Walking The Ceredigion Coastal Path 17

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.

Wednesday 12th June 2019 16:30
Location: Camping on the Farm, Aberaeron
Distance: 3.82 miles

I’m back here again, we’re wending our way back out of Wales now and we are perhaps one of a handful of campers on the site. Today I ran up past Aberarth and back again, I didn’t cover any new ground but it was interesting to tread the path again. My belly was still full of chips from lunchtime and I’m not feeling 100% fit which was evident from how hard the run felt. This time last year I was chasing a 22 minute 5k, yet at last Saturday’s Park Run I only just scraped in under 26 minutes. The decline has come fast and I’m not sure what the primary causes are, too much Winter perhaps, not enough Spring.

The path was very much the same, along the back of the beach across a heavily pebbled beach and then up onto the grass and the ground rose perhaps ten feet with the beach and crashing waves below. A couple of times the path passed close to the edge where perhaps small landslides had stolen some of the path’s edge. Through Aberarth, where the stream now roared through under the footbridge heavy with the last few day’s rain and up onto the hillside where the sheep grazed. I ran through a field or two until I hit the 3k mark and turned round and ran back again. This time I could see the van in the field ahead and romped home knackered and happy.

I feel next time we’re up this way that a run to Llanrhystud would be a good way to start laying some of the demons of the walk to rest.

 


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 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

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 11

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 09:30
Location: Mariner’s Cafe, New Quay
Mileage: 26

I was off the campsite by 07:45 heading round the back of the beach and up onto the coast path. A steep climb to regain altitude and away I went. The rain mostly held off, nothing more than a light drizzle, I considered stripping off my waterproof trousers but before long they were soaked through by the long grass that grew over this section of the path. My feet were squelching in my no longer waterproof boots. All this time I was carrying my tent in my hands, swapping it from hand to other hand until finally with what looked like a vicious climb ahead I broke early for breakfast at 08:30 on a large rock just off the trail. I took this opportunity to empty most of my rucksack out and squeeze the tent back in. This I might regret later if it soaks my sleeping bag, but everything else is in my waterproof drybag, just my shirt and sleeping bag at risk. A small risk I say now.

Pushing on, the climb was vicious, steps cut into the hillside, but before long things eased out again. A mist rolled in slowly from the sea and the on-shore wind now buffeted my waterproof trousers inflating them like windsocks. An ominous sign suggested an alternative route ‘avoiding the cliff edge’ which I eagerly took. Passing a runner coming in the opposite direction I knew I must be nearing New Quay. It was still quite a trek through the clouds which had now rolled all around me, the view was limited to a few hundred yards in each direction now. The path eased into a relatively flat well prepared path that passed stone buildings on the left, lookouts and viewpoints and a stone circle in a field on the right, before the final descent into New Quay.

Stepping off the trail and landing in a built up area is an odd experience, after two days on the trail now I am starting to feel out of step and out of time with the realities of built up areas. I’m walking into New Quay with my world on my back after walking since early morning and yet the people I pass are walking out of their front doors and into cars to go wherever they go.

And so here I am now, two hours after leaving Cwm Tydu, contemplating the next six miles to Aberaeron which, at this rate of progress, should take another three hours. Hope the veggie health food shop is open on a Sunday and that I make it on time.

 


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!

 

Thinking On

Every day I walk these streets I try to take them in. Every detail, the pall of smog from the incinerator smokestack separating the oily black of the night sky from the neon glow of the streetlights lining the A50 below. The football stadium stands like a citadel in the middle of the middle distance and the drone of the traffic rises up to meet me.

Chamberlain Avenue draws up from London road in a exponential steepness dragging its way upwards from the kebab shops and oatcake shops, broken windows and broken paving slabs. The discarded sweet wrappers, beer cans and broken glass are suddenly gone and fallen leaves take their place in piles of brown and gold. Council workers blow and sweep the leaves into the back of their pickup but they don’t pick up the rubbish in London Road. Chamberlain Avenue leads to Penkhull, London Road is Stoke. Stoke Town. One of the six towns of Stoke-on-Trent.

I take in these details, because one day when I have left here and find my peace, these things, these memories and sights and sounds will become words and stories and songs. But for now they weigh heavily and it is the best I can do to take them in at all.


January 2019 and these thoughts did distill into a song carrying the essence of some of my Stokie experiences:

Chamberlain Road – James Laurie / Pony Folk – Stoke-on-Trent version 2

https://youtu.be/Rj10g1D3CX8

Hiding In Plain Sight

Becoming a teenager we start to make choices, how to be individual, how to be who we want to be in the world. Are we going to conform or are we going to not-conform. Although even when we’re not conforming we have to be aware of what conforming looks like in order do the opposite. We are never truly free as we are either tracking the conformity in order to be like it or else tracking the conformity to maintain its exact opposite.

I believe we spend our teenage years hiding, building barriers between ourselves and the world, perhaps the types and numbers and levels and severities of barriers fit our upbringing, our society, our family situations. The juxtaposition of building the barrier is that the barrier becomes a beacon, for example growing a beard. When I was coming of age in the eighties beards were a niche item, worn / grown only by those who were still grieving the seventies or by bikers and metal-heads. But a beard is just a beard, so in order to be counter-conformist it had to be be big. Now I’m no longer hiding, I’m standing out. I have a huge beard, so my character has to grow to hold it. Then it’s no longer just the huge beard, it’s also long hair. Maybe just the long hair isn’t cutting it anymore in my peer group, so we start to look for justifications and historical references. Maybe you go the Tolkien route, or start reading Viking lore and long hair is plaited, beards are plaited, tattoos become iconic. Maybe your friends don’t grow beards so well, maybe piercings are their thing. One or two piercings, an ear or two, maybe a nostril, are well, quite frankly rather conformist. So more are required. Or perhaps bigger hoops, longer dangles, chains from ear to nose, bigger holes, more holes, holes in places that other people, ‘normal’ people, square people, don’t have them. Add to this smoking, vaping, drug-taking, fast food, over-eating, under-eating. Those last years of our teens where patterns are created and lifestyles are set and peer groups are strong. This is the foundation of our twenties. But the more we hide behind these elaborate masks the more we stand out, and the more we stand out the greater the character has to be that we create to hide the part of us that we wanted to hide in the first place.

And then all of this nonsense of our teens gets abandoned in our twenties, we’re now looking for jobs, looking for promotion, getting married, having babies, buying houses. Heads down we play house and take on the gender roles of our parents and grand-parents. Maybe we learned to be different or maybe we are still playing out the scripts they have given us. We see the kids taking the world we thought we’d created and subverting it for themselves, the music grows further and further away from where we left it.

But if our growing years has made us conform, and we are now acting out our roles like good consumers should, where has all the energy gone that we put into creating those alter egos of our teens?

“Energy can neither be created nor destroyed; rather it can only be transformed from one form to another.” – 1st Law of Thermodynamics

We’ve buried it, we’ve suppressed it and we’ve set ourselves up for the fall. The classic mid-life crisis is coming and it comes earlier and lasts longer than ever before now. By our thirties we have found new ways to numb the existential angst that we see gnawing at the corners of our world and once again we start to reach for the crutches of our teenage years to prove we’re still alive.

“The Long Bag We Drag Behind Us…. all aspects of ourselves that are unacceptable and displeasing to our family, peers, and society, goes into the bag and it continues to fill until we’re twenty, after which we spend the rest of our lives trying to retrieve from” – Robert Bly

But beards, and piercings and tattoos and obesity are now the norm and the kids are wearing retro and all our old clothes are in the vintage shops now. Walking down the magazine aisle of Sainsbury’s, there are shelves of music magazines, guitar magazines, rock magazines, classic rock, prog rock, all espousing music from the 1960’s and 1970’s. Learn to play like the Rolling Stones, Guns and Roses 30th Anniversary tour, The Doors, King Crimson. Turn a corner and they are selling vinyl again. Our old tricks no longer work, we can no longer work on ourselves to create our own individuality, albeit within the parameters of the peer group we have chosen. We may have lost our youth but we have gained affluence and our affluence opens new doors to new hiding places. Which one is yours?

Wine, just a bottle or two each night?
Season ticket, a few beers in the week, a few more on the weekend?
A Conservatory, astro turf?
Bigger TV, sound bar, another DVD?
Takeaways, barbecues, restaurants, hydrogenated fats and MSG?
Motorbike, sports car?
Just another car, because, well the old one’s getting old?

So where are we now? We are created in the images of our parents, twenty years of relationship learning through osmosis. We define ourselves in our teenage years and follow a path of conformity or rebellion. Take any action or belief of our parents and I guarantee we will either do the same or the opposite. In the next decade we suppress it all and the decade after that it all leaks out again. We don’t recognise these things of ourselves though because we have worked all our lives to suppress them, so we will always see them in others We will be drawn to those others and see in those others the traits we have hidden away from ourselves. When we recognise this then we can begin to know what we have never known. And like the Hanged Man in Tarot represents surrender or sacrifice, our constructed ego must die in order for us to grow anew.

“In the encounter with Shadow, your conscious personality will sometimes be overwhelmed or shattered. Your ego might experience a death, but it will thereby be enabled to later rise from the ashes like a phoenix endowed with new powers…” – Bill Plotkin

What we must learn is to find the the third path, that of our own voice.

We must start again.

“…and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognised as your own,
that kept you company
as you stride deeper and deeper
into the world…” – Mary Oliver – The Journey