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Sunday, 10 September 2017

Not Backpacking or Wild Camping on the Lleyn Peninsula

The best-laid plans of mice and men and all that sorta stuff….  We met at a small but bijoux campsite in the small but bijoux Welsh village of LLanystumdwy (closest I can get is thlanerstimdoowey) and put up tents or, in the case of JJ, set up a caravan. We met for tea and planned a walk from somewhere a bit West to somewhere else a bit North-West. It was going to be grand. We had another cup or two. And some beer.
“We” in this case was me, Dawn, JJ and LTD.
It began to rain. Then it rained some more. Then it was heavy rain. Then the Avon Dwfor went into spate quite noisily and it rained and rained all night and into a driech, grey, windy bwrw glaw of a lunchtime. We amended our plans to take account of the desire not to get really wet and to take advantage of the fact that we had two cars and could, therefore, do linear day walks along the coast without carrying too much, allowing us to trip lightly along the path like wot ballet-dancers would do if they went rambling
In the afternoon, the grey and mizzly afternoon, we went to Llanbedrog and abandoned a car there. Another car was left at Abersoch and we wandered back along the beach, through the brambles and blackberries, up and over Mynydd Tir-y Cwmwd (you’d best help yourselves with pronunciation or you’ll never learn..) and back to LLanbedrog. The sky brightened and all was well with the world.
JJ’s caravan was to be Cafe Jocys for the evening.
Next day, which, by now, was probably Wednesday, we did it again; this time travelling to Whistling Sands and leaving a car there, and another at Aberdaron. We followed the Welsh coastal path, coming slowly to the realisation that the three maps of the route that we had between us (LTD doesn’t need a map), had three different coastal routes on it and, just to rub it in a bit, none of these actually matched the route on the ground. At least, not all of the time. Also, one or two waymarks also pointed in more than one direction.
So, we floundered quite a bit.
Happily, the coast is soothingly beautiful and nowhere is all that high or remote. And there’s lots of blackberry grazing to be had. Eventually, running out of time due to the confusing mappery, we bailed out and finished the walk on quiet lanes with a direct(ish) final march to Aberdaron.
JJ’s caravan once again provided shelter and sustainence.

Day three, which was very likely to be Thursday, saw us using just the one car to get to Rhiw and from there we wandered like lost souls over bits of the several braids of the coastal path, some of which were on our maps and, as a diversion, scrambled and tussled with prickly dwarf gorse and brambles and reassuringly grippy rock up the bouldery rib which leads to the summit hill-fort on Mynydd y Graig and then, slightly less confusingly, along to Mynydd Penarfynydd and back along the coast path which occasionally coincided with the version drawn by the Ordnance Survey.
It seems likely that should you intend to try to follow the Welsh coastal path, you could do well to wait until they’ve decided where it is. Just a suggestion. It seems likely that somebody designed the route on a map and didn't realise that all the existing paths didn’t actually join up. That person then left the job and was replaced by some kind of idiot who was probably drunk most of the time. This idiot had shares in a signpost company but was too far gone to accurately describe to the work parties responsible for the erection of signs, where they should stick them.  So they stuck them everywhere. Or maybe they just didn’t like him and were trying to get him into trouble. His letters and emails to the Ordnance Survey were also too vague and the OS, in a final act of desparation put each version of the path they had on each new printing of Explorer maps 253 and 254, reasoning that they were “Explorer” maps after all and that customers would need to be able to explore. A completely different version of the route also appears on the 1:25k map on walkhighlands by the way. I expect this is the latest version. It’s not completely right, though, and the actual route is subtly different.
We finished the ramblings with a visit to Hell’s Mouth where JJ flew his kite, Dawn and me had a paddle (the conditions being too dangerous for anything else) and LTD actually chased a ball, albeit briefly. This is the first time he’s ever done this. In the past he’s just watched it fly and roll away into the distance.
Finally, the pub in Llanystumdwy opened, so, after tea, me and LTD and JJ went there for beer, which was very nice. The landlady took pity on LTD who was searching for somewhere comfy for a nap, and gave him a blanket to lie on.
We might try this backpacking lark at some point in the future. Who knows?


Dawn Linney said...

It certainly was an interesting trip!

Sir Hugh said...

From your comments here I'm glad I wasn't bullied into trying to follow a recognised LDP when I walked round the Welsh boundary in 2011 before the official coast path was opened. Whatever, it is a magnificent part of the UK.

LTD sounds like a very sensible hound refusing to enter into that neurotic, compulsive ball chasing routine.

Gayle said...

I don't recall any confusion or conflicting signage from when I walked the WCP (at least not until between Caernarfon and Anglesey) ... but maybe thus is an indication of my memory going into decline?

Anonymous said...

Lots of memories there from many childhood holidays!