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
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found a sign to ‘The Castle’ and from there picked up the route, although I also discovered my guide book was ten years out of date and I wasn’t entirely sure which road Somerfield Supermarket used to be on.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.
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