Episode 117 – Sorry no pictures. and no change to the grand total of 3,932 miles walked round Britain. Instead an Interregnum – between walks – setting my eyes on the distant horizon and planning for when my Wales Coast Path Walk comes to an end in about 360 miles at Aberystwyth, hopefully this Summer….. for the Wales Coast Path Finale.

PRE-RAMBLE Notes for  for R,L,S,J.R&M

You’ll remember that  an interregnum is a gap in history when no history  is happening – so likewise,  this Episode 117 is not about  walking, but preparing for celebrating  completion of Walking Round Wales next summer.

The end is nigh.

Dear Rosie, Lauren, Stan, Jake, Rowan and Maisie,

All good things  come to an end and so ,sometimes, do bad things.  Witness my Wales Coast Path Walk compared with my very first Aberystwyth  visit over 50 years ago. My computers tell me I only have about 360 miles to complete This Welsh Circumnavigation  – you could add ten per cent to allow for wastage and getting lost. If I finish this summer as planned, I reckon twelve more walks averaging thirty miles each, with a finishing sprint a la Land’s End with  Experienced Military Might Escort of Major Big Andy , Captain Donald  and Sapper Stan, with support from Sarge Sargent, I can do it at the double, outflanking Aberystwyth from the North and the South. I can still remember the feeling,charging into Land’s End with Military Escort, so good I did it twice.

Your task, Maisie, Rowan, Jake, Stan, Lauren and Rosie is to clear the decks and make your parents take you camping and celebrating in Aberystwyth.

I ‘m heading for Aberystwyth from both the North Wales Coast Path and the South Wales Coast Path – the crimson worms will be fighting to get there first again.

Aberystwyth is chosen because it is a stone’s throw from The Mill – that is if you can throw a stone fifty miles due east from  The Mill and Offa’s Dyke to the Welsh Coast. I also can’t get my original visit to Aberystwyth out of my head. Head ache is the right description.

Aberystwyth University made a big impact on me in 1967, whilst attending a week long surveying camp during   my Sheffield University, Dept of Civil Engineering Easter Vacation. We were guests of The University of Wales in the same year as Charles’ investiture as Prince of Wales and he was allegedly booked weeks later in at the same Hall of residence we were occupying. Our year was too big for all to attend together, and we were split into two separate visits. My memory is cloudy for obvious  reasons revealed later, but our behaviour was strictly monitored due to the antics of the other earlier group who apparently assembled fire hoses and abused dumb waiters whilst attacking what they assumed was to be P o W’s throne room.

As a result, our group had to forfeit the opportunity to break the record for the most Civil Engineers on a dumb waiter,  which to this day is held by the other group.

Anyway my survey took a slight departure from the norm on the first night when I was running down a long link corridor trying not to be late for the evening meal in the refectory. The corridor changed level by three or four steps and I took them in my stride. Hunger does that to you.

Only to be sconned full tilt by the low beam deceptively positioned at head height. Bit like cracking a hard boiled egg.

I came too with Dr Wade, our Surveying Lecturer, holding court over me. He was seriously suggesting stitching up the headwound himself, until someone pointed out he was a Doctor of Surveying and not a medic….  on reflection I think/hope  he was trying to lighten my mood!

An ambulance was summoned, the only one not attending a certain Rugby International apparently going on right then, and I was loaded aboard on a stretcher, only to be off loaded almost immediately as the vehicle took off from a newly installed sleeping policeman intended to deter fast student drivers.

I was stitched up and  discharged just in time for last orders in the student bar, with my hair matted in a curious early afro style by blood and new fangled spray can applied skin. I never did get to eat that night. But I  got into trouble from Nanny for not phoning….

So, Aberystwyth it is then!  It also has a pier – but much shorter than Southend. All welcome – let me know if you’re interested. Nanny has already booked a hotel,  so looks like camping’s not on the agenda for Bobl!   See you in the Summer?

 

All the best

Bob/bobl/Dad

Episode 116 – So far recorded 3,932 miles in my bid to walk round Mainland Britain. Walking 26 miles on the Wales Coast Path from Freshwater West, via Angle to Pembroke Dock Railway Station.

I apologise to my reader for the slight hiatus whilst publishing this Episode. Operator Error? This is now the complete edition of Episode 116

Progress Map by courtesy of Ordnance Survey

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Where the Celtic Sea meets the Bristol Channel, this latest walk extends the Crimson Worm  in South  West Wales as far as Pembroke Dockyard  Railway Station. I performed this walk over one full day and two half days, in an initial Day Half scouting mission around Pembroke docks and two further curious circuits to take in all the Wales Coast Path coastline. The final car journey/lift/rescue did not count as it was not on the Coast Path and was my reward for shepherding.

 

Dear Rosie, Lauren, Stan, Jake, Rowan and Maisie,

Last week I took a gamble on the weather and spent Wednesday and Thursday  nights camping  at Newton Farm Campsite, near Angle Bay, Pembrokeshire, thanks to Proprietor Roland Lewis. Although closed for winter, He opened up his site for me to use as basecamp while I did a 26 mile circuit of the local coastline, making the grand total 3,932 miles in 320 days actual walking, since I started this hairbrain venture roundabout November 2013.

 

 

 

 

Serendipity reigns ok! Yet again, like the campsite, I was also lucky with the weather,  the night time temperatures  came close but never got below zero! Neither did it rain and the wind seemed to be with me which ever direction I walked.

Start of the main circuit from Freshwater West.

 

zud in the middle of nowhere 4

I left Zud parked in the middle of nowhere – above – middle distance, slightly left!

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Angle Lifeboat Station below looking out over Milford Haven with Paul on duty

 

 

 

 

 

Unusual events included  damaging a hand rescuing a weary sheep stuck in brambles and I had a personal conducted tour of Angle Lifeboat Station courtesy of Lifeboatman Mechanic Paul.  Thank you for letting me inspect your Taymar Class Lifeboat including going on board and into the cockpit. These boats are fantastic, and you can say the same about the crews, mostly volunteers, but some full time like Paul. I will always sing your praise and patronise your gift shops, but hope I will never need your brave services.

Even on the final day when I was completing a circuitous route back to the campsite things fell into place despite a potentially daunting  walk back to ZUD, left guarding Pembroke Castle . I had completed the Wales Coast Path walking task and was  now running on empty ready to go home. Some six miles separated me from my transport.  I hopefully stuck out a thumb  and within minutes an older couple stopped and gave me a lift all the way back to the car.  I was too tired to think about a photo and can only thank them through this medium. Perhaps it was pay back for rescuing the sheep. Or more serendipity?

 

The sheep episode began with my parting the woolly beasts as The Wales Coast Path took me through the middle of a huge flock. They seemed reluctant to disperse as they normally flee from human contact. I then heard an isolated bleating and came across a sheep well embedded in gorse, thorns and brambles. My nearness caused it to panic and instead of backing out it just enmeshed itself further. I’d left my ferrule tipped sticks behind,  having a day off.  I don’t carry secateurs which would have similarly solved the problem at a stroke; nor a knife for legal reasons. Instead I found two stones and proceeded to hack my way through the various brambles , the sheep thought I meant harm and struggled ; or grew too weary and kept falling on me. All making the task longer and harder. It wasn’t the lightest nor the most fragrant.

Eventually, when we both pulled in the same direction, the sheep freed itself and still with half the brambles intact headed off to rejoin  its watchful flockmates.

 

rest-and-be-thankful-copy.jpg

 

The main walk began in the sand dunes at Freshwater West, where I finished last time out. There were several miles of strenuous walking climbing up and down and very muddy underfoot. Reaching Angle Bay I saw a few people – certainly more than I’d passed all day. The walk turned into Milford Haven and countryside changed to industrial mode with the used and disused Power Stations and the fuel tankers lined up alongside the oil jetties, and ferries to and  from Ireland . That day I was there I never noticed the reported oil spillage.

The Wales Coast Path then disappears into more urban surroundings either side of the Pembroke River, where I presume most of the power industry and dockyard  employees live.

I was now looking for a suitable Rendezvous point to complete my walk and chose The Pembroke Docks Railway Station. And bus interchange. Leaving all my options open for resuming next time out. Just here? Or there?

 

Photo Gallerybird waymarker

 

 

 

 

POST SCRIPTUM

As I headed away from Pembroke going home to normal housing and proper communications I was rapidly dumped into commonplace reality of world politics. What had happened in my absence? Had Brexit boiled over?  Had Trump finally Trumped? Had Putin put the bootin? Had Spurs scored seven goals?

There coming towards me probably heading for Castlemartin ranges were convoy after convoy of tanks on tank transporters. I lost count. I was now leaving with regret.

I would love to have hung around and watch the Military training these tanks  to fetch and carry, and sit up and beg. I wondered if I would have been so keen to disobey the red flags marking the danger zones, now knowing what awesome firepower was descending on the area. The Tank Range at Castle Martin is a huge flagged off area of the Pembrokeshire Coast devoid of civilians, where the tanks can play war games to their hearts’ content. It’s all a bit bleeding obvious so I don’t think I’m giving away state secrets and hopefully won’t get my collar felt?

Like all the best photos this one never got taken, I always thought the next convoy would be the last and not worth stopping – so no record of my explosive hallucination!

I do wonder occasionally if , sooner or later, the Authorities are going to catch up with me, because my familiar scruffy walking figure must keep popping up around Britain’s coastline on all manner of video security devices. I must be a unique source/sauce of security knowledge being able to point out all the weaknesses in Britain’s coastal defences. Still makes a change from visiting Salisbury Cathedral, that Mecca for all Russian Tourists….

 

My bucket list has acquired a new number one. In rare occurrences of TV Watching at home I have come across a programme title forgotten – possibly “Hunted”, where fugitives flee the authorities, aiming to lie low until they are given a Coastal departure point after a few weeks, which if they make it uncaptured, they win. The authorities seem to have a full range of up to date recognition devices and social media at their disposal. I admit I have been subconsciously planning my technique in the hope I might get chosen……… this is as about as likely as being asked to play for England at football – I always used to take my kit to England matches just in case they were one short…….

 

Episode 115 – Drama! Navigating 18 miles on the Pembrokeshire/Wales Coast Path from Freshwater East to Freshwater West – lost in dreadful weather, mud and flash flooding alongside military danger zones with expensive collateral losses… Grand Total of 3,906 miles around Britain’s Coast in 318 walking days.

PROGRESS SO FAR….progress mapMap by courtesy of Ordnance Survey, with my completed route around Britain’s Coast Path highlighted in Crimson, 3,906 miles so far. Also included are internal boundary paths of Hadrian’s Wall and Offa’s Dyke.

 

Dear Rosie, Lauren, Stan, Jake, Rowan and Maisie,

The title sounds dramatic;  well it was. There was collateral damage and losses,  and it all took place over a two day visit by Nanny , Bobl and ZUD to the Wales South Coast last Wednesday and Thursday with overnight shelter in Tenby Premier Inn. Had I been on my own, camping sauvage, I think my tent would have drowned again, and even more equipment mislaid.  As it was, Nanny and ZUD kept station as near as possible, alongside the Coast Path and I had a mobile bolt hole which I resorted to several times. But  there were other times , when the horizontal rain struck without warning, the leeward side of modern plastic wrapped haystacks had to suffice as shelter, which  I shared, not necessarily sympathetically on their part, with cows and new calves. I realised I could scramble up the bales if the mother’s got bolshie because I was keeping their babies awake

During these enforced interruptions, nostalgia fever kicked in as   I tried to recall topical nativity experiences to aid my predicament, remembering my one and only stage performance as the ‘Red Indian’ (nomenclature permissible sixty odd years ago). To this day I have never encountered another Nativity Native American following the star in the East, nor The Wales Coast Path, for that matter. Nor was there a crib for a bed And it came to pass that although my acting career never got off the ground, at least my latest venture got to second bale, whilst the cows remained safely be – lowing….  and my soggy weather bush craft and tracking can only improve.

The target this trip was simple. Restarting at Freshwater  East and make as much progress as possible along the Wales Coast Path, aka The Pembrokeshire Coast Path. Ordnance Survey Explorer Map OL 36 was in constant use, being double sided it would also take a pronged bashing and soaking – more later.

Start point Freshwater East – weather conditions deceptive below…..

start point Freshwater East.jpg

Stackpole Coast – ruggedstackpole coast

 

 

First rendezvous with Nanny and ZUD was at Stackpole Quay – below….Stackpole quaybarafundle bay.jpg

After which came Barafundle Bay and Stackpole Head – er –  ahead – top left. Below its National Trust heritage

Nat Trust Barafundle Bay

, raming hole

Passing the Head and Stackpole Warren, I arrived at Raming Hole, heading for Broad Haven.

 

My next rendezvous with Nanny was inland at Bosherton. There were a variety of paths to take, dependent on tides, red flags and flooding. It seems I took all the wrong ones, adding a couple of unnecessary miles to the journey and a late lunch.

Below is my last known position before examining The Stackpole National Nature Reserve in much closer detail than I would have liked.Stackpole N N R

Much later I returned to this scene and turned left at the footbridge, instead of right – -which was the wrong answer. Whether it was getting lost here or subsequent difficulties, there are no more pictures for today. Suffice to say, I journeyed on after lunch by way of a series of footpaths defined by “Danger – keep out” warnings from the danger areas occupied by the military, mainly as  a tank training ground – one assumes the personnel get trained as well as the tanks?

The light was fading prematurely, the clouds gathering until heavy rain started to fall and I was still in time for my next rendezvous which would mark the day’s end – for walking that is.

Until I arrived at Thorne, about a quarter of a mile short of rescue by Nanny. I passed Thorne Church as the lane swept round and down into the village, but I could not believe my eyes that told me the lane was flooded several feet deep, from side to side and for about fifty yards. I had no idea what was below the surface and had no intention of wading. I tried one house that had lights on to ask what was the way round this water feature. No reply. In fact eerily, there was no one around at all!

 

To one side of the flash flooding there was a heavily fenced field that if I could surmount the substantial hedging, posts and barbed wire, I could outflank the water and climb a similar fence/hedge to bypass the water. Let’s mention it was now raining heavily and the hedge, although quite holely, still held gallons of water. I had to climb aboard by prostrating myself and wriggling through brambles and thorns, to fall over the other side. Where I discovered the field was quite boggy. At least it was a soft landing. But it took a while to wade to the other side; and even longer to repeat the hedge mounting procedure to get out of the field, and the landing this time was not so soft.

I was now late for my rendezvous. Not to worry. This is what my brand new mobile phone was meant for. Call Nanny!

After several minutes by which time I had examined all of my 37 pockets in detail, twice, I sadly came to the conclusion, I had one less phone than I started with . But at least I knew it was somewhere between here, where I was standing and there where I had first tried my luck at hedge climbing,  and possibly somewhere in the boggy field I had just traversed.

Despite my excellent torch, I wasn’t in a fit state to start searching and decided to find life somewhere in the village preferably with a phone. I gave some guy a severe fright by knocking on his window while he was wrapping presents, and he willingly lent me his phone to contact Nanny. In minutes we were back in contact and I was travelling rapidly to my next hot shower. Phoneless.

I concluded the phone wasn’t lost. I knew it was somewhere in that field- or maybe in the hedge? No problem!

Guess how day two started? Phone hunting!

Within minutes of remounting the hedge, I found what I thought was a car’s broken wing mirror. On closer examination it turned into my phone!

The rest of the day passed blissfully passing through Castlemartin and finishing walking at Freshwater West.

Just to prove the camera still works after a cold night in a farmers bog, view on….

thorne sideroad

Side road to Thorne

 

Freshwater Bay

Freshwater West – end of the walk for now. See you next year?

Episode 114 -Walking 17 miles on the Pembrokeshire/Wales Coast Path from Saundersfoot to Freshwater East with guests Elizabeth, Karin and Martin and a constant threat of rain.

Seventeen hard won, but companionable, miles walked this trip in three days. The difficult route, weaving along cliff edges, rising and falling irregularly from sea level to ninety metre contours, and slipping and sliding through mud, or baffled by sand dunes, all made it seem much longer. My grand total walked round England and Wales is now a catchy 3,888 miles in 316 days.

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Map courtesy of Ordnance Survey with my completed walking route highlighted in scarlet worms….. Probably under 400 miles to go? Menai Bridge to Freshwater East.

Pre- ramble.      Before my walking guests appeared, there was a chance meeting and kit discussions with another long distance walker, when Ryan escorted me to my rendezvous with Nanny and ZUD in Tenby. He had overcome all sorts of personal adversities and was now working with charities to help others, particularly kids obesity and  welfare. Good luck!

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Dear Rosie, Lauren, Stan, Jake, Rowan and Maisie,

Nanny and Bobl drove ZUD down to the Wales  South Coast on Sunday, 4th November, for three days, and resumed walking the Wales Coast Path at Coppet Hall Point near Saundersfoot.  Heading for Tenby- below-

 

 

 

 

 

On reaching Tenby, Nanny  and I were joined by Elizabeth, Karin and Martin…….

 

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Penally Station  – most laughing nervously; he who isn’t, knows what’s ahead!  Nanny reverted to back up driver at Skomar; Martin and Karin   found their car waiting for them at Manobier; Elizabeth managed to get all the way to West Moat Farm, although probably sleep walking the last few miles. Bobl called time at Freshwater East just as the clouds burst.

 

……….under heavy, grey skies. The walk changed rapidly from urban promenades and beaches to very slippery rocky  climbs and descents. The pace slackened because of the conditions and we expected reduced targets, but this was compensated for by the support, banter and camaraderie. And fantastic scenery.

Our resident geographic and geologic expert Martin was able to explain to us the various natural phenomena that had created our scenic surroundings. Passing on knowledge gleaned from Wally Allen and Jimmy Alves.

Very little of the Wales Coast Path was alongside the road, it was mostly cliff top.

 

The only time we got lost was on the first evening, Sunday,  in Tenby  walking in circles looking for suitable eateries. We eventually found traditional crowded pub fish and chips. More than made up for on the second day at the Swanlake Inn, near Swanlake Bay, where we enjoyed a traditional Welsh  cawl for Monday lunch that was filling and delicious enough to keep us going until we found an excellent chippy in Tenby for  the second evening meal. Followed by the rest of the evening chatting and drinking in Tenby House.

I must praise Nanny’s  superb management of the transport logistics. Five people, three vehicles and various different agendas. I’m fairly sure everyone who came on the walk was accounted for, although Elizabeth had to be restrained from extending Monday’s final walk into Freshwater East even though she was quite clearly sleepwalking.

If we didn’t make our target of Freshwater East Nanny and I had anticipated possible mutiny with a bail out emergency rendezvous at West Moor Farm in fast fading light but still no rain. The plan worked.  Elizabeth was dissuaded from walking alone, but with torch, to Freshwater, We’d also been very lucky with the weather..

 

On Tuesday morning we gathered to go our separate ways home. But first Nanny and Bobl had unfinished business with Freshwater East to take care of……

 

 

Start/finish at Freshwater East…see you next time?

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…….. followed by a visit to the two Tenby Lifeboat Stations.

 

 

 

 

In summary, a most convivial gathering and some extremely worn out guest walkers – and the rain held off until the final furlong into Trewent Park. In all, seventeen miles were consumed by the full walk from Coppet Hall Point to Trewent Park via Saundersfoot, Tenby, Penally, Lydstep, Manorbier and Freshwater East in the best part of three days. Now the tally walked round England and Wales has reached 3,888 miles in 316 days. The combined ages of the five participants this time out was nearly 350 years , or if you include ZUD, very nearly 350 years!?

can I get to four thousand miles before New Year?

 

 

 

Parting shots of Tenby Harbour above……

 

 

People – courtesy of Elizabeth – below

 

 

Episode 113 – One day visit to Anglesey to complete the circumnavigation by walking the final stretch of Isle of Anglesey/Wales Coast Path from Llanfair P G to Dwyran. New grand total walked in England and Wales, 3,871 miles in 313 non-consecutive walking days.

FINAL DRAFT!

WCP Progress 21 10 18
Map by courtesy of Ordnance Survey  -Anglesey is now complete

Sunrise over Llanddwyn Bay at the Southern end of The Menai Straits.

sunrise

Dear Rosie, Lauren, Stan, Jake, Rowan and Maisie,

I took advantage yesterday, Thursday, of a brief one day break in the weather to drive to Llanfair PG on the Isle of Anglesey and complete my circumnavigation of the island, by filling in the missing stretch from Dwyran almost to the Menai Suspension Bridge.

I parked Zud at Llanfair Pwllgwyhgyll, and joined The Wales Coast Path, which is also the Anglesey Coast Path and for a while followed the erratic course which sometimes shared with the main road, and other times disappeared into very wet farmers’ fields.

red squirrel territory

I quickly got fed up with this and played my trump card which allows me to walk the foreshore.

menai straits moel y don

This is the highest form of coastal path walking being right next to the incoming tide. Get it wrong and it’s called swimming. I was also in Gollum territory.

 

Gollum territoryGollum territory

One disadvantage is having to walk on a variety of shingle, sand, mud pebbles and boulders which stretches all your tendons, ankles, muscles, blisters and sore toes.

 

caernarfon castle oppositeEventually, the wear and tear got to me and I could no longer ignore a persistent pain at the back of my less favourite leg, which I was pretending didn’t exist..  cos I have difficulty reaching the other ends of my legs.

I found a pallet washed up on the beach left in such a position that I could rest on it while I removed my boot and investigate this possibly terminal walking affliction. After uncovering and undoing several layers of socks, trousers and laces I found a trouser toggle bound up in the protective layers which was pressing directly on my Achilles    heel. The tighter I tied my laces the more damage I was causing.

Undoing the lace. Relief was instant.

Emergency over. Toggle repositioned and my walking career no longer in tatters . Walking was bliss again. Still can’t work out why there was a toggle at that end of my trousers and why I’d never noticed it before.

 

Snowdonia on the opposite bank of the Menai Straits

 

 

The rest of the walk was uneventful, although I still had to traverse several dozen fields after I left the shoreline, to rendezvous with the bus route that would take me back to the car. It was now getting dark and the Hi- Viz jacket was deployed as the traffic on the A4080 was unforgiving.  I had walked 15 miles this day, by the time I got to the bus stop.

It was only after I was securely boarded on the 42 Bus that I remembered I had now completed walking round Anglesey, and with a certain amount of satisfaction and smugness I broke out the Cadbury’s chocolate buttons.

I was soon back with ZUD and on my way home, arriving by nine o’clock in the evening , having been on the  move since seven this morning.

Result!

 

Episode 112 – Walking the Northern Wales Coast Path on Anglesey; resuming at Bodorgan Station on the Holyhead/Bangor line. 33 miles in two walking days bring the grand totals to 3,856 miles walked in 312 days since 2013.

Dear Rosie, Lauren, Stan, Jake, Rowan and Maisie,

Wheels within wheels – I’m trying to complete my circumnavigation of The Island Of Anglesey, and thought this last trip would have done it, enabling me to concentrate on finishing the Walk around Wales, and in turn Britain.. It was well planned, arriving by train at Bodorgan, with campsites forewarned and bus services primed for shadowing and replacement duties, and a fair weather forecast with tides to suit me,  and only needing to walk about 30 miles to complete, albeit part of that with the proverbial kitchen sink on my back. As it was, I walked 33 miles, some  mostly in the right direction  but due to an unusual crop of events ( Gollum, bulls, unexpected rain, bus delays and iffy pubs), I still ended up about ten miles short in what we will call two full days walking. (Half of Day one was on the train and half of day three was on the train AND a replacement bus service).

Using the distances given by  The Cicerone guide to Walking The Wales Coast Path, I compute that I have to walk another 172 miles from Menai Bridge  to Aberystwyth – the notional Finish and Party Venue. Add to that the remaining distance from Saundersfoot to Aberystwyth, 225 miles and I have only just under 400 miles left to complete the whole Wales Coast Path – assuming I don’t get lost. Could be all over in thirty plus days!

Meanwhile, closer to home, the transition from Arriva Trains morphing into Transport for Wales seems to have gone smoothly – unlike the timetable changes down South. The snail experiment is paying off and I’m learning not to take anything unnecessary, like spare clothes and food, and taking more rests as this allows the blood back into my arms. I haven’t yet found the most comfortable position for the new rucksack straps that allow proper circulation. And Millets is due further consultation after the self inflating sleeping mat was a bit of a let down.

Anyway – there was progress on The Wales Coast Path – Map by Courtesy of Ordnance survey with the usual Scarlet Worms indicating my progress – it’s slow going on Anglesey – I had hoped to complete this trip but the above listed unusual events got in my way .. I wonder if you collect all these maps with incremental progress highlighted would you form a flip chart animation. Oh! I forgot!! There’s probably an App….  I found something completely by accident that produced a map of all the photos locations, but I didn’t nail it down and now it’s escaped.WCP Progress 21 10 18

DSC_3682

Refer yellow dot on the first  map, which was the first camp  above – Look to the left of the last fencepost, one lonely blue tent at Awelfryn Campsite, Newborough Forest, Anglesey – with  Snowdonia on the horizon! I camped one night here to allow me to explore the delights of Newborough Forest and Llanddwyn Island.  The second night I camped at Treborth Hall on the mainland, nearby The Menai Bridge – no photos for that one – I arrived in darkness and left in haste! I saw no one there also… spooky. Yes it was a bit! Especially with poor street lighting. And the kitchen sink can’t run that fast.

Instead, I’ll throw in for free my Overall Progress around Britain Map, pending Brexit and Scottish Independence, it’s a work in progress? Am I going to have to unleash those tartan worms from Berwick and Carlisle soon? Better consult Nicola?

Progress around Britain 21 10 18

You may notice a crisp new look to some of the pictures. I have a new camera/phone which is running me in for a trial period, and with my blog upgrade, I think I’ve cleared the way for another 100 Episodes.

So sorry!

Only trouble is, I’ve got several hundred new procedures and passwords to sort out first. At the very least, you’ll now be able to believe most of the photo captions; they tell me my location, which was fine until I pressed the wrong button and the format changed. Fortunately I had the old camera/phone to fall back on. Recharging was a nightmare!  Leads everywhere, but Transport for Wales trains are pretty generous with their recharging points.

And I’m still sorting out which was the right button. And if you think writing the blog is a doddle, with two cameras, it’s twice as hard. And a bit random. Like “save” doesn’t actually mean your several hours of graft are safe guarded – it means log on again tomorrow and see if you can find where we’ve hidden your verbiage!

Now the journey unfolds with pictures-

 

READY; SET; GOGOGOCH

Leaving Knighton Station and arriving Bodorgan, Anglesey. About 5 hours later. As is now a tradition on the train, I devour one of Mr Tom Pugh’s excellent meat pasties and two of his pork pies and several muesli bars to while away the time, store up energy and lighten my load.

 

 

Stopping for traditional lunch along the Welsh Coast Path  at Malltraeth and Afon Cefni heading for Alwelfryn Camp.

 

 

nf

After setting up camp, the end of day one saw me doing exploratory walks round the forest edge and heading towards Llanddwyn Island. Total walking today 11 miles mostly with a full load. Will sleep well tonight.

 

 

 

Day two,  Saturday, my main walking day, was to resume and complete the circuit of The Forest and visit the Island and move off the campsite before lunch

 

.Very early morning forest and approaching Llanddwyn Island awaiting sunrise. low light levels. This new camera is good.

 

 

 

On the Island and its lighthouse.

Sunrise – told you it was an early start.

sunrise

From the Island I completed the forest circuit firstly via the dunes and then venturing into the forest itself. Now all I had to do was join up the gap between here and Menai Bridge.

I found  Treborth Hall Campsite and set up the tent again and then I began what I hoped was the final stretch  from the forest to Menai Bridge. Or vice versa. I chose to catch the 42 to my start point of yesterday’s finish. Unfortunately one didn’t appear for 90 minutes, When it did, although obviously I was at the head of the queue, I gave way to two older ladies who appreciated the gesture.  Unfortunately the bus driver didn’t like my £10 note for a £3-70 fare.  I gazed at the change in  his till and couldn’t comprehend? He wasn’t serving change and I wasn’t getting off. Impasse.

Until one of the ladies I had deferred to on boarding appeared at my side with change. She exchanged something in Welsh with the driver? My Welsh Fairy Godmother?

The bus ride thereafter was right out of Alton Towers – making up for lost time. I hung on  until my stop; and thanked the driver profusely on disembarking. He said something back! Which I didn’t quite catch….

I walked to my start point on The Wales Coast Path at Clwt-gwlyb south of Newborough heading for Menai Bridge with the time approaching five o’clock and the light fading.  No room for any more delays.

 

Reaching the stepping stones at Afon Braint. I had been uncomfortable for about an hour since restarting the walk.

Shortly after crossing the stepping stones I confirmed  I was being followed.  I turned to take a quick picture and my footpad ducked down behind a fencepost on the other bank, reinforcing my suspicions. I followed the WCP track beyond the river and kept  to hedgelines until I craftily deviated off the track and hid in the bushes, ostensibly taking shelter and having some food. Shortly after a Gollum-like figure dawdled  by unaware of me immersed in the hedgerow, and headed off to The Wales Coast Path.  I rapidly packed up and headed back the way I came, only to meet a farmer who was wondering what was going on. I told him and he showed me a short cut to the main road near Dwyran – the A4080. I aborted the trip and waited for a bus and hoped  serendipity would  resume normal service – the timetable said one was due  6-30pm – it was very nearly that now! But  I was way off my own schedule. And low and behold a number 42 turned up and took me back to  The Antelope  at Menai Bridge a mile from my tent. After dodging a hefty drunken affable departing customer falling through the front entrance, I thought I deserved a three course pub  meal and all the trimmings, and selected accordingly from the bar menu. A long wait ensued, while they served everyone else in Wales and eventually  got my change right on the second attempt, however hungry I was I wasn’t feeling welcome, so I cut my losses and had a  quick soft drink and a bowl of chips. Soon I was back under cover of dark to try locate my tent only a mile away. But now very,  very spooky. Hope the torch batteries last.

 

The next day I needed to get back across the Menai Straits and to Llanfair P G Station to catch my train home at 10-49am. Very early start to pack up  and load up and stagger across the bridge. But just enough time to fall into a very posh hotel and order breakfast coffee at the other, posh, end of Menai Bridge (there’s a Waitrose). The staff were very pleasant this early on a Sunday morning. I resolved to patronise this establishment upon my eventual return. But on resuming walking, it had now begun to rain.

 

 

Menai Bridge and Brittania Bridge both cross the Menai Straits – the Wales Coast Path joins them together. So does  the A5. Totally differing hospitality either end of the Menai Bridge.

This gate separates the two..bullgate.JPG

But beyond the gate there be  a bull…

 

 

bull loose

Seems placid enough doesn’t it? Not so – in the middle distance beyond the black cow is a less than friendly bull. He is guarding a WCP Waymarker – my route goes right alongside him. He is definitely not a friendly Hereford Bull and no way was I getting any nearer to find out what he was! Feeling paranoid,  I abandoned the mapped route and took to the busy A5 running parallel.   Until I got to Llanfair Pwllgwyngyll station. Where my train was due to pick me up and take me home.

 

LLANFAIRPWLLGWYNGYYLLGOGERYCHWYRNDROBWLLLLANTYSILIOGOGOGOCH!

 

Llanfair PG IS VERY TOURISTY I’ll let the pictures do the talking

 

Train home……

Turns into a bus which turns into Knighton Stationlpg8

Episode 111 -Walking 28 miles on the Coast Paths round England and now Wales. I’ve unfinished business crossing The Rivers Taf and Towy eventually reaching Saundersfoot, South Pembrokeshire. Grand Totals of 3,823 miles in 310 days so far.

Maps by courtesy of Ordnance Survey with my scarlet worms showing the extent of my continuous walkDSC_3662

The green pin marks the western extent of by cf my Welsh forays, and the yellow pin on Angelsey marks how near I am to completing that Island.

 

My estimate from the Wales Coast Path distance tables is about 450 miles to walk from Anglesey to Saundersfoot.

Below – to put into perspective and at greatly reduced scale I’ve acknowledged Mainland Scotland. Just because the tip of Northern Ireland has crept in and aussie,  a bit of Calais, do not for one moment consider I’m widening my horizons

DSC_3666

 

Numbers.

One mile allowed for crossing the River Towy – Ferryside to Llansteffan, plus 27 walking The Wales Coast Path from Pentowyn via St Clears, Laugharne, Pendine, Amroth to Saundersfoot just a few miles short of Tenby, in two Days. One night in the Tenby Premier Inn, with no car parking, shifting from O S Map 177 to Map OL36 , bringing Grand Totals to 3,823 Miles in 310 Walking Days since November 2013

Family group 29 Oct 2018

Who is missing…..? Un lucky thirteen. Must be behind the camera – that’s alright then.. Fabulous weekend followed by a trip in a boat with Wheels

Dear Rosie, Lauren, Stan, Jake, Rowan and Maisie,

Even though we hadn’t fully recovered from the above Mill family gathering, when we heard the new Amphibious Ferry across the River Towy was  now afloat and plying its trade between Ferryside and Llansteffan on the Southern Wales Coast Path, Nanny , Bobl and ZUD arranged a quickfire visit. Even the weather was in our favour. This was meant to be!

On our previous Wales Coast Path excursion to The Rivers Towie and Taf, we left un-finished business because the last ferry from Ferryside to Llansteffan left 60 years ago, and I’d rather mistakenly thought there ought to be a similar service from Pentowyn to the Dylan Thomas Boathouse. Maybe there was previously but all that was left was hugely overgrown or turned touristy – everything was preceded by “Dylan Thomas”.

We had consulted the internet and all the evidence was that a brand new  ferry was due to leave Ferryside at nine thirty. We arrived early hoping to see activity on the incoming tide, but no signs except the timetable confirming the correct departure  time. Until movement in the carpark and boatyard  evidenced the ferry coming towards us on the road! It drove cautiously towards the beach and entered the water, powered its 230horsepower outboard motors and headed for the official landing point back up on the beach again, where a huddle of excited passengers waited to board.

 

 

 

And board they did, clambering up the steps. Notice the three wheel drive, plus twin outboards for the river crossing. A petrol engine provides  power for the three electric motors whilst on land. Captain Ann and mate Liam, must demonstrate a very clever technique and teamwork particularly in the transition phase entering and leaving the water where the balance of power transfers from wheels to props and vice versa. I would imagine on days less calm than today it can get interesting.

The actual voyage was soon over as the vessel headed for the beach on the Llansteffan side….

 

 

 

Lifejackets must be worn!

 

 

 

And here we are, completely dry on the Llanstaffan side waiting for returning passengers. Carmarthen Bay Ferries operate the ‘Glansteffan’. The crew of Captain Ann and Mate Liam are very pleasant, skilled and obviously enjoying their new toy. It has only just started and they hope to expand this community service and extend to trips around the area. Good luck! Get in touch    https://carmarthenbayferries.co.uk

I’m very impressed particularly by the need not to walk the banks of The River Towy to Carmarthen and back  – a day’s non-coastal walking just to get to the other side!

Not so lucky with the River Taf – not to be confused with the River Taff – located alongside the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. At Pentowyn I could see across to Dylan Thomas’ Boathouse, but to cross The Taf I had to walk the banks to St Clears and sometimes follow the heavily trafficked lanes which was not so safe, as they are not the widest. But they are making an effort…..

 

 

 

Above the banks of The River Taf from Pentowyn to  Laugharne via St Clears. On the run in to The Castle I passed Dylan Thomas’Writing Shed  – a converted garage attached to a Boat house he rented. Notice I’ve been playing in the mud again – my usual trick of walking in the river rather than alongside. No wonder my boots don’t last.

End of Day one  not under canvas tonight – a hotel bed in the very pleasant place known as Tenby, where the only problem is parking. I’m being unfair – having walked nearly 4,000 miles what’s another half mile from car to hotel with heavy baggage and weary feet. But we didn’t leave the hotel again till we’d supped a large evening meal and awoke to an enormous full English/Welsh breakfast. I think we’ll need to stay here again. In fact I’m sure.

Result One mile awarded for the boat trip and twelve miles walking.

 

Day two. Target – from Laugharne Castle –  As near to Tenby as I can get.

The first five miles is all inland as there is a militarised danger zone keeping civilians off Laugharne and Pendine Sands – beautiful open level sands where early speed trials were organised and land speed records were broken.

I didn’t get back to my favourite coastal walking alongside seashore, waves  or cliffs but had to bear the traffic again and the army occupation for some time. When I did I was made to pay. In short order there were at least five rapid ascents and descents all of which were beautiful but  made me regret deliberately leaving my sticks behind. It was probably as foolish an experiment as thinking I could cope with a full rucksack or not write a blog; or even trust Millets to end my hiking tent saga to my benefit.

 

 

 

Leaving Dylan Thomas behind after following his Birthday path was actually quite sad because the beautiful Welsh scenery that he had absorbed rapidly changed to a polluted shoreline or marshes, followed by merging the path with the main road and a disproportionate number of quarry trucks servicing a very unpleasant, dusty, noisy quarry.  All conspired to keep my camera  in my pocket until I got to Pendine, bottom above – or above bottom? Little did I know those picturesque hills were about as walking friendly as the militarised zone , traffic, quarry and flotsam and jetsam all rolled into one. But beautiful enough to fill my camera lens.

Just scroll on – don’t think of the pain I went through to get these photos.

 

 

 

…..Only alleviated by constant rendezvous with Nanny and ZUD for rest and refreshments along the way. The bottom picture is at Amroth Castle with Saundersfoot in the middle horizon.

 

 

 

And Saundersfoot is just the other end of the tunnel… guess who’s waiting ?dsc_3659.jpg

Unfortunately I ran out of steam at the other end of the tunnel  after fifteen miles today, and marked my territory  and headed home.  That’s 3,823 miles around England and Wales so far. Next time I’ll give an estimate to the finish…..

Thank you Nanny and ZUD!

If you’re interested in how the Millets saga is playing out – so far I’ve had my money refunded; but purchasing the equivalent goods via their shop in Hereford resulted in paying more for the sleep mat and would have been considerably more for the tent, so I did not purchase it. Instead I’ll keep going with my two man tent which means I can get the rucksack in, if I sacrifice a few duvets….

Incidentally there was no explanation following their detailed investigation. I think they might have apologised.

 

 

Episode110 – Return to Holyhead and The Wales Coast Path – walking 45 miles in about three days – grand total around England and Wales Coasts 3,795 miles in 308 walking days…

DSC_3558I’m closing in on Aberystwyth. The Welsh Coast Path  gap is reducing. although  I suspect the Completion Party  must still be a year away. Guess who lives under the drawing pin on the Border about level with Aberystwyth but separated by The Cambrians?

Certainly not many people, mostly sheep, shepherds and sheepdogs. Qualify for the celebration by joining the walk – previous English Coast Path experience does not count.

Family group 29 Oct 2018

Dear Rosie,  Lauren,  Stan,  Jake, Rowan & Maisie!

Nearly everyone gathered at The Mill on Saturday  – thank you for a restful weekend of football, bulldogs, tag rugby, table tennis and some quiet drumming – along with plenty of Nanny’s cooking. All contrived to give me the quickest recovery from last week’s walk described below.

I’ve just returned from my trek round Holyhead on the Isle of Angelsey and tidying  up a few  messy, awkward-to-reach  areas leaving me heading for The Menai Strait at  Llangadwaladr near Bodorgan Railway Station. Trains stop if you’ve ask politely. I say trains – does one carriage constitute a train? No criticism – the service was excellent – and the fares reasonable with my Oldie Rail card and the staff helpful.

 

 

 

 

I based myself at Rhosneigr Shoreside Camp Site again with adjacent Railway Station and the trains, with some bus assistance, allowed me to keep  to the wandering Welsh  Coast Path.  The route was so tortuous that a thick scarlet line on the  map above does not do justice to the detailed planning needed to keep on course.  The signage could be better!

I would guess that Holyhead and its environs has the most concentrated Coast Paths in any given area. The OS Explorer Map 262 has taken a battering, fortunately I’m heading off towards Snowdonia and The Llyn Peninsular just in time I’m moving onto a new map

On three separate days I walked myself to a standstill.  Monday , my legs gave up early evening, outside John Heywood’s pub at Tyn Rhos near Trearddur,  I couldn’t help but stop at The Gwynfair Family Pub, with such a helpful host, who negotiated B&B Options and Taxi fares by phone  for me whilst I re-hydrated on lime and lemonade, and nibbles. I opted for  the taxi ride back to the tent. Ten miles walked not including taxi distance.

 

 

 

 

On Tuesday , I walked from Holyhead, trying to link up with Monday’s finish line, but again, after 12 miles, about a mile short of the intended  finish at John’s pub, my legs refused to do anything past Treardurr except clamber on board a bus back to Holyhead. This was the result of ascending Holyhead Mountain, 220 metres, earlier in the day. I returned to complete the stretch the following day.

After finishing  that off, six miles, first thing Wednesday, I headed off by train to Bodorgan and walked to the Wales Coast Path at Llangadwaladr.  I would have been ok to get back to the tent at Rhosneigr, but after  the WCP took me past a Fish and chip shop. Say no more. The eleven mile walk took seriously longer than it should have done

Again I made up the shortage and short cuts of six miles  next day, before breaking camp and heading off for the train with maximum load in my rucksack. I’d allowed an hour to travel a few hundred yards to Rhosneigr Station – I just made it. From now on I only had to manhandle the rucksack  from train to train to train – not even changing platforms.

And who greeted me at Knighton Station – Stan , Rowan and Nanny… and ZUD.

They bet me five cheddar biscuits that they could lift my rucksack. I had to pay up – twice!

 

 

Photo gallery.

Day One  Monday 24th September Valley to Treaddur Bay

 

Quite level so far still heading for Trearddur…

 

it was about now I realised my legs wouldn’t carry me much further and after asking other walkers discovered tha there was a pub nearby with a pleasant landlord who could advise on accommodation or transport…..

DSC_3515

Taxi for bobl…..

 

Day two Tuesday 25th September –  Holyhead to  Trearddur via Holyhead Mountain…

 

Heading for  Holyhead Mountain – not flat any more  – and it gets worse!

 

 

Passing North Stack on the climb to The Mountain – ferry anyone?

 

View of the top and views from the top – Holyhead Mountain. Rain was threatening and no shelter..

 

 

Shelter! And picture one is the top of the Mountain – picture two is South Stack Lighthouse.

 

 

A variety of inlets on the Coast Path heading for Trearddur.

 

 

Trearddur IRB Station  – closed -no souvenirs..

Found myself on a bus route back to Holyhead or forward to Rhosneigr – Holyhead bus came along first – so I took it!  I didn’t know how close I was to joining up with yesterday’s finish.

 

Day three  26th September Wednesday –

Finish off Treaddur Bay

 

 

 

And start from Bodorgan Station  and join the WCP at Llangadwaladr

 

 

 

Finally these bullocks ganged up on me  and prevented me using the Wales Coast Path so I took a diversion and headed back to the tent via the road. I corrected any errors and short cuts the last day of walking totalling 45 miles over three full days.

 

Episode109 – 31 miles this three day trip, making Grand Total 3,750 miles and 305 walking days reaching Isle of Anglesey/Wales Coast Path, via Llanfwrog, Holyhead and Holy Island – whilst conducting a snail-like camping experiment from Rhosneigr Shoreside Campsite

DSC_3428

Map by kind permission of Ordnance Survey with most of my completed walk round England Coast Path shown by the crimson worm;  and similarly the continuing walk round The Wales Coast Path  reaching The River Taf on the South Coast and Holyhead on the North Coast. These two incomplete worms are hoping to meet in Aberystwyth …. whenever! The gap is slowly closing.

See it’s cloudy again over England – special effects no extra charge.

 

 

 

My dilemma without back up; do I carry my heavy pack and tent with me; do I leave it behind and travel light; or do I park up strategically  and walk  all around the  tent? These three creatures were all waiting for me on the final return pathway to Rhosneigr Rail Station. Portentous or what?! Look it up! Maybe Millets know?

 

 

 

ZUD is resting – An attempt to rescue my carbon footprint. About same journey time and cost  by train; I’m waved off from Knighton Tref y Clawdd, changing at Shrewsbury and Llandudno Junction to Holyhead Caergybi, On line tickets excellent value, on the Heart of Wales Line followed by Clinging to  the North Wales Coast line by train – bonus –  both lines beautifully scenic.

 

 

 

Dear Rosie, Lauren, Stan, Jake, Rowan and Maisie,

I can tell you now – both experiments being conducted to make my walking tour round Britain’s mainland coast  more efficient are flagging, but not necessarily doomed.

Firstly, I’m practicing snail-like Camping Sauvage, whose fate rests entirely in the hands of Millets, who, hopefully, one day will deliver my lightweight one-man hiking tent and inflatable sleeping mat. Latest news  – a glimmer of torchlight at the end of the flysheet. Update at the end of this blog.

Secondly, the attempt to streamline The Blog by reducing the verbiage, as you will see, is just not working. It’s all in my head somewhere and I just can’t stop it pouring out. Trouble is, I’m trying to write up each adventure when I’m at my weariest and I fall asleep over the keyboard. But the thousands of cries  of  dissent from one or two people  and “Free the Bobl Blog” Campaign have won through. The Blog stays.

All of you are back to school! New uniforms. All very smart.   I notice the difference on my walks. Peace and quiet. Far fewer holiday makers interfering with my Coast Paths. I tend to get possessive and resent others getting in my way! Worse still – overtaking me. But I’m not as bad as Quiet Phil, another long distance marathon-a-day  man,   who after chatting awhile, grew impatient  and hurried off in the middle of his story, because a party following him were about to overtake. Small world – I met him again the next day. I don’t doubt we shall meet again.  When he can finish his story…. and learn more about myself.

I’ve said before – long distance walkers can recognise their own traits  in other distance challengers. There’s something blinkered and long focussed about their stare, always looking for the way out. There’s so much to say  and find out about each other but we can’t afford good walking time to say it or do it when you pass in opposite directions. Such rendezvous rarely occur  going in the same direction. It reflects badly if you let anyone overtake, so you speed up, keep the gap and take the pain later on when it catches up on you. I think we recognise the need to slow down and take it all in – but there’s so much…….

Runners are different, no competition, stand aside, wave them by. But not many of them carry 65 litre rucksacks full of tent and bedding. Nor unsurprisingly are very few cyclists  encountered on the unpaved coastal paths. These are yet another breed and I always admire their efforts but cannot  reconcile their lycra and footwear. They look so uncomfortable detached from their wheels. I haven’t decided which is more unsightly – saggy lycra or bulging lycra?

Which is going round full circle to my experiment.   I managed a full day carrying my home on my back from Holyhead to Rhosneigr, arriving at Shoreside Campsite in half light. Fortunately my tent is possible to put up whilst kneeling ‘cos I was on my knees. I didn’t fancy any more days with a full load so I made Shoreside my base and my walks radiated out from there. But the ice had been broken. I expect these to be prophetic words if I carry on through winter.DSC_3418

On, in and around Shoreside Camp Site Rhosneigr and Railway Station – my hub.  Spot the tiny blue tent below – well the replacement is tinier.

What is prophetic is I foretell my return to Shoreside, a charming family run Campsite, before it closes for winter. Its position adjacent Rhosneigr Railway Station (Hale the driver to stop the train!) is excellent for the combined Isle of Anglesey and Wales Coast Paths. In my weariness caused by the extra load I was carrying, I managed to walk around and past the fairly large Caravan and Tent site. I was heading out of Rhosneigr, until I haled a pick up truck for advice. The driver could not understand me refusing a very kind offer to drive me back to the hidden campsite – but rules is rules, however  tired I felt. I was just grateful to know I was nearly there.

DSC_3347

Walking the shoreline out of Holyhead heading for Stanley Embankment

 

 

 

 

 

Like the Holyhead left luggage office never open; each of the pictures has a specific recollection for me; having to retrace my steps on Stanley embankment because I missed part of the official WCP route; the information board without any information; the train has to be signalled to stop; the helpful Llewis y Llan bus drivers who know how to say Llanfwrog…

 

Day two, I used public transport to get to Llanfwrog, which was  where I finished last time out. The bus service was perfect, apart from Llewis y Llan Driver 140010 laughing at my pathetic pronunciation  of Llanfwrog, he still managed to deliver me to the exact same spot his colleague had done similarly last time out. It’s very difficult extracting yourself from a perfectly formed bus service in the middle of nowhere, knowing the bus will have visited everywhere you’re going several times over during your walking day. Even more difficult when your kit decides your fate about whether you get off at the right transport  stop – read on!

 

 

I had a very unpleasant incident on the otherwise also perfectly formed Arriva Train coming into Llandudno Junction where I was due to change trains for Holyhead…. a great deal of preparation is required to dismount in full waterproofs, rucksack and two errant sticks flailing everything in sight. I headed for the carriage door only to be stopped dead in my tracks. My trailing webbing buckle had burrowed into the train seat frame and formed a perfect one way  no return locking system. I estimated I had 90 seconds to solve this very intractable problem before I was on my way to Llandudno as a captive.

Here were my options.

1/. Take valuables and abandon Rucksack and remaining gear

2/.  Take train seat – bit heavy and CCTV present

3/. Pull emergency cord – heavy fine and anyway train was stopped

4/. Cry – did – didn’t help!

5/. Panic  –  ditto

6/. Stay on train – but I’ve already walked Llandudno

7/. Cut webbing – no scissors.

8/. Almighty pull – Is the right answer!

For a split second it was almost option two, but in the end the rucksack could see there was no future in remaining welded to the seat squab. The webbing burst through the buckle, which I allowed to remain jammed in the seat as a token of my relief at release. In the melee I had still to exit the carriage and burst through the train door and land in a heap on the platform. Adrenalin fuelled from now on, I still had to wait nearly an hour for my connection to Holyhead. Time in which to perfect a rucksack  webbing knot to substitute the belly  buckle which was now merrily on its way to Llandudno. And calm down.

It’s all go!

Day two was spent walking from Llanfwrog to Valley Railway Station to catch the train back to the tent at Rhosneigr. I don’t have capacity for campsite cooking, so to supplement my daily rations of water,  Tom Pugh’s wife’s delicious quiche and pork pies, welsh cakes, muesli bars, dates, prunes, peanuts, plums, apples, bananas, blue milk,  blue cheese and biscuits and dark chocolate, I go for scampi and chips. Note I will already have binged on the build up to any walk with Marilyn’s Real Shepherd’s pie (made with real Shepherds). I can see I’ll be looking for a larger rucksack

 

Day three was spent travelling to Holyhead by train from Rhosneigr and walking to Holyhead Breakwater Country Park and back; returning by train to the campsite.

Day four walking was  cancelled – despite all the grazing , I’d used up my energy ration and all I was fit for was breaking camp, filing the rucksack and slowly making my way to the pre-booked train  home. Thank God it was downhill.

The results of the experiment. I only managed one day walking with a full Rucksack, but it was comfortable. Even though I was carrying extra weight. I have tried to halve the weight of my tent but due to lack of delivery by Millets I have never received my lightweight tent. Millets are investigating the loss and require 28 days to come up with an answer. I have asked for my money back. I await their response. But they won’t talk to me.

I am sure I can further reduce carried  weight after Donald took control of my packing and if I’m prepared to reduce my wardrobe and as I get fitter  I’ll improve. Meanwhile I’ll increase my tent carrying range by increments.

But I also promised myself to reduce the blog – sorry I can’t do that – so here’s a camera load of random pictures. After so long I have nearly mastered the location system on my phone, so as long as I remember how it works – some of the photos will actually be where I say they are!

 

Selected photos around The Coast Paths from Llanfwrog, Valley, Rhosneigr, Holyhead and Harbour finishing a mile short of North Stack

 

 

Below – leaving Holyhead heading for Stanley Embankment

 

 

 

Day three was salvaged from the previous miserable weather and  the closed left luggage office and I walked from Holyhead Station  past the harbour and huge breakwater and the Lifeboat Station where I lingered hoping to increase energy levels with coffee and chocolate, nearly to South Stack on the Wales Coast Path and gave up at The Holyhead Breakwater Country Park. I was not carrying a full load but I was worn out. At least I’d reached a convenient start point for next time out. Being a Sunday, no buses so I walked back to Holyhead and took the train back to a surprisingly dry tent.

 

DSC_3393

RNLI Holyhead Volunteers Daphne and Jill, above, who told me of the recent neighbouring Fire that  threatened the Lifeboat facilities two weeks ago below

.

 

Holyhead Harbour Walk from The  Railway Station to The Breakwater along the Wales Coast Path passing various historic landmarks.

 

And so through Holyhead Breakwater Country Park where the natural coastline begins to reveal itself

 

 

 

 

And finally Shoreside Camp site seen from the train departing Holyhead heading home and vice versa

 

I promised earlier an update on the lightweight tent and inflatable sleeping mat situation. Pleased to say there is a solution in sight but no thanks to Millets online team. We have reason to escape the Shropshire borders every four weeks to attend neighbouring  Hereford for survival reasons. Whilst, there yesterday and  not fully busy I encountered a Millets outlet and entered with a view to buying a repair kit for the ailing rucksack. Surprisingly the two very helpful assistants took me straight to the perfect remedy for me to cobble together a new belly buckle. I was ecstatic. For only four pounds and  I had extra spares for the venerable old rucksack – I should have noted it was Auntie Annie’s Duke of Edinburgh Award kit that I was trialling  – if you realise Rosie has recently undergone her  D O E Bronze – time marches on. She’ll soon be joining me on walks to reduce my getting lost moments.

It was only natural that I should be effusive in my thanks to the Millets(Hereford) team, but I couldn’t help but introduce them to my Millets online problem. They were so helpful, and should I need to resource the missing equipment they are ready, willing and able.

So all I can say is patronise Millets Hereford – I will get mugshots next visit.  There is nothing I can say complimentary about their online brothers – so best not say anything. Incidentally if you visit the online agony columns, some of the episodes were all too familiar. Birthdays and Christmas coming up – expect walking gear!.

 

What did I learn from my snail experiment?  Lose weight. Keep dry. Keep all loose appendages clear of moving and non moving train parts. Don’t rely on left luggage and if when purchasing papers from the lowest shelf in Holyhead Tescos, take note of what your stowed walking sticks are doing to the upper shelves. I had no intention of buying top shelf magazines but my sticks thought otherwise.

Likewise, for a smooth departure from same establishment  be wary that said sticks do not stop your exit in full flight as they wedge in the door frame.