2023 Criccieth Trip 25th-28th August

We used the George IV hotel in Criccieth for our BBN holiday to the Lleyn Peninsula this year. Arranged through Alfa Travel we booked 22 LDWA members into the hotel with the luxury of them all being together for breakfast and dinner, making the walks easier to manage. The holiday became more exciting because very little went to plan apart from the accommodation and I had to think quickly, to make it looked planned.

An inkling of what was to happen started in the Criccieth Council car park on Friday, with Sarah handing me her parking permit from the hotel, a temporary measure while I got mine. When I got it, Ian was passing the hotel looking to park, so I handed him my permit, keeping Sarah’s. Ian then handed his permit to Rob in a similar situation. The upshot of this swapping around meant Sarah had to find somewhere in town to park her car for free and it wasn’t resolved until Monday when we left.

The Friday walk didn’t go to plan either; descended a slope to go under the railway we were faced with a swamp – marked on map in extensive blue grass and river-lets – why choose that way? It took some time and distance to avoid, which meant my plan to visit the resting place of Lloyd George at Llanystumdwy couldn’t be reached because we had to return to the hotel for the evening meal at 7:00pm.

Saturday began together for an early breakfast at 7:30am and a drive to Nefyn on the north coast of the Lleyn Peninsula. We walked to a remote pub at Porth Dinllaen but too early to rest there (Anne & Rachel stopped since they had a different walk). We continued down past a golf course for a morning break at the “Pipe Line”, which was a better place than it sounds. The sun was shining as we walked the wonderful coastline to Tudweiliog to catch an afternoon bus back to Nefyn. The shop there did well selling us ice creams, cakes, drinks while we waited for a bus in warm sunshine.

The afternoon walk from Nefyn headed north along the Wales Coast Path. At Ciliau-isaf, we had to decide whether to continue to catch a bus in the village of Llithfaen as planned or return on foot. We decided the latter because we knew we could beat the bus back to Nefyn and get to Criccieth in time for tea at the hotel by 7:00pm. I plotted a new route back using the map which was enjoyable as well as exhausting.

The Sunday walk started in Aberdaron at the bottom of the Lleyn Peninsula about an hours drive. The weather had changed, cloudy, cooler, light drizzle but fine for us. The plan was to follow the Wales Coast Path to Porth Ferin and back across country to Aberdaron. Another lovely part of the coastline with views to islands in Aberdaron Bay and across to the legendary island of Bardsey. Much of the day’s walk remained at clifftop level, with the occasional drop to sea-level. The late morning stop was at St Mary’s Well at the end of the North Wales Pilgrims Way. A visitor asked me if St Cuthbert was buried on Bardsey Island and I said “only Merlin was buried there?”

We ended the walk at Whistling Sands falling short of plan because the Cafe there was so inviting; the tea and coffee were welcome; the blueberry scones were large and scrumptious; and the rain to the west was heading toward us. A great end to the day despite a three mile walk back on minor roads to Aberdaron, singing in the rain.

The Monday walk started at Portmeirion car park where we formed into two groups; one going inside to enjoy the Prisoner experience, the other going by bus to Blaenau Ffestiniog to follow the railway back down. That was the plan. However, being Bank Holiday Monday the bus timetable had changed and there wasn’t a bus to Blaenau until after 11am and a train wasn’t going up there until that time either. The new plan was to walk toward Blaenau until we reached a point to head back down by 4:00pm. This we did admirably despite negotiating a footpath closure and a nasty bit of road walking. We had occasional views on the walk; trains going past, a viaduct, a break at a reservoir, a study centre garden, and an old railway bed across a marsh.

I finished the walk without saying goodbye to everyone because Diane and myself sneaked into the Portmeirion Castell for a celebration drink. Sorry guys.

Can I thank everyone on the BBN holiday for making it so enjoyable to lead
Roy Carter