Kinmel Bay to Prestatyn. More surprises.
The Caley family were prominent landowners in the area as well as in Yorkshire, One member of the family, Sir George Cayley, was an eminent inventor. He designed a practical flying machine 50 years before the Wright brothers. In 1853 he built a machine that could carry the weight of a man. This glider, the “Cayley Flier”, paved the way for the Wright brothers’ powered flight in 1903, as the Wrights acknowledged. The “Cayley Flier” flew for about 275 metres across Brompton Dale (in Yorkshire) before crash-landing. This was the first recorded flight in history in a fixed-wing aircraft, so it is fair to describe Sir George Cayley as the true inventor of the aeroplane. Sir George, 80 years old at the time, didn’t risk flying the plane himself, ordering his coachman, John Daley, to fly it for him. After the alarming experience, the coachman promptly resigned. Llandudno & Colwyn Bay History Society
As I crossed the railway at the start of the day I noticed a man with a large lensed camera waiting on the bridge – that usually means a steam train is due. So I stopped and chatted and soon it came full steam down the track. LMS 46115 Scots Guardsman running tender first. As a kid I used to watch these magnificent engines powering through Crewe.
I set off more sedately on a cycle path alongside the River Clwyd and marched to Rhuddlan with its famous 13thC castle. The town’s main street had a few shops and for my morning coffee the small but friendly Farmhouse Kitchen. With all these diversions I was making slow progress but speeded up on the little lanes out of town. I was now in agricultural land, sweetcorn and grains, and not many people use these paths. Waymarking was poor and I guessed my direction across most fields. The edge of one field was virtually impossible to walk without trampling the crop. Eventually I emerged in a village called Dyserth which seemed exceptionally busy for its size, turns out it is the site of a famous 70ft waterfall. Leaving the NWP I scramble up beside it and follow paths in the woods above to suddenly emerge at a rock face overhanging the stream. A couple are just pulling their ropes down having done a fine bolted crackline up the side face, they tell me name of the rock – unsurprisingly Waterfall Buttress.
Some creative walking [trespassing] finds me back on the NWP which follows an old railway line into Prestatyn. But for a final flourish I divert on steep paths to climb Graig Fawr a limestone hill 151m high and giving excellent 360 views. Again curiously the NWP avoids it.
Over to my right are the hills we followed when finishing backpacking Offa’s Dyke many years ago. I remember on reaching the beach in Prestatyn we just stripped off and rushed into the waves and were probably lucky not to be arrested. Today I meekly caught the train.
So the North Wales Path – over 60 miles of mainly good paths and cycle-ways from Bangor to Prestatyn; giving a fair balance of coastal and hill walking, as the logo depicts. Larger scale mapping would be a great help. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the last five days and think this short route should be better publicised to be appreciated and used by more walkers.