Wales Coast Path Run – Rhyl to Mostyn
Coast Path Vital Stats
Rhyl to Mostyn
- Distance: 15.20 miles
- Elevation Gain Today: 33m
- Highest Elevation: 14m
- Time: 2:45:04
- Av. Pace: 10:52 mins/mile
- Av. Heart Rate: 115bpm
- Max Heart Rate: 146bpm
- Calories: 1182
Totals to Date
- Total Distance: 424.03miles
- Total Time: 79:49:53
- Total Elevation Gain: 10892
- Total Calories: 39806
- Distance to go: 474 miles
It’s been quite a while since I made any progress on my Coast Path Run project. It doesn’t matter as there was never a time limit set on it but weekends away, races, injury and other commitments have meant that this latest hiatus was a little longer than I would have liked. I did finally manage to continue my Coast Path run on Sunday though, after an adventurous day in North Wales on Saturday.
A camp bed for the night
I had to start my run from Rhyl and was going to see if I could get to Ffynnongoryw. This would only be about 10 miles or so but as it was the first time running any distance for a while I thought that was sensible. Therefore after a busy day driving to North Wales, surf skiing and mountain biking I drove to Holywell and then back along the A548 to the Point of Ayr where I had planned to park up for the night. Unfortunately there were height restrictions on all the car parks so that wasn’t going to happen. Plan B was hatched and I drove around for what seemed like ages in the pouring rain looking for somewhere to park and eventually found a quiet layby just off the main road in Fynnongoryw. It wasn’t ideal but it would have to do. I sent Anna a text message to tell her where I was and then thought I’d check to see what time the first bus to Rhyl left. The idea was to catch the first bus early in the morning and run back to the camper. The first bus wasn’t until gone 9:30am though, much too late for me so I hatched a plan C.
I drove into Rhyl and spent another ‘ages’ looking for somewhere that seemed OK to park up. It wasn’t easy as there were “no overnight parking” signs or height restrictions everywhere and “no campers between 11pm and 11am” signs too. I eventually found a quiet business park along side Brickfields Nature Reserve that would have to do. It seemed quiet and hopefully safe. There was nothing to say I couldn’t leave the van there but I was half expecting to get moved on for some reason. It was about a mile and a half from where I had last finished my Coast Path run but it was the best I could find. I took a little walk over to the nature reserve was is based around a lovely lake. There were birds everywhere and a few people fishing too.
Back at the van I let Anna know where I was again, had some dinner, read my book for a while and then settled down to sleep. Within minutes there were cars driving back and forth along the ‘quiet’ business park and then a helicopter buzzing overhead for the best part of an hour. Needless to say I didn’t sleep that well and was up at 5am for some breakfast.
Rhyl to Prestatyn
I decided that I would leave the van where it was and hope that it remained quiet and safe there. I then set off through the nature reserve and out into the quiet early morning streets of Rhyl. There was no one around. It was a fairly nondescript day weather wise as well. Not warm but not cold, not wet, but not dry. Cloudy, but with some blue sky just showing here and there. I ran past the bus station which is where I finished running last time and out onto the wide expanse of Prom that runs the length of Rhyl. Everything was closed but you could sense that it had been busy and would once again be busy later in the day. As I ran onto the prom I saw the familiar Coast Path signs – it was good to be back on track. I turned right and started making my way along the wide flat prom with Rhyl to my right and Colwyn Bay to my left.
It was low tide so the sands were exposed and beyond them were row upon row of wind turbines. There was no wind so they were all stationery, just standing sentinel but inactive over the bay.
The Prom stretched on and on ahead of me, a pale grey ribbon of monotonous concrete I was only a few miles into my run and already I was a little bored of the greyness. They grey concrete of Rhyl Prom merged into the grey concrete of a wide seawall along what looked like the most uninspiring golf course I’ve ever seen. Sandwiched between a dreary holiday camp and the grey seawall it looked to be as boring as golf could get. I’m not one for golf anyway but can sort of see the appeal if the scenery is nice or the course is challenging but this looked more like a flat slightly tussocky field with a few flags in it!
On the ribbon of concrete went now backing Ffrith Beach but with no change in the scenery for as far as the eye could see.
Finally I came to Prestatyn and on the grey seawall continued. At least there were some brightly coloured beachside buildings atop the grey seawall at one point. The primary colours stood out in stark contrast proving that there was still colour in the world.
Eventually at the end of Prestatyn the seawall came to an end and I was forced onto the beach itself. There was a high tide option as well but as the tide was out I ran along the sands, splashing through puddles and looking out for the harder packed sand where possible.
My pace slowed somewhat once on the sand but not by too much and at least the forgiving sand was probably a little kinder on my joints than the concrete was. It would have been nice to have some elevation change though. So far it had been completely flat.
On towards the Point of Ayr
As I ran along the edge of the dunes at Gronant Nature Reserve there was a cacophony of noise as colonies of seabirds flew overhead. The dunes were fenced off as Little Terns were nesting so I can only assume they were returning from feeding out to sea. I continued on along the sands which at times got very wet. I could just see a lighthouse in the distance marking the Point of Ayr so on I plodded. Some of the puddles were deeper than I had anticipated. Water was up over my ankles and squelched in my shoes as I continued onwards. After a while the sand was just topped with an inch of water in all directions. Splash Splash Splash, on I went with a steady cadence through the wetness. Finding any hard packed sand was also becoming increasingly difficult so my pace slowed further as I trudged my way through ever softer, wetter sands.
Eventually after miles of energy sapping sand I came upon a tired looking lighthouse at the Point of Ayr.
I continued around the point into ever muddier conditions. I had turned a corner, leaving the North Wales coast behind me as I entered the sand and mud flats of the River Dee Estuary. I actually went a bit too far here and ended up on the wrong side of another bird nesting site that was barricaded off with ropes and fences. It started raining here so I put my jacket on and carried on. I came to a dead end where a muddy estuarine creek blocked my way. I backtracked for about a mile and rejoined the Coast Path at the Point right. I ran through the car park that I had tried to camp in originally last night.
Here the Coast Path followed an embankment alongside a large gas terminal.
I also ended up doing another unnecessary loop out around some derelict waste ground. It had been reclaimed somewhat with a new path. This path took me over a modern bridge, past lots of information boards, the occasional mining related sculpture or curiosity, and a large marine buoy.
The Coast Path signs took me around this loop but I ended up pretty much back where I started from before heading off towards Ffynnongoryw. I came across quite a flood as I went under the railway bridge though. There was no option but to wade through it. It wasn’t the freshest smelling of waters.
A few more miles
FInally I made it to Fynnongoryw. This was where I had planned to stop. The planned 10 mile run had turned into a 12 mile run though thanks to the two diversions I had made. I took a look at my watch and realised that I had an hour or so until the first bus would come this way. I decided to continue on rather than wait in the rain. I walked and jogged through Fynnongoryw and out the other side and then continued on alongside the A548 into Mostyn. I’d now done 15 miles so decided to stop. I checked the timetables on my phone and the bus was due in 30 minutes. So once again I jogged on to the next bus stop rather than just stand there. Here I waited for the bus and finally stopped running.
After a few minutes though a little old man pulled up in a car and told me that the buses don’t stop here on a Sunday – That’s not what Google had told me but I thought I’d take his word for it. He had after all turned around especially to tell me. He said that there was a bus stop just down the road that buses stop at on a Sunday and gave me a lift to it. It turned out to be the next stop along the road so wasn’t too far away. I thanked him and he turned around and continued on his way having done his good deed for the day.
Sure enough, 10 minutes later a bus turned up. I got on it and it turned off the main road and headed along some country lanes for a while only to emerge at the bus stop that I had first waited at. Weirdly, on a Sunday it seems to miss out the single bus stop in between this one and the one I’d finally got on at – I’m glad the little old man stopped to tell me otherwise I’d still be at the middle bus stop now. Amazed by the fact that there were USB charging sockets on every seat in the bus I arrived at the bus station at Rhyl 45 minutes later.
I walked the mile or so back to the van. It was still in one piece, as was my bike and surf ski that were attached to it. I got changed, jumped into the drivers seat and headed home along some lovely scenic Welsh roads past Llyn Brenig and onto Lake Bala where I got held up by caravan after caravan all going extremely slowly. I was home by 1pm though and was looking forward to pizza for dinner.
That’s a few more miles ticked off and some of the more boring bits of the Coast Path done. Apparently there’s only 20 miles left to the border. After this I will have to return to Prestatyn and start the Offa’s Dyke Path which should take me along the England Wales Border to South Wales where I’ll be able to rejoin the Coast Path once again to complete the loop. The adventure continues.