What we left behind in Shropshire….
Spot the progress…. the South Wales Scarlet Worm is winning?
MAP BY KIND PERMISSION OF ORDNANCE SURVEY WITH MY CRIMSON OVERLAY DEPICTING PROGRESS ROUND ENGLAND AND WALES.
Dear Rosie, Lauren, Stan, Jake, Rowan and Maisie,
Things get better all the time. This lonely trip on my own, but with hotel accommodation, was planned before Nanny took flight to be with ailing Omi in Auckland 12,000 miles downunder. By all accounts Omi is so much better and Nanny is being feted on her birthday by our NZ friends and relations. Due back next Tuesday – coinciding with Beast from the East Part ii.
My trip started off in dreadful weather on day one, so much so that I used my top secret to-and-fro technique, being my own all-in-one back-up driver and security guard. Initially the neighbourhood technique took a lot of getting used to and the environs of the Wales Coast Path were less than salubrious. We won’t dwell on that because a lot of work is underway to improve the urban landscape and docklands, and as I say, by the end of the trip all was well with everything – take a look at the final sunny pictures of Swansea Bay , especially the Brisbane Blue sky. Those antipodean skies are my last remaining hankering after the Southern Hemisphere climate, but soon diminished when I also recall the accompanying humidity and cyclones. New South Wales ? Eat yer heart out!
It was Queensland actually.
So! Apart from the use of the word”so”, my only point of contention – despite actually living ON the Wales/Shropshire border I find my silver haired bus pass has become a bus impasse. I’m discovering the true cost of paying my full wack on Welsh buses. My above mentioned to-and-fro technique slowly paid dividends, but meant I walked the route there AND back….. is that two bus fares saved then?
Another piece of peace of mind was keeping Vicky in full view all the time – the locale did have a reputation and all my worldly walking equipment was stored within. A consequence of which was being able to walk unencumbered. So many bonuses but the progress westwards was slow. About two miles per hour.
So! – just get on with it. And sit in the car when it rains. There’s plenty of coffee and Bovril in the flasks! And nuts, dark chocolate; figs; dates, muesli bars; fruit; Welsh cakes; Pugh’s Welsh pork pies all in my back pack. Plus milk and water. And prunes. And if anyone is really interested in what goes in and comes out –
-I’m very nearly back to normal – thank you – after six months of very hard going. All the above and a full English every morning at The excellent Ibis Swansea, keeps me moving. Sometimes have to move quite smartly but won’t go into that.
Top tip. “PC” on the O/S Maps is navigable collateral. Always check it out.
And thanks to the local bus services particularly the X1, X4 and 2C – the only concern I had was making myself understood and in turn understanding the fare structure – it seems they don’t like my accent? If I kept handing over money it seemed to make transactions smoother. Oh! And finding out how to get to the bus stop at the McD’s interchange by the River Neath where the M4 and A48 converge. I could see it but I reckon you have to be born there to stand any chance of using it. In the end a few useful vaults over Armco barriers and railings solved the problem. I’ve still got it! Don’t try this at home.
One more concern during Marilyn’s administrative absence, was confusion over future bookings with the Swansea Ibis. I thought I ‘d be clever and arrange the next visit, knowing Nanny won’t camp, and stay at the Ibis on April Fools Day. Not so easy – should leave it to the experts – but Sam at Ibis eventually unravelled my requirements and added complimentary breakfast to boot! We will be back…
Finish last time out and Start point this trip – Rest Bay and Royal Porthcawl Golf Clubhouse. Surfing and golf – odd neighbours? Had “PC ” in common though.
“PC” O/S-speak for toilets!
I admit to not knowing where I finished Day one….
But rectified the situation after sleeping on it and sorting it out on day two….
Only to find that The Wales Coast Path has an inland option when confronted with high tides around the Kenfig Pool and Dunes National Nature Reserve. I took the inland option which wasn’t scenic, varying between canal , A48 and housing and industrial estates. And some dereliction. And another golf course
I’ll be glad to get back to the shoreline!
But not before Port Talbot
After Port Talbot, the M4 and A48 cheek by jowell cross the River Neath and enter large scale Dock re-development before crossing the River Tawe and into Swansea City Centre. The King’s Dock and Queen’s Dock are all undergoing massive changes alongside part of the University Campus and it would be unfair to judge whilst under reconstruction.
But all this industrial hiatus changes as I cross the River Tawe Weir and suddenly the whole of Swansea Bay is opened up in front of me. The sun comes out and lights up The Mumbles all the way round the bay, with the tide way out the early spring sun is glistening on a vast expanse of level sand as far as I can see. Even the wind drops and I take off a couple of rain protective layers.
I dawdle for several hours round the bay and reflect how lucky I’ve been to get this weather window so quickly after being under snow at home – with another blizzard predicted later on. A “99” ICE CREAM is exactly what I need!
All’s well! There’s a queue at Joe’s.
Mouth full. Nothing more to say until I get to Mumbles Head and the RNLI Station and Mumbles Pier – which was closed!
Knab Rock; Mumbles RNLI ; and Mumbles Pier – Closed,
Mumbles Head and lighthouse
Mumbles Signage – where it all re-starts next time out – 44 miles walked in many different directions from my very rainy start point on Sunday at Rest Bay near Porthcawl. Look at that sky …….can’t improve on that.
Well – s’pose another 99 wouldn’t go amiss?