Saturday 4th June 2016: Colwyn Bay to Abergwyngregyn (26 miles)
Leaving the Parc Eirias building in Colwyn Bay (or as we have come to know it – the Bryn Williams building!), it was a pleasant run along the sea front to Rhos on Sea. The early morning air was filled with sea-salt which was pleasant.
Proceeding across the Little Orme brought me out onto the road leading along the coast to Llandudno. I grabbed a quick coffee near the entrance to the pier before proceeding with the run around the Great Orme, the subject of recent debate because the National Trust is proposing to “let” the land (for conservation purposes) for £1 to a suitable candidate with farming experience. The road was closed to traffic. A brief conversation with a walker suggested that the circular route was 4.25 miles. I was wondering about this distance as a percentage of the whole #MoonShadowWales challenge distance (1,030 miles) http://www.moonshadow.wales
Rounding the Head, I was exposed to a wonderful view of Conwy Sands, yet another fantastic view on this challenge run. Today was hot so it was important that I should be drinking lots of fluid. I grabbed a quick drink in the cafe adjoining the carpark before “cracking-on” passed Deganwy to the bridge over the estuary at Llandudno Junction. Crossing the “tubular bridge” gave me an impressive view of Conwy castle, the focal point of this delightful town. Yet again, I acquired more fluid. In doing so at this stop and my various stops, it gave me the opportunity to leave a “moo card” which explains succinctly what I am doing: raising awareness of #MND and raising money for #MND #research https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Robert-Chapman12
Running on from Conwy, I passed by the Marina and ran alongside the golf course heading towards Penmaen Bach point. I ran along the cycle path that provides an excellent conduit for cyclists connecting places along this part of the North Wales coast. The run along this next stretch of coast was more hum-drum. Putting my head down, I ran passed Penmaenmawr, through Llanfairfechan, and then on to the Nature Reserve carpark on the coast from Abergwyngregyn. It was good to achieve an early afternoon finish after running marathon 24 in hot weather.
Sunday 5th June 2016: Abergwyngregyn to Pentraeth (28 miles)
Leaving Abergwyngregyn on Sunday, I have to admit to being tired. The challenge is relentless, in more ways than one. For example, it is neither a complaint nor a moan, but I mention it simply because sometimes people don’t quite understand what I am undertaking. Since the Easter Bank Holiday weekend, I have been running sequential marathons with the alarm going off at 6.15am every morning since then. This early morning start allows me to prepare mentally for each marathon.
Arriving at the first carpark on the Wales coastal footpath after the Pentraeth carpark, it then proceeded inland around the National Trust’s Penrhyn Estate. Mindful of the Trust’s raison d’etre, I was surprised that it could not facilitate an access across its land around the coast?? Leaving the small port at Penrhyn, I ran around the northerly coastal edge of Bangor, which took me through a nature reserve on route to the glorious Menai Bridge. What a wonderful structure. I stopped in Menai Bridge village for a coffee, again leaving a #MoonShadow card before pressing on to Beaumaris.
Yet another fine (hot) day meant that when I arrived in Beaumaris, I “fuelled-up” before proceeding along the coastal footpath looking out over Menai Strait. Because of the height of the tide, and the poor path, there was an inland diversion for part of the way but I did return to the coast and enjoyed the view of Porth Penmon, before running on to Penmon Point enjoying the view out to Puffin Island. The well-placed cafe at this point was a good spot for an ice-cream to help me cool down.
I don’t know whether it was psychological, but there seemed to be a general incline from Menai Bridge to Beaumaris, and then from Beaumaris to Penmon Point. I was secretly hoping that the route would be level across country to Red Wharf Bay. Sadly, this was not the case!!! I was very workman like for this part of the inland path. However, I was glad when I rounded the Bwrdd Arthur fort which gave rise to wonderful (vantage point) views of Red Wharf Bay. Because of the heat of the day, I had already run out of water so at the next coastal car park I found a café. I had a soft drink on the go.
Circa 1 mile after this carpark, I was glad to be able to run along the low tide coast path (as opposed to the high tide path), which enabled me to run along the sea-wall……it reminded me slightly of the sea wall at Cwm Ivy, North Gower. Running on, I did eventually arrive at the next carpark on the beach (the bottom of Red Wharf Bay) where I was greeted by Jackie and Lynne. The coastal carpark at Pentraeth was a welcome sight as it meant the end of marathon 25.
PS: The unseen part of this challenge is the logistics. Having had a bite to eat in Caernarvon, we eventually arrived back at our home in Cardiff just after 11.00pm.