Walking The Ceredigion Coastal Path 16

I recently began a walk along the Ceredigion Coastal Path which, as part of the Wales Coast Path, runs from Cardigan in the south over 60 miles to Ynyslas on the northern edge of the county. This is my diary of the event.

Tuesday 28th May 2019 18:51
Location: Pencraig Farm, Cwmpengraig
Distance: 39 miles

Well, that was a surprise. I had struck camp by 10:30 and was on the path to Llanrhystud, the first part is along the beach, large pebbles and fairly good going, then at Aberarth a quick detour off the path, through the village and onto grass. I stopped to chat to a walker heading to Tenby expecting to be there in a couple of weeks. He suggested the Morfa Bychan campsite for a place to stop for the night. I had already contemplated this as a possible stopping place midway between Llanrhystud and Aberystwyth. I figured this would put me in good stead for a final early assault on Aberystwyth before catching the bus back to Cardigan.

The path became a little more undulating now following the line of the sea on my left and the A470 on my right before flattening out into a field-edge path on the approach to Llanon. Here, about two miles in, it became apparent that the blister on my left foot was not going to hold up, that combined with the oncoming wet weather and the path fortuitously depositing me on the A470 in Llanon, led me to the snap decision to jump on the next bus to Cardigan. At that point a police car pulled alongside.

“Hello, can I ask you your name, sir?”
“Why”, I asked
“Your description fits a missing person”, came the reply.

Assured I wasn’t their missing person they moved off and I headed for the bus stop. The hour and a half it took to get back to Cardigan revised all of the major highlights of the trip so far. Aberaeron High Street, down through the winding streets of New Quay, past the turnoff for distant Cwm Tydu and through a much busier Aberporth than the one I passed though early the previous Saturday. We passed signs for Penbryn, Tresaith and Mwnt before dropping down into Cardigan, Aberteifi. Half an hour later I was on a bus to Newcastle Emelyn, Castell Newedd Emelyn, and back to my starting point at the bus stop outside the Livestock Market.

I hitched up my rucksack and began the long walk back to camp. On reaching Drefach Felindre, the 640 bus sped past. It continues from Newcastle Emelyn all the way to Drefach Felindre. The last three and a half miles hobble over the top of one of the steepest roads around had in fact been a needless exercise, other than to bring my mileage up to that had I made it to Llanrhystud. Lying here now, fed and showered, with throbbing feet, that’s one sacrifice I could have forsaken.

 


Thank you again to all my followers and regular readers, and hello to you if you are new to my blog!

There’s an eclectic mix of posts on here, from writing and poetry to banjos and guitars, art, photography and computing, so feel free to dive in and have a look around,

New to this site? Click here to visit my About Me section.

Follow me @ponyfolk on Instagram for my multi-medium art and @shadowthepoet on Twitter

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Go well!

 

Walking The Ceredigion Coastal Path 15

I recently began a walk along the Ceredigion Coastal Path which, as part of the Wales Coast Path, runs from Cardigan in the south over 60 miles to Ynyslas on the northern edge of the county. This is my diary of the event.

Tuesday 28th May 2019
Location: Camping on the Farm, Aberaeron

06:19
It’s cold, the wind has been blowing 20mph all night, rain too. The rain has stopped now although it may return for a bit later, then it should dry out for the rest of the day. That’s my window to hit the trail for Llanrhystud. I was cold in the night, I finally ended up fully clothed, woolly hat, in my sleeping bag, in my bivvi bag with all the drawstrings pulled tight to cut out the wind. At one point I thought the tent had collapsed on me before remembering I was in the bivvi and reorienting my sight out of the hole to see the tent was still up.

The sea here is a constant white noise, the waves don’t crash and there’s no way to get below the sound waves. Up on the headlands it’s easy to duck below a dip or a hedgerow and the wind and wave noise just disappears. Here at sea level both are constant. The similarity of the noise of the sea has to traffic noise on a nearby motorway is uncanny.

The water has boiled now and a cup of tea is ready. I had pondered how to bring milk for my tea on this walk, in the end opting for none. I’ve got used to drinking black tea now, its taste is a little more tart than it’s milky relation but eminently drinkable.

My dreams have slipped away from me again leaving fragments, a bus journey in stormy weather up through the Scottish Highlands, although the bus interior is more panelled like a vintage train carriage and the driver leaves the wheel to come back to check tickets. I go forward to find the bus climbing its way up a steep track following the road as it bears in a right hand curve with the rain coming down and hedgerows looming above us. A car coming in the opposite direction passes us easily, wipers and lights on in the stormy night.

08:53
The forecast’s changed, the last bit of rain is not going to come in. The temperature has warmed up now, I’ve spent the last couple of hours in my sleeping bag with the addition of my coat and I’ve now eaten breakfast and shed my coat. Things are looking up. Next plan of action is to head into town, get a sandwich for lunch and some soya yoghurt for breakfast for the next couple of days, then head back here and strike camp. One great advantage of plant based dairy alternatives is that they don’t go off in the same way the real stuff does when left at room or outside temperature. That has been a lifesaver for my morning yoghurt and muesli routine.

 


Thank you again to all my followers and regular readers, and hello to you if you are new to my blog!

There’s an eclectic mix of posts on here, from writing and poetry to banjos and guitars, art, photography and computing, so feel free to dive in and have a look around,

New to this site? Click here to visit my About Me section.

Follow me @ponyfolk on Instagram for my multi-medium art and @shadowthepoet on Twitter

Want to introduce yourself, your art, your blog or you world and discover all that is new in the world? Click here for my ‘Join the Revolution’ page.

Go well!

James

Walking The Ceredigion Coastal Path 14

I recently began a walk along the Ceredigion Coastal Path which, as part of the Wales Coast Path, runs from Cardigan in the south over 60 miles to Ynyslas on the northern edge of the county. This is my diary of the event. 

Monday 27th May 2019
Location: Camping on the Farm, Aberaeron
Mileage: At rest

07:05
It’s Bank Holiday Monday and the wind has been blowing a gale for most of the night. My blisters aren’t throbbing, but then I haven’t walked on them yet today, I’ll be finding out soon enough after I’ve drunk this cup of tea. This morning I’m feeling more confident in continuing the walk, it’s only a short 7 mile walk to Llanrhystud and I know I can camp there at the caravan park on the beach. From there it’s ten miles to Aberystwyth so I’m going to have to charge my phone to research places to stop, and once I’m there it’s another ten miles to Borth. Somewhere along the way is the sunken prehistoric forest. All of this is dependant on the magic of Compeed plasters, a good pair of nail scissors and the rain holding off. And that’s all I have this morning, some facts about the weather and the walk.
When I started writing this account it was supposed to be in two parts each day, I felt the evening could be spent writing up the facts of the day and the morning would be a free-thinking randomness. I found that the days passed by in a blur or visual treats that were then impossible to remember in any sense of order, which stretch of path or even which day they had happened. I saw shags flying down the coast, oystercatchers like blackbirds with red beaks and red legs. Little sparrow-like birds that might have been hedge sparrows and a chaffinch. Crows and red kites. Yesterday, in the rain, the slugs and snails came out, the slow worm and a few rabbits. No larger mammals other than domesticated ones, not including the dolphins and the seals in the bay of course. The way the flora changes from grass and arable fields to gorse and blackthorn, foxgloves and the occasional scent of frankincense in the air. Paths cut into the side of the cliffs which felt really safe and wide and then other paths up from coves and around them that felt a little scary with the wind blowing and my waterproofs billowing like sails.
Out on the path I only saw a handful of other people hurrying in the other direction, all on day walks, New Quay to Cardigan, Aberaeron to New Quay and the like, going to catch the Coast Hopper bus back to their starting point.

12:50
So I found a power source in the toilet block and lurked around for fifteen minutes or so to get a 25% charge. I’ll go and lurk again a bit later to push this up a bit more. I’ve been to town, got some supplies, lunch and plasters for my blisters and i’m feeling much better. Walking thirty miles on three portions of muesli, Huel and two cans of vegetable curry left me feeling a little low on energy, but now ideas are forming.
I know there is a campsite in Llanrhystud, seven miles away, and another maybe halfway from there to Aberystwyth, so how could I best utilise some good camping and the coast bus to make this a bit easier? Certainly I could pack all the gear up and take it to Llanrhystud. The concern is the rain, there will be some tonight but then it should be clear tomorrow. This would give me a leisurely walk to Llanrhystud and the possibility of pushing on to Morfa Bychan Caravan Park, but that would be a fifteen mile walk, the longest yet, with these feet, the pack and the risk of rain. The alternative then is staying at Llanrhystud for the night but it is forecast to rain a lot on the next day (Wednesday) leaving me stranded there. Thursday would then be a walk into Aberystwyth but with nowhere to stay, so I’d have to end it there unless the weather changes.

Plan
Dydd Llun – Aberaeron
Dydd Mawrth – Llanrhystud and camp
Dydd Mercher – Rained in
Dydd Iau – Aberystwyth and bus back to Llanrhystud
Dydd Gwener – Bus to Cardigan and back to Newcastle Evelyn

16:35
Sitting in my tent, the wind is gusting outside, a couple of gusts have blown the side of the tent in, bending the poles but the pegs are holding fast. I’m expecting the rain soon. All this sitting around means I’ve eaten early, early breakfast so hungry for an early lunch and so hungry for an early tea. Now the long wait until bedtime.
I went to the bookstore earlier in anticipation of all this waiting. I had one shot, something engaging, normal sized, something disposable in case it gets wet or left behind, not one of those vintage hardbacks I prefer at the moment. I left the store with a copy of the Lampeter Grapevine local magazine. I’ve read it twice and even made a start on the ‘Prize Local Knowledge / Cryptic’ crossword. I think I’m doing ok. Now I’m waiting for the rain. So my plan now is to strike camp here at maybe 11am and make my way the seven miles to Llanrhystud and make camp, then wait and see what the weather does. Walk to Aberystwyth and bus back to camp sounds appealing even if it means missing out on the last ten miles to North this time. Alternatively a nice B&B in Aberystwyth might be a possibility. A real bed and an en-suite bathroom. Alternatively I could bank the ten miles I would have used to get to North and use them to help me get back to Cwmpengraig from Newcastle Evelyn. So many possibilities all dependant firstly on how my feet and boots hold up and also intrinsically linked to how the weather holds up.
Clue – ’Service offered by Nick H of Lampeter 7-4-4’, let’s have another read of the magazine.

17:15
The wind continues to gust and the rain comes. I pull on my woolly hat and dig down into my sleeping bag. I was just about to head out and watch the sea but I contemplate this whole process for a moment. There is no peril here, at anytime I can say “forget it”, and just grab a taxi anywhere, and just become the mystery of the abandoned tent. Or I could stow everything away neatly and just junk the heavy tent and grab a bus back to base, or to a B&B or if I had my passport then Spain, Benidorm perhaps. But isn’t that the essence of this? We don’t do it because it is easy, we don’t even do it because we have to unlike Bilbo or Frodo Baggins or David Balfour from Kidnapped. It’s not even hard but we do it for the future us that can say we did it.
Private Hire Taxi by the way, Nick H of Lampeter.

 


Thank you again to all my followers and regular readers, and hello to you if you are new to my blog!

There’s an eclectic mix of posts on here, from writing and poetry to banjos and guitars, art, photography and computing, so feel free to dive in and have a look around,

New to this site? Click here to visit my About Me section.

Follow me @ponyfolk on Instagram for my multi-medium art and @shadowthepoet on Twitter

 

Walking The Ceredigion Coastal Path 13

I recently began a walk along the Ceredigion Coastal Path which, as part of the Wales Coast Path, runs from Cardigan in the south over 60 miles to Ynyslas on the northern edge of the county. This is my diary of the event. 

Sunday 26th May 2019 18:00
Location: Camping on the Farm, Aberaeron
Mileage: At rest

It’s all starting to feel like a bit of a dream now. The late day’s sun is warming, the tent is warm and my belly is full of curry and rice. I’ve spread all my clothes around to catch the last of the rays, today’s sweat soaked ones and the ones I washed yesterday in the shower. My burst blister is throbbing and weeping and my thoughts are that enough is enough with this walking. The last three days, thirty odd miles of walking with a pack that’s too heavy and a pair of leaky boots. 

The boots are a liability, when they get wet my feet get shredded. The pack is uncomfortably heavy, like that scene in ‘Wild’ where Reece Witherspoon as Cheryl Strayed tries to put on her pack in the hotel room for the first time. I’m going to blame it on the tent, more specifically the poles and the pegs, old school heavy fibreglass and steel. I don’t know how much it weighs as the scales at home only went up to 5kg and it was heavier than that. Other than the first night where the campsite was £22, the campsite at Cwm Tydu was good value at £12 and now here at Aberaeron where the owner’s discounted me to £15 a night. It’s half-term and it should be £20 for a pitch this week but they’ve squeezed me in for a couple of days.

Carrying my own food turned out to be essential for the first two stops, but having reached Aberaeron it is burgeoning with places to buy food or eat out even on a Bank Holiday Sunday. The Chinese take-away was closed for refurbishment, hence the curry from the Indian take-away opposite it. the Cost-Cutter convenience store now sells Co-Op products, did I miss the buy-out or takeover? I haven’t found anywhere to charge my phone yet, the man in the curry house only has a Samsung so I couldn’t blag 15 minutes of charging while I waited for the curry and read last week’s Mail on Sunday.

So at the moment I can’t face shredding my feet anymore in leaky boots, so the question is how much does the walk mean to me if it’s going to cost a new pair of boots, and where can I get boots? That’ll take a bus ride to Aberystwyth and at the moment my feet don’t feel like walking anywhere.

 

Footnote Friday 14th June 2019 – typing this up this morning it seems to me that I know the cost of everything and the value of nothing – the camping cost this, new boots will cost that etc. Whilst I believe it’s prudent to understand the value of where the next pound is coming from, there is also value in believing in the concept of the abundant universe. The theory being that you attract that which you create with your thoughts, whether this is true in a literal sense ie in a deeper philosophical meaning in the universe being energy or our perception of the universe being created from our thoughts, or from a more sociological perspective of seeing more of what we think of and filtering out that which we are not interested in. The example being when you buy a new car and you decide to buy a green one because you never see green cars out on the road, yet the act of thinking about or buying a green car changes your perception and suddenly you begin to see all the green cars that had previously been of no interest to you and were outside of your perception. So if one is always looking at the cost then one never sees the abundance. If I focus too much on the leaky boots and cost of camping, how can I hold the memory of the pod of dolphins arching their way up the coast that morning?

 


Thank you again to all my followers and regular readers, and hello to you if you are new to my blog!

There’s an eclectic mix of posts on here, from writing and poetry to banjos and guitars, art, photography and computing, so feel free to dive in and have a look around,

New to this site? Click here to visit my About Me section.

Follow me @ponyfolk on Instagram for my multi-medium art and @shadowthepoet on Twitter

Want to introduce yourself, your art, your blog or you world and discover all that is new in the world? Click here for my ‘Join the Revolution’ page.

Go well!

 

Walking The Ceredigion Coastal Path 12

I recently began a walk along the Ceredigion Coastal Path which, as part of the Wales Coast Path, runs from Cardigan in the south over 60 miles to Ynyslas on the northern edge of the county. This is my diary of the event.

Sunday 26th May 2019 14:40
Location: Camping on the Farm, Aberaeron
Mileage: 32

I blasted on from New Quay following the road for a bit then onto Traeth Gwyn beach for a bit, rounding the corner of Llanina Point in the rain, and took a break on a patch of that dead, dry ground you get under some pine trees as I got off the beach at Cei Bach 45 minutes from leaving the cafe. That was then my new pace, 45 minutes walking and 10 minutes rest. The next burst took me up and down the headland, over the Afon Drwyi waterfall and back up, up again.

The next hour brought me to the holiday village Gilfach yr Halen. The path had changed significantly since my guide book was printed as the route, described as ‘confusing’, was really clear on the ground now. Later still new sections of path and fencing guided me around horse paddocks and down onto a wider track or bridleway. I stopped here for a Huel lunch and to wring out my socks. My shrivelled feet looked as though I had been in the bath for hours, which I suppose they had, and a blister had formed, burst and the skin mostly dangling off now on my little toe. Oddly this didn’t hurt at all, but the larger blister on the pad of my forefoot did.

I determined one final push down into Aberaeron. The rain had now stopped so I slipped off and stowed my waterproof trousers and jacket and made for town. The route was really straight forward now, the only hitch were the kissing gates that were a real squeeze to get through with my pack on. I did get through them all today, only one having defeated me on this journey a couple of days ago. I thought it better/easier to climb that one instead of removing my pack and was rewarded with a thigh cramp as I lifted my leg over and a grazed shin to boot as my reflexes drove my leg down to avoid the cramp.

So now I am checked in to Camping on the Farm at Aberaeron for a couple of nights to rest and ride out the forecast rain storms. The tent is up, clothes out of the bin bag and drying in the wind on the wire fence, I’m pretty dry and on my second cup of tea. The veggie shop was shut and so was the chemist, I was hoping to get some Compeed blister plasters but that will have to wait until tomorrow now. I’ve used Compeed plasters occasionally to deal with running or walking blisters and find them really effective and allow me to continue walking or running whilst protecting the skin. The big question of the day now being whether I can physically walk back into town now and find a takeaway for dinner later. The pain of blisters can feel disproportionately intensely painful compared to the size of the problem. Vegetable chow mein and chips is sounding real nice about now.

 


Thank you again to all my followers and regular readers, and hello to you if you are new to my blog!

There’s an eclectic mix of posts on here, from writing and poetry to banjos and guitars, art, photography and computing, so feel free to dive in and have a look around,

New to this site? Click here to visit my About Me section.

Follow me @ponyfolk on Instagram for my multi-medium art and @shadowthepoet on Twitter

Want to introduce yourself, your art, your blog or you world and discover all that is new in the world? Click here for my ‘Join the Revolution’ page.

Go well!