Walking The Ceredigion Coastal Path 7

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.

Saturday 25th May 2019 14:00
Location: Pen Y Badell
Mileage: 16.5

The track rose quickly from Penbryn and the rest of that section now feels a blur. A steep grassy meadow lead down to the busy tourist beach of Llanadog. I considered a portion of chips but having been spoilt by Stoke-on-Trent prices where a bag containing almost too many chips to eat costs less than £2, paying £3 for a handful in a cone was a step too far so I settled myself down on the edge of the beach by the exit to the next section of the coast walk.

Discarding shirt, boots and socks I made up a Huel and rested and drank for as long as I could. The beach was buzzing with Bank Holidaymakers and locals, kayakers and toe-dippers and possibly students smoking and enjoying the sunshine. I sat on the last part of the concrete path off the beach leaning up against the wall of an open air cafe and took in the sights of life off the trail for a little while.

With 4G mobile signal available I checked for campsites and came up a blank unless I wanted to walk three miles inland for one that was simultaneously described as the best campsite ever and the worst campsite ever. With nearly a litre of water I figured I’d have enough to make it to just before or just after Cwm Tydu and would have curry from a can again tonight, meaning I didn’t need to forage for supplies immediately. With New Quay on the horizon tomorrow, and then hopefully Aberaeron or Llanrhystud or perhaps both the day after for an easy couple of days camping.

The climb out of Llangranrog was a bit of a monster and the path a bit busier with access to another beach cove sharing the same track, from there it was a climb up to the shadows of Pen Y Badell, a Celtic hill fort. I was hoping to spend some time there but the path skirts around the bottom of it, with towering sides maybe another couple of hundred feet higher still. Another steep grassy meadow climb put me on the same altitude as the fort and Ynys Lochtyn before me and the coast stretching off to the right.

So my plan now is to take it easy for the rest of the day, walk for a bit, rest up for a bit, find a sleepy spot around 6pm and cook up the other can of vegetable curry.

 


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 6

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.

Saturday 25th May 2019 10:55
Location: The Plwmp Tart, Penbryn
Mileage: 14.8

A break for a breather and a cup of tea at a cwtch café in a car park somewhere in or near Penbryn. I broke camp at 07:30 and within minutes on the trail crossed a small stream, if I had walked just a few hundred feet more I could have washed and washed up last night. A few hundred feet more and I passed a lush looking meadow whose flatness contrasted with the slope of last night’s bed. but would I have traded all the luxuries for the sight of the pod of dolphins cruising up the coast?

In a few more hundred feet a slippery rock took my foot out from under me and dumped me unceremoniously on my arse, brushing myself off the next few hundred feet rewarded me with a slowworm warming itself in the early morning rays of the sun on the path in front of me. The path undulated and became a little overgrown, always in the sight of the radar tower of the missile facility high above on the approaching headland. Finally the path turned to meadows as it diverted away from the base and the headland and delivered me to the top of Aberporth.

Now on the road I passed through an estate of what I guess used to be service personnel houses judging by their uniform design and repairs to extend them beyond their designed working life. The road wound down and down into Aberporth proper and the beach and toilets. There I made my morning ablutions, did last nights washing up and made breakfast. I washed my cooking pot in the beach shower and filled my water bottles in the basin of the beach toilets and packed everything back into my rucksack.

From Aberporth the path leads back up from the other side of the beach. Feeling confident that finding the path would be way I followed a sign and in the absence of any more signs found myself walking through a housing estate of bungalows. The estate gave way to a road out of town, the sea was on my left but the path never appeared. I trudged the mile and a half or so to Tresaith completely missing out on the cliff side views and cascading waterfall of Afon Saith. I sat in a bus shelter at the junction for Llangranog and luxuriated in the new supply of water I had picked up in Aberporth. Consulting the guide this time I could see the start of the path to Penbryn, just round passed the glass and chrome modernist style house being built on the corner in front of me.

The 1.6 miles to Penbryn climb steeply with steps cut into the earth and rock to facilitate the rise in altitude, the sea is on the left as usual and the path meandered up and down, close to and further away from the edge until it was time to rapidly descend down more steps cut into the earth through the woods at Penbryn, arriving here at the cafe in the car park where a lot of tea and a packet of crisps ( for a very modest £2.40) turned into two pots of tea and packets of crisps and a 45 minute break in the sun.

 


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 5

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.

Saturday 25th May 2019 06:40
Location: Near Pen-y-Graig Farm
Mileage: 8

The sun set in all its magnificence last night and I pulled myself down into the bivvi bag, pulling the cords of the sleeping bag tight around me and then the cords of the bivvi bag until I had just a small breathing hole to look out through. The daylight didn’t ever want to give over to night, although the sun fell below the horizon at 21:15, the daylight persisted for what seemed like hours, long past 22:00 until a star appeared in the light grey sky. At some point sleep came over me and I slept fitfully for an hour at a time.

My bed was a slope with a grassy hummock as a foot stop to stop me sliding all the way down the hillside into the sea. I dreamt of here, that as I was sleeping new walkers arrived and by morning it had snowed. The forecast was predicting -20 degrees C and we looked for a way off the trail. I hadn’t packed for minus twenty either in the dream or in real life.

I declared morning at 06:30 sat up in the bivvi, a light dew has covered the tarp that I’m using to both cover the bright red Belisha beacon that is my rucksack and also as a ground mat. My last few hundred millilitres of water have made an adequate cup of black tea and as I sat here nursing it I watched a pod of 6 or 8 dolphins work their way up the coast northwards from my left to right. A seal has just swum passed in the opposite direction. I tried to capture it all on video to upload it onto Instagram but these things never look the same on video as they do in real life. It’s as if the eye and the mind work together to add importance to the subject that I am viewing despite it being so small in the general panorama. When viewed on a photo or video no such importance is applied by the machine and I am left with an image of miles of water and horizon and small dots somewhere in the middle of the foreground that only I know are a pod of sleek dolphins arching their way through the water.

It’s nearing 07:00 and the sun is climbing higher in the sky, warming where the light falls, the breeze is cool, it feels like it will be a warm start to the day. Time to dress and pack everything away and figure out how to carry the empty curry can and dirty saucepan off the trail without covering everything with curry sauce.

So here we have two different versions of the video I took of the dolphins that morning, the spoken word version and the music version –

 


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 4

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.

Friday 24th May 2019 18:52
Location:Somewhere between Mwnt and Aberporth
Mileage: 8

I’m sitting now on a little headland next to a footpath that leads down to the sea. Back up the footpath the other way lies Pen-y-Graig Farm. Two black dolphins are swimming and diving in the waters in front of me, the grey seal lies on a rock in the evening sun. A moment ago it arched its back and stretched out its rear flippers in that curious cat like stretch.

A little sea gull raised its alarm call again and this time I could see it harrying a larger gull and sounding the alarm, until I think the larger gull dropped the egg or chick it had stolen and a dozen more gulls flew down to fight over the stolen treasure. To my left the sun is getting a little lower in the sky. By the rule of fingers sunset is six away, an hour and a half. To my right the missile research base on Aberporth headland looks out over me. With their telescopic sights, zoom-in CCTV and thermal imaging cameras I stand out from the grass of the headland like a glowing beacon. I have no phone signal here either, my pleasant looking field of green transpired to be a field of late corn or some such, with soft granulated soil and overlooked by a caravan in the next field. I suspect the caravan is probably unoccupied as it appeared to be in a horse paddock but I just want up for bedding down in soft loamy field. So I wait here now for darkness to fall so I can seal myself up in my bivvi bag and sleeping bag and sleep out under the stars on this little headland until morning comes, which is likely to be 5 or 6 AM, and I can drink tea and head onwards to Aberporth for supplies, ablutions and breakfast.

Can you spot my sleeping spot?

 


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 3

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.

Friday 24th May 2019 16:45
Location: Somewhere between Mwnt and Aberporth
Mileage: 7

The campsite at Mwnt charges £22 per night, this is not what I had expected when I had set out on this walk with the intention of finding random campsites to pitch up at each night. So it’s Plan B for me and I have been scouting out likely sleeping spots as I have been walking along. I’m now sat on an outcrop one side of a little cove, a black shag has just flown across my eyeline and the noise of the sea fills the air. Up and over to my right appears to be a grassy field and that is where I will take a walk to later to bivvi up for the night.

Unfortunately I didn’t think to top up my water bottles so I start my unplanned sleepover with just a few hundred millilitres of water, maybe just enough for a cup of tea in the morning if I don’t drink any more now.

This morning D gave me a lift to Newcastle Emelyn down from the camp at Cwmpengraig. That let me off the first 5 miles walking and I was able to grab two 750ml bottles of water and some cash from the cashpoint. The bus to Cardigan arrived at 11:33 and I was on my way. I had read the first part of the coast path guide book and I was imagining the route I would need to take to find the start of the trail, it wasn’t until I had got off the bus in the middle of town that I finally realised I had been thinking of Carmarthen again and I had no idea where I was supposed to be going in this town.

I soon found a sign to ‘The Castle’ and from there picked up the route, although I also discovered my guide book was ten years out of date and I wasn’t entirely sure which road Somerfield Supermarket used to be on. I walked a little way down the first road I came to on the left and deciding it was the wrong one walked back up again. On a positive note I now knew where the Cellar Bar was as this seemed to be a good venue for live music and open mic’s from posts I had read on Facebook. Walking past this I took the next road on the left, Market Street, and soon discovered it wasn’t the road I wanted either. It was in fact the first road that I had tried that I needed. Luckily this second road joined up with the first and I crossed the car park at the bottom, walking past the boat that was an Indian restaurant and on to the trail. Before long the trail doubled back on itself through a children’s play area with a couple of impressive, if modern looking, stone circles and then I was on the road for a little while before passing through a gate onto fields.

The path followed the edges of several fields before throwing me out into a boat makers yard. One of the units lay in a smoking husk of a building appearing to have burnt down very recently and important looking people with clipboards and serious faces stood around the blackened hulk.

From the boat yard I was on the path running along the road alongside the wide vista of the Teifi estuary. Passing through Gwbert the path climbed slowly until I arrived at the car park at the top of the hill. Here I stopped for refreshments and my first rest since starting out. Benches faced out to sea with a grand view of Poppit Sands and the mouth of the Teifi.

Another shag flies slowly past me, almost at eye level as it follows the line of the cliff towards Mwnt. My right shoulder is stiff and a little sore, I might be favouring it with the rucksack. The sea gulls on the rocks down below just made a single mournful cry and are silent, or at least inaudible again.

So from the car park it was more road before finally hitting the trail proper which led to Mwnt.

There’s a little kiosk down on Mwnt beach and if I’d have known I wouldn’t be staying at Mwnt tonight then I would have got more water, but I didn’t. These are things we learn, lessons for the Journey. And so now I catch the last of the sun’s warming rays, drying out my t-shirt and airing my feet. My boots steamed when I first took them off and my feet were pink and sweaty and damp. Everything seems to be drying out well in the warming sun. A black headed gull sounds a warning call and flies out to sea before circling back and settling down before all is quiet again other than the crash of waves against the rocks.

There is no phone signal here, I am alone for the night.

As I sit thinking about the path from Mwnt to Aberporth, I think of the strange barbed wired fenced off area with the ‘Danger Radiation’ signs that I passed earlier. It had a couple of white buildings about the size of large sheds on it and on the side facing Aberporth chevrons were painted on them. I guess that could that be some kind of test targets for the QinetiQ Ministry of Defence missile research base on the Aberport headland up ahead. The whole of the path from back there seemed to be in the view of the base like being under surveillance by the eye of Sauron. As I sit here writing, a black head pops up through the sea down below, and then another, two seals in the relative calm of the cove down below. The wind feels a little cooler now, the sun a little less warm and I pull my slightly damp t-shirt back on. Socks and boots will be next and then I’ll strike out to find a secluded spot in the field up ahead out of this wind and out of view.

 

 


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