here the path now hugs the coastline on a grassy path and occasionally right along the stoney beach. On a grey day this could be rather bleak – a dark marshy shoreline dotted with rotting groynes, but in today’s intermittent sunshine the vast expanse of mud and sand and the mountains off to the right have their own beauty.

Eventually we roll up next to the boating lake of Llanfairfechan where a solitary swan glides sedately across the surface of the still water. We now need to find the station for a train back to Bangor.

On the opposite station platform a group of young Hasidic Jewish boys are assembled, waiting for their train. The composition of the group would have made a brilliant “motif” for a painting but I’m afraid my iPhone does not do it justice and I was also a little wary of taking a photo. Anyway….

Distance: 14 miles

10 thoughts on “Bangor to Llanfairfechan 19.4.23

  1. Wonderful! Well done. And I learned a new word – groyne.
    And the young man in shorts. Terrific! And what a gate.

  2. Damian is really rocking those shorts! Bird watching is for hip young folk too you know! Not reached that stage in your life yet 😎

  3. Beautiful blue skies for a walk. Love the pier in Bangor. The railroad bridge is very impressive, as is the Penhryn castle gate. Did you get served at the Llandygai pub?! I think the Spinnies gate must be broken Damian! You were lucky to have a bright day to walk along the seashore , which as you said could have been bleak. I wonder what happened to the swans mate in Llanfairfechan? An interesting 14mile walk and nice to see some photos of you bothxx

  4. So beautifully written thank you. Strangely the only time I was in North Wales I also bumped into a group of Jewish boys at the station. Their teacher was praying against the wall. They looked so incongruous in their trainers and yamas and yarmulke (hair and hats) in Wales. X

  5. Enjoyed that walk and writing.
    A catapult sticking out a pocket of Damian’s shorts and a medium sized graze on his knee, together with the backward facing cap and satchel, would have completed the look of that doubting Thomas.

    I also thought that the symmetry to the castle gate was pretty amazing too. Nice one xx

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