Tregwynt to Porthgain 24.7.20

We arrive at the woollen mill in pouring rain but the forecast does say it will clear up later – we decide to wait in the cafe. To ensure social distancing each table has to be booked while ordering which means less room for customers but a couple already seated on a large table invite us to share it. It turns out they are walkers so we chat for a while about walking in Scotland, Wales, Cornwall and Corsica, somewhere I would really like to visit. The rain eases off so we say goodbye and head down to the coast. The path runs past a pretty little holiday cottage, standing alone with only a 5 minute walk down to the beach.

………and here is the beach, deserted, unlike yesterday and where we turned right yesterday we now turn left and hobble over the pebble beach. IMG_0048

Soon we are up on the cliffs, with the sky clearing – this beautiful peacock butterfly is a morning treat.IMG_2896

We walk past another beach, a twin sister to the one we started from this morning. That one is called Aber Bach and this one Aber Mawr. And here’s a Welsh lesson , “mawr” means large and “bach” means small. I remember my Welsh grandmother used to use “bach” as an endearment when we were children.

The path is quite flat here and we make good progress, which is encouraging as my body is still smarting from the long walk yesterday. I look back occasionally to take photos of the cliffs, caves and small islands.

Eventually we reach Abercastle, a long thin inlet, busy with small boats, kayaks and paddle boards. Although Damian is keen to try paddle boarding it certainly doesn’t float my boat. First of all it looks like hard work and I also find the movements ungainly and not nearly as graceful as those needed to send a kayak whistling through the water. 

We walk on, round a promontory – yet another Castell Coch (there are so many of these in Wales) – “coch” means red but there’s nothing red around here. Later the path takes us through a series of “pwlls” – small inlets ringed with steep cliffs and inaccessible beaches – or so we think.

Looking down from the narrow path above one of the the steep drops we spy a human being lying stark naked on the beach. Almost as if he could sense our presence the man stands up, puts his hands on his hips and stares directly up at us. There is some defiance in his stance which is curious as we are so far up we cannot see his face nor any bits and bobs he may have been wanting to protect from our gaze. How did he get down there? We scan the cliffs and gradually the pattern of a possible way down begins to emerge over to the right but it looks like a dangerous scramble. Seems like a lot of effort just to have a beach to yourself.

By now we are nearing the inlet that leads up to the village of Trefin. The path leads us to a stream running down to a stony beach. On the other side of the stream are the ruins of a water mill, the old grinding stone still intact. We rest for a while…

We are now not far from our destination but the sky looks dangerous. I really hope it doesn’t rain as I’m looking forward to a pint at the Sloop Inn and as Wales is on partial lockdown they will only be serving outside.

Above Porthgain are two navigation markers, the furthest away is a bit worse for weather but the one closest to us has definitely had a facelift. These would have marked the entrance to what once was a busy industrial harbour exporting slate from local quarries. The slate was cut into slabs by water powered mills and the waste was used to make bricks and road stone. Large brick “hoppers” dominate the harbour – these hoppers were used to store crushed road stone before shipment and are now a Scheduled Ancient Monument. I remember the first time I visited Porthgain almost twelve years ago that I thought these ruins may have been a prison which cast a shadow over my fish and chips. Now I know better.


Just as we reach the village it starts to rain – heavily. We summon our remaining reserves of energy to dash up to the Sloop Inn to bag us a table outside. We have two umbrellas with us and all our rain gear on so it’s not so bad. The rain dripping on the umbrella and the cold beer reminds me of camping which I used to do many years ago – it is almost cosy. 

Distance: 7 miles

Tregwynt to Goodwick 23.7.20

Having found a lovely BnB in Goodwick, we get a ride south to Tregwynt Woollen Mill – the plan being to walk back to Goodwick. The mill is in COVID mode, which means there are no tours of the buildings that house the looms but the door is open for a peek inside. You can also hear the chitter chatter of the machines busily weaving the most gorgeous blankets, clothes and cushions.

There is also a one way system through the shop to the cafe and the marked standing positions for queues make me smile.IMG_0026

After a cup of tea we head down a narrow tarmac lane and then turn off down a footpath through the woods to reach the sweet little beach named Aber Bach. There are a few people out sitting on the pebbles enjoying the morning sun. We turn right heading north on the cliff path. By the time we reach the cliffs at Pwllcrochan (a mile or so), the clouds are massing and it starts to look like rain.



…….but as is so often the case, as soon as I put my wet wear on it clears up. This is so infuriating as it is a struggle to dig into my rucksack, retrieve the waterproofs and then stand on one leg and wobble trying to get the trousers on. Anyway, there are greater challenges in life……

Sometime later the path seems to disappear into a steep pile of rocks but Damian insists he can see a way up, so scrambling it is.


At the top is a cairn and I add a stone, relieved to rest after my exertions up the rocky slope.


From here we get to walk on a wide flat grassy path through gorse and bracken – here’s a photo of me looking quite serious and hungry.


Looking at the map we realise that we still have a long way to go with limited provisions and that the path from now on is not going to provide any tea stops or food shops. Despite this we both need fuel so when the path leads up onto a tarmac road we take advantage of a bench with a view and eke out the sandwiches. On the other side of the road is a memorial stone to a well known (well not to me) local bard who wrote mainly in Welsh. A wiki tells me he won the crown at the National Eisteddfod of Wales in 1926 and in 1929 he won the chair at the National – the first of an unequalled four wins. I remember exciting school trips to the Eisteddfod in Llangollen, particularly the colourful traditional dress worn by some of the dancers and singers.

IMG_0032We walk on……

Round about Trefasser the cliff and rock formations are really spectacular and even the small scattered “islands” all have names  Ynys Melin, Ynys y Ddinas, Ynys Ddu, Carreg Ddu. I later look up what “ynys” means in Welsh and guess what – it means island. IMG_2864IMG_2865

The path now is still quite rocky and in places quite steep – another scramble.


And again effort is rewarded by another cairn topped with a dancer/shaman……………………..


We are now getting very tired so it is with relief we start to see the Stumble Head lighthouse in the distance. This is where we turn a corner and start the to head east back to Goodwick.



But from here it is still four or five miles back to our Bnb and it’s very hot…………………….

From here on I don’t really have any extra energy to look around me. All my strength and concentration is geared towards putting one foot in front of the other and not think about how thirsty I am. With one exception when we see a seal ………………..but even this is not enough to raise my spirits.


Eventually we can see Fishguard, Goodwick’s twin town, in the distance, so not far to go now.


……..and the unmistakable 910 metre long breakwater, made from 1.6. million tonnes of rock blasted out of the hillside.


Finally we meet the residential outskirts of Goodwick and hobble down the streets into the town.

As Wales is on partial lockdown the only place serving cold draught beer in Goodwick is “The Shack”, a wooden hut with outside space, on the other side of town and located on a busy main road. Do we care? Do we have the energy to walk there? Hell yes.

Distance: 13 miles

Nolton Haven to Little Haven 22.7.2020

Last time we were here it was a very different day, heavy rain pouring from a slate grey sky. Today the sun is shining and the sky is a deep blue. 

The first thing to catch our attention is the manoeuvring of a huge static caravan. We stand and stare for a few minutes. Now it may look like this video is upside down but if you click on it order will be restored. I need to also say that most of the photos here were mistakenly taken on the video setting (I have a new phone).

And then up onto the cliffs to start walking. Down below are a string of “havens” – pretty little coves and after a mile to two we reach Druidston Haven where this earth house built into the cliff greets us. A jogger who overtakes us tells us that the house has been named the Teletubbies house. It has a beautiful view over the sea and space to sit outside and eat. From the back it is very discreet.

There is now a  short stretch on a tarmac road which leads past a gate and a path leading to a  beautiful little roundhouse with a conical roof. The information board in front of the gate tells us that this is an eco cottage for short and long stays with no electricity apart from wind/solar and water heated SLOWLY by a Finnish fire (whatever that is).

The path now runs through a series of green fields and Damian gets a chance to chat to the locals.

And a mile on we are looking down on the long sandy beach of Broadhaven where holidaymakers are making the most of it with windbreaks and other beach paraphernalia – trying to ignore the grey clouds gathering ahead.

Unfortunately for us the tide is coming in so instead of walking along the beach to Little Haven we are forced to tramp up the steep hill on the road and then down into the village where our car is parked. The reward is a freshly caught lobster brioche which we eat on the seafront. This has been a short walk to close the remaining gap in this area. Tomorrow we are off further north to join a few more dots. 

Distance: 5 miles

Little Haven to St. Martens Haven 21.7.20

It’s another deep blue sky day as we set off from Little Haven, a village which definitely lives up to its name. Damian spots a little shop selling fresh lobster brioche but that will be tomorrow’s lunch – we have just had a hearty breakfast.


The path follows the road for a while up a steep hill and then branches off to the right, up onto the cliff top. We walk and walk and at some point this stone arrangement appears – what does it mean? There is a bare path in the grass in front of it and I wonder whether this was where the stone with the hole used to lie. Anyway, we stop to catch our breath and drink some water – that’s the trouble with cooked English breakfasts, they are very salty.


We now follow the coast path over the cliffs, beautiful wild flowers on both sides, red campion, fox gloves, heather and in places ox daises – this flower catches my eye, no idea what it’s called but I love the delicate threads of the bud it has sprung from.


Our next breather is St.Brides, a small village presided over by its castle, which you can just about see on the skyline. It was built in 1833 and is apparently a well preserved  example of Scottish baronial architecture. It is set in 99 acres of parkland and the coast path runs parallel to the stone walls which mark its boundaries. From the internet I discover that the building has been renovated to an extremely high standard “providing the discerning holiday maker with a choice of stylish and comfortable apartments and cottages” .


Leaving the village behind we climb once more up onto the cliffs where we come across these beauties. Edible? I don’t think so somehow.



The day seems to be getting hotter and hotter and once more I berate myself for not researching some summer walking shoes. It really is too sticky for heavy leather boots.

Another beautiful beach then appears – the bright blue water so inviting.


Around the next corner we find an unorthodox way of getting onto the beach as there doesn’t seem to be any alternative. I make my way trepidatiously down what the OS map calls the Black Cliff – the steps carved into the rock make it easier but it is a bit of a scramble half way down


The water is gloriously cold and refreshing and there is plenty of time for a spot of sunbathing. Or so we think…………….

Lifting an eyelid I suddenly notice that the tide seems to be coming in quite quickly but when I mention this to Damian he tells me to stop worrying. Ten minutes later I believe i have reason to be worried so I head off left to the other end of the beach where the water is further out and plenty of people are still lying on the sand. I then scan the cliffs for another way up but no – we will have to go up the same way we came down. Walking quickly back to base I explain the situation to Damian who still does not seem worried even though the water is now gently lapping his walking boots. Now convinced that we will soon be trapped I grab my things, paddle through the shallow water around the rocks and leap up on to the boulders leading up to the path. Every man for himself!

Reaching the top of the cliffs I look back and see quite a lot of people now hurrying to reach dry land and eventually Damian appears with his boots in his hands. What I can’t understand is that the people on the other part of the beach are making no move to leave – do they intend to stay there until the tide turns? Who knows?

After all that excitement I sit down to wait for Damian and take a picture looking back on the beach – the map tells me this is Musselwick Sands so we don’t have such a long way to go before we are reunited with the car.


…..and here we are, the beach at Martins Haven again.


This has been a hot but wonderful walk.

Distance: 10 miles


Dale to Marten’s Haven 20.7.20

Thanks to our taxi driver, who has obviously dealt with coast walkers before, we agree on a plan to drive our car to St. Martin’s Haven and meet him there. He would then drive us back to Dale, where we finished yesterday and we would walk back the 12 miles or so to our car.

Climbing up out of the morning stillness of the village, the tarmac lane leads us upwards past a small house with some strange wood carvings stacked up outside – this one recalls some of the nightmare images of Francis Bacon’s work.


Up through the coolness of the woods we climb, it is already hot, shouldn’t grumble, it’s  a beautiful day.


Just before Dale Fort Field Centre, the path veers off to the right and when we emerge from the woods we can see what look like more beacons ahead. We are approaching West Blockhouse Point.


From here we follow the cliff path, past a group of pretty white ponies who are totally disinterested in us and on to St. Ann’s Head. (I have a new iPhone and the setting must have been on video by mistake)

The road here goes past the squat little lighthouse and the row of lighthouse cottages, which I believe are summer lets. They all look empty, which is unsurprising as Wales is still on lockdown and there are very few tourists around.


A short while after St.Anne’s Head I begin to flag and we stop for refreshment – a 2 day old banana has never tasted so good. We continue, past Frenchman’s Bay, then Welshman’s Bay – what no Englishman’s Bay? And to the point, where if we wanted, (but we don’t) we could give up the walk and take the road across the neck of the peninsula back to Dale. I would now like to point out that HERE there should be a photo of Dale Castle, standing back from the coast and surrounded by green fields. This photo should be on Damian’s camera. But I cannot find it – so there you go…..
Here’s a picture of its beautiful little bay instead.



The path now follows the cliffs, past signs of a disused airfield off to the right, until we turn the corner at Hooper’s Point and look down on the long stretch of golden sand that is Marloes Sands. Should we swim? I am so hot and sweaty that a dip sounds heavenly but I have no costume with me and do we have the time? After a bit of deliberating we take the plunge (as it were) and walk down the steep narrow path to the beach.


We find a suitable pile of rocks to call home, rip off our clothes down to our underwear and walk determinedly into the freezing cold water. My screeching attracts the attention of a couple with their two kids frolicking nearby – they look quite shocked. The father laughs and shouts out that after 20 minutes the water will feel almost warm – five minutes is enough for me but it is wonderful!

Energised, we pound along for the rest of the walk until we reach Martins Haven and our car. On the beach below a knot of people are gathered who tell us that, due to Covid restrictions, the boat that normally takes visitors across to Skomer Island to see the puffins is still sailing, but you can’t get off the boat onto the island. We make a mental note to come back next year in June and do the trip.


Distance: 11 miles









Sandy Haven to Dale 19.7.20

The tide tables website for Sandy Haven has been sitting saved on my computer screen for months, winking at me every time I sit in front of my laptop. Finally, I get to use it so when we turn up at 12 noon the tide is out, allowing us to get across the narrow estuary instead of a 4 mile walk around it, mostly on roads. There used to be stepping stones here but health and safety regulations have been at work and the stones have been replaced by a wide concrete path – bit of a shame.


Leaving the muddy beach behind we turn left and climb up through woods up onto the cliffs. We pass Little Castle Head, the sight of an ancient fort and then Great Castle head which sports a beacon of some sort – maybe for navigation?


It is hot and although I know that this will be a short walk I already feel tired – perhaps due to the long drive yesterday from London. We have also not been walking since March, pre-Covid, pre-new grandchild and myself in Denmark for 4 months.

Well – it is a beautiful day and the views are beautiful, particularly the deep rust red of the cliffs.



…………and vibrant purple of these flowers that line the path.


At Monk Haven we are faced with a high and low road and Damian decides to ignore the high tide route and take his chances on the beach – I follow although not entirely certain that this is the right choice. But all is well and we soon come to Musselwick after which the path swings upwards to circumvent an area of marshland and we cross a long gang plank over the muddy ground of the Gann river and carry on down into Dale.


Dale hosts a cafe and pub/restaurant so, as it is relatively early, we opt for a cup of tea and a Welsh cake. Covid restrictions mean a long wait in a queue but the village is busy with people taking off and arriving in boats, kayaks and on paddle boards. The pub’s clientele are packed along the sea wall clutching pints, while children in wetsuits swarm around their parents’ legs demanding attention – there is a lot to entertain us.

Unfortunately neither of us remember to take a photo of the village. ……..sigh.

Distance: 5 miles




Hoylake to Neston 8.3.20

Out of the station at Hoylake we walk down towards the sea and follow the edge of the very marshy beach towards West Kirby. Out of all the birds described in the information board below I think I could recognise the sanderling (because of its scuttling gait), the oystercatcher (due to its red beak) and the curlew (again long curved beak and mottled feathers). I may be getting better at it but there is a long way to go.


Soon we are faced with a choice of walking along the beach or the road – we take the “beach”, winding our way around and through large patches of soft sand and water. It doesn’t take long.



And pretty soon we are in West Kirby……………..


Not many ice-creams being sold today but people are out enjoying the sunshine……but hang on a minute……………… is this nondescript seaside town on the Wirral the site of unreported miracles? Are they walking on water?


Well no – it turns out there is a concrete path circling what is in effect a marine lake – we give it a go. It is not quite a Biblical experience but definitely peculiar and curiously liberating.


The windsurfers get very close ………….


After this bit of excitement the path leads us down onto a long straight forest track through Wirral Country Park. Not much happens apart from trying to dodge families of cyclists out for the day and I fall into that meditative plodding motion which helps me through uneventful stretches of walking. The sun is warm on my back and it’s lovely to hear birdsong – I’m happy.


However, after about 4 miles of this, both of us are gasping for a cup of tea so we hail a group of people to ask about cafes in the vicinity. The directions are a little vague (or were they too complex for us to remember?) and it takes another mile of residential streets before we get to the turn off for Parkland where pubs and cafes have been promised.


The town is very busy on this Sunday afternoon and we walk up and down the street for a while trying to find a cafe with space for us – in desperation I plump for an ice- cream.

IMG_6958 And just as I am taking my first slurp we are lucky enough to grab a table from a couple who are just leaving the cafe next door. From here it’s all downhill – we miss two busses (standing in the wrong place, my fault, and unreliable rail replacement busses). The rainbow over Neston station is the only uplifting moment of an hour waiting in the cold.


I am very glad to get back to Liverpool.

Distance: 11 miles




Liverpool to Crosby 7.3.20

Damian has gone to a football match in Sheffield – he hates football but it is an opportunity to meet up with a friend. So, I walk back to the ferry terminal and then head north past the Royal Liver Building. This is one of the most recognisable landmarks in the city of Liverpool and is home to two fabled Liver Birds that watch over the city and the sea. Legend has it that were these two birds to fly away, then the city would cease to exist.


I am actually not looking forward to this walk as the map shows a long slog along a main road (A5036) through what looks like real industrial docklands. This brick wall follows me for a mile or two and I seem to be one of the very few braving the pavement.


I then walk past what must be one of the ugliest buildings in the country – can’t really work out what it is. I cross the road and scuttle past, preferring the intimidation of the brick wall, which at least allows me periodic glimpses of the docks and river.


At one point the wall merges into stone and opens out into a small landing stage – some brave people have organised a kayak trip on the water.


I walk on, avoiding piles of kerbside litter, through rows of shuttered shops and abandoned dockside pubs. In places, an influx of small businesses have appeared, taking over empty buildings, breathing new life into the area. IMG_6927


This one catches my eye – what on earth do they produce?


And later I walk past what I’m told is the Stanley Dock Tobacco Warehouse – a grade II listed building and the world’s largest brick warehouse. It is currently being renovated to create, yes you’ve guessed it, luxury dockside apartments.


……..and just up the road, if your visitors need somewhere to stay ……the gorgeous Titanic Hotel.


I am by now getting very hungry and although I do have a few sandwiches, the lorry loaded road and industrial landscape do not offer up any suitable place to sit and eat. I am also coming to the end of the road where I have to turn right before the start of the container docks, which I am very glad I don’t have to walk through.

There then follows a tiring trudge up another main road, where I am forced to hide from the traffic in a bus shelter and bolt down one of my sandwiches – is this really coastal walking? I ask myself, not for the first time.

Anyway, at one point, I decide to forgo the delights of a two lane highway and the stench of gas from Seaforth Dock and turn off left through residential streets.


After a while I end up on what I assume to be Seaforth High Street which is really the stuff bad dreams are made of. Every other shop is shuttered closed, although the bargain booze and bookies show signs of life. There are not many people around and those that are seem to sport the same grey pallor. The road is thankfully short with a brutal cut off at the end, consisting of one more busy main road and railway line. I long for some open space and head decisively west to pick up a trail around a lake which then merges with Sefton Coastal Path.

At last, a horizon…………


On the path around the lake stands an information board which illustrates how far Seaforth has fallen. (I do hope no-one reading this post lives in Seaforth or knows anybody who does) The story is that in 1903 Seaforth Radio was established as one of the first wireless stations in the world for maritime radio communication. It also boasted the first school for the training of wireless telegraphists – one of whom was Jack Phillips, a senior radio operator on the Titanic, who remained at his post on the ship and consequently lost his life. Poor Jack………

From here I follow the trail along the promenade, and then on the beach to take another look at the Gormley sculptures. I first saw these back in 2103 when I walked from Crosby Beach to Southport. It seems so long ago…………………….




Distance: 8 miles








Liverpool to Hoylake 6.3.20

These walks were made over the course of a few innocent days before the onset of Covid 19.

We have come to Liverpool to take a look at the Prince of Wales aircraft carrier, docked in Liverpool for a week. Arriving on the day of its departure, we are much too late to get tickets for onboard but still in time to stand and stare from Princes Dock.



Seven hundred people are employed on the ship and a Wiki tells me there is room for 40 F-35B Lightning II stealth multirole fighters and Merlin helicopters. It is massive…….

Here is the link:

And here’s a Google picture of the ship leaving Liverpool a little later in the day.

Screenshot 2020-03-22 at 16.07.58.png

It’s now time to take the ferry across the Mersey (I have the song in my head all day)……and here it comes.


After a meandering crossing we arrive in Seacombe on the Wirral, to turn right and head down what must be the longest concrete promenade in the UK – it just goes on and on. So much so that there are very few photos, particularly because New Brighton certainly does not live up to its name – although there is an extensive sandy beach. I later discover that at just over 2 miles the promenade actually is the longest in the country.

In an attempt to brighten up the tedium of 2 miles of dull grey concrete, a local organisation has installed some colourful benches dedicated to lost loved ones.



It is a worthy initiative but the overall effect is like walking through a graveyard.

On the other end of the scale is something a little more cheery. The contribution of local school children in a series of decorative plaques set into the concrete.


Knitting and crochet also play a part in livening up the promenade ……………..



Eventually we reach New Brighton, an area which marks the outflow of the Mersey into Liverpool Bay. Across the river are the massive red and white cranes of the container terminal at Bootle Docks.


A cup of tea in the sun and we’re off again, following the path through the North Wirral Coastal Park.


A notice on the sign is a warning for prospective cockle pickers – Leasowe Bay has had its share of boom and bust over the years and it is now difficult to harvest cockles without a licence. Personally I don’t see what all the fuss is about, I always thought you might as well eat a piece of rubber soaked in vinegar.


The rest of the walk has no highlights – to our left are never-ending rows of residential streets and to the right, featureless marshland leading out to the sea.

IMG_1500I am pleased to arrive at the station in Hoylake where there is a train just about to leave taking us back to Liverpool.

Distance: 10 miles


Whitesands to Porthgain 3.1.20

What difference a day makes…………………………………………….


We set off from Whitesands Bay in bright sunshine, past the headland with an impossible name “Trwynhwrddyn” and up onto St. Davids Head where we get a bit lost. At one point we find ourselves scrabbling up a steep slope between large, tightly packed boulders and the signs we come across are ambiguous. Eventually the path becomes clearer, following the cliff edge past small rocky coves.


Ahead is what looks like a tor – a large, free-standing rocky outcrop, rising abruptly from the smooth gentle slopes of a rounded hill top. I’m hoping we don’t have to climb over it but as we get nearer I can see the path skirts it.

IMG_0750 (1)

On we go – this is a video of our small silhouettes climbing up the other side of a valley. Gives you some idea of our pace.

Just before Abereiddy the path joins a minor road – I am struck by the colours on the rocks here but maybe you have to be there. After long strenuous walks I often experience a heightened appreciation of colour and shape.



And so we amble down into Abereiddy, hoping against hope that there may be a tea van, even though we have been told that such provision is seasonal. Alas – but it’s not far now to Porthgain and its famous pub the Sloop Inn.


As we get nearer to Porthgain we spy two white, cone like structures which we later discover are marker beacons to guide ships in to the harbour.


We begin our descent, normally a relaxing lollop down the hill straight to the pub, but to my consternation the path gets narrower, steeper and rockier. Checking my map I see there is an alternative footpath off to the right which would takes us gently down in a long loop but Damian is adamant that we need to take the quicker way, particularly when we are overtaken by a man of about our age, older even, who literally jogs down the path.

After a lot of persuasion I grit my teeth and using my walking pole slowly pick my way down the slope trying not to look at the drop beneath me – at one point I sit down and slide a few meters. So glad no-one is around to see me.

And then, turning a corner, we are here and the path morphs into a metal stairway, much easier to negotiate!


We head straight for the Sloop Inn, ignoring the sign that says “no muddy boots” and no-one seems to care.

The following day, before driving home, we visit St. Davids Cathedral – here are some pictures.








Distance: 10 miles