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Published January 8th 2017
Walk the gorgeous North Wales Coast
Located just outside the village of Llithfaen on the Llyn Peninsula in North Wales, Nant Gwrtheyrn is perhaps best known for its Welsh language school. That was certainly the only reason I'd heard of it since moving here. However, as I soon discovered, it also has a Heritage Centre, Café, Conference Facilities and Self Catering Cottages, amongst other things. As I also found out on arrival, it's a very popular wedding venue. Or, at least I think it is. I rather hope that fancy dresses and high heels are not regularly worn by the locals in order to take a walk down to the beach. If they are, I'm going to have to buy a whole new wardrobe.
On approach from Llithfaen, we climbed over the hills in the car and spotted a sign for the car park. Nant Gwrtheyrn do ask that, if you can, you refrain from taking your car down into the village itself, so that spaces are left for residents and, presumably, also wedding guests. However, if you do leave your car in the main park, be prepared for a very steep walk. It's not bad on the way down as it's, well…downhill. It's a totally different story on the way back up, though. As I write this three days later, I can still feel the ache in my calves. That's always the sign of a good walk.
the view from the start of the descent
Beware of steep hills....
It's around a 1-1.5 miles down (I'm guesstimating here, so don't come back and shout at me if it's longer) and takes around 20-30 minutes. Helpfully, there's a bench at around the half way point, where you can wrestle with other visitors in a sweaty attempt to rest your feet. On the way down, I met some friendly local sheep and we were able to climb across the rock across from the bench and look out across the cliffs.
Once arriving in the village, we saw Meinir's tree, which tells the story of, who I've decided are the Welsh equivalent of Romeo and Juliet (in the loosest sense). It's a sad tale of death and lightning, which almost certainly will have you living in fear of venturing outside your front door during any storms.
down, down, down...
The Heritage Centre was converted in 2003 from the village's original Chapel (Capel Seilo), and offers visitors a detailed history of the site from its inception to the present day. The building itself is constructed of stone and now has a modern twist. On the day of our visit, the front was a riot of coloured flowers and hanging baskets. Also on site sit two rows of cottages, which date back to 1878. The Quarryman's Cottage is open to the public (free of charge, as with the Heritage Centre) and has been restored to show how the Quarrymen would have lived in 1910.
The village Café is a lovely spot for lunch and also serves alcohol. Unfortunately, I didn't want to render myself physically unable to make the climb back to my car and thought it was wise to refrain.
Continuing past the Café and its outdoor seating area, you can follow a long and winding road down to the beach, which was populated with holidaymakers flying kites and sitting around a campfire. It's another gorgeous spot for a walk and for taking photos to post on Facebook to make all your family and friends back home jealous of your new surroundings.
the long and winding road
the beautiful North Wales coastline
On the way back from the beach, we spotted what can only be described as some kind of scary mountain beast. Seriously, it was big and hairy, with massive horns. I Googled it when we got home, only to find out it was a feral mountain goat. It looked more like something that would haunt your dreams. For a very long time...
The Lesser Spotted Scary Mountain Beast of North Wales
After walking slightly faster back from the beach in order to avoid aforementioned scary mountain beast/feral mountain goat, we had to make the long pilgrimage back up the incredibly steep hill and back to the car. We didn't even stop at the bench. That's how tough we are. Alternatively, it could be just that I wanted it over and done with as soon as humanly possible and didn't wish to prolong the agony. I'm going to go for the last one. It was completely worth it, though!