After waking up to a sunny, pleasant day, we decided to take advantage of the weather to go for a longer walk away from home. I miss some of my favorite walks in Snowdonia, but I’m not excited about all of the tourists who have started returning to the area and the resulting crowds I’ve heard about. Instead, we decided to do a coastal walk that we figured wouldn’t be as busy.
We got in the car (only my second drive since March!) and headed down the road to Llanfairfechan. We haven’t done many walks starting there, and my last visit was during my walk on the Pilgrim’s Way from Rowen to Abergwyngregyn. For this visit, we decided to follow one of the circular Llanfairfechan Walks around Garreg Fawr.
We parked and enjoyed the walk through town, seeing and hearing the Afon Llanfairfechan and saying hello to various residents we passed. There were people out and about but thankfully it wasn’t crowded. As we got up to Terrace Walk we had a nice view over the town and I noticed how close Puffin Island is off the coast.
From there we started up the hill and quickly coincided with the Pilgrim’s Way, where it ventures through a field and past one or two more. A black sheep in one of the fields came baa-ing over to us as we passed, but we continued on. Once past the fields, our walk diverged from the Pilgrim’s Way — just in time to avoid the steep incline that I remembered from my previous walk!
Our path zigzagged first along the top edge of some fields and then up along a local access road. But we quickly realized that this isn’t a very popular route — the ferns are growing very steadily over the path! At the very end before reaching the access road the path entirely disappeared under ferns growing almost as tall as me, and only faith in the directions I had (and a glimpse of the upcoming stile) made me continue on.
Finally we arrived near the top of our uphill climb. At this point we almost let our tiredness get the best of us — given that this was our first significant uphill walk in a while, we considered cutting across and taking the downhill path back right away. But thankfully I recognized the area and was fairly certain it would more or less flatten soon, so we continued on. Slightly up the path, we had a sweeping view over the area, and as we looked west I noticed Bangor pier and familiar sites like Beaumaris across the water on Anglesey.
Turning away from the sea, we could see the line of the Roman Road coming from the east (from Rowen) and heading through a pass south (toward Drum). If we had continued just a bit farther we would have arrived at the Roman Road and the wonderful signpost I remember from the Pilgrim’s Way. But we decided not to push it, and instead turned toward the sea, down the hill, and back to where we started.
It was a nice afternoon walk, maybe 2.5 hours in total (including some longer stops to sit and enjoy the area). I’d love to return another time for the longer upland walk and spend more time exploring Garreg Fawr and the various remains around there.