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!

 

 

Episode 106 – 12,000 Mile Diversion to New Zealand- plus 12 miles walking around Auckland

 

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

Nanny and Bobl took time off from walking around England and  a country the size of Wales, to fly  to New Zealand and attend Omi’s funeral at Lady Allum Care Home Chapel in Milford. Omi, Nanny’s Mum died on June 12th . Fortunately Donald, Sarah, Stan and Rowan had managed to fly out earlier, to see her. In meeting Stan and Rowan she was so pleased to have eventually met all twelve of her Great Grandchildren.

This Episode  is dedicated to the memory of Margot Gibb. Nanny’s Mum.

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Nanny and Bobl flew out to attend her funeral, during which visit,  several walks were taken with family and friends around and about Auckland in tribute to her.  She is at rest now and hopefully watching over the rest of Bobl’s exploration of whichever coastline he fetches up on. Like The Waitemata Harbour below…

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Resuming my acquaintance with Rangitoto on Takapuna Beach

 

 

 

 

Start of walk with Marion, (one of the first people we met when we fetched up in Auckland some 46  years ago)   –  from her home with Gray, in Ponsonby  – joining the dedicated footpath under the Harbour Bridge through the Westhaven  Marina where their boat Ponsonby Scow is moored – which we visited for inspection and rest –  below. Below.

 

 

Top right- Marion and Marilyn planning to board Ponsonby Scow – sister ship to the star of  newly released film “Adrift” – both built by Gray Dixon, Marion’s husband  – with a general view of some of the Marina  – below too…DSC_3094

 

…Continuing the dedicated route around the old dockyards…

 

 Maori Concrete Canoe Legends and exhortations to enjoy your walk along the West Haven Promenade and a redundant viewing platform for the Harbour Bridge….

 

 

Marion and Marilyn up aloft in SiloPark with grand harbour views and what used to be Wynyard Wharf when I was last here many years ago….

 

 

 

More views of modern Auckland waterfront where I thought there used to be ferries – but it’s now all changed! With a Skytower too!

 

 

Jacob’s Ladder  – ascended – nearing the end of our probably 8 mile circuit  and the classic  Harbour Bridge silhouette on the horizon.

Thank you Marion and Gray for your hospitality and a memorable walk. We look forward to seeing you in Shropshire to go steam train spotting and walking!

 

 

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Sunday lunch at Daikoku in Takapuna, a favourite Gibb haunt for 20 years. The preparation of the food is all part of the performance by the Japanese staff.

A great meal enjoyed by Tricia, Janice, Graeme, Sharleen, Liam, Malcolm, Lisa, James, Connor, Ryan, Steven, Jill, Scarlett, Loughlin, Marilyn and Bobl. All 6 Kiwi cousins in one place!

 

Next on the agenda a visit to Takapuna Beach with Tricia. Takapuna Hospital – well known for being the birthplace of Little Uncle Andy in 1978.

But first of all – refreshments at Takapuna Café and Store with Tricia

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And then a walk round Takapuna Bay….

 

With the tide going out. But the rain held off, it is winter after all. Many thanks to Tricia, we couldn’t have done it all without your help and support. Looking forward to seeing you again soon.

An enjoyable bonus of the trip was catching up with old Kiwi friends as well as family.

Murray and Sue chauffeured us on tours of Mt Eden, Epsom and Three Kings…… taking in their new home, morning coffee breaks, lunch and even a bit of culture at Pah Homestead  and Gallery and of course the viewing of Murray’s own artwork. Thank you for looking after us so well.

And the Rickits……… You never expected to see the reluctant flier Bobl again in Auckland! Despite 12,000 miles and years of absence at various times, we can always pick up exactly where we were and have room for the 30 additions to our immediate families from our first meeting in 1972. Thank you Neil and Sue, and thank you Jane, Andy and Mia for keeping the friendship going into the next 2 generations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

EPISODE 105 – EPISODE 104 WAS A BIT PREVIOUS – THE EARLY JUNE SCHEDULED WALK DID TAKE PLACE – FROM BANGOR TO DULAS BAY ON ANGLESEY – IN MEMORY OF LOCAL LAD DAVE SHIPP – 33 MILES IN THREE DAYS – GRAND TOTAL 3,640 MILES IN 295 DAYS.

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Ave atque vale Dave.

Dave Shipp was bi-local; he shared 1959-1966 with me, in  Shoebury and at Southend High School for Boys and then eventually in Llandudno Junction, North Wales, making him very local to the North Wales Coast Path around Llandudno,  Bangor Conwy, Anglesey,  Caernarfon and The Llyn Peninsular. I was hoping to hand over a great chunk of walking responsibility to him, in his  home Welsh  territory. I’m over the border in Shropshire and in need of a local guide to complete my Welsh circumnavigation.

Dave left behind a wonderful family and lovely wife Gill.  It was obvious when Marilyn and I  stayed with her that he was sorely missed. The house is bursting at the seams with Dave memorabilia. If it was curious, historical, bookish or Militaria then I’m sure Dave had it secreted away somewhere.

I have to congratulate Gill on her superb efforts as back up driver, tour guide, chef and hostess, obviously well schooled in walking with Dave, and dealing with his idiosyncrasies. I was well aware mine were up for discussion with Marilyn and Gill…. plenty to have a go at.instability

Looks like early stages of instability to me…..

 

 

Unlike the solid British Isles Physical Map by courtesy of Ordnance Survey; my completed route overlaid in Scarlet. Just when I thought the Copyright Authorities were after me – I didn’t have written authority for using the map , although I’d spoken to a O/S gentleman several years ago and been given permission verbally. Recently, I’d heard a radio piece that warned of getting proper permission otherwise you can run up huge penalties , and what’s more, copyright  people operating on a “no win – no fee” basis are getting involved. I phoned O/S and spoke to lovely Linda who immediately reassured me that the map is OPEN DATA and available for my use, with scarlet worms and no written permission is required – despite the small print on the map. She even thanked me for acknowledging  “BY KIND PERMISSION OF ORDNANCE SURVEY” each time I use it. Thank you Linda and Ordnance Survey! 

I   completed walking round England in July 2017, and by June 2018 reached Dulas Bay on Anglesey, North Wales; and beyond Llanelli in South Wales. I probably started all this around November 2013, on Offa’s Dyke Trail, near where we live on the Shropshire/Wales Border.

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

My previous visit to North Wales in January this year, was curtailed abruptly by the Beast from the EAST, version one. Rapidly deteriorating weather turning to heavy snow caused VERA’s dashboard to light up like a Christmas tree and the heater finally expired. I abandoned progress to my booked YHA Llanberris Bunkhouse at Llandudno and drove home, hoping VERA would get me there. She did, but faith in her future all round back-up capability was severely dented and even VICKY substituted occasionally. Intrepid explorers must have reliable gear, so it came to pass that, merciless as it may seem, VERA and VICKY were replaced by ZUD. This is his/her first round-Britain escapade.

Two unknowns have sneaked in there; in anthropomorphising (look it up) ZUD, I haven’t assigned a gender; m/f/n? I’m still coming to terms with the name! What do you think?

And (never begin a sentence with “and”), of course it should be “And”;

So; And notice how Walking round England morphed into England and Wales ; and now Britain. I have no explanation for either.(except I don’t like “so” either)

Get on with it.

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The view from Dave and Gill’s sunroom by Gill – River Conwy middle distance.

 

I had always assumed that since this was Dave and Gill Shipp’s territory, I would hand over control of  North Wales Walking to Dave, but Dave died suddenly in September 2016, so, instead, I will dedicate my walking round Anglesey to his memory. Gill was there to play wonderful hostess and unexpected back up driver, and offer beds for the nights, Marilyn and I stayed over. The memory of Dave was everywhere; he collected anything and everything, particularly if it was curious, military, historical and books. He is still obviously very much sadly missed by his family and friends. And me. I shall just have to get lost, on my own , without him. Somehow I don’t think he would have approved of my no longer drinking alcohol….. Walk on , Dave!

 

 

 

 

Let us begin this trip – returning to Bangor Pier with Marilyn, leaving me on the exact spot where I had fetched up last visit. I get very ocd about starting where I finished. No missing bits on my walks.! Heading off to Anglesey – leaving the mainland via Menai Bridge.

 

Walking the banks of the Menai Straits until I got to the Raft Race Finish on the seaward side of Telford’s  Menai Bridge. It was Carnival day and they’d also closed the bridge to film Dr Doolittle. I wondered how I was to get across – my own raft? 

 

 

 

The film crew had laid on a shuttle bus, but I still complained that my walk round Britain would be bereft of one full bridge span – enough to get me disqualified or accused of short cuts. “Come back after four and you can walk – the giraffe will be bedded down for the night”. Can you see the giraffe? Amazing what CGI can do. Meanwhile a cycle group had approached the far side and negotiations were taking place. I was told the Brittania bridge was also closed.

 

 

 

I’M OUTA HERE. Heading for Puffin Island. That’s Bangor Pier across the Menai Straits in the middle distance. 

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Two more mugs from RNLI BEAUMARIS and the Lifeboat Station

 

 

 

Heading for Puffin Island which is low on Puffins and the Straits with the tide out – end of day one.. and it was a hot one too!

 

 

 

DAY TWO began very misty after yesterday’s heat.. Returning to Penmon Priory near Puffin Island, Gill and Marilyn delivered me to the re-start before heading off for clotted cream ice cream scones at Plas Newydd, National Trust, The Marquess of Anglesey’s pad  etc..I kept to my water,fruit, figs and prunes and The Wales Coast Path – or nearly….

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As I left Penmon, the Wales Coast Path became a series of fields with irregular boundaries bounded by huge stone walls or derelict fencing, all full of cattle or sheep. Generally they moved aside as I approached except on one occasion the cows and calves remained crowded round a stile I needed to climb. The calves were very young and the mothers very protective and bellowing. They were agitated by my presence and started getting belligerent . I looked for an escape route and only the high stone wall looked possible. I wasted half an hour good walking time trying to keep safe and eventually the cows realised I wasn’t a threat and I hurriedly climbed down  and over the stile only to confront the bull in the next field separated from me by a flimsy gate.   I  also hurried out of that field. cowsWell – you would wouldn’t you

 

 

I was closing in on Red Wharf Bay but somewhere around Bwrdd Arthur, the Wales Coast Path became diverted and I contacted the ladies to advise my several delays and change the rendezvous to somewhere nearer – we ended up meeting at Brynn Hrddin for my late lunch.

Diversion signs above eventually lead me to Red Wharf Bay below

 

 

 

After a delayed lunch, there was time to stroll into Red Wharf Bay town, where Gill and Marilyn force fed me a 99 ice cream and persuaded  me it was hot enough to end today’s walk after 10 miles.

Home to Gill’s where more than enough good food and drink lay in wait to restore tired and overheated bodies, while we admired the view of The River Conwy.

 

The final day began with another Gill breakfast before saying farewell  as we headed back to Red Dwarf Bay unaccompanied to The Pilot Inn, Dulas Bay via Benllech and Moelfre. The following pictures say it all – there’s some serious scenery….

But not without incident – The Route was barred  due to landslips but someone had decided to scrawl that it was actually safe – but at your own risk. Nuff said.5

 

And the scenery goes on…

 

Until I met this lady with bags asking for “help”…

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Which was at hand with the Life Boat Station just around the corner..

Of course the gift shop suffered, more mugs, early Christmas Cards, sun hat, notes, badges – only essentials – and lunch. But we had promised our late, long term  friend and  neighbour Pam to give to RNLI – such a worthwhile cause. I’m sure Dave would have approved; if only you go back to early Episodes to read how we capsized a canoe, and not wanting to cause a fuss, made out we were not in danger of being swept out by the outgoing tide round Shoebury Ness. A narrow call   between ending up drowned or exhausted trespassing on AWRE forbidden beaches – officers use only. My regular walk donations are more to thank them that they would have rescued us if we’d called for help!

 

A real emergency costing over 400 lives when the Royal Charter went on the rocks around Lligwy Bay in 1859 – the monument and storyboard commemorates the tragedy.

 

And on that note I decide to head inland and complete the day’s walking. Dulas Bay represents a two or three mile diversion to ford the Afon Goch. It looks like a corner waiting to be cut. The tide was out, the sands exposed. What could go wrong, I could be at Porto Bello opposite in a trice. No let’s go home – solve that problem next time..

 

 

Thirty two miles travelled in three hot days – one mile left – resting more frequently- heading inland for pick up Rendezvous

1 mile to go

 

 

The Pilot Inn alongside ZUD and Nanny waiting in the A5025 layby near Pentre Eirianell, my start point next visit.

Episode 104 – Unfortunately the Early June scheduled walk on The Wales Coast Path has had to be cancelled due to a catalogue of interruptions, mishaps and a plethora of unforeseen adverse unhealthy circumstances. No miles – no smiles – but progress on The Mill is grinding on, without VERA and VICKY. If you wondered about Privacy, read on….

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Dudley Town Hall -Where’s Pasha? Anya?? Rosie and Lauren??? They were all giving us a “STRICTLY”  take on Hollywood. One of the unforeseen interruptions from which I gladly rested.   Scroll on for more detail….but first a bit of Admin.

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

Everyone, recently, seems to be enthused about privacy. You can’t have missed those countless emails intended to reassure that your vital statistics aren’t being sold to the highest bidder. You’ll be pleased to note that I couldn’t do that even if I tried. Some of the Privacy Statements I’ve read seem to do the exact opposite and encourage the recipient  to disclose even more personal data and give away their  rights.

It’s not for me to decide what you should and should not do with your personal information, but I personally guard everything carefully, and realise I should treat other’s personal data similarly. It seems many people are a bit casual about signing up for terms and conditions , and the like, without even reading the contents.

From now on, I shall contact all entries in my BLOG address book, firstly to see if they are comfortable there and secondly, to ask if they wish to continue to receive the blog via their preferred e-mail address.  Thereafter only those who explicitly request the blog will get on the list.

This will deep cleanse my address book and get rid of a host of out-dated information , and possibly leave me with only a handful of unfortunates still wishing to find out where I’ve recently fetched up on the England/Wales/Scotland coastline. Suits me fine! Less admin….

As for the contents of the blog, I will only include comment about guests joining me on the walk with their express permission, and offer these victims the right of reply.

In distributing the blog via email addresses I will endeavour not to disclose addresses to others without permission.

Any questions?

 

 

Answers – here’s Lauren and Pashalaurenpasha

 

And here’s Rosie and Pasha!

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But we lost Anya – Where’s Anya? Rosie and Lauren and friends from Fusion Dance Factory performed with Pasha and Anya at Dudley Town Hall last Saturday to a packed house. They then slept for three days……. please send a picture of Anya, when you awake, Sleeping Beauties! 

All the best to my reader,

Bob

PS A last postscript to say goodbye to VERA and Vicky, the legendary back up vehicles – my carbon footprint wasn’t very green. Swapping to a petrol driven RAV 4 Hybrid called  “ZUD” has changed everything.

Their last day at The Mill…..vicky and vera

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Episode 103 – The one with Andy Sargent – 3,607 miles and 292 days spent walking the Coast Paths around England and Wales – This trip 31 miles from Broughton Bay on The Gower to Burry Port in Carmarthenshire. Andy’s contribution – 9 miles from LOUGHOR to LLANELLI

 

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Famous Author Andy Sargent and Bobl obscuring a perfectly good view of Llanelli Mudflats

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The Scarlet Worms have never been more appropriate reaching Llanelli…….              … MAP BY KIND PERMISSION OF ORDNANCE SURVEY

 

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

Background. Uncle Sarge/Andy is not really your Uncle, in the same way as Auntie Jean was not really my, or John, Susan and Janet’s Aunt.

Auntie Jean, Andy’s Mum, was a school best friend of  Nanny Tab. Their children became friends and  knew respective parents as Uncles and Aunts. Sarge/Andy attended the very same Southend  High School as John and The Writer and even the same House – Athens. It was not possible to attend that school and not be unaffected by the raucous presence of Sarge even though he was several years ahead of me  and a couple ahead of John.   His fingerprints were on everything and footprints all over the playing fields. Hockey was his particular game and I do recall, when one particular House Match result was not to his liking, his stick flew from one end of the pitch to the other.

I was impressed.

Don’t try this at home…..

So: Imagine my delight when after months of trying I signed Uncle Sarge/Andy up to join in The Walk when it passed near his home in South Wales.

I was honoured.

After hours of bartering and bantering we hammered out a suitable level stretch of the Wales Coast Path extending from the off ramps of The Gower Peninsular  over the Loughor Bridge via The Sewage Works, through the National Wetlands Centre and Millennium Coast Park, past The Golf and Country Club along the Llanelli Promenade to join Nanny Marilyn at The Visitor Centre Café at North Dock for refuelling. In all nine miles the high level of humour and jocularity didn’t falter; many common names would have been recalled if only we could have remembered them; but  the spectacular recollection remains  the Sargent/McIntyre fifty partnership At The Southend Waterworks Cricket Ground – the highlight of our respective sporting careers. A one off. As is Sarge.

He gallantly accepted the challenge of contributing to THE BLOG and without further ado The Famous Author produced the following…..

A Scarlet Letter Day

I once heard Phil Bennett (Llanelli RFC, Wales, Barbarians and British Lions, in that order, he would probably say), speaking at a dinner. He said when he was younger he’d been taught to hate two things:: “Baghdad and Swansea…only not in that order” .

I suppose Llanelli, which he has in his veins, is an acquired taste, if you weren’t born just up the road, like he was. I have to say that at first sight,  ” Romantic Weekends at Llanelli and Burry Port” might win a competition for the world’s best short book titles. The access road to what passes for the beach is a No Man’s Land on which the pre stressed concrete team is fighting out a goalless draw with the one representing plastic and glass. Never in your life have you seen so many ASDAs,and the like, crammed into a couple of square miles. It’s hard to tell who’s winning this but my money would not be on the Town Planners, for the architectural award.

But I wasn’t going for a romantic weekend. Instead, I was spending a Sunday or most of it, with Bob McIntyre, whom I have known since he was born. I can see him now, but will leave it at that this being a family blog……….

But now he is older, leavened with age, slightly grizzled with the sands of time, but still with that very soft voice which reminds me so much of his mother. She was a person of grace and kindness but also of authority, a big character, who would fight for what was right and never give up. I played a lot of hockey, and she would have graced any team I represented and then some.

Which is where Bob gets it from.

Words are the only thing available to describe this fellow: utterly determined, stubborn, resolute, stoical, funny, honest, human. Thank heavens Marilyn has to live with all this. Give me a few character defects any day. I know where I am with these. Mainly my own, although I hotly deny the hockey stick story. (The American golfer, and club thrower, Tommy Armour, used to deny such allegations vehemently. This was explained by the late Sam Snead who said Tommy threw clubs so often, they became a blur in his memory. Maybe that was my own problem?)

Anyway, Marilyn met me in this car park, next to a mainly empty building, unsurprisingly called ‘Visitor Centre’, and together we drove in the venerable RAV, (not quite as venerable as me) to find the doughty hiker, who greeted me with the assurance that he had already got lost twice that morning, and he hoped I had strong feet and boots to match.

His brand however, is worse than his bite. He had been described to me as- well, merciless, not to put too fine a point on it. Tales of Malcolm McLeod having to be revived by Diana (murmurs of ‘why bother?’- from graduates in Cynicism from SHS). Other kind wishes offered me from Henry Staunton and Elizabeth Watkins (Abbot) along the lines of: ‘you’ll be OK Andy. Don’t let his enthusiasm run away with you though.’

As it happened, I had nothing to worry about at all. The walk itself, was mainly very easy, flat, lined with blackthorn trees, nature reserves, and, in fairness to Llanelli, some simply stunning scenery, and wonderful estuary views. Not a great deal of wildlife though. Probably they knew we were coming.

 I actually live in South Wales, although the magnetic pull of Llanelli and Burry Port had yet to work its magic spell upon me. But my mate up the road is a Llanelli man, born and bred at Gowerton Bridge where he became a fearsome off spinner later recruited by Glamorgan. When I told him where I’d been he went all dewy eyed (he only has one) and said that if he’d only known, he would have come as well. Which, dear reader, is the thought with which I will leave you: Go! JFDI (Nike customers will translate), and enjoy the buzz. He is truly great company, and I shall definitely go again, hopefully before the so called last hoorah at Aberystwyth. I only wish my legs had lasted longer but truth to tell, nine miles was OK, and more than I had thought. He was very kind to me and Marilyn too.

Many thanks to them both for a great day. Well, half day anyway. He did another nine miles after I had staggered away. His name should be ‘Felix’. his Mum would be very proud.

Perhaps she is?

Andy Sargent

 

It was quite sad and subdued to complete the rest of my visit alone when Andy decided to retire from The Walk  while he was winning at The Cafe.  He promised to return when he had recovered – at least 6 months  – probably for the finish party at Aberystwyth?

Together we didn’t get lost on The Coast Path, despite immersion in conversation; the same couldn’t be said of my lone trekking. Prior to meeting up I had already taken two serious off piste misdirections, firstly at Whiteford Sands National Nature Reserve where i got comprehensively lost in the dunes; and secondly I was well on my way to Three Crosses from Bryn y Mor. Both I put down to poor signage and diversions. Couldn’t possibly be my map reading.

Nothing so adventurous on the last lone stage of the trip as i followed the well appointed extra wide footpath and cycleway into RNLI Station at Burry Port. Another sad occasion  – this is to be the last time Vera meets up with me.  Scrappage beckons. The new incumbent is called ZUD!

Overtaking a herd on our way to Broughton Farm Caravan Site, start point of this walk – and within minutes I’m on the beach, no sign of the Wales Coast Path Signs and soon to be hopelessly lost in the sand dunes. I will have to return with local knowledge to check which parts of Whiteford National Nature Reserve I missed! Norm!

Help!

I shouldn’t be allowed out in your patch unsupervised.

 

Being lost in the dunes  – little consolation when I found out too late there was a diversion ! If you can name any of the above pictures please advise…. although below is self explanatory, but I wish to be informed as I enter such interesting features – not as I leave.

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The Coast Path to Llanrhidian followed an old railway track, the area was formerly mines docks and industrial activity but little evidence remains, nature has a way of covering our false tracks.

 

Llanrhidian Marsh – National Trust – free car parking – we’re members! That would be mainland Llanelli in the   background on the far side of the River LOUGHOR

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That threatening cloud came from nowhere to finish off a previously sunny walk; so a phone call ahead for rescue as no shelter available. 

Evidence of the old railway line now the Wales Coast Path next stop Gowerton , then heading for Loughor Bridge and  Llanelli. I shunted into sidings at Crofty at the end of the first day , as the rain increased, awaiting collection by back-up crew Vera and Marilyn

 

Day two  began with a beautiful sunrise and I resumed my tracks at Crofty

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anticipating rendezvous with Andy/Sarge. He’ll never recognise me….a bit podgy? And odd boots? Shades?? Beany hat???

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He’s arrived – on the LOUGHOR Bridge heading for Llanelli and lunch.

 

 

Apart from skirting the sewage works by way of soft marshes the trail to lunch was for the most part paved, level and well signed; only interrupting conversation to check our course was correct.

 

DSC_2958After nine miles walking and lunch, Andy said his farewells and we parted company promising to do it all again. Check your recovery period first Andy! 

 

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The Walk post Andy was quite subdued until I came across this monument to The Welsh Legend Phil Bennett sidestepping an All Black.  My Kiwi readers might say….Well that never happened….. The posts are from Stradey Park Llanelli Scarlets former ground.

 

From the tribute to Phil Bennett the Walk became quite sterile, one can only imagine the industrial mayhem and heavy industry  of previous years that has been tidied up and landscaped.

This is where my energy levels, after 31 miles in two days are now so low I can only just summon my back up team, who arrive and whisk me off to hotel sanctuary. Thank you team. Thank you Andy.

 

 

 

Episode 102 – 3,576 miles and 290 days- Walking the England and Wales Coast Paths. This trip 30 miles from The Mumbles to Broughton Bay via Oxwich National Nature Reserve, Rhossili and Broughton Bay. Estimate 636 miles to complete The Wales Coast Path

 

Burry Holms….                                                   ….and Worms Head

Warning! – some of the scenery that follows is beginning to get quite spectacular!

 

 

PROGRESS MAP

– Spot the distance difference from the last Episode – clue – we’ve been Mumbling about somewhere sounding like Goa?

Thanks to Ordnance Survey for kind permission to use their Physical Map Of the British Isles with my added Scarlet Worms. Still no recent  movement around Anglesey! Northern Scarlet Worm is becalmed.

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

It’s April Fools’ Day and the weather is playing tricks with us. We picked a good day to start and managed 11 miles from the Mumbles to Oxwich along rapidly improving coastal scenic beauty. It would be difficult not to get better after visiting Port Talbot. But anyway the day finished prematurely when the previously threatening rain eventually arrived and halted progress.

The forecast is more of the same and we’re going to have to take our chances nipping in and out when the rain relents.

Remember last Episode finishing  at the Wales Coast Path signs under the Brisbane Blue Sky – here we are back again – someone’s been busy with a new seat.

Mumbles signage - where it all re-starts next time out Start point of this trip – Bracelet Bay Car Park near The Mumbles.

 

Same sign – new bench since last visit; and the Wales Coast Path heading off round the Gower Peninsular to……

 

………Langland and Caswell Bays are surfing bays round the corner from The Mumbles – not much happening on a cold Easter Sunday with the tide absent.

 

Brandy Cove – a smuggling flavour:  Pwlldu Bay more National Trust.

 

Pwlldu Bay from Pwlldu Head and Oxwich Bay on the horizon.

 

Descending to Three Cliffs Bay – get ready to wade across Pennard Pill and peek into the smugglers’ caves…..

 

Two water courses cross the sands at Three Cliffs Bay and Oxwich Bay; Pennard Pill – tide out not too deep – but wet and cold; followed by the slightly faster and deeper un-named drain to Oxwich Marsh, equally inconvenient. Now I’m totally wet but across   Home Free on Oxwich Burrows, heading for the National Trust Car Park and Vicky and Marilyn. They have survived gridlock in the carpark caused by an Easter Egg Hunt.

 

The rain is on its way and we’re off to the Swansea Ibis to dry out. See you on Day Two!

 

 

Day Two  – such a hurry to get away yesterday I forgot to take finishing photos – I can sneak in some pictures taken now, but eagle-eyed grandchildren will notice the tidal sea-change. All the bays are full of water….  walking mudflats not an option for a while. The weather started to change – not a sign of the Yellow Torrential Rain Warnings? Yes – I got wet again but not to the extent forecast. The going was very slippery and, but for my sticks, I would have fallen countless times. So although I only achieved 12 miles on day two, these were worth double for all the sliding.

Leaving Oxwich Beach above on Day Two with the tide in, heading for St Illtyd’s Church and Oxwich Woods before turning Oxwich Point below.

 

The sea turbulence where the Bristol Channel, Celtic Sea and Atlantic all try to occupy the same space is quite dramatic. It’s difficult to know which is which….

 

 

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Someone has been collecting plastic rubbish – …. thank you whoever you are

 

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Maybe this occupant has something to do with it?

 

Caught out in the open with no shelter and an enormous black cloud making ground on me, animal instincts showed me how to turn a gorse bush into a makeshift lair. I backed in and snuggled down while the offending cloud passed over without a single raindrop.

Intrepid.

 

Nearing end of day two, I turned off the Wales Coast Path at Pen Thurba Head heading for Pitton and rendezvous with Nanny and Vicky over the hill.

 

Although Rhossili is just next door the coast path does exactly that, the long way round, and takes me the scenic clifftop route via Mewslade Bay and Kitchen Corner with views over the Atlantic.

 

 

 

And then Worms Head comes into view and as I progress round the corner so too does the vast expanse of Rhossili Bay stretching up to Burry Holms

 

 

 

Arriving at Burry Holms after walking along the wet sand, although the formal route takes the clifftop for most of the journey. One last view looking back at Worm’s Head below.

 

 

 

One final view from the dunes of Rhossili Bay with a glimpse ahead of Broughton Bay and the final walk this trip back to Nanny and Vicky – the speck in the centre of the lower picture. I had managed to finish before the rain arrived. Home to the Mill.

 

 

And finally Nanny’s favourite photos  of Worm’s Head and Rhossili Beach…

 

 

EPISODE 101 – 44 miles and three days walking the Wales Coast Path, from Rest Bay, Porthcawl to The Mumbles, start of the Gower Peninsular in South Wales. Accumulative total walked round England and Wales is 3,546 miles in 287 days. Next time I’ll start the countdown to reach Aberystwyth.

 

NORMAN2

What we left behind in Shropshire….

ROGRESS ON ENGLAND AND WALES COAST PATH 2

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

 

CROSSING THE NEATHAfter 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 lighthouseMumbles Head and lighthouse

 

 

mumbles-signage-where-it-all-re-starts-next-time-out.jpgMumbles 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?

Episode 100 – Passing 3,500 miles in 284 days walking round the English and Welsh Coastline. This trip – 27 miles on the Wales Coast Path (south) from West Aberthaw to Porthcawl.

Where I left off last time out on the Wales Coast Path  – Delightful  West Aberthaw Power Station – starting Point for Episode 100…….

…let’s hope it energises me after a protracted weary layoff.  I’m feeling decidedly nervous.

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…..and 27 miles later, appropriately,  Rest Bay (below), west of Porthcawl, where this trip  finished after tripping  over the 3,500th milestone – 3,502 actually – and counting – round England and Wales. It was wonderful and exhilarating to have been back on the road again. For a while I’d been contemplating life without the Coast Paths. But that’s all behind me now.

Oh Yes it is!

PORTHCAWL REST BAY FINISH

 

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

Two mileposts encountered this last trip on my walk round England and Wales, firstly Episode 100 of the blog and secondly, I’ve walked over 3,500 miles. Most of it in the right direction. In another 500 miles or so, I’ll trip the 4,000 mile barrier, and the finishing line at Aberystwyth should be in sight.

Which crimson worm will get there first ? At the moment South appears slightly less sluggish than North, which seems becalmed around the Menai Strait. Progress Map below…..inkedmap-progress_li.jpg

 

I did try to add some miles to the Northern Welsh Scarlet Worm a short while ago. I set off, in good weather for Llanberis YHA to attack Anglesey. Vera’s heater declined to come with me; around Llandudno the 4×4 Warning light came on  followed by the Engine management light. The sunshine was substituted by snow, which got heavier and started to settle on the road. Although almost there, I bottled it and quickly added several layers of walking clothes and drove home non-stop!

The Southern Scarlet worm is also showing little progress from last month, but after upgrading something technical to a superior version since the last blog, I have lost the facility to edit the map any more. Progress!? So just imagine the scarlet line a few miles short of Port Talbot.

Everything is falling apart – but I still keep walking…….

The Coast Path clung close to the shoreline on this stretch which was generally scenic and pleasant as I got removed from the industrial regeneration of the previous stretch.

What I was not prepared for was the similarity with the S W Coast Path with the very frequent changes in altitude, which showed me how unfit I was after a prolonged layoff. Better get used to it – there’s far  more to come.

 

………Setting off from Gileston  and approaching Col Huw Point

 

 

England on the horizon from Wales Coast Path

England on the left horizon from the Wales Coast Path

 

 

Nash Point

Col Huw  Point – lunch break where I refuelled with Bovril, which has replaced Guinness as preferred drink of choice. There also was a choice of dismounting the ridge; the formal steps dead centre or the cliff edge. I must have missed the steps? But I got my Bovril.

 

 

Tresilian, bottom circle above, has views of Exmoor (top  circle) across the Bristol Channel .

 

 

Nash Point Light House, here and there….. near Marcross.

 

Heading for New Mill Farm Carpark to rendezvous with Nanny and Vicky – who had noticed Vera was absent?

At some stage Ffynnan Fair  …….

…..turned into Nash Brook. At the end of which Nanny and Vicky were waiting……. at the end of day one.

 

Day two started from here, but I’d have started somewhere else if I knew the wild horses were going to start on me. Luckily I hadn’t taken a short cut across their field to The Coast Path, they were superexcited…

superhorses

…..Superhorses

 

After retiring racehorses, there seems to be a monument to retiring rock bands with Dunraven Park, Dancing Stones and Slade Park grouped around Pillow Mound and Pant y Slade, ancient earthworks and fort.

The natural coast is very photogenic and culminates in ancient  Dunraven walled gardens …..

 

…containing  the Ode to Dunraven Bayode to dunraven bay

 

Moving quickly on towards Ogmore by Sea and The River Ogmore, the tide is going out and just maybe I’ll be able ford the river at the beach when the tide is at its lowest. Otherwise it’s a four mile detour to the nearest bridging point upstream

 

 

ogmore by sea instructions]

The instructions for visiting  Ogmore  aren’t helpful about crossing the River

 

I arrived to find the  tide well out but the depth and speed of the river  too much for me, but on the map I spy a Weir, but getting there it is far from navigable and the same goes for a ford.OGMORE FORD

 

I eventually find a single lane bridge (below) serving the local sewage works on which I cheerfully  cross the now wider and deeper river. How that happens is beyond me since I’m going upstream.ogmore sewage works bridge

Makes no difference  – I reach the other side only to be confronted by a human road block who will not allow me past. Apparently it’s a privately owned bridge and works are underway and I’m not permitted, and must return to the other side. I’m told that even further upstream there are  (maybe) stepping stones!

 

I find the stepping stones but crucially some are missing – more backtracking and I find a bridge signposted the Coast Pathogmore br1 S WCP

 

 

One thing leads to another and the first bridge leads to a second……..OGMORE R BRDG GUARDHORSE

…….but I hadn’t reckoned on the guard horse unwilling to let me onto the bridge until I paid a bribe.OGMORE R BRD 2….at last I’m across not particularly dry because the shire horse field was understandably sodden with huge shire horsed size divots to fall in.

I followed the River back to the shoreline quite uneventfully, but slightly perturbed by the unexpected sand dunes also pocketed by hoof prints making the going quite strenuous.

 

merthyr mawr warren tide out porthcawl

Only  the Merthyr – mawr Warren to cross and I’m in Newton Burrows where  Nanny and Vicky should be awaiting my arrival, on the outskirts of Porthcawl. Back to The Ibis in Swansea. Good night!

 

The final day’s walking started where I’d left off last night. Close to Porthcawl Harbour

….and so to Rest Bay…..PORTHCAWL REST BAY FINISH and home after walking 27 miles.

 

Episode 99 – 3,475 miles and 281 days walking round England and Wales. This trip – 38 miles on the Wales Coast Path from St Brides Wentlooge to West Aberthaw Power Station via Barry Island.

 

 

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Just to remind you what happened in November 2017 when we finished walking round The  England Coast Path  – the next party will happen when The Wales Coast Path is completed in the race to  Aberystwyth Royal Pier….. remind me to do another Crimson Worm Map!

 

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

We’ve all recovered from Christmas and New Year Celebrations and it was time to brave the wintery conditions and record low temperatures to resume the walk around England and Wales.

I am not brave enough to consolidate the title and revert to calling it a Walk round  Britain, because I have studied the maps and by including Scotland I almost double the whole walk.  Even if I maintain current policy and stick to the mainland coast paths, plus a few selected islands.

I’m not ready for that.

But at some stage during my completion of The Wales Coast Path I know a  choice is going to confront me. I’m inclined to consider Scottish Independence is the best solution for me.

The generally accepted distance completely round Wales, is about 1,100 miles.

I have already completed 182 miles of Offa’s Dyke Path whilst completing The Walk Round England; and afterwards I walked 68 miles to Bangor on the Northern Wales Coast Path; plus recently 72 miles from Chepstow,  to west of Barry Island on the Southern Wales Coast Path.  So I reckon I have under 800 miles to complete my walk around Wales.

The Crimson Worms explain all, on the map  below;

– the big thumb tack near Mid Wales is The Mill in Shropshire, conveniently placed on Offa’s Dyke Path running north/south;

– the white tacks at  the ends of the Crimson worms represent the extent of my Welsh Walk so far

– the other tacks on the English coast represent the furthest North, South, East and West I got whilst walking The England Coast Path.

map progress

The race is on to see which route gets to Aberystwyth first, and then I decide whether to take on Scotland. My proposed schedule has probably deferred that decision for about a year. I won’t make any rash promises until I’ve computed  exactly what it entails! And I’m going to need quite a lot of help……  many followers have already announced their intentions  to join in the Wales Coast Path Walk – all are welcome!  Each first weekend of every month, there will a two or three day outing – you just have to find out where to join me on the North or south Wales Coast Path. Other unscheduled visits reducing the distance  to Aberystwyth will occur and will more than likely be camping expeditions……..  again –   all are welcome!

 

This  trip started at the icey carpark of The Lighthouse Inn, St Brides Wentlooge. Wales Coast Path – south.Starting off from The Lighthouse Cafe Carpark with ice.]

 

The Seawall gives the mainland   protection from Severn Mouth and or is it The Bristol Channel?The seawall protection from Sern Mouth and or Bristol Channel.

The Path could not keep to the seawall and soon turned inland to regenerating areas that were formerly industrial – sadly attempts to maintain a suitable coast path tourist environment were heavily blighted by fly tipping and made the path look like a detour through  the local tip.Fly tipping made the path unpleasant..

 

Shortly after the unforgettable and unforgivable fly tipping, The Path then took me past this – whatever it is? I know I was slightly off the correct route but it was better than picking my way through dumped rubbish. The formal route of The Wales Coast Path now gets very complicated shooting off into the re-generating Cardiff docklands and city centre.any ideas..

I subsequently found out it was part of a Refuse Centre And Re-Cycling Plant.

Moving on and further inland following an uncharted brand new highway, it wasn’t long before I skirted the old docklands and  surrounded the Welsh National Assembly below – no fly tipping here! All of a sudden I was in the heart of Cardiff and wandered off-piste looking at local highlights…DSC_2609

…..there’s a lot of work to be done here…

……..I finished the first day’s walking crossing Cardiff Bay Barrage and ready again the next morning to head off towards Penarthon Cardiff Bay Barrage

 

Penarth Pier – fly tipping a distant memory  – and, from now on,  The Wales Coast Path really does hug the coastline – mostly…..Penarth Pier

 

Penarth RNLI Station – not open for business – we’ve damaged two in our collection of RNLI Mugs and need replacements for Mablethorpe and Bembridge…. we’re sunk without them – anyone going to either resort, please replenish our stocks!RNLI Penarth

 

 

Approaching Lavernock PointApproaching Lavernock Point

 

 

 

 

Vera and Marilyn  overlooking Sulley Island.. in wait for plying me with coffee or Bovril..Guard over Sulley Island.JPG

 

 

Barry Docks Entrance, but not for me to visit the Lifeboat – I was barred.

Barry Docks Entrance - no access to RNLI - GATED

 

 

And so I continued my scenic tour of  Barry Island – this is  Whitmore Bay, see the bright lights? Some  fun parlours are still open even in the murky depths of winter. Compare and contrast with Southend Pier! We’ve got Jamie Oliver…..?

Scenic Barry Island - Whitmore Bay

 

Instructions for fun at Barry Island…..

INSTRUCTIONS FOR BARRY ISLAND

 

 

Barry Harbour awaiting Summer visitors…..

BARRY HARBOUR

 

RNLI Visitor Centre – Barry Island – closed! Time to move on……

RNLI BARRY ISLAND.JPG

What’s the quickest way out of here? The Wales Coast Path of course. Well signposted from now on and plenty of evidence of the industrial heritage as I leave the city heading West.

 

Porthkerry Viaduct served the quarry and now the power station. Apparently 5/6,000 tonnes of coal a day reach the Power Station by Rail. (Wikipedia) How come I didn’t see one freight train?

DSC_2640[3763]Porthkerry Viaduct

 

DSC_2642[3761]Former Rhoose Point quarry now regenerating

Rhoose  former quarry now regenerating – at times the path had sheer drops either side – to the sea or to inland lagoons formed by centuries of  excavations.

 

 

DSC_2641[3758]Rhoose Point

Rhoose Point  – the sign marks the area of the most southerly point of the Welsh Mainland

 

And suddenly I was hemmed in again by mobile homes and campsitesescape from camp

 

 

 

 

But I found an escape route, leading to the environs of a coal fired power station

 

 

The Wales Coast Path threads its way around coal fired West Aberthaw Power Station, while The River Thaw tries to slip out un-noticed, but a bit the worse for wear.. apparently the power station is doing trials on carbon capture and also I noticed stockpiles of timber in addition to the vast tracts of coal brought in by railway. Sorry – I mean bio-mass – all this jargon doesn’t disguise the unhealthy nature of the processes. Wikipedia claims 5-6,000 tonnes of coal a day is brought in by rail.

I, too, back at The Mill, am at the cutting edge of energy production, with my 0.66 kilowatthour micro- hydro- generating plant due to be installed where the millwheel was; to supplement the maximum 4 kilowatthour PV Panel installation …… all we need is plenty of sun and plenty of rainwater! Latter guaranteed!

The Wales Coast Path goes round West Aberthaw Power Station

That’s the River Thaw emerging from The environs of the power station; fortunately the limekiln installations have long since fallen into dis-use. Things can only get better – nature doesn’t take long to hide our previous nasty industrial activities; but fly tipping doesn’t help…….  yes it made an impact on me. I shall find someone to rant to!

 

The finish this time out was at the WEST ABERTHAW POWER STATION, best hidden in the mist. Back again in about four weeks – hopefully we’ll get some real scenery next time? And the mist won’t be missed……sorry!

DSC_2648[3749]WEST ABERTAW POWER STATION - in the background! Start point next time out.....