Diversion ahead – Borth to Aberystwyth

Robert Burns in his apologetic poem to a mouse after ploughing up it’s nest The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men Gang aft a-gley, (often go awry) epitomises some of the sentiment of this short walk. No we didn’t meet any angry unhomed mice, but what should have been a nice amble along the cliff tops was curtailed somewhat by the recent storms washing away part to the path. But more on this later.

The logical route would have been to continue our walk from Llanon-Aberystwyth northwards to Borth, but we felt is would be easier to park in Borth and get the train north up the coast to Borth and walk back south. There is no need to do it by the book is there? Borth is a strange place, it has one street following along the beach with a mixture of small cottages and larger guest houses for the tourist trade. The town itself is squeezed between the shingle beach to the west and Cors Fochno, one of the largest unspoilt salt marshes left the UK.

There is mention of Borth in an Elizabethan coastal survey “there is also too a smale landinge places in Borthe and Divi, beinge in the manner of Generglin”. The presence of fishermen continued with the herring trade almost certainnly being the main income, as Cors Fochno would not have been much good for farming before it was drained much later. There are two great websites that provide a great account of the general and maritime history of Borth if you wish to know more than I have space for here. There his always a risk with seaside town to look a little shoddy, but there are clear attempts to avoid that here in Borth, and there seems to be competition for the most brightly painted house. And of course Borth is famous for it’s submerged forest.

Borth from the War memorial with the hills of True Gelli and Tarren Hendre in the distance.

The walk south should have taken us up to the war memorial and then along the cliffs, however all along the road we kept on seeing signs warning us the path was closed between Borth and Wallog. That meant only one thing a detour was on the cards. But we still need to get a view from the memorial, and it was worth it looking north over the Dyfi Estuary to Aberdyfi and Tywyn where I was born.

A hint that the path ahead is closed.

The detour took us along the road, not the most inspiring of walks but we eventually reached the lane that took us back to the coast at Wallog and Sarn Gynfelin, supposedly the southern wall of the mythical land of Cantre’s Gwaelod. We are now in a land of legend and myth, the more so as we head further north. Wallog today is just a large house, a small shallow beach and a very well preserved lim kiln. A perfect spot of coffee with the place all to ourselves.

Sarn Cynfelin reaching out to sea.

The rest of the walk took along the cliffs past a large caravan park and sandy beach. I never knew this place existed, but this being the last bank holiday of the year, and for once great weather, the place was heaving with people, all making the most of their last chance for the weather, and maybe their first chance to get away after easing of the COVID-19 restrictions. After leaving the caravan park behind it was a long steady climb to the top of Constitution Hill, with a promise of an ice cream while we enjoyed the view over Aberystwyth.

Passing over the vernacular railway as we walked down Constitutional hill to Aberystwyth.

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