Wales Coast Path – Cemaes Head to Gwbert

Coast Path Vital Stats

Cemaes Head to Gwbert

  • Distance: 9.67 miles
  • Elevation Gain Today: 282m
  • Highest Elevation: 127m
  • Time: 3:03:12
  • Av. Pace: 18:57 mins/mile
  • Calories: 813

Totals to Date

  • Total Distance: 1075.97 miles
  • Total Time: 212:34:46
  • Total Elevation Gain: 34856m
  • Total Calories: 104453
  • Distance to go: 31 miles

After a decent night’s sleep I awoke to a cacophony of birdsong, including a cuckoo which is always nice to hear. The sun was rising from behind the headland of Gwbert on the opposite side of the bay and it looked set to be a lovely day. I still hadn’t decided if I would go all the way into Aberporth today or just do a short walk into Cardigan. I had to be back in Aberystwyth at a decent time ready for a pottery class and didn’t want to be rushing.

I had a relaxed breakfast and a coffee and then packed everything away. I’d slept with the tent doors open, but despite the dry conditions and a light breeze there was still some condensation on the inside of the fly sheet – that always seems to be the case when camping on grass in Wales. It was easy enough to wipe off as I packed up though.

Despite the relaxed start, it was still only 6:30am when I set off, so I might have time to make it all the way to Aberporth if I wanted. I’d make a decision once in Cardigan. I passed a Pembrokeshire Coast Path sign. It said Gate No.1. Weirdly I hadn;t seen any others like this along the rest of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path and I was about to leave Pembrokeshire behind me and head into Ceredigion. I followed the road down into Poppit Sands where I had some nice views out across to Cardigan Island.

Here I walked along behind the dunes where there would have been plenty of places to wild-camp had I made it this far last night. There were soome nice places along the edge of the estuary too. The path then followed the road most of the way into St Dogmael’s where the calm waters looked lovely this morning.

From here it was more easy roadside walking into Cardigan where I crossed the bridge and walked through the streets.

I had hoped to buy something to take with me as a picnic lunch here but it was too early and nothing was open. I wandered out the other side of Cardigan, past a sewage treatment plant and then out through various fields of wet grass where I had views back across the Teifi Estuary to the paths I’d walked along just a few minutes ago. I could soon see the campsite I’d been at last night too on the hill towards Cemaes Head.

It was a glorious day. there was no one around and the walking was easy. It was getting a little warm though so I topped up a second water bottle as I passed through a boatyard. I’d soon be out on the Coast Path proper again and water sources might not be readily available so it was better to carry a little extra just in case. I then emerged out onto the road towards Gwbert.

My achilles started to hurt a little along here so I stopped to stretch it out. There were a few more people too, out walking dogs or taking an early morning run. I made it to the hotel at the end of the road and started a slow climb to the top of the hill. My Achilles was starting to hurt quite a bit by now and I was beginning to question the wisdom of continuing on. I’d also had some emails and notifications from work that I could do with dealing with.

From here, it would be about 8 miles along the more rugged coastal path with quite a few ups and downs to reach Aberporth. Under normal circumstances, I would have plenty of time to complete it and I’d even have time to stop for an ice-cream at Mwnt too. This would be about halfway along so I was already looking forward to that. My Achilles wasn’t getting any better though and I was already being forced to stop now and then due to the pain. The other option was to turn around and head back to Cardigan. It would be half the distance that way and on easier terrain, but I wouldn’t be making any progress. I continued up the hill trying to make a decision. At the top, I was still in two minds so I headed through the gate and out onto the field.

It didn’t take long on the more uneven terrain for me to decide that turning back was the best option. The pain was too great now and I didn’t want to get stuck out there. I was also aware of the fact that I have a little hiking trip in Greece planned for a few weeks time so I had to minimise damage so that I could do that. I reluctantly turned around and started hobbling back down the hill. I was now hoping that I’d be able to hitch back to Cardigan as walking at all was becoming a little difficult.

At the bottom of the hill, I started along the road, thumbing for a lift as I went but no one stopped. Two girls who had run past me in the opposite direction earlier ran back the other way and then stopped at their cars just up ahead. I decided to ask them if they were going into Cardigan and if I could have a lift. Thankfully they were and did give me a lift so I was soon back in the middle of Cardigan waiting for the bus. They had been out for a short run and then a quick dip in the sea off the headland. They couldn’t have picked better weather for it.

By now I could hardly walk so I didn’t go anywhere, I just sat there int he sun for an hour waiting for the bus back to Aberystwyth.

It was almost two hours on the bus back but it was all fine. There was no way I could walk up the hill once in Aberystwyth though so I messaged Anna and she came to rescue me! It’s now a few days later and the pain has at least subsided so I don’t think there’s any lasting damage done but I’ll have to take it easy for a couple of weeks to let it heal. There’s not far to go before I close the ring and complete the circumnavigation of Wales, but it’ll have to wait for just a little bit longer. Will I ever finish?

1 Response

  1. Avatar forComment Author Mum x says:

    Oh dear, glad you made the sensible decision….I think I’ve said similar before. Hope it’s OK for Greece

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Alan Cole

Alan is a Freelance Website Designer, Sports & Exercise Science Lab Technician and full time Dad & husband with far too many hobbies: Triathlete, Swimming, Cycling, Running, MTBing, Surfing, Windsurfing, SUPing, Gardening, Photography.... The list goes on.