Saturday 9th July 2016: Llanystumdwy to Llanbedr (26 miles)
I woke up on Saturday morning (as per usual) at circa 6.00 – 6.15. I tweeted “Another Saturday am & my night attire is wet through. Yup, night sweats on Friday nights / Saturday mornings common occurrence since start!” Why? Because I know what’s coming! 2 more marathons in circumstances that cannot be foreseen. Looking out of the window that morning from our base in Dolgellau, it was pouring with rain.
Jackie dropped me off at the start at Llanystumdwy. I ran south to the coast, meeting the Afon Dwyfor before turning left to Criccieth. Apart from it raining, I was also running into a head-on wind which (take my word for it) is disconcerting. I didn’t linger and ran across Black Rock sands, parallel to Morfa Bychan, rounding Ynys Cyngar to discover a lovely little bay. Onward I ran until I reached a lovely cove called Borth-y-Gest. This is where I grabbed a coffee at a Pizzeria out of the pouring rain. Following a Twitter conversation earlier that day, I tweeted to weather lady Ruth Wignall (@ruthwignall) whilst slurping my coffee: “Never mind trail runners, I need Wellingtons!!” The period after leaving Borth-y-Gest is surreal. I ran into Porthmadoc and ran along the path immediately adjacent to the Ffestiniog Railway. On the other side of the causeway I turned left up the main road but didn’t see a coastal footpath sign. Normally, I have a pretty good instinct for where I am and where I need to be so I turned right off the main road along a bridle path because this would link me back to the coastal path………which it did. However, I reached a point where I turned right instead of turning left. Because the terrain was unfamiliar I followed this route which took me through a station point on the Ffestiniog railway and then a footpath below a road with water to my right. This took me back to place which looked different……but it wasn’t Penrhyndeudraeth!!!! Yes, you’ve got it.
Unwittingly, I had run in a circle back into Porthmadoc. I couldn’t believe it!! Having discovered my mistake, I hated running over the miles that I had already run once before. Talk about “deja vue”!! And as Alex Jungmayr would say “these are junk miles – avoid them”. I sent a text to Jackie explaining what I had done….and used a swear word out of frustration. Per chance, Jackie was driving back to Portmeirion and saw me running on the road to Penrhyndeudraeth. She stopped and I took on board a lucozade and banana. It was also at this point that I swallowed an ibuprofen tablet to relief some pain in my legs.
Crossing the estuary, I ran on in determined fashion, still cross from my earlier gross mistake. There was a bit of ascent as I crossed Ogof Foel and then ran through the area called Morfa Harlech, crossing farm fields to the built-up area of Harlech with its prominent castle. The path then crossed the railway line, leading me to a coastal run adjacent to the Royal St David’s Golf Course. Eventually, the path crossed the railway again and zig-zagged up the hill. From here, it was a road run down hill to the carpark in Llandanwg where the run came to an end……circa 28+ miles!!!!
Sunday 10th July 2016: Llanbedr (Llandanwg carpark) to Tonfanau (26 miles)
This was a different day weather wise. I think the rain had “rained itself out” on Saturday, evidenced by the waterlogged terrain and bulging rivers on Sunday. I had tweaked my left calf muscle on Saturday (jumping across a stream) so I was apprehensive about today’s run.
I ran around Morfa Mawr, then the boundary of Llanbedr Airfield. A concrete footpath led me to forests. From here, forest tracks led me to the dunes in the vicinity of Shell Island. The run across the sands of Morfa Dyffryn was definitely a highlight. They seemed to go on forever. It’s a paradox I know but running on sand is quite hard work, yet I enjoy it because of the fantastic scenery. It does something for my wellbeing. Accordingly, I ran along the beach as far as I could go, reuniting with the designated coastal footpath as I ran up through the holiday village located adjacent to the coast. From here, it was a road run into Barmouth where I crossed the railway line to run along the promenade. It was good to rendezvous-vous with Jackie at the Lobster-Pot cafe where I took on board “calories and hydration”.
It was interesting to cross the estuary from Barmouth along the pedestrian boardway alongside the railway – Barmouth Bridge. At its end, the path turned sharply right and offered stunning views back to Barmouth. Thereafter, it turned left to Fairbourne where there is a fine beach.
From here the route was uninspiring. The plus point – having reached Llwyngwril – was that purely coincidentally Jackie was driving along the road and stopped. It was an opportunity to take on board a Sports Lucozade.
Reaching Rhoslefain, I was relieved to think that it wasn’t far from here to the end point. I ran via a farmstead to the main road leading to Tonfanau. Turning right, this road seemed to go on forever until I reached the carpark opposite the station, representing the end point of marathon 35. I had enjoyed the morning running. The afternoon period from Llwyngwril was uninspiring.
Coming out onto Black Rock Sands – https://youtu.be/52P-fk9hoMU
Track adjacent to Glastraeth marshes – https://youtu.be/NpbaWejFQqE
Dunes and beach at Harlech – https://youtu.be/q7oDMAV7YWQ
Dunes in the vicinity of Shell Island – https://youtu.be/CSd95_9HfJU
Robert Chapman Morfa Dyffryn beach – https://youtu.be/LqOk_SuiDsU
Heading out to Barmouth Bay – https://youtu.be/qYJ51McCiEo
Fairbourne Beach – https://youtu.be/xQnt7DqxILM