Day 1: From the boardwalk in the town of Aberystwyth, hike 17 miles to Morben Isaf Touring Park (morbenisaf.co.uk/default.aspx) near Dovey Junction (a one-mile detour).
Day 2: 16 miles to Aberdovey (Awel y mor B&B; awelymor-aberdovey.co.uk/).
Day 3: 16 miles to Cae Du Camping Park (.3 mile off the trail; 01654 711234).
Day 4: 13 miles to Coast Caravan and Camping (hendremynach.co.uk/) or a guesthouse in Barmouth.
Day 5: 11 miles to Shell Island Camping Park (shellisland.co.uk/).
Day 6: 15 miles to Barcdy Camping Park (barcdy.co.uk/) near Llandecwyn.
Day 7: 13 miles to Porthmadog.
WALES COAST PATH TRIP PLANNER
GET THERE Fly to Manchester, England. All trail towns are accessible via rail and bus: traveline-cymru.org.uk.
SEASON Spring through fall. Summer is best; pack for rain and cold anytime.
WHERE TO STAY Save money by camping at near-trail caravan parks (first-come, first-serve; about $15-$20/night). Hostels and B&Bs let you go lighter and offer a respite if bad weather sets in ($70/night and up, reserve three months in advance for July and August). Expect to pay cash at most places. Favorite stops: Hamilton Lodge in Fishguard (hamiltonbackpackers.co.uk/); Cae Du (.3 mile off the trail near Rhoslefain; 01654 711234); Pwll Deri (on trail just south of Strumble Head Lighthouse; http://www.yha.org.uk/hostel/pwll-deri). Note: Youth Hostel Association lodges have a 3-for-4 WCP deal—stay three nights and get the fourth night free.
MAPS AND GUIDES WCP maps 41-54 for Aberystwyth to Porthmadog; maps 62-73 for St. Dogmaels to Dale (free; walescoastpath.gov.uk). One (Isle of Anglesey) of six official WCP Guidebooks is available (northerneyebooks.com); Pembrokeshire Coast Path—Trail Guide by Brian John ($20; aurumpress.co.uk).
BEST PUBS Aberystwyth’s Scholars Pub (trip 1, day 1); Trefin’s Ship Inn (trip 2, day 3); Porthgain’s The Sloop Inn (trip 2, day 4)
Mapped by Barney Mann
Distance: 99.71 mi
Total Time: none
Speed: 0.0 mph
Pace: 0:00 / mi
Active Time: none
Speed: 0.0 mph
Pace: 0:00 / mi
Wales Coastal Path: Aberystwyth to Porthmadog
Points of Interest
Location: 52.413744, -4.089836
30-JUN-12 9:42:27AM: Start at the Castle ruins on bluff in Aberystwyth.
Location: 52.424950, -4.082567
30-JUN-12 10:15:49AM Top of Constitution Hill. The world's largest Camera Obscura is located here. Check open times.
Location: 52.439677, -4.080968
30-JUN-12 10:58:13AM First gate.
Location: 52.490025, -4.051397
30-JUN-12 1:06:35PM Leave Borth to head inland. Near train station.
Location: 52.488323, -4.039121
30-JUN-12 1:30:36PM: Bridal trail junction. A hundred feet later is the first climbing stile.
Location: 52.487803, -4.033139
30-JUN-12 1:44:18PM Bridge with gates at each end.
Location: 52.489993, -4.021254
30-JUN-12 2:22:42PM First place, of many, where I lost the trail. This 100 miles is made up of much new trail, with some interspersed older trail sections. On new trail, a few times each day, the printed WCP map wouldn't be clear enough there wouldn't be a WCP sign/symbol where you needed one, or both, and I'd realize a 100 yards, a third of a mile later, I was not longer on the WPC. Here I went straight east and then north along the next fence line before returning. Also here was the start of an emergency alternate route. I didn't see a laminated alternate route map. So I continued ahead and swam a canal at the next waypoint.
Location: 52.491997, -4.023173
30-JUN-12 2:23:21PM I swam a canal here. There is a perfectly good bridge entirely on dry land on the other side. the bridge has a WPC symbol on it. There was severe flooding in this salt marsh two weeks beforehand.
Location: 52.496160, -4.000568
The temporary emergency closure section ended here and the alternate WCP re-joined. A laminated alternate route map hung on a post here.
Location: 52.504669, -3.980943
30-JUN-12 3:56:43PM Right turn
Location: 52.504138, -3.979636
30-JUN-12 3:59:17PM Nicely signed left turn.
Location: 52.504359, -3.978785
30-JUN-12 4:01:37PM Turn left onto main highway.
Location: 52.513107, -3.975327
I missed this right turn off the road onto the WCP. So I roadwalked for a mile (dangerous) before taking a dirt road south and (luckily) hitting the WCP at Waypoint 14.
Location: 52.525925, -3.961862
30-JUN-12 4:45:29PM Crosses a gravel road.
Location: 52.526024, -3.955020
30-JUN-12 4:58:25PM Gate and small creek.
Location: 52.526877, -3.952748
30-JUN-12 5:02:22PM Gate, bridge and creek.
Location: 52.528925, -3.949855
30-JUN-12 5:08:02PM Three gates, two bridges and cross jeep track.
Location: 52.528984, -3.946858
30-JUN-12 5:17:51PM Gate and bridge.
Location: 52.530079, -3.945112
30-JUN-12 5:26:59PM Do not go through older, unlabeled gate in stone wall. Hike up along stone wall to lettuce field to find next WCP medallion.
Location: 52.529897, -3.946404
Do not go through old, unlabeled fence here. Stay on this side of stone fence to 20 where there is a WCP medallion.
Location: 52.689734, -4.037731
03-JUL-12 10:51:42AM Stile
Location: 52.692841, -4.042655
03-JUL-12 11:21:48AM WCP goes past front door of house. WCP medallion is on the gate a few feet from front door. Go through gate. I left in my quarter-mile mistaken downhill trek down road. This sort of thing happened a few times every day. The GPS track is cleaned up except for this and a few others left as examples.
Location: 52.694364, -4.044918
03-JUL-12 11:29:39AM Junction with road on outskirts of Fairbourne.
Location: 52.695260, -4.048641
03-JUL-12 11:34:57AM Ynys Faig Farm with "friendly camping" sites right along the WCP.
Location: 52.695948, -4.050717
03-JUL-12 11:38:42AM Train station, fish & chips.
Location: 52.704871, -4.057816
03-JUL-12 12:20:05PM Turn right past golf course.
Location: 52.708579, -4.031686
03-JUL-12 12:47:29PM Leave long causeway at railroad tracks and a hundred feet down cross tracks.
Location: 52.714295, -4.038172
03-JUL-12 12:59:33PM Start across Barmouth Railroad bridge. Toll is 90 pence for walkers. No one was there to collect. The sign at other end said on holiday and no toll.
Location: 52.719911, -4.051088
03-JUL-12 1:16:48PM Barmouth. First village or town that actually looks touristy.
Location: 52.721416, -4.057111
03-JUL-12 1:28:38PM "Las Vegas Amusements and Arcade."
Location: 52.722622, -4.054921
The "Arousal Cafe." Wales legend says that it is supposed to be the Carousel Cafe, but that the "C" is stolen every time the owner tries to put it up. There actually is a faint "C" in the paint as if the letter had once been there.
Location: 52.736821, -4.070218
03-JUL-12 3:30:08PM Climb onto main highway and turn left.
Location: 52.767171, -4.088171
03-JUL-12 4:23:57PM Leave highway. Watch closely for sign and gate.
Location: 52.767144, -4.089764
03-JUL-12 4:31:22PM Two rock wall climbing stiles. Go past house. Not well marked.
Location: 52.773771, -4.098648
03-JUL-12 5:07:54PM Very confusing in this Caravan park. But the goal is the marked railroad crossing and that's not hard to find. Our not clean track is left in as an example.
Location: 52.773679, -4.097835
03-JUL-12 5:10:08PM Correct railroad crossing, not the larger one on road to the south.
Location: 52.775289, -4.092961
03-JUL-12 5:26:33PM Tal-y-bont. Good B&B here. Great Italian restaurant -- Tony's, right along the trail. Trail makes quick turn off road on both sides of the bridge.
Location: 52.776097, -4.107687
04-JUL-12 9:11:34AM We get off track on way to beach. There is one WCP medallion on top of a post here -- great for guiding helicopters, but not hikers. OUr track to beach is too far south of actual WCP.
Location: 52.775274, -4.112345
04-JUL-12 9:20:34AM Beach. WCP actual track comes in a bit further north.
Location: 52.782936, -4.122399
04-JUL-12 9:43:23AM Back on WCP.
Location: 52.813900, -4.151753
04-JUL-12 10:49:35AM Camping park. We never saw the sign to leave the beach and hiked most of a mile further north along Shell Island beach. the track here approximates correct path.
Location: 52.815161, -4.140457
This point may be along the path that is closer to abandoned airport. We were on the road.
Location: 52.823845, -4.135488
04-JUL-12 11:20:37AM We've missed the WCP turn off the beach (no signs) and are blissfully enjoying a beach walk along Shell Island.
Location: 52.818971, -4.134432
04-JUL-12 12:03:42PM Road walk slightly to west of newly paved WCP walking track.
Location: 52.822682, -4.125631
04-JUL-12 12:15:15PM Right turn.
Location: 52.818038, -4.117643
04-JUL-12 12:28:47PM Left turn.
Location: 52.819968, -4.108990
04-JUL-12 12:42:19PM Cross railroad tracks and then left turn.
Location: 52.826307, -4.107999
04-JUL-12 1:02:23PM New foot bridge over river.
Location: 52.918458, -4.053100
05-JUL-12 8:43:00AM Tall wood highway WPC sign that, like scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz, maddingly says go this way, that way and even a third way. WPC maps saw go southeast, and I do.
Location: 52.917811, -4.049548
05-JUL-12 8:51:30AM Left turn off road onto Arduwy Way. NO WPC sing, but this older path is the way.
Location: 52.923394, -4.030161
05-JUL-12 9:23:33AM Next WPC medallion.
Location: 52.923345, -4.029474
05-JUL-12 9:26:57AM Quick left at junction just before reservoir. Path signed as "dangerous." this is the only water I'd consider drinking, even after treatment, on this 100 mile WCP stretch.
Location: 52.927200, -4.018716
05-JUL-12 9:44:34AM Signed gate is chained shut. Climb over and turn left, rejoining the trail that took the other side of the reservoir.
Location: 52.931151, -4.016069
05-JUL-12 9:54:32AM Dirt road junction. Take right fork.
Location: 52.934897, -4.011332
05-JUL-12 10:03:35AM Next sign on post. Leave main dirt woodland trust road and take left fork downhill.
Location: 52.935684, -4.005277
05-JUL-12 10:17:09AM Gate and then over a car bridge.
Location: 52.936997, -4.004042
05-JUL-12 10:22:38AM Right turn onto small paved road. Pass hydroelectric power plant.
Location: 52.934549, -3.998308
05-JUL-12 11:17:08AM Invited in for a spot of tea by Pete and Barbara.
Location: 52.934624, -3.979744
05-JUL-12 11:57:16AM Turn left onto dirt track.
Location: 52.939770, -3.981587
05-JUL-12 12:20:53PM Right turn onto dirt road.
Location: 52.939451, -3.980717
05-JUL-12 12:47:06PM Make a left turn, stay left of knoll on faint track. I went straight past old barn/house and wandered in a large meadow before backtracking and finding right track.
Location: 52.939922, -3.980495
05-JUL-12 12:48:38PM Next post with WPC medallion.
Location: 52.940985, -3.980152
05-JUL-12 12:51:18PM turn right onto dirt road.
Location: 52.941767, -3.978280
05-JUL-12 12:54:41PM Gate. No signs. Turn left. I got off-trail a short while before as trail made a diagonal northeast.
Location: 52.943058, -3.980816
05-JUL-12 12:59:14PM Where WCP dropped down onto the road.
Location: 52.944830, -3.988201
05-JUL-12 1:08:21PM Turn right onto main highway in Maentwrog.
Location: 52.949095, -3.995969
05-JUL-12 1:24:05PM Turn right off of main road.
Location: 52.947349, -4.000324
05-JUL-12 1:32:43PM There was temporary construction here and I had a few hundred-yard detour.
Location: 52.948998, -4.002170
05-JUL-12 1:43:59PM Back on WCP, dirt road track.
Location: 52.924741, -4.089346
05-JUL-12 4:16:59PM Left off of main road.
Location: 52.922937, -4.087872
05-JUL-12 4:22:59PM Gate and right.
Location: 52.921723, -4.090959
05-JUL-12 4:28:45PM Gate and left.
Location: 52.920471, -4.091552
05-JUL-12 4:31:34PM Right onto road.
Location: 52.918681, -4.098581
05-JUL-12 4:45:08PM Hard left turn.
Location: 52.915222, -4.099117
05-JUL-12 4:52:59PM Leave path for Portmeirion. Either you're a fan of the cult classic TV show The Prisoner or not. Portmeirion was where it was filmed. Regardless it is a surreal place. Enter after 3:30pm when the admission is half-price.
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