Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Current

Hello to all my regular readers! I know there are a number of you out there.
Thank you for your interest. 
At last we have got back to our Grand Coastal Trek after a break of 21 months due to complex problems at home.  Now well into our seventies, we find we are walking a lot more slowly than previously -- but still enjoying it enormously.  We have now reached Angle on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, and hope to continue from there later in the summer.
To all my readers, thank you for your interest in our venture.
Rosemary

PS  Go to   www.bognorregisbeach.co.uk  to see what is happening NOW just left of Bognor Pier! (On the website, click on  'Live Webcam')

Monday, May 11, 2015

Walk 368 -- New Quay to Llangrannog

Ages:  Colin was 73 years and 3 days.  Rosemary was 70 years and 145 days.
Weather:  Mostly sunny, some cloud.  A cold wind in exposed places.
Location:  New Quay to Llangrannog.
Distance:  9 miles.
Total distance:  3793 miles.
Terrain:  Cliff paths of varying quality.  Very undulating and quite challenging in places.
Tide:  In.
Rivers:  None.
Ferries:  None.
Piers:  None.
Kissing gates:  Nos.833 to 846 (fourteen in all).
Pubs:  Pentre Hotel in Llangrannog which we visited the other day.  Colin drank Mantle ‘Cwrw Teifi’ best bitter, and I drank Carlsberg cider.
‘Cadw’ properties:  None.
Ferris wheels:  None.
Diversions:  None.
How we got there and back:  We were staying in our caravan on a site at Oakford, near Aberaeron.  This morning we drove to Llangrannog and parked near the seafront.  From there we caught the ‘Cardi-Bach’ bus to New Quay where we walked down to the lifeboat quay.
At the end we came to the car parked in Llangrannog.  We had our tea and biscuits, then returned to our caravan.

We started today’s Walk on the beach by the lifeboat station.  We walked a bit of the beach, but very soon we had to go up on to the prom.  We came to a brightly painted cave-type beach shelter which we loved — but there were no seats in it!
We looked around for a pasty shop, and found one called “Traditional Cornish Pasties” (in Wales?) which was ideal.  The woman serving in there said the pasties were still in the oven and would be ready in about five minutes.  So we walked along the main quay where lots of people were enjoying the sun and fishermen were doing their stuff at the end.  Then I sat on a seat while Colin went back to buy the pasties.  They were still piping hot when he brought them over, and absolutely delicious.
We thought we had better continue the Walk, we’d done enough faffing about and time was getting on.  In fact it was an hour since we’d got off the bus.  We passed the site of an old railway which was used in yesteryear to bring stone to the harbour.
We also passed a house with a ship picture in the window, and a weather vane which was a snail — which reminded us how slowly we were making progress today!
We walked along to a fish factory because the path went uphill behind it through an old quarry.  It was a steep climb to the top of the cliffs, it really tested my gammy knee.  I couldn’t have done it without my walking poles.
At last we reached the top where there was a good path with sweeping views.  We met quite a few people today, walking in both directions.  As usual, anyone travelling in our direction passed us, and we passed nobody because we were so slow.
The gorse was spectacular, as always — also swathes of bluebells, huge violets, red campion and other wild flowers.  The geology was amazing too, twisted strata revealed on the cliffs — those rocks had obviously been through a lot in their millions of years.  We stopped to chat to a couple of birdwatchers who were looking through a large telescope at dozens of guillemots and razorbills which were nesting between the layers of rock on the cliffs.  The birds found the geology ideal for their purpose. 
We came to a notice saying there was an alternative path going further up the hill because the path ahead was a bit near the edge.  We decided to risk it, and found it wasn’t much to make a fuss about unless you suffered from fear of heights.  But then you probably wouldn’t be walking out on the cliffs anyway.
At the top of the path was a little shelter.  We thought it might be for watching seals or dolphins, but we didn’t see any.  Then we read the notice more carefully — it was a lookout post used by the coastguards between the 1920s and the 1960s to watch for shipping which might be in trouble during bad weather.  It has recently been restored, and is now used to watch for dolphins, etc, in Cardigan Bay.
After that the path was more gentle, going downhill through fields and such.  There were sweeping views along the coast, it made us feel good.  I got ahead of Colin because he stopped to photograph a caterpillar.  He spent ages snapping away with his new camera, then he tried to pick it up only to find it was stuck to the stone it was on because someone had previously trodden on it!  Meanwhile I was sitting on a stone wall two fields away waiting for him.
Next to a stile we read about plans to divert and improve the footpath through an overgrown gully.  It needed doing, we found it quite difficult battling our way down and then up out of the other side.  We carried on, always hoping that Cwmtydu would be around the next corner, but it wasn’t — it always seemed to be over the next hill.
We passed more red campion, more large violets, more beetles (Colin’s fascination!), twisted rocks, stupendous views and bright gorse — up and down, up and down……..  At last we reached the little hamlet of Cwmtydu.  The path down to the beach was very narrow and steep despite the fact it had been improved recently by putting in a zigzag.  I found it difficult to negotiate, mainly because my left knee was getting quite painful.
We sat on the steps by the beach eating a late lunch of sarnies, watching the sea.  Cwmtydu is a lovely place to just sit and watch the sea — the waves crashing against the rocks, a cave in the cliffs, and then we saw a seal momentarily.  I really did wish we had parked our car there and that our Walk for today was over.  But we had to get on.
We looked at the old lime kiln which is behind the beach, then went up to the loos.  A signpost at the beach said “Llangrannog 5½ miles”, but one at the loos, which were only a few yards away, said “Llangrannog 4½ miles”.  I decided to believe the latter!
We crossed the river on a brand new footbridge which wasn’t marked on our OS map.  We were puzzled by a pair of jeans hanging on the bridge, we couldn’t think why they had been left there.  The path on the other side took us up and up and up and up — far higher than we had been all day, or even on our last Walk.  It was a tough climb, especially as my knee was playing up.  But it was worth it — Wow!  The view from the top was woderful!  (Bit too windy for comfort though.)
The path first went along the top of the cliffs, then it was cut into the side of the cliff.  It was spectacular!  We met no other hikers on this half of the Walk.  We could see a rock spur ahead and believed that Llangrannog was just behind it — we didn’t realise that it wasn’t as simple as that.
Colin found a pair of mating beetles — he is fascinated by beetles, funny chap!  We came to where a new path had been cut into the cliff face and that made us climb again.  Colin wanted to continue on the old path because it meant no more climbing, but I said “No!”  If there was a problem further on (there must have been a reason why a new path had been cut) my days of climbing fences and leaping chasms are well and truly over.
I didn’t like uphill because of the pain in my knee, but I was glad we made that choice because there was a new fence coming all the way down the cliff with a gate on our new path.  Would there have been a gate put in the old path since it was now closed off?  Colin nagged about the merits of the old path for twenty minutes before he conceded — he exhausts me!  Eventually the new path zigzagged down to join up with the old path.  It was very steep, and I found it hard going with my knee problem.
At the end of the cliff we thankfully sat on a bank to eat our apples.  Now the country was much lower.  We still followed the cliff in and out, but it was fairly flat compared with what had gone before.  We had to walk all round a narrow inlet with the sea rushing in like miniature tidal waves — I videoed it.
I was very tired by then, and my knee kept giving way despite the fact I had been taking painkillers all day.  We passed a gate where there was a plaque about the Wales Coast Path.  This part of it was only opened seven years ago — and we started this Trek round the coast seventeen years ago.  After that the signage was sparse, and we wondered if we were going correctly at times.
We had to turn inland and go uphill towards, surprisingly in this remote place, an artificial ski slope!  My leg did not like the going uphill bit.  Fatigue made us argumentative, so we hid from the wind inside a clump of bushes, sat on a bank and ate our chocolate.  The wind was a bit too much at times, I felt I couldn’t cope with it, and the fatigue, and my painful knee.  But I had no choice but to go on.  I felt better when we stopped going uphill.
We could see the path a long way down, but couldn’t see how to get down to it.  Then we realised that we were being diverted on a new path which was much longer to make the slope more gradual.  This time we could see the full length of the old path and there was no break in it.  A new fence was being erected across it, but so far only the posts had been put in — so this time we decided to use it.
Down at the bottom we were on a good track which went round the hill and was much flatter.  I felt a lot better about everything then.  A farmer on a quad-bike with two dogs came along — he was the first person we had seen since leaving Cwmtydu hours ago.  He stopped for a lengthy chat about the Coast Path, his dogs, etc — perhaps he doesn’t see many people to talk to in his job.
As we rounded the hill we passed a memorial bench paying tribute to someone who was instrumental in setting up the coast path around these parts.  Thank you Ted Davenport.
And there was Llangrannog ahead, at last!  We turned off the track on to a narrow path which descended, eventually, into the village.  We passed a tree which had been shaped like an umbrella by the wind.  And we passed bushes covered in caterpillars on a cobwebby thing — quite extraordinary.
There was a lovely evening light over the sea, because the sun had just come out again after a couple of hours of cloudy skies.  We were standing on the cliff, quite low now, with a secluded cove one side and Llangrannog the other.
Lovely views, and we felt really good.  We were there!  We descended slowly to the beach with its iconic crooked rock. 
That ended Walk no.368, we shall pick up Walk no.369 next time on the beach at Llangrannog.  It was twenty to eight, so the Walk had taken us eight hours fifty-five minutes.  (Nine miles in nine hours — we get slower and slower.  But that’s because my knees are packing up, especially the left one.  It’s very depressing.)  We walked to the car where we had our tea and biscuits, then returned to our caravan.
That was a most spectacular Walk on a lovely day!  Pity about my knees, but there you are.  In retrospect, perhaps we should have done it in two stages;  from New Quay to Cwmtydu then from Cwmtydu to Llangrannog.  Then we wouldn’t have been so tired at the end.

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Walk 367 -- Aberaeron to New Quay

Ages:  Colin was 73 years and 1 day.  Rosemary was 70 years and 143 days.
Weather:  Sunny with a cold breeze, but it did warm up later.
Location:  Aberaeron to New Quay.
Distance:  7 miles.
Total distance:  3784 miles.
Terrain:  Mostly grassy cliff paths, sometimes through woods.  One lovely sandy beach.  A bit of concrete at the beginning and end.  Undulating.
Tide:  In, but going out when it mattered.
Rivers:  No.447, Afon Aeron.
Ferries:  None.
Piers:  None.
Kissing gates:  Nos.822 to 832 (eleven in all).
Pubs:  None.
‘Cadw’ properties:  None.
Ferris wheels:  None.
Diversions:  No.82 where there was a bit of cliff erosion — we had to loop up a bit.
How we got there and back:  Yesterday we towed our caravan from home to the same site near Aberaeron where we stayed last month.  My knee is still painful, but the inflammation has died down a bit.  I’m taking painkillers, and I’m determined not to give up on this Trek!  This morning we parked in Aberaeron and started the Walk from the footbridge.
At the end we walked up from the lifeboat quay to the bus stop and caught a bus back to Aberaeron.  We bought ice creams and sat by the harbour eating them before returning to our caravan.

As soon as we began the Walk, the clouds scudded away and the sun came out.  A good start!  We crossed the footbridge over the river in Aberaeron and walked up the other side of the harbour — along Harbour Lane, as was prettily picked out in shells on a concrete bollard.  It was beautiful in the morning sun.  The tide must have been in because the yachts in the harbour were in the water, not leaning sideways on the mud.
We walked round some boats on the shore and out to the east limb of the harbour.  We couldn’t get right to the end because there was a security fence in the way.  We wondered if waves splash over there at particularly high tides, and so many people seem incapable of using their common sense these days that they have to bar everyone from places all of the time in case they get sued — it’s a sad world we live in. 
We met a man who stopped to ask us how far we were going.  We told him about our Trek and about the difficulties we had experienced at Llanon on our approach to Aberaeron.  He told us that he was instrumental in getting local permissions to set up the Wales Coast Path.  The owner of the bit of clifftop where we’d had to go down on to the shingle beach was very uncooperative — “Over my dead body!”  kind of talk — so they’d had to put those steps down to the beach, they’d had no choice.
We had to negotiate a short bit of shingle beach in order to get on to the cliff path going south-west from Aberaeron, but it was a good path when we got to it.  A grassy path led gently upwards.  There were magnificent views, and New Quay looked tantalisingly near — though we knew it to be several miles distant yet.
There were wild flowers all around, and we specially admired the bluebells.  We ambled along at a slow pace and were passed by a number of couples going the same way as us — but we didn’t pass anybody.

We came to a pleasant wood — I love walking through woods!  We crossed a stream and sat on a bank out of the wind to eat pasties bought this morning — they were still warm from the oven.  As we continued we passed lots of wild orchids, several different types.  They made a splendid display.
We had to walk down a gully to cross a stream and up the other side, then we had to go inland a bit to get round a holiday village which we considered to be a bit of an eyesore on this beautiful coast.  We continued along a lane between high hedges where the coast path signs were sparse and vague.  But we used our initiative and didn’t get lost.
We passed a  road-closed  sign, but we didn’t want to go that way anyway because it led down the wrong side of a stream.  When we were high up on the other side we could see the reason for the closure — there had been a small cliff fall further down the road.  The path we were on had been “legally” diverted (so they told us) to avoid the holiday village — which was all shut up and looked like a ghost town.  How many days of the year do these places function?  They are a blight on the landscape as far as we are concerned, especially on a beautiful bit of the coast like this!  We went up a lane, which we much preferred, and soon rejoined the path which used to lead across muddy fields.  We only had to negotiate a muddy gateway.
We followed more good paths along the clifftop, we were really enjoying this.
It was up, then down to cross a stream, then up, and down again to cross a stream…….but there were fantastic views, interesting geology, lovely wild flowers and the sun shone brightly.
We came to a barrier where the path had been diverted a little up the hill.  When we came back on to the original path a bit further on, we went back on the real path to find out why we had been diverted.  The cliff had eroded, and it looked like it was about to break away any moment — so we didn’t linger!
We came to yet another deep gully where we crossed a bridge and looked at a waterfall into the sea.  It was a dramatic scene.
We sat on a rock to eat our apples (only Colin discovered he had forgotten his apple so he had crisps instead) and contemplated some pretty little pink flowers which we didn’t know the name of.  It was a very steep path out of there.
We met a couple going the opposite way to us — this was the first time this Walk we had met someone going the other way, everyone seemed to be going our way today.
It was a very pleasant path to walk, going through woods at times.
We passed a lot more orchids in the grass.  We climbed high, and the higher we got the greater the views.
We ended up in a yard which led into a lane.  Recent subsidence over the stream next to the lane had been repaired, and the lane was safely shored up.  There was a slipway under an old stone bridge, and we wondered if there had once been a mill on that spot.
We walked out to the end of a spur.  The beach there was shingle, and I inwardly groaned because of my painful knees which I had been trying to ignore all day.  We sat on a concrete jetty to eat our chocolate.  By the time we had finished, the tide had gone out just enough to reveal sand — impeccable timing, good job we are so slow! 
It was a lovely walk along the sand, and there were lots of other people doing the same in both directions.  A girl asked us how long was it to walk to the waterfall over the cliff, and how could she get there?  We gave her directions, but she seemed to think it was too far — these young people!  I love being by moving water, I took a video of the waves so’s I can remember what it is like when I’m at home.
Halfway along the beach we had to leave the sands (sob! sob!) and climb steps because there were rocks and cliffs further on.  The path took us up to a higher level and on into New Quay.  We passed the “Official Photo Spot”, so I dutifully took the obligatory photo — not the best photo I took today by any means, and I later deleted it along with all the other rubbishy shots I had taken.  We got into conversation with a young man about coastal walking, blogs, etc.  But we were very aware that the bus we wanted to catch back to Aberaeron was only an hour away.  (That’s the trouble with doing the public transport bit at the end of a Walk, you have to be constantly watching the time.) 
The path took us steeply uphill into New Quay on the top road, where we passed a plaque telling us we were on the Dylan Thomas Trail.  We went along to find out where the bus stop was, then we returned and went downhill towards the harbour.  We went through some gardens steeply downhill, and descended big steps (ouch!  m’knees!) on to the lovely sandy beach.
We saw children being taught sailing — Lucky them, I would love to have had the opportunity to learn sailing when I was young! — and young kayakers were out as well.  We ducked under the lifeboat slipway to get to the next bit of the beach,  We walked along the harbour wall and back.  Then we watched a caterpillar tractor tow the lifeboat on to the beach — they didn’t seem to be much in a hurry, so we assumed it was an exercise, not a callout. 
That ended Walk no.367, we shall pick up Walk no.368 next time on New Quay beach.  It was half past three, so the Walk had taken us six hours.  We walked up into town to the bus stop and caught a bus back to Aberaeron.  We bought ice creams and sat by the harbour eating them before returning to our caravan.