Hmmm….. i’m afraid I’m going to have to start this blog or a slightly negative note. I fully understand that most people would not agree with me, but this is my blog and as writer, editor and publisher (makes me sound like a megalomaniac) I retain the right to be irrational. I don’t like Abersoch. There I’ve said it. The first time Auntie and I came here about six or seven years ago the place was heaving with holidaymakers. The town is nothing short of a dormitory for holidaymakers, with second homes and holiday lets everywhere. This has priced out the local people, and the youngsters can’t afford anything half decent in the town. One evening alone we counted eight Ferraris in the small town. Each restaurant we went to claimed to be fully booked, but it was obvious that there were tables available. This was at the time when it was common for groups to book multiple tables in different restaurants before deciding which one they would attend that evening. This didn’t really help my grumpy old men approach to life on that visit. I was hoping to be proved wrong on this time, but the pandemic has meant that everything is closed. However, Abersoch still managed to annoy me right at the start of the walk. We started the days walk on one of the beaches, okay it’s a nice beach. But the footpath led us on a wild goose chase around the small peninsula taking us past the back gardens of houses with no view and added an extra 2 km and 20 minutes right at the start of the walk, before bringing us back to exactly where we had started. Not the best way to put me in a good mood for the rest of the day. Eventually we managed to get out of the town and back on to the straight and narrow of a beautiful beach to the east of the town before striding off towards our destination of Pwllheli. Right, I’ve got that off my chest now and I promise not to moan anymore, and I fully understand if you don’t read any further, or disagree with me. But I’m allowed an occasional moan aren’t I?
Despite the minor rant above the I have to say I like the beaches around Abersoch, and the village is a nice place really. The beaches are clean, wide and full of interest. So after a walk along the eastern beach, backed by dunes and known as The Warren the path followed a quick but steep climb up to Mynydd Tir-y-cwmwd, skirting around Trwyn Llanbedrog. The views from here across to Pwllheli and the Cambriam Mountains to the south are spectacular. This made made us realise just how far we have walked as we gazed right round the coast all the way to Pembroke.
Standing guard above Llanbedrog is the Tin Man, a sculpture created by local artists Huw Jones and Berwyn Jones. Unusually this enigmatic sculpture is looking inland, not out to sea. Is it guarding? Or is it watching for threats that may come from the land? If so what is it protecting? I have no real idea, but as with so much art you can make your own interpretation. But this is not the first iteration of the Llanbedrog Man, but the third. The Original Iron Man was not iron or tin, but a wooden figurehead from a slate ship that had sunk of the headland near Llanbedrog, placed there in 1919 by Solomon Andrews, a wealthy Cardiff businessman who had bought Plas Glyn y Weddw. However this was vandalised by being set on fire and the community decided that needed a replacement. A local artist donated his time and created an ‘Iron Man” from recycled steel sheet and bar. It was to represented an ancient man who possibly roamed the headland in former times. Completed in March 1980, the Iron Man transported by tractor to the head land by volunteers. Over the years this rusted away, to be replaced the the ’Tin Man’.
After a coffee on Llanbedrog beach we continued on towards Pwllheli around Carreg y Defaid onto the long sweeping sands of Traeth Crugan. The dunes backing the beach separate the drained marsh area of Morfa Crugan from the sea. Somewhere along Traeth Crugan the grisly act of capitol punishment was carried out on two men, Sion y Sarn and Huw Treheli in 1629. They were convicted of their part in luring a French vessel to be wrecked at Porth Neigwl. The gory story tells of the wreckers cutting off the fingers and ears of the stranded passengers to steal gold rings. And to make matters worse they were supposed to have then thrown the innocent girls into the waves.
The path follows the route of a long gone passenger tramway as it parallels Traeth Crugan. In 1894 Solomon Andrews (yes him again) created the The Pwllheli and Llanbedrog Tramway and it initially ran from Pwllheli to Carreg y Defaid, the small headland west of the beach. Later it was extended all the way to Llanbedrog, but eventually closed in 1927 after a storm caused damage to the trackway.
The last stretch into Pwllheli took along the promenade back to the car. The walls along the sea front were adorned with small painted stones. This created a delightful display, and showed talent and imagination among the contributors. This was a very easy walk, and gave me ample time to collect sea shells on the way, some of which were new to me, giving me hours of fun trying to identify them later.