90. Carmarthen to Burry Port

This was to be a single  long day with a drive down from Shropshire to walk the 23 miles between Burry Port and Carmarthen. I had  decided to park the car at the train station car park, but was flummoxed when the pay and display machine was not working. I was very sceptical about this as an excuse for not displaying a ticket, so I paid an extra 90p and paid £3.20 in the nearby NCP car park. Well it was better than a £60 quid fine!

Above the Afon Towy looking back to Carmarthen
Above the Afon Towy looking back to Carmarthen

I started walking about 7’o clock in the morning, so most of Carmarthen was still asleep as walked out along roads and lanes. Gradually climbing and still with a hazy view  looking back to Carmarthen I passed through the quiet  village of Croesyceiliog. The path eventually went off road and I was pleased to find that the ground had begun to dry out a bit since I was last walking in the area a few days beforehand.

Interesting sculpture at Ferryside
Interesting sculpture at Ferryside

Even though the weather was chilly,, it was sunny and the walk had a definite feel of spring about it. Before I arrived at Ferryside I passed through a farm where problem dogs had been reported, so I came prepared with dog biccy’s  aplenty. One of the canine fiends, an elderly Labrador came out and continued to follow me barking a good 100 metres up the lane. He was’nt interested in the biscuit! The walk out of Ferryside saw the WCP  shoot inland, I was not interested in that so I decided to stay on the smaller coastal route, which offered good views and was closer to the coast.

Dry Ski slope at Pembrey Park
Dry Ski slope at Pembrey Park

I passed through Kidwelly, visiting the old Quay as I left. I was then walking along the main road before turning in into the old Pembrey airfield. After what seemed like an age walking along dead straight concrete pathways I emerged onto the Cefn Sidan sands . The walking was easy along the sands marked with a small cliff line of dunes. There were a few people on the beach, but quite a few more in land around the dry ski slope as well as the huge parkland area of  Pembrey. I had to get my skates on as I approached the Pembrey harbour as I wanted to get the 14:29 train to Carmarthen, I managed to get there with 10 mins to spare. 7 hours for 23 miles was good going, just the 128 mile back to Telford now!

Burry Port harbour
Burry Port harbour

Distance today = 23 miles
Total distance =   1371 miles

 

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89. Carmarthen to St. Clears

 

Today was to be a straightforward day. I would simply leave my car at the B&B, get the 7:45 No. 222 to Carmarthen and walk the 19 miles back to the B&B. The bus was almost full as I joined people going to work or just shopping in Carmarthen. It had frozen again last night, but only down to -2. Carmarthen was shrouded in a thick morning fog which did not clear untill almost midday.

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A misty Carmarthen

I followed the River Towy for awhile before doing some roadwork and then walking through woodland to avoid the main road. The path skirted Llangain, before finally dropping down a green lane to Llansteffan. The path at this point had dropped back down to the Towy estuary and I could see a train across the estuary at Ferrycross. The ferry linking Llansteffan with Ferrycross had ceased some years ago, thus the reason I was walking this inland detou. As I climbed out of Llansteffan the path circled below the castle, which looked quite dark

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Looking across the Towy to Ferryside

and brooding. Unfortunately, I was not able to get  a good photo opportunity to. The path continued along quiet roads and very muddy fields. Excellent views were had across to the Gower and to the west towards Tenby. I made excellent progress despite the under foot conditions. I could also see how the Taf and Towy both joines in an entanglement of distant sand banks. As I veered north I was available to mark yesterdays

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The confluence of the Taf and Towy estuaries

walk on the opposite side of the river, clearly seeing the sleepy village of laugharne The final couple of fields before St. Clears were especially muddy, but I did not mind. My feet were dry and the Goretex gaiters I use did their job well.

I noticed on a couple of kissing gates an enclosure that appeared locked. From the photo you can probably get a better idea.

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Kissing Gate counter mechanism?

The bit thatat goes into the hole does not have a latch, so I can only surmise that it is a ‘sleeping’ counter device giving an idea of walker numbers. I arrived back at the B&B 6 hrs exactly from setting out from Carmarthen. All that was left was a 3hr drive home.

 

 

 

 

Distance today = 19 miles
Total distance =   1348 miles

 

 

88. St. Clears to Amroth

Today was going to see me return to Amroth in Pembrokeshire and the end/start of the PCP which I completed in 2006 and which today i would continue to walk eastwards.

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Leaving a frosty St. Clears

The plan for todaywas to drive very early to St. Clears. I had arranged to park my car at the B&B that I would be staying at that night. The Manordaf B&B sits on the WCP, just by the bridge over the River Taf. Very handy!

I started to walk very early with the sun yet to come up.It had been freezing overnight and the 4 miles to Laugharne had been over frosty, not frozen fields and footpaths. The approach to Laugharne was along a lovely wooded track that passed alongside the Boathouse the home of Dylan Thomas. About 100m further on the path passed the carefully preserved Garage in which Thomas wrote many of this well known works

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The Garage – just as he left it

including Under Milk Wood. I decided it would only be fitting to pay my respects to Dylan Thomas, who is buried in the local churchyard. The detour was only about 800m. It took awhile to find his grave, which was marked with just a simple white cross with black lettering. The grave is also the resting place of his wife Caitlin.

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The grave of Dylan & Caitlin Thomas

I continued on mainly roads all the way to Pendine, passing through Llanmiloe. I must say there was not a great deal in Pendine, apart from the Museum of Speed. On arriving in Pendine my plan was to catch the 11:00 No. 351 bus to Amroth the walk back to Pendine then catch the No. 222 back to St. Clears. The £1.50 fare from Pendine to Amroth was an absolute bargain.

It had turned into a beautiful and sunny day and I was rewarded with views across to Tenby to the west, the Gower to the east and to south the distant coastline of Devon and Somerset; I could even make out the feint outline of Lundy.

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Incipient sea caves at Amroth

I was aware there were a few ups and downs on the path back to Pendine, but i noticed that the tide was well out and I could easily walk back along the beach to Pendine. I made very good time to Pendine and with a an hour to kill until the next bus I headed for the Point Cafe and a well-earned cool drink.

Distance today = 16 miles
Total distance =   1329 miles

 

 

87. Cardigan to Llangrannog

This would be me last section of the Ceredigion Coast path, before I joined up with the PCP, which I had completed some 9 years previously. I parked early at Llangrannog, which is not served by a bus service, and donned my  hi-vi vest with flashing strobe headtorch for the 2.5 mile walk up the road to Brynhoffnant. Here, I caught the 7:58 X50 to Cardigan for the princely sum of £3.05.

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Looking towards the mouth of the Teifi estuary from outside Cardigan

 

 

As I got off the bus in Cardigan, I was greeted by a short sharp hailstorm, it was very cold so I donned my seal-skinz mitts. I had previously owned a apair of seal-skinz gloves which were ‘pants’ as I found it impossible to get my hand back in the glove when they were slighly damp; which is a common problem with most gloves though. Anyway, that’s why I use mitts, when I know I’m in for for some damp weather! The walk out from Cardigan was alongside the Afon Teifi . The paths and fields I walked through were soaking wet and it was very muddy from the rain the day before.

I had my eye on climbing the Mwnt, which was not particularly high or had much ascent, but I would probably be rewarded with a good view. The weather by this time had become very sunny with little or no wind. I passed a lovely chapel (Eglwys y Grog) on my quick ascent of the Mwnt or to give it it’s proper name Foel y Mwnt. I could make out Aberystwyth in the far distance and the hazy outline of the Lleyn hills.

View east from the Mwnt
View east from the Mwntdistance and the hazy outline of the Lleyn hills.

The continual ascent and descent along the path was starting to have an affect on my legs, as I began to wilt under the hot sun (in February!!). Eventually, the path diverted inland to by-pass the former MOD buidings and estate.

The path out from Aberporth was a finely constructed piece of roadway, capable of taking wheelchairs and almost linking the closeby village of Tresaith. The route then  descended to beach level and then rose up a set of steps that bisected the village. The path then  climbed up and over high ground

Wooden dolphin statue Aberporth
Wooden dolphin statue Aberporth

before slowly dropping down to the hamlet of Penbryn, where the path was forced inland about 400m in order to cross a small river. Another steep climb was required on my tiring legs, before the way ahead levelled out and started to drop down to the picturesque village of Llangrannog and the end of this walk.  For the last miles, well since leaving Aberporth, I had been accompanied by an incessant aerial ‘droning’ which I could not see, but appeared close-by. I knew at the time that this nuisance were UAV’s (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) or just drones.

 

Looking down on Llangrannog
Looking down on Llangrannog

I arrived in Llangrannog to find people enjoying a cool drink outside of the Pentre Arms pub, it was that warm. All that remianed was to walk up the village to free car park. The 18 mile coastal walk, took 6.25hrs.

 

 

 

Distance today = 17 miles
Total distance =   1313 miles

 

86. Borth to Aberystwyth

This was a short  walk I had been keeping back to do with my daughter Nicola, as she had done a similar walk whilst she was an undergraduate at Aberystwyth some years ago. We parked at Borth railway station and proceeded to walk down the main road in Borth. The day was very sunnyy with a stiff cool breeze at our backs. We could just make out the Lleyn hills but later glorious views

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Looking back to the war memorial above Borth

opened up to the north across the Dovey estuary to Aberdovey and the Tarren Hills which were snow capped. The first couple of miles were a series of steep and downs, but because we were fresh, they presented no problems. The path passed through Clarach Bay which appeared  to be just  a slightly run-down holiday park with static homes. The final climb up to Constitution Hill was quite easy with gentle gradient. The top offered a beautiful vista over and down to Aberystwyth. We descended down the steep path , passing over the funicular railway to the promenade where we traditionally

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Nicola climbing Constitution Hill with Clarach Bay in the backgroun

“kicked the Bar”.

We made our way to the Wetherspoons in the town, Pen Yr Orsaf and had a nice Sunday roast with a pint of  Doombar before catching the 13:30 train back to Borth The lovely warm sunshine made this a lovely walk, albeit 6 miles and only taking 2.5hrs.

 

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On Constitution Hill looking down on Aberystwyth

Distance today = 6 miles
Total distance =   1196 miles

 

85. Llangrannog to Llanrhystud

This was going to be a tough day, not only because of the 24 miles walked, but also because the terrain had many ascents and descents – hate descents, all that effort to climb up something then having to drop down grrrr!!.

 

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Llangrannog

I had decide that I needed to make it only two more visits before I reached Cardigan, so it a required a long day for at least one of these walks. I parked at the beach car park (free) just outside of Llanrhystud. The beach was covered in all kinds of flotsam from a storm a few days beforehand. I then walked back into the village to get the 07:53 T5 service to Brynhoffant, the bus was full of school kids travelling to Cardigan. I paid £4 for the 35 min bus ride. When I got off the bus at Brynhoffnant I had to walk 2.5 miles to join the coastal path at Llangrannog. There is currently no bus service to the village, so it was  extra miles to an already long day. I was amazed how busy the road was for a minor B-road. I donned my hi-vis jacket and kept my eyes peeled for traffic that was coming thick  and fast! So much for a sleepy village on a cul-de-sac! Llangrannog was also clearly showing signs of the recent storm “Imogen” which large cobbles in the small car park.

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New Quay

For the next 9 miles it was a case of steep ascents and descents all the way to New Quay, coupled with muddy fields interludes. I was pleased to get to New Quay, although even though this was not yet half-way, the legs were beginning to tire. But I was happy because the hardest section of the walk was behind me. Requiring something to gird my loins I succumbed to buying a fish and chips, I wish I had’nt and threw half of it away!

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Aberaeron

The going was getting slightly easier as I approached Aberaeron which was bathed in lovely winter sunshine with gloriously sunny views across Cardigan Bay towards Aberystwyth , Aberdyfi, Cadair Idris and even a distant Bardsey Island.

 

 

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Late afternoon sun approaching Llanrhystud

I bought more fluid at Aberaeron and walked out along the rocky beach, I passed many people retrieving firewood from the beach. I stopped and spoke to a chap, who came coincidentlly came from near Much Wenlock, about 8 miles from I live we talked awhile . Although, the terrain was pancake flat, my legs were feeling it. I passed through Aberarth and then onto the sleepy village of Llannon, with its lovely church. I was relieved to catch sight of the car. The walk had taken me some 7.75 hrs and I was rather tired, but it was a very interesting walk.

Distance today = 22 miles
Total distance =   1290 miles

84. Llanrhystud to Aberystwyth

 

As I wanted a quite simple and short days walking, I opted for the 10 miles section from Llanrhystud . I drove to Aberystwyth  and parked in the long stay car park for the princely sum of £1.40 all day. The plan was to catch the  07:40 bus #701 to Llanrhystud.

I rejoined the coastal path which emerges briefly on the main road and continued  to walk down a lane that led to a deserted holiday home park. The path then took to fields which where fortunately not that soaked.

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The route ahead from Llanrhystud

The going was quite easy, and the only real climb of the day was gentle. Although there were a few up and downs, the walk was predominantly on the level.

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Approaching Aberystwyth

Views were very hazy although I could still see my ultimate destination of Aberystwyth from about 7 miles away. A very stiff breeze blowing from the south-west did not hinder my progress. By the time I reached Aberystwyth the sun was out although it was still quite chilly and windy.  I crossed the Afon Ystwyth and Rheidol rivers to finish my walk in just 3 hrs.

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The steep descent from Allt Wen

Distance today = 10 miles
Total distance =   1268 miles