N.Wales Bridge To Bridge

This was an ambitious dual project that had been on the drawing board for some time. Selecting the right location was paramount to its success.

It comprised a two-day walk, each approximately ten miles in distance, that hugged the spectacular North Wales coastline. We based ourselves at Menai town and used the excellent rail service to get to our start/finish points. The walk started at Conwy Bridge and ended at Menai Bridge, Lllanfairfechan acted as our halftime hiatus.

Linda (accompanied by Henry) focused on producing a dog-friendly adventure. She deemed it a great success (despite the lack of ‘poo’ bins!)… it was very safe and there were plenty of wide-open beach opportunities for pampered pooches to enjoy.

Much of Day One was on a SUP. There is always a potential clash when cyclists and dog walkers meet, despite any lane segregations. A reluctance by the minority of cyclists to curb their speed and affix bells to their handlebars is a real concern. Fortunately for us, the long cycleway sections on this particular journey were extremely wide, open and straight meaning that any passing traffic could be reassuringly seen well in advance.

For my part, I was eager to cater for the, often neglected, mobility scooter fraternity … by producing a lengthy offering. I achieved this on Day One … it was an uninterrupted carpet of smooth tarmacked perfection.

As often, when contriving disabled-friendly walks, there was a snag! … to achieve the distance and tackle the gradients, a powerful scooter would be required. There are size limitations for scooters on trains, so in order to achieve this linear, private drop off and pick up transport arrangements are required.

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DAY ONE: Conwy to Llanfairfechan ~ 8.7 miles / 750 feet ascent

To-day’s walk was served up with a generous portion of glorious scenery and was sprinkled with a dose of intrigue(???).

A sublime opener was provided by the ‘chocolate box’ seaside town of Conwy and a riverside stroll that led to its marina … to see how the poor people leisure!

We now tapped into National Cycle Route 5 for the remainder of to-day’s route. From the golf links, a couple of minor roads led us to a narrow corridor of splendour that sandwiched the beach and a large holiday park. Thereon, we ran in tandem with the A55 ‘Expressway’. This is a wide ribbon of excellence, a shared cycle and walkway configuration that seems to work in harmony in this case.

At reaching the oasis of Penmaenmawr, a must needed break stop was seized upon. Only the pristine beach and the sound of crashing waves were in evidence to keep us company.

Fully refreshed, we got back to running cheek-by-jowl with the world of motor mayhem … or so we thought. The road splits … westbound cars disappear into a deep tunnel, built in the early 1930’s. Eastbound cars remain on open road. We assumed that we would continue to hug the coastline, as the train line does, and around the tunnelled headland on the seaward side. It doesn’t go around it … it goes OVER!

This ingenious hidden gem came as a complete surprise to us. Astonishment morphed into intrigue as it soon became apparent that this new cycleway configuration was not as new as it first appeared … it is actually part of Thomas Telford’s original and “spectacular” coast road. It was built in 1830 and probably followed the line of an ancient track(?).

Our day’s ending comprised of an inauspicious drudge through residential Llanfairfechan, but a very pleasant final stretch along the promenade came to the rescue to leave us feeling very fulfilled.

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DAY TWO: Llanfairfechan to Menai ~ 10.7 miles / 750 feet ascent

To-day’s treat could not have contrasted more to yesterday’s. Our route hugged close to the rugged and exposed coastline … courtesy of the Wales Coast Path (870 miles in its entirety!). Recent storms (this was written in April 2024) and natural erosion made for challenging going in sections.

This is a wild stretch, with very limited facility opportunities … but we were spoiled for choice selecting a picnic spot!

On reaching the Penrhyn Estate, an inland detour is traditionally required … or that is how it used to be. Remarkably a recent permissive path has been constructed, making for happy walkers … they now avoid a forced shoreline departure. This popular walkway took us to the outskirts of Bangor. To be frank, the town was quite unremarkable … it was sleepy at the time we passed through (obviously its inhabitants didn’t know we were coming!).

Once again our finale came to the rescue … via Upper Bangor and the peace and tranquillity of Nant-porth nature reserve.

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In conclusion, this was a wonderful mini-walking experience that did not test our navigation skills too much. The terrain was challenging and exposed in parts, but the entire route was fairly level.

We met many genuinely friendly local folk on the way, always prepared to exchange a lengthy chat and offer advice about our miles ahead. Most memorable was a chance meeting with Lloyd Jones … local poet, novelist and photographer. In 2002 he became the first person to walk completely around Wales (the purist’s way), a journey of 1000 miles … we could not have wished to meet a lovelier man!

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