The Pagan Ultra Route Description
Detailed Route Description and Map
Section 1 – Chester to Llandudno
The race starts near the railway station in the historic city of Chester – but we soon leave it behind, following the canal towpath and backstreets to find the River Dee. The Wales coastal path properly begins here and crosses over the England/Wales border a few hundred metres along this path. The next part is a quiet path along 6.5km of perfectly straight tidal river, then crossing over to the southern bank near Queensferry.
Another series of quiet footpaths and tracks gradually turn to roads and footpaths at the edge of Connahs Quay and on to Flint, then down to the edge of the Dee estuary and almost right to the waters edge.
At around the 35km mark the route leaves the shore of the estuary and rejoins roads and footpaths near Mostyn but drops back down to the beach and dunes at Talacre.
The final section follows a good, fast track on tarmac and gravel past the resort towns of Prestatyn, Rhyl, Towyn, Abergele, Cowlyn Bay and finishing with a climb around the Great Orme, an ancient rocky island now attached to the mainland by a peninsula housing the Victorian seaside resort of Llandudno.
Section 2 – Llandudno to Benllech
This section starts by crossing the beautiful Conwy estuary in the shadow of Conwy Castle then turns north to follow a strip of land between the A55 roadway and the cliffs, beaches and dunes of this section of coast. As the route approaches Bangor it leaves the coast briefly to skirt around Penrhyn Castle before rejoining at the edge of the Menai Straits. Up past the Bangor pier and then a climb up through parkland and past the university to cross the suspension bridge to Ynys Mon (Anglesey).
From here the views are across to the islands in the Menai Straits and the hills of Snowdonia beyond as the route follows roads and paths to Beaumaris.
Now the landscape changes, leaving behind the small towns and villages for a while and tackles narrow roads, paths, and fields to track past Puffin Island at Penmon Point. Another climb up and over a headland before down to Red Wharf Bay and along the dunes (or beach if you prefer) behind. Finally the path curves around into Benllech.
Section 3 – Benllech to Holyhead
The rugged coastline of Anglesey continues and we head into one of the more remote sections of the race. After leaving Benllech the next village is Moelfre and from here the route follows cliff-top paths and tracks for the next 70km or so. You will often be out on your own, away from roads, houses and other people. The next piece of civilisation we pass is Amlwch, followed by Cemaes and then Wylfa nuclear power station. However you will have long sections of remote track and you need to be on your game and look out for each other here.
Finally we head around Holyhead Bay into Holyhead itself.
Section 4 – Holyhead to Newborough
The busy port town of Holyhead is soon left behind, with its ferries and streetlights and the coastal path climbs around Holyhead Mountain, with views down to the rocky islets and lighthouse of North and South Stack. The path stays high, above cliffs and hidden sea caves then curves into Trearddur Bay and the small village of Trearddur itself. More remote paths and tracks past Rhoscolyn, then on to Four Mile Bridge and to the relative civilisation of the military airbase at RAF Valley.
Sand dunes and long beaches at Rhosneigr and Aberffraw are punctuated by stunning views to the Irish Sea and fields as the path continues South-East towards Newborough Forest.
A detour around Malltraeth Sands and into the pines and tree-laden dunes of Newborough, past Llanddwyn Island back inland to finish this section.
Section 5 – Newborough to Nefyn
As we head away from Newborough we hit more tarmac sections and rejoin civilisaion as we pass the Menai Straits again and head back to Menai Bridge to recross over to the mainland.
Quiet backroads and cycleways now transport you to Caernarfon and you cross over Afon Seiont under the historic Caernarfon Castle to pick up an quiet road around to Y Foryd, a salt marsh seperating caernarfon from Morfa Dinlle and Caernarfon Airport.
At Dinas Dinlle the route splits, with the marked inland route taking you along roads and footpaths, but an allowable diversion will be to follow the beach for 4-5km to Pontllyfni to rejoin the Wales Coastal Path. We will only allow this route to be used in good weather.
After passing through Trefor a long climb to the highest point of the route at 350m above sea level as you cross over a high pass in Yr Eifl, three hills that mark the gateway to Lleyn Peninsula.
A long steady descent brings you back down to the shore at Nefyn and Porth Dinllaen.
Section 6 – Nefyn to Abersoch
This is another remote section, with narrow winding paths, sometimes only wide enough for one person at a time, high above the sea.
A tough winding section and a steep climb up to the headland of Mynydd Mawr and around to Aberdaron Bay is followed by a long crossing of the dunes and sand at Hells Mouth, dodging surfers then swinging around Mynydd Cilan to Abersoch.
Section 7 – Abersoch to Barmouth
this is the final section, and if the weather is clear you should be able to see your final destination far across Cardigan Bay at Barmouth.
A long, steady flat section along good paths past holiday resorts leads to Pwllheli and then Criccieth, along Black Rock Sands and to Porthmadog.
Across The Cob, a causeway at the mouth of the Glaslyn estuary and up the hill to Penrhydeudraeth and through forest to Maentwrog to cross the Dwyryd estuary and down to Harlech, finishing with long sections of sandy beach past Llanbedrog and the last few miles into Barmouth.