Porthdinllaen looking towards Yr Eifl, on the Llyn Peninsula

Fiona Barltrop discovers some stunning views on a coastal walk from Trefor to Nefyn, on the lovely but remote Llyn Peninsula

ALTHOUGH THE LLYN PENINSULA had an already established coastal path before the Wales Coast Path was launched in 2012, there were a number of places where the route had to run inland and waymarking along the length of the path wasn’t as good as it might have been.

Thankfully on both counts there has been much improvement, and it’s been gratifying to return each year and find the progress continues – but sometimes the OS maps have yet to catch up, so don’t be surprised to find yourself walking along a stretch of coast where the map still shows the route running inland.

Now, for example, you can walk right round Porth Ceiriad in the south – which wasn’t the case even a year ago – enjoying fine cliff-top views all the way. If – or when, as I prefer to hope – proper coastal paths replace the unpleasant sections alongside main roads, the Llŷn Peninsula will have a coast path that is among the best in the country. Until then, unless you’re a purist, I see little merit in enduring mile after mile of traffic noise and fumes.

The route takes it over the pass between the highest central summit and its seaward neighbour: it’s a visually dramatic section, made even more so with a detour to the summit.

Dramatic views on the Wales Coast Path

On the north-east coast, however, where the cliffs of the triple-peaked Yr Eifl (The Rivals, in its Anglicised form, though the name actually means ‘the forks’) plunge to the sea, the coast path necessarily has to run a little inland. The route it takes is over the pass between the highest central summit (564m) and its seaward neighbour: it’s a visually dramatic section, made even more so with a detour to the summit; the views from the top are glorious – you could say unrivalled…at least on the Llŷn Peninsula.

The popular Ty Coch Inn at Porthdinllaen

The popular Ty Coch Inn at Porthdinllaen, near Nefyn on the Llyn Peninsula

Trefor harbour is one of my favourite spots along the Welsh coastline (and not just because it’s free to park here). Overlooked by the triple peaks of Yr Eifl to the south and those of Gyrn Goch, Gyrn Ddu and Moel Pen-llechog to the north-east, it’s a very scenic spot indeed. Nowadays it’s popular with anglers, boaters and day-trippers, but in the past it was a busy port used for the export of granite from Yr Eifl quarry. As well as road setts and curbs, the granite has also been used for Olympic curling stones.

The climb to the pass and then on up to the top of Yr Eifl is ideal for those days when cloud blankets the higher peaks of Snowdonia, but you still want a good uphill leg stretch – with views. Today was just such a day. The start of the walk over the grassy cliff-tops affords an impressive view of the cliffs of Yr Eifl ahead with thrift and foxgloves adding colour to the scene in summer. From the pass of Bwlch yr Eifl I headed on up to the central summit. The views, hazy as they were today, were worth the effort, as ever, taking in the length of the Llŷn Peninsula in one direction and the mountains of Snowdonia in the other. Also visible are the substantial remains of the hill fort that crowns the summit of the easternmost peak of Yr Eifl.

Historic hidden valley

It’s downhill all the way from here to the valley of Nant Gwrtheyrn, where the atmospheric old quarrying village has been restored as a Welsh Language and Heritage Centre. The latter is well worth a leisurely look round. Welsh language courses are held at Nant Gwrtheyrn, as too are weddings. Spotting a few young women in long gowns (and startlingly high heels) I assumed a wedding was indeed taking place. But it turned out to be a school prom (they didn’t have those in my day, and surely heels were never that high!) Shorts and trail shoes being somewhat inappropriate attire for the occasion I slipped away quietly and continued along the lovely stretch of coastline that leads to the little church at Pistyll, a stopover for pilgrims in the past.

The next section of the route takes you away from the coast until you reach Nefyn. It was too beautiful an evening to finish there so I strolled on along the cliff-top path above Porth Nefyn to Porth Dinllaen, two fine sweeping bays with Yr Eifl once more forming an impressive backdrop.

The pub on the beach at the latter is a very popular spot, but I was happy instead to savour the sunset in solitude from the top of the cliffs before the taxi ride back to Trefor.

Fiona Barltrop

Fiona Barltrop

This article first appeared in The Great Outdoors (TGO) magazine in May 2016, and is re-published here with the author’s permission. Copyright © Fiona Barltrop 2016. All rights reserved.
Fiona Barltrop is a freelance outdoor writer and photographer, with a particular love for coastal walking. She has been a regular contributor to UK walking magazines, including The Great Outdoors and Country Walking, for many years. She is also a member of the Outdoor Writers and Photographers Guild and available for commissions.
Contact: fiona2barltrop@googlemail.com