98. Cardiff – East to Whitson

Today was going to be my penultimate section of the WCP. It had taken abit of planning to get the mileages right, so my final day would not be a “gut-buster” . I opted for a place near Whitson, called Seawall. I managed to find a free parking space and walked the half- a mile back up the road to Whitson and the bus stop. This area of Newport is served by what is known as Demand Responsive Transport. What this means is you call them up and agree a time and pick-up spot and they send a car. You have to give them your name and address, so I’m not too sure how that works with tourists etc… Anyway they have retained two scheduled buses a day, so I caught the #63 at 8:00 to Newport, it was then a case of getting the Cardiff train, then catching another bus , the #11 out to Pengam Green. After all this kerfuffle, i did not start walking until 10:00. The weather was beutiful and sunny and with reasonably good visibility. I soon got the heavy traffic and industrial areas behind me and proceeded along the large straight dyke or seawall.

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Tawney Owl

A few miles along the seawall, I noticed an owl perched on a fence post, about 20 meters away. It was being pestered by a single crow, but held its ground. I had never so close to an owl in the wild before. It did the ‘swivel-neck’ on me to check who I was. (Checking my RSPB guidebook the owl looks to be a Tawney owl, as opposed to a Short-eared Owl).

I pushed on towards Newport. I notice how the far shoreline across the Bristol Channel of Somerset and Bristol/Avon is getting closer now. I can pick out individual houses and occasionally I get a sunlight reflection from a car mirror on the far bank. I press on and pass West Usk Lighthouse, now a B&B. I notice a Rolls Royce parked in the drive. Hmmm….

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New WCP footpath bridge over railway

As the path moves inland, I see that the road as been diverted because a bridge that previously went over the railway has been demolished. The WCP footpath, however, has its very own footbridge over the railway now.

The WCP signage around this area gets a little crazy, some stupid pointers. I pass some retail shops and pop into Lidl for a couple of bakery items. I am looking forward to going over the Transporter.

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The Newport Transporter Bridge

The bridge is open from 10 – 16:00 and is the main reason I decided to walk in this direction. The bridge is one of only 3 in this country and I think together with Middlesborough is the only other working bridge in the UK. I opt to walk over the top and get charged £3 – a bit steep if you consider that to ride in the gondola would have only cost £1. I get a brief safety talk and am then allowed to climb to the top and walk across. Even though there was little wind, I felt a very slight swaying in the structure. The views were well worth it. I descend and then continue walking through the industrial suburbs. I walk around the Wetlands and continue past the “stumpy” little sister lighthouse of East Usk (which is still operational).

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Up top on the Transporter Bridge

By now my feet are quite sore and painful. I wish I had brought a change of foot ware, as I had reverted back to boots for this section. I passed through Goldcliffe after which the path headed back to the coast at Seawall ( close to Whitson). The walking had been tough, due to sore feet , but memorable because of the owl and the transporter bridge.

Distance today = 20 miles
Total distance =   1527 miles

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