Having researched this walk prior to our attempt we knew we would be faced with at least three issues. Firstly, would access to the car park, already somewhat remote, be an issue with regard to Covid 19. Then there was the news of a landslide a few years ago blocking the way, I could find no reports beyond 2018 updating on the passability of the route. And lastly, every report stated the walk was unsuitable for dogs because access to the beach was via an iron ladder. Happily we all (pooch included) made it to the fossil tree and had this wonderfully wild coastline all to ourselves. As some of the route is along the shore, we set off 3 hours before low tide to ensure we had enough time to complete the route without being cut off.
We were initially reluctant to continue through the gates at Tiroran due to the signage "closed except for access". We were soon encouraged along our way by a cheerful local, who also warned us of the landslide but mentioned people had managed to bypass it. Good news for us! After using the fancy foot operated hand sanitiser, we continued on to find the car park and a cluster of useful information boards. Gratefully paying into the honesty box, we started along the track armed with a leaflet crammed full with the history of the Burg.
The first dog issue of the day became obvious quite early on- the track was covered in pats and hoof prints. Thankfully, the cattle herd took little notice of us as we passed through them, but be prepared to go off piste if you feel uncomfortable.
We finally reached the landslide at grid reference NM 411 263. There are a few signs discouraging clambering accross the loose stones, but a little trail traverses the rockfall near the top, maybe 3m wide at most. Tide allowing, it would also be possible to drop to the shoreline and walk around the base.
Only one issue now remained, the iron ladder. We carried on along the narrow track, which becomes quite exposed in sections. Just after the stream (NM 407 270) a little path follows the grassy bank down towards the wheel. Then a bank of basalt hexagons offers an easy stairway down to the shore, but this is only accessible when the tide is out. Now we were all successfully down to sea level and safe in the knowledge that low tide was still an hour away, off we went to find the tree.
Boulder hopping along the shoreline takes time and tires the ankles, it took us around half an hour to get around the headland to the main event. (This section may be challenging for dogs, and harsh on the pads if your canine friend isn't used to it, our 7 year old lab managed just fine but does have experience of scrambling in the lakes.) The walk back feels very long, in part because you are simply retracing your steps. However the coastline is spectactular and well worth the effort, in addition to the bizarre rock formations and fossils, we were lucky enough to spot some chattering otters and a seal playing with its dinner.
Obviously the official guidance is that the way to the fossil tree is blocked... but hopefully this gives a little more information for those feeling adventurous. Thanks for reading!
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