Episode 107 – Returning to the South Wales Coast Path – Finally Completing The Gower Peninsular with a party of 15 plus Merlin – then resuming on the mainland from Burry Port to Pentowyn on The River Taf – Walking 28 miles accompanied partly by Marilyn, Elizabeth and the heatwave. Grand total now 3680 miles in 299 days.

…………………Work in progress for Progress Map – by kind permission of Ordnance Survey – back on the road again…..

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This trip on the South Wales Coast Path, 28 miles from Burry Port to the River Taf in Carmarthen, including a day trip to Whiteford Burrows National Nature Reserve on The Gower Peninsular to fill in some missing links. I would guestimate I have completed about two thirds of the circumnavigation of Wales including Offa’s Dyke trail inland.

On the North Wales Coast Path, I am still stranded at Moefre Lifeboat Station Giftshop on Anglesey – been there so long I actually have the tee shirt, mug and the hat. Fridge magnet next..

 

 

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Welcome to Whiteford Sands, August 5th 2018;walking day 297; I’m behind the camera but more  specifically, I’m here to walk with my eleven minders around the Whiteford National Nature Reserve after getting lost there  last Easter

From left to right Nanny, Polly, Gallia, Erez, Becky, Agatha, Norm/Will, Daniel,  Noah,  Ben and guide dog Merlin. Donald, Sarah, Stan and Rowan joined in at the final stages; they disorganising table plans and making our  apologies for our late arrival at the Greyhound restaurant in Oldwalls. Both the walk and the meal timings  were way off schedule but nontheless equally enjoyable. The good news is that everyone qualifies for the Completion Party when Wales is completely circumnavigated –  probably in about a year. Longer if any more heatwaves….

 

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

The Walking year 2018 has gotten way behind schedule and now we’re back in harness trying to catch up – but the current heatwave is not being very fair.

Last Easter, in better walking conditions I managed to get lost in the sand dunes of Whiteford National Nature Reserve. Norm and Becky, Noah, Daniel, Agatha and Merlin formed the cavalry and rode to my rescue offering a guide dog service in what is effectively the back yard of their holiday home  at Whiteford Sands. What a well kept secret this place is – gorgeous sea views, wonderful empty  expansive sands and glorious sand dunes to get lost in and the sea probably just the right temperature for a heatwave – but I didn’t dip – well, we were late for lunch already. Perhaps we should have – the return journey was a bit warm and we searched out a route through the shady forest and collapsed, only a little late, at the prearranged restaurant; which was fine because Donald, Sarah, Stan and Rowan had been holding the fort and no one was in any great hurry to deliver food…. all very laid back and convivial for a party of 15 – more than half kids, dependent on Norm and Bobl’s status.

Here is the circular tour of Whiteford National Nature Reserve in pictures

 

 

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Thank you all for such a pleasant return to Whiteford Bay  Nanny and Bobl and guests all completed the five mile circular walk- see you at the Finish Party!  Hopefully in Aberystwyth next year?

 

 

Nanny and Bobl slept well that night, in a hotel (Nanny’s terms and conditions) in Llanelli after  dining in the neighbouring “overbooked” restaurant – once we’d contacted our next walking guest Elizabeth. Recently arrived from London. The party of 15 was now reduced to three.

 

The next day Bobl got off to a sole, early start from Burry Port on the mainland Wales Coast Path – fearing the heatwave,  but it was actually very pleasant wallowing in the mud, navigating the Port entrance with the tide fully out. It was a bit too deep and very sticky  in places

 

 

 

Pembrey Country Park below – complete with ski run?

The next rendezvous was to meet our refreshed guest Elizabeth at Pembrey Country Park for us to walk the Cefn Sidan Sands almost to the edge of the dreaded Military Danger Area before heading inland to meet Nanny at The Anti Tank Blocks near Kidwelly.

 

Walking the beach at low water the trick was to estimate where to leave  and scramble up the unstable sand cliff face before getting taken Prisoner. We had one false dawn when I scrambled to the top and recce’d like a Meercat for clues – none – just impenetrable scrub …… typical waymarkers shown here…DSC_3164 but not frequently enough

 

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Anchors found in the mud at Pembrey Country Park now on the route of the Wales Coast Path…

 

Navigation in sand dunes not my strong point…..but eventually we found the way out – it involved scrambling up unstable sand cliffs…

but Elizabeth managed     somehow…

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Emerging from the sands  heading for Kidwelly via the sewage farm – then to Llansaint and finally

 

 

….to Ferryside Station where there was absolutely no evidence of a Ferry to Llansteffan on the other side of the River Towy. Apparently it’s still under going trials – I’ll return when it’s actually working

Elizabeth managed a creditable 9 miles today – with my early start I got to 18 miles.

 

 

Final day – Ferryside from Llansteffan  – opposite sides of the River Towy

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The next day I started off from Llansteffan promising to return for the ferry trip to complete the link.  No gaps in my itinerary. Now heading for the River Taf.

The tide was way out – vast expanses of river mudbanks, I chose to walk the mudflats – on the level – crafty – the scheduled route was half way up the cliff face, I made the five miles or so in good time until I couldn’t rejoin the Wales Coast Path  because it had disappeared in undergrowth.

The final last steps-  only two hundred yards   horizontally – and 30 metres  vertically.-took way over an hour. I could have done with a machete. Any thoughts of  extending the walk today were written off – interrupted  days one and  three produced five miles each and day two added 18 . So a grand total of 28 miles for the three days walking wasn’t a bad restart to my revived walking career.

Nanny  offered no resistance to finishing up and heading home – I was exhausted.

 

Pictures below, of the final day heading for another unknown ferry at the River Taf near Pentowyn…

 

The proper path was not on the mud since it was normally generally well under water – it was actually  half way up the steep cliff – to finish and to get back to the car I must scramble up the overgrown face – the only alternative was to walk five miles back to the start……. I wasn’t suitably aware to take pictures of this latest outcome ; suffice to say my lacerated and be-nettled arms bear witness to the event. I was also a bit worried I wouldn’t be let in the new car!

 

Get in touch for the next Wales Coast Path trip – if you want to join in – it will be the 300th day walking , mileage currently  standing at 3,680.  Yet to decide whether Anglesey or the River Taf – still recovering from the heat!

 

 

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