Mawddach Trail and Dolgellau

Having stayed in the Dolgellau area a couple of times we had never managed to book onto Abergwynant Farm CL in the past, this time we booked several months ago to make sure we could stay on what is a very popular site. As its the theme this year in North Wales we arrived in glorious sunshine and were settled in on the site within minutes. A very peaceful site on a working farm with several holiday cottages dotted around the farm. The only slight downside we could see was the toilets and showers were a good walk away from the pitches, not a few yards more a gentle hike – so as long as we planned that side in advance it was going to be a good weekend. The site is a couple of minutes from the estuary and the view from our pitch was of Cader Idris, over 2900  ft high so a little too much for us to stroll over, we made do with sitting in the sun and looking at it.

Sunday morning was time for our bike ride, the main reason for wanting to use the campsite was its literally minutes through the woods onto the Mawddach Trail. Another former railway line converted to a bike and walking path which runs from Dolgellau right into Barmouth alongside the estuary. No traffic at all, dead flat and the perfect bike ride, totalling around 25 miles.

We rode from camp towards Barmouth and when we reach the station at Morfa Mawddach we spotted cyclists over the other side of the railway tracks. There was a new crossing over the line and at the other side a new path that had recently opened as part of the Wales Coastal path.  We followed this down into Fairbourne and along the promenade, wondering slightly at the sheep knee deep in the sea? Fairbourne appears very much the village that time forgot in 1950. Lots of small bungalows dotted around and unmade roads with a couple of tourist shops. The promenade is just that, a promenade without any tea shops or amusement arcades very tranquil with a few walkers enjoying the calm just down the coast from Barmouth.

P1050491

Welsh wading sheep?

From there the path followed a lane up to the headland where it ran out and we faced the sea. Rather than cycle back we decided to take the ferry over to Barmouth – for ferry read incredibly small fishing boat. The boat owners slung our bikes on the front of the boat where they hung precariously over the 10 minute trip to Barmouth. On arrival the boatman slung the bikes to us front the front of the boat – we pictured our bikes sinking down to the depths but luckily we manged to haul them up the harbour steps without too much problem.

A rest break on Barmouth front followed with a small butty stop  for refreshments and we headed towards the the 136 year–old railway viaduct across the Mawddach Estuary. Its half a mile in length with a wooden promenade for pedestrians or cyclists and now forms part of the Wales Coast Path and the Lon Las Cymru Cycle Network. Usually there is a toll to cycle across but the toll booth was closed – result saving us £1 each. Back on the Mawddach we headed back along the estuary and into Dolgellau, completing the 25 miles back at camp in time to sit out and watch hiker after hiker coming through the campsite on the public footpaths through the site.

Fairbourne Promenade

Fairbourne Promenade

Fairbourne Promenade

Fairbourne Promenade

Monday and we left the bikes on the rack and took the camper for a run down to Tywyn, location of a stone cross with the earliest known example of written Welsh and the home of the Talyllyn Railway. We plumped for the Monday market in a field on the edge of town, good for a walk round for an hour and very unlike us we came away with no bargain essentials for the campervan.  We took the scenic route up the valley past Llyn Mwyngil and stopped on one of the large parking spaces to make lunch and marvel at the views before heading back to camp. Slight problem in that the lady at the campsite hadn’t got us booked in for the night and had book another unit in so had no room for us. She kindly offered to let us park up on some hardstanding at the side of the farm buildings and the river so we took her up on the offer and spent a peaceful evening listening to the water and swatting away the mosquitos (they got us anyway!).

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