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davidx Aberdaron - A travel report by David
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Aberdaron,  United Kingdom - flag United Kingdom
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davidx's travel reports

Aberdaron and the Lleyn Peninsula

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The Lleyn Peninsula juts out into the sea beyond Snowdonia. It has something for just about everybody; resorts, isolated beaches and stunning headlands make a good start.


Let’s start with pronunciation. ‘eyn’ is pronounced, so I’m told like ‘ean’ in mean or glean with just a slight deflection towards ‘in’ in chin. The ‘Ll’, comon in Welsh, has no English equivalent but I’m told if you get ready for a ‘H’ and then utter a ‘L’ you’ll be near the mark. A great asset is the weather. Of course if there’s a general depression, it can be wet but many’s the time that I’ve sat or walked in the sun on Lleyn, looking inland towards where the mountains ought to be in sight – or seen them with cloud over the top and rain clearly falling. If you like to feel at one with a lot of people, you can go to Porthmadog, Portmeirion, Abersoch or Llanbedrog on the south coast or Nevin on the north. If you prefer a quieter place with a couple of shops, Aberdaron is probably the place for you. If you want quieter beaches with good scenery, my own favourite is the little beach of Porth Ysgo near Rhiw but the western end of the massive beach of Porth Neigwl [Hell’s Mouth] is also fairly quiet and Porth Oer [Whistling Sands] on the north coast is rarely crowded. You prefer scenic headlands? You’re in your element then. Beyond Aberdaron there are several with the walk between them giving great views of Bardsea Island, whilst on the lesser known Mynydd Penarfynydd near Rhiw you are as likely to see Cornish [they’re practically extinct in Cornwall!] choughs or peregrines as people. Or do you want something to do, like going on a train or a definite visit. You’ll be pushed to beat the Ffestiniog Railway from Porthmadog for scenery or interest and in an evening you can get a great cheap trip on the main line from Pwllheli right to Machynlleth and back –at least you could; check this. Then there’s the intriguing Italianate village of Portmerion, the delightful National Trust property at Plas yn Rhiw and Porth y Nant, site of a Welsh language and cultural centre with nearby remains of mining that was only accessed by boat.

Favourite spots:
My favourite is round the place where I have spent a number of happy visits with Pam to an ancient caravan, which we now own It’s in a field where sheep roam [not perfect for our collies!] near to the western end of Porth Neigwl. Just further along the coast you come to Plas yn Rhiw, a delightful National Trust property. The website at the end of this section gives much on its history and there’s a good photo of the house today if you scroll down. It’s not big and the contents don’t take long to see but it achieves perfection. To think that it might now be a ruin but for the care and money pumped in by the three Keeting sisters last century! A landslip has taken away the road to the village of Rhiw but you can still make it on a scenic detour and that gives access to the headland of Mynydd Penarfynydd mentioned above. As well as choughs and peregrines we have watched a pair of green woodpeckers in a garden and a stoat on the headland at different times. Continued below.

What's really great:
Continued from favourites - - - Especially when heather and gorse are blooming, this is a great place to be for scenery and if you see half a dozen people, it’s crowded! Not far beyond towards Aberdaron you can get by unclassified roads to the walk down to the beach at Porth Ysgo. This is a tiny beach, microscopic at high tide, but it’s made fascinating by the steep cliffs around it and the remains of machinery from the mining era. Clearly maritime transport was used. www.rhiw.com/hanes_p ages/plas_yn_rhiw.ht-m At Porth y Nant you’re in for a steep walk down [and up again!] if you want to see the old mining cottages transformed into a Welsh Centre and the remains of machinery on the cliff. There is a track usable by cars above the village of Llithfaen but it’s use is restricted to those with business at the centre. However it’s well worth the walk!

Sights:
Portmeirion [sometimes spelled Portmerion] will come as a major surprise to anybody who doesn’t know what they’re in for. One minute you’re securely in Wales; the next it looks as though you’ve stumbled into Italy. Sir Clough Williams-Ellis opened it in the late 1920s to show that it was possible to develop a naturally beautiful place without spoiling it. That’s obviously a matter of opinion but why does anybody need to turn a Welsh coastal area into an Italian village? I’m not convinced but I do recommend you go and see it. It has a beauty of its own and the estate is great.
www.portmeirion-village.c om/en/index.php

I’ve never made it to Bardsea Island. My son and granddaughter have enjoyed it. I only found the website by putting the Welsh name, Ynys Enlli, into the engine.
www.bardsey.org/english/bar dsey/welcome.asp?pid=1

Garn Fadrun, north-west of Llanbedrog is only about 1220 feet high but its position and the absence of other heights make it an excellent viewpoint.

Hangouts:
We once went to a pub in Sarn Meyllteryn, where the publican did a good imitation, that I’m afraid was not deliberate, of Basil Fawlty [John Cleese] in Fawlty Towers. It made for an entertaining evening but i believe there has been at least one change in management since.

Restaurants:
Pen Bryn Bach out beyond Aberdaron near Uwchmynydd is great for seafood.
www.mazcom.demon.co.uk/pbb.html

Other recommendations:
Whereas Abersoch is too busy for my liking in an area I associate with peace, it is probably the most popular place on the peninsula and is highly esteemed by those who sail. The peninsula out from it doesn’t compare for me with Mynydd Penarfynydd and it’s certainly more crowded – fast cars in the evening ruin the atmosphere.

Not to end on a bleak note, the beaches of Porth Oer and Porth Colmon, well down on the north coast and the headlands beyond Aberdaron looking out to Bardsea are devastatingly lovely.

Published on Monday May 9th, 2005


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