South West Coast Path Walk, Day 4 of 4, Porthtowan to Gwithian, Cornwall, England

Although Day 4 was perhaps the shortest, at around 11.5 miles or 19km, it certainly had more ascent and descent, as you will see from the pics below.

The logistics of this event were a little more complex than usual, but I’ll not bore you with the details. Suffice it to say that it would be very remiss of me not to mention a few people who supported us during our walk. So a very big THANKYOU to:

  • My wife, Jude, for ferrying me to the start and back from the finish, not to mention helping with our car in the middle.
  • Tim’s wife, Hayley, for similarly providing a taxi service for the boys to the start on Day 1 and for us all on days 3 and 4. And to both Tim and Hayley for accommodating us in their wonderful home, which included a fabulous celebratory meal at the end.
  • Three and a half year old London and her mom, Tiffany, for the welcome banner as we arrived back at Tim’s, (see pic 36). London was an endless source of fun and games. I shall forever be known to her as Grandpa Pig (of Peppa Pig fame), while Dave is “The Naughty Boy”, for not coming down from his bedroom when told.
  • And, lastly, to Pete, Liam, Tim and Dave for their excellent company over the 4 days. It never ceases to amaze me how we fill the days talking about anything and everything, most of which is absolute rubbish! 😉

I hope you enjoyed our little walk.

Cheers! 🍻

South West Coast Path Walk, Day 1 of 4, Trevone to Trenance, Cornwall, England

Long-standing followers may recall that some friends and I often take on a multi-day walk. I think I originally mentioned it in June 2015 when we did the first (or last) 50 miles of the 640 mile long South West Coast Path, from Minehead to Croyde. Then, just before the COVID lockdown started, in March 2020 Pete and I did the last (or first) 65 miles or so, from Poole to Abbotsbury. With restrictions easing across the UK, we were all itching to take on another challenge and, since one of our merry band (Tim) now lives very near to the coast path in Cornwall, we chose to do another 50 mile section from Trevone to Gwithian.

Day 1 was around 12.5 miles or 20km long, finishing at the rather grandly named Bedruthan Hotel and Spa, where only Dave and I took advantage of the heated and not-so-heated outside swimming pools. As you will see from the gallery below, it was a mostly sunny day, with lots (and lots) of coves and beaches. 🏖

Day 2, from Trenance to Holywell Bay, tomorrow… 😊

Embleton Beach and Dunstanburgh Castle, Northumberland, England

Jude and I have just returned from a week in Northumberland, staying in the wonderful town of Alnwick. As you may have gathered by now, we’re drawn, almost magnetically, towards the sea and the beaches along this stretch of coastline are fabulous.

So it was that we went for a walk to Dunstanburgh Castle along Embleton beach. For added interest, to me anyway, there’s an 18 hole links style golf course which runs alongside. I was fortunate to spot 2 golfers on the horizon while I had my camera set to black and white and I thought it made for an excellent photo. (See pic 7). Little did I know at the time, until I turned the corner and spoke to them, that the lady hitting the shot to the par 3 “signature hole” 13th had put it to just 2 feet away from the pin! (See pic 8). Great shot Marcia!! (In case you’re wondering, yes, she did sink the putt for a birdie!)

As you may already know, Northumberland has more castles than any other county in England – over 70 in fact. Dunstanburgh Castle was built by Earl Thomas of Lancaster between 1313 and 1322, taking advantage of the site’s natural defences and the existing earthworks of an Iron Age fort. As you will see below it’s now a shadow of its former glory. For more information, please click here.

Porthdinllaen Walk, Morfa Nefyn, North Wales

Shortly after we arrived in Wales, Jude and I drove over to the Lleyn peninsular (that’s the bit of the mainland which sticks out into the Irish Sea at the top of Wales – not to be confused with the island of Anglesey of course). We went for a walk around the Porthdinthlaen peninsular, near Morfa Nefyn.

Apart from having a very beautiful coastline, it’s where you will find the renowned Morfa Nefyn golf course (which I have not played yet, but hope to soon) and what is reputed to be one of the top 10 best beach bars in the world – the Tŷ Coch Inn. It’s certainly in a wonderful spot, with views across the sea to a range of mountains called Yr Eifl (more generally referred to as The Rivals in English). I would happily have stopped for a pint or three but, since it was a beautiful day and half term school holidays, the beach was extremely busy and there was a queue several yards long. 😌 Nevertheless, it was a wonderful walk.

Note: All of these photos were taken on 25th October 2021.

Coedydd Maentwrog National Nature Reserve and Ffestiniog Mountain Railway Walk, Gwynedd, North Wales

If you like nature and/or steam railways, this is a post for you. 😊 Please read on…

Many people, in the UK at least, will be aware of the narrow gauge railways which were once used to ferry slate from the mines and quarries in North Wales to Porthmadog for onward shipment around the world. Some of those historic steam trains are now being used by the Ffestiniog and Welsh Mountain Railways to take holidaymakers from Porthmadog to either Caernarfon or the old mines themselves at Blaenau Ffestiniog. However, not many, including me before I went on this walk, will know that the area is also noted for some of the last Atlantic oak woods in Europe.

The Coedydd Maentwrog Nature Reserve is described as one of Wales’s “rainforests” and, like all rainforests, is considered of global importance. Conditions here are perfect for the growth of 200 (yes, that’s two hundred) species of mosses and liverworts and 120 sorts of lichen. (Who knew that there were that many on the planet, let alone in one small wood in the corner of North Wales and how do the experts distinguish the difference? 🤔) In addition the woods are home to over 286 different kinds of small moth and the area is the UK stronghold of the rare Lesser Horseshoe bat.
(The numbers are truly amazing, don’t you think?!)

In the gallery below, I’ve captured a few images of some moss and lichen as well as some flowers but I’ll leave you to work out what sort they might be. 🤔

As for the route, Judith and I set off from the car park next to Llyn (lake) Mair and walked up a path which runs, for the most part, alongside the railway track, until we reached Dduallt station, where the track does a complete 360 degree loop. We waited there until the next train arrived and we watched the happy, waving passengers go by! (We were just like The Railway Children!! 😊)

We walked back the same way and, on the way, as a special treat for you steam train enthusiasts, I took a video of one of the trains passing by. 🚂 Note that the first two carriages are two of the first ever (and possibly last remaining) fixed wheel carriages built in the UK. At the time, the engineers were worried about the carriages toppling over on the narrow gauge. So, firstly, the carriages are very short (so that they could go around the bends – it was only later that bogies were added at either end to allow the carriages to be longer and the wheels to ‘turn’ independently) and secondly, the passengers sit with their backs in the centre facing directly outwards, (to keep the centre of gravity over the centre of the tracks). You live and learn. I hope you enjoy!

Footnote: All of these images were captured on 11th October 2021.

Rhinog Fach, Y Llethr and Moelfre Walk, Gwynedd, N. Wales

Well, you are in for a treat… I’ve just discovered that I didn’t post these images when Jude and I visited North Wales in September last year. I’m not sure what happened, nor why I forgot to post them, as they were all shrunk and watermarked ready… As you will see, they do sometimes have blue sky days in Wales! Enjoy!

Pic d’Artsinol Walk with the Pounders, Val d’Hérens, Switzerland

Shortly after we had put the chalet up for sale, Jude sent out a facebook message to tell our friends that we were moving back to the UK. Almost immediately, ‘young’ Malcolm Pounder replied to say that he would hire a van and drive over to help us take all of our stuff back. We were taken aback by his generosity, but we knew he simply loved driving and accepted his offer with open arms. We cannot thank him enough for everything he did in transferring both us and our belongings across to North Wales.

Anyway, his parents, Malcolm (senior) and Helen, decided to keep him company on the way over and have a short break in the Alps before flying back. So it came to pass that the 4 of us went for a walk up to the top of the Pic d’Artsinol (@2,998m or 9,836ft), taking advantage of the rickety old chair lift. (Thankfully they plan to replace it with a gondola lift soon).

All of the photos below were taken on 2nd September 2021 (and, again, my apologies for the delay in posting them. Only one more Swiss post to go before you see Wales… 😊)

Verbania (Pallanza) and Lake Maggiore, Italy

As soon as we got back from our trip to the UK, we put our chalet on the market and Jude started packing. We initially bought 20 largish boxes from the local DIY store, but they were soon filled. Little did we know at the time that another 40 would be needed “We don’t have much stuff”, we said. After 4 or 5 weeks of intense packing (n.b. by Jude – I think I managed one, almost) we decided it was time for a break and we went off for a few days by Lake Maggiore.

By then it was mid-August and, thankfully, the thunder storms, which can often ruin your summer evenings, never materialised. We went swimming in the lake and, of course, for a boat ride around the upper part of the lake, visiting some of the lakeside villages and the Villa Taranto Botanical Gardens. I’ve posted about this fabulous location before but, hey, you can never have too much of a good thing! 😊 Though. even I was surprised to find the little creature in photo 24 hopping amongst the leaves by the side of one the ponds.

Becs de Bosson Cabane from Evolène, Val d’Hérens, Switzerland (Part 1 of 2)

I thought I only had a couple of posts to catch up on, but a quick flick through my old photos, yields at least four more (not counting this one and part 2). Still to come we have a short trip to Lake Maggiore, a few butterflies, a walk up the Pic d’Artsinol with the Pounders and the Swiss Ironman… (This was not completed by me you understand, though I may yet tell you about the outcome of the Sierre Zinal ‘race’, which I mentioned waaaay back in May…)

It was with this event in mind that, as part of my training, I decided to do one of the more challenging walks on my list – to the Becs de Bosson Cabane. As you will see from the Route map and profile at the end of the gallery, it’s around 20.5km or 13 miles long and has an overall ascent of over 1,700m or 5,600ft.

The route itself is straightforward… After reaching Volovron, along the track leading out of Evolène, the path climbs through the woods. Emerging slightly to the right reveals a view of the small hamlet of L’A Vieille and a wide panorama down towards the Rhone valley. (See pics 16 & 17). From there, the going gets steeper and steeper, until you reach the Pas de Lona, where we will leave this walk until tomorrow… (I’m such a tease! 😊)