For newcomers

At the bottom of each post there is the word "comments". If you click on it you will see comments made by followers, and if you follow the instructions you may also comment and I always welcome that. I have found many people overlook this part of the blog which is often more interesting than the original post!

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Saturday, 30 April 2011

Welsh Boundary Walk - Criccieth to Llanbedrog

Saturday 30th April- day 11
When I arrived at last night's site an elderly gent told me to pitch where I wanted and a lady would come round and collect the fee. This didn't happen, and at 7:45am this morning I was reluctant to knock on the door, so I am sorry to say I left without paying.
A twenty minute walk took me back down to Criccieth. The cafe did not open until 9:00 so remembering the benefit of a free night I went into the posh Lion Hotel and had a posh £10 breakfast - excellent!
Six hours of more or less non stop mixed coastal and inland walking took me to Pwlleli . There was a huge fleet of dinghies racing in the bay (420s I was told). In the town I had scones and tea and marched on to this site in Llanbedrog. Once again a "brown sign" indicated camping which turned out to be erroneous. The lady told me they only had a licence for caravans and the council wanted £600 to change the sign. However I was alowed to camp. Next to me in a caravan is a family and the son has completed the D of E Gold Award and also has his own web site (disguised as a blog) where his subject Iis photography of urban subjects - www.behindthecity.co
We had good conversation about computers etc. And I will be looking at his site when I get back. He reckons Orange now provide better coverage than Vodafone for people with outdoor interests.
There is a pub in the village so I'm off to see if I can eat there.


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Welsh Walk - north of Harlech to Criccieth

Friday 29th April - Day 10
Two items from yesterday: I saw two swans swimming along in the sea which seemed unusual to me, and departing Barmouth I walked through a caravan site first talking to the proprietor. He advised me about walking on the beach and mentioned some slippery rocks that would need to be negotiated if tide were high. He said "if you slip there you'll be drinking soup for the rest of your life", and not having heard the expression before I found it quite amusing.
Last night's site appeared to be perfect until I found I had pitched not far from the exhaust pipe of an oil fired heating plant which emitted a loud roaring noise for periods of fifteen minutes at unpredictable intervals, thankfully this problem went quiet after midnight.
Today I crossed the estuary to Portmadog and saw Portmerion across the bay as well as a brief flirtation with the pretty Festiniog Railway. I also had great views of the rock cliffs of Tremadoc where I climbed several times with my old pal Tony. The walking has been attractive but not quite so spectacular and it has been hot.I am camped about a mile north of Criccieth out in the country on a pleasant, private and orderly site, or so it would seem at the moment.
I spent a lot of tome chasing down a gas cylinder in Portmadoc. Because there are clip on, pierce and threaded, mine being threaded they seem to be difficult to find.

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Friday, 29 April 2011

Welsh Walk - Barmouth to north of Harlech

Thursday 28th April - day 9
Walked a large part on the best beach in the country. Six miles of pristine sand which was the most perfect walking surface. No footprints, no litter, about one couple met every half hour, all in wall to wall sunshine. I donned my Crocs enabling me to cross the odd streams running across the sand into the sea.
I passed through Shell Island (not an island) which is reputed to be the largest camp site in Europe. It is all spaced on hummocky cropped grass with no overcrowding, and not as bad as it sounds.
In Harlech I visited an up market tearoom which even had a guy acting as Front of House. When I asked about the existence of the campsite I am on he went off and tephoned them and confirmed my stay for the night.
This is a small privately owned site with no hoodlums or shell suited, ear pierced tatooees which has been the norm on some of the sites so far. I am just waiting for the sun to go down a bit more before cooking.
I wrote a post last night and despite having s modest signal all day it has refused to go, so I suppose this one will go into the stack as well.


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Welsh Walk

Wednesday 27th April - day 8
I was glad to leave that dreadful camp site this morning. Apart from its dreariness a gale (without rain) blew all night. My Terra Nova is remarkable, not a peg came loose nor did anything budge even though it felt as if we would take off. It was also very cold this morning and I walked until after ten wearing my Hollowfill jacket. After that it became hot. Wonderful scenery continued, a lot from high vantage points. The hills behind Barmouth look inviting. This could be a good place to stay and do daily outings from.
I am noticing the tendency of many farmers with gates using the perfectly adequate sneck mechanism to add a piece of that ubiquitous orange or blue hairy cord to provide an additional fastening. That cord is what farmers refer to as "a bit o' band".
I have booked into The Taly-y-Don hotel in Barmouth so I can do some much needed laundry and gadget charging etc.

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Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Welsh Walk- south of Macynlleth to south of Tywyn

Tuesday 26th April - day 7
Last night's site was Morben Isaf situated next to the Osprey watching site where I called in and saw live tv pictures of the Osprey on it's nest. The site was of the highest quality (better than Caravan Club) as I mentioned in yesterday's post. This morning I was brought tea and toast and marmalade by the friendly people in the nearby caravan.
Yesterday in Borth huge stones had been brought in barges across the North Sea from Norway and they were building huge sea defences. I was told that this was cheaper than using stone from the UK and paying for it's transport by road or rail.
Yesterday I went into The Wildfowlers Arms (can't remember the village), this was a food pub, but I was told they don't do sandwiches- so much for the traditional hostelry providing for the weary traveller.
Today I have travelled back along the northern shores of the Dovey Estuary after the long trek inland to cross the bridge at Machynlleth. The views were superb.
I am now on one of the worst camping/caravan sites I have ever seen. Everything is run down, seedy, strangely quiet and abandoned. I must remember to take some photos.

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Welsh Walk-replies to comments

I am doing this as a post because it less fraught.
BB - thanks for your cheery comments.
Gimmer-I think conventional strong boots would still have been uncomfortable. The Roclites are proving to be, by far and away, the most comfortable boots I have ever had.
John Proud-glad to hear you had a good trip. What's next?
Mick and Gayle - thanks for your comments. Hopefully you will have received more from me on your own blog.

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Message to all

Posting replies to comments is fraught with difficulty, but I will try. If I try to reply direct and the signal is not strong enough to post I loose the whole thing. The alternative is to write in email then copy and paste into Blogger Dadhboard then attempt to post. If it fails I still retain the email to try again. Opening all these sites is dreadfully slow and time consuming. Often I can get an email to go but not so often a blog post or comment reply.

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Welsh Walk - North of Aberystwyth to just south of Machynlleth

More up and down to start with. On reflection the walk so far has been more akin to mountain walking and quite strenuous. Eventually, after Borth things flattened out and there was a long stretch following the river out of Borth with reeds and the sound of reed warblers on one side and various kinds of croaking geese on the water - one pair followed me for a few hundred yards honking and croaking all the way. I have had some sections on the very busy A487 (possibly Easter traffic), but on two parts I was able to use footpaths over the hills above the road with terrific views of the Dovey estuary. Passing a house on the busy road I was invited in for tea, a Wagon Wheel, and a look at the Great Western one inch to one foot model locomotive the chap was building. His workshop was immaculate and full of all kinds of precision engineering machines, stocks of bar rod and sheet metals of various kinds and nuts and bolts of every denomination all carefully labelled in used Gold Block tobacco tins. Apparently that is what he smokes in his pipe. There is much more I could tell about this pleasing interlude, but suffice to say they were very kind and interesting people, and for Pete and Liz they had a garden to die for with variousf ingenious additions from the engineering inventor husband.
On arrival at this immaculate camp site I was given a cup of tea and escorted to a favourable pitch and given a garden chair to use - this lady proprietor seemed to fully understand the needs of weary back packers. No sooner than all this had taken place, and whilst I was putting up the tent my friendly caravan neighbour brought me a huge piece of chocolate cake and cream. I seem to have hit a lucky streak.

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Sunday, 24 April 2011

Welsh Walk - Abaraeron to Glan y Mor

Sunday 25th April - day 5
I ate in The Harbourmaster Inn on the harbour side in Aberaeron last night. I had excellent fish and chips. The place was heaving but had a good atmosphere and incredibly efficient service considering the crowds.
Today has been another scorcher starting out flat and then plenty of ups and downs. A large part was on sloping hillside where the path was not cut out so one's feet and ankles were twisted making for very uncomfortable walking.

From the start there have been many of the triangular swing gate constructions as well as stiles. The triangular shape is supposed to accommodate your rucksack but often it doesn't. At that point you have to climb up the fencing rails until your rucksack is above the height of the structure. Some of these gates have lower rails and the rucksack passes over the top - I am not sure but I think these are on National Trust properties - good thinking.
My site tonight is a couple of kilometers north of Aberystwyth and it is a huge leisure complex. The warden was very helpful and let me stay for free. He also found me a gas cylinder in his shop which he let me have at cost price, and then found me the best pitch on the site overlooking the sea. Some friendly caravaners next door to me are charging up my Mili charger, the sun is shining and all is well. I promised a mention of this site: Sunbourne Leisure at Glan y Mor - highly recommended from my experience.  http://www.sunbourne.co.uk/
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Saturday, 23 April 2011

Welsh Walk - Aberporth to Aberaeron

Saturday 23rd April - day 4

Big sea fret most of day but clearing to glorious sunshine on arrival. The first site wanted to charge me £22, but had the good grace to tell me about www.campingonthefarm.co.uk 200 yards further up the road. Here there was one cancellation vacancy and the proprietor agreed to reduce his £14 charge to £10 when I told him what I was doing. The site is laid out like horseshoe and I am at the end - I guess it is a quarter of a mile to the toilet block.
T
During the walk I have seen much evidence of badgers where they have dug massive holes with huge spoil heaps, often largely of stone; they must be incredibly strong. Perhaps you should hire one Pete for putting all those plants into your stony garden.
I have been wearing shorts (zip offs zipped off) and so far have only sustained one nettle sting.
Yesterday I walked through the yard of Swallow Boats. Dan if you are reading this it is worth Googling, they do boats in glass and wood and appear to have very attractive lines.
Off to the pub now for some grub.

Friday, 22 April 2011

Welsh Walk - St Dogmaels to Aberporth

Thursday 22nd April - day 3
I promised to report on Cawl. It is a hearty meat and vegetable broth served with a hunk of cheese on the side. Mine was good but the rest of the meal not noteworthy.
The Webley Hotel last night was good. I had some excellent scallops as a starter, but I certainly can't afford this every night. 
It was a bit of a trudge through Cardigan then more peerless cliff walking, although uncomfortably hot. Strange how ignorant many people are about their own locale when you ask the way. I have discovered that a lot more Coastal Path has been opened up so I have been able to ignore my more tortuous, slightly inland route. I am now camped about 2km east of Aberporth waiting for the sun to decline a bit before I cook a meal.
Vodafone coverage has been poor and it has yawn me into the third day to get a couple o posts up-it is ala very time consuming leaving little room for revision etc.

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Welsh Walk - Newport to St Dogmaels

Thurs. 21st April - day 2.
What a magnificent walk. I breakfasted at the Spar in Newport- chicken sandwich, Kit Kat and Fanta. I left half the Kit Kat for later, and also bought cheese and what I thought were Hob Nob biscuits for later.
This part of the Coastal Path has many steep ups and downs negotiating what are called zawns in Cornwall, but there are long stretches of exciting cliff top sections where you are walking very close to the edge of steep drops with no fence protection. The rock cliff scenery combined with blue sea and sky on thus hot sunny day were stunning. This is a sixteen mile stretch with no facilities for water or refreshment.
At my lunch stop I found that my Hob Nobs were Caramel Crumbles and they were rather a sticky mess and the other half of my Kit Kat was liquid.

Coming into St Dogmaels I came across the YHA hostel. It was about 3.30. Somebody said the warden comes at 5.00. I was going to stay and so plugged my iPhone etc in and made a cup of tea, but on looking at the food storage compartments it looked like there were a lot of people staying and I anticipated a bun fight in the kitchen trying to cook a meal even if there was room for me to stay. There were no instructions about what to do on arrival and all in all I was getting bad vibes about this place. I decided to walk on and found a b and b with evening meals just before St Dogmaels - it is virtually a pub. i am now typing this having showered and washed all my clothing using the traditional towel drying method and I am looking forward to the meal.
I forgot to mention a bit of drama yesterday some way out of Fishguard at a cliff top static caravan site where a coastguard arrived in his car and commenced to search the sea with binoculars. When I asked what was going on he pointed out a pinprick of a speedboat near the horizon, and he said its engine had failed - "it's drifting off to Ireland" he said, but apparently the inshore lifeboat was on it's way.

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Welsh Walk Day 1- Fishguard to Newport

Wednesday 20th April. All trains were on time and I left Fishguard station at 1:25 with cloudless blue sky and hot sunshine. Enjoyable cliff walking soon started all a bit reminiscent of Cornwall but not as tough. I had targeted Newport which was a bit ambitious and I didn't arrive until 6:45 to camp on a pleasant private site near the harbour (parrog). I have now walked up into the town (about 10 mins) where I am about to experience Welsh cawl in the Royal Oak, and I am drinking paint of Red Dragon. I will report on the cawl later- I'm not sure exactly what it is at this stage. I have been told that the next section of this Coastal path is really tough so I intend to set a modest target for tomorrow.

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Friday, 15 April 2011

Photoshop Express app for iPhone

Just in case anybody missed my comment on the last post here is a bit more about the new app I have found called Photoshop Express. This app has many attributes but the feature that interests me is photo enhancement. Photos I have taken so far on the iPhone are more than often so underexposed as to be unusable. Here are two before and after examples where I have also used the crop facility.















Don't forget you should be able to view enlarged versions of the photos by clicking on them.

If anybody reading my blog is also following Mick and Gayle http://gayleybird.blogspot.com/ on their Lowestoft to Ardnamurchan trek here is a pic of The Eildon Hills they have just referred to which I walked between on my LEJOG walk.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Fife coastal walk - finale

Comments on the last post are answered on that post.
The walk was finished yesterday (Saturday) at 12:30.
I am typing this at home instead of using the fiddly iPhone. I still find accurate letter selection difficult and have to make many corrections. I enjoy correcting composition, and trying to achieve conciseness, but correcting typos is tedious and too time consuming at the end of a good day’s walking, so apologies for the many uncorrected bits in those posts.
The section from Leuchars was largely through mixed forest with hints of the sea to the right, and a glorious day of sunshine and blue skies. The scenery along the south coast of The Firth of Tay looking across to Dundee was notable - there were two enormous oil rigs moored there. There was no indication of the finishing point in Newport on Tay which is described on the website I was working from as The Pier Buildings which I found. A local shopkeeper said “well that’s Newport for you”. Some walkers I spoke to said they thought the walk has been extended a few miles further down the Tay  and the finishing point may therefore have been relocated.
It took eight hours to get home. A bus from Newport on Tay to Dundee. Rail from Dundee to Glasgow where I had to change stations by bus. Train from Glasgow to Carlisle. Bus (because of rail engineering works) from Carlisle to Oxenholme where my daughter met me with car.
Here are some photos to give a flavour of the walk. I find it difficult to remember to take photos on the iPhone, and the ones I did take are too dark to use - they could be improved using Photoshop, but not out in the field.
Forth Bridge























Two of the eight chains on The Chain Walk

Anstruther?
£125 a round on this Cambo Links golf course

I might still have been there!

The Tay Road Bridge
Posted at midnight after watching the outcome of The Masters.


Friday, 8 April 2011

Crail to 2km north of Leuchars(wild camp)

Last night I had a decent meal in The Golf Hotel in Crail and then had a comfortable night in my private garden camp site. A slight diversion was made this morning back to the Coop to buy breakfast and Fanta and shortbread biscuits for during the day.
Bright sunshine persisted all day, but also a gale force wind coming diagonally at me making for energy sapping walking.
This trip has swung from deprivation to riches in both the materialistic and aesthetic contexts. Today I have had splendid coastal scenery and three golf courses, the fial one being St Andrews. The previous two were Crail which has just built an imposing new glass fronted clubhouse that must have cost over a million pounds. The second one was Cambo Links where I sat and chatted to one of the greenkeepers. This is a championship "links" course which does not have members but one pays £125 per round and tbis is shortly to be increased to £160.
I wamted to get to the other side of St Andrews so I could finish the walk tomorrow so I aimed for Leuchars. Here there was no camping and nobody st home at the only b and b. I went into a butcher's shop and had my water bottles filled and then plodded on another couple of kilometers out of the village. I went to a farm to ask for camping permission but nobody was there so I pressed on up the road and eventually campwd in a field. Whilst in the middle of my repast i was visited by the farmer on his bike. He qas very pleasant and had no objection to my enxroachnment.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Addendum to last post

At the Upper Largo Hotel last night i dined well. At the end of the meal i asked the proprietor for a whisky explaining that i like Glemorangie, but thought that to be a bit of a cliche, and i asked him to select something appropriate for me. I got an Eradour which is supposedly the smallest distillery in Scotland with very limited supplies and distribution. It was sublime. You can Google for their website if you are interested, but i suspect it may be difficilt to find pubs that have it at the bar even in Scotlsnd.

Largo to Crail via The Chain Walk

Good weather at last, and a vast improvement in the scenery and surroundings. The Chain Walk was unexpectedly strenuous in a couple of places- not to be taken lightly.
Coming out of Anstruther I saw a saddleless and riderless horse bolting up a hillside track. A bit further on a girl was running towards me, phone to ear and blood streamIng down her face. She would not stop and was crying and saying she must retrieve the hoese. There was nothing else Irj could do.
Further on I met a couple coming towards me. They told me about camp sites and pubs in Crail which was now about two miles distant. They also offered their garden if all else failed. The first site jn Crail no longer took tents even tbough the "brown sjgn" in the town said hey did, and it was the same at the second, so I am now camped in David and ?'s garden and looking foeward to a meal
in the recommended Golf Hotel.
For anybody considering this walk who is not too bothered about ticking it off as a fully completed long distance walk i would suggest startimg it at  Largo. From there on it has been very pleasant so far.

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Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Kinghorn (Pettycurr Bay) to Lower Largo

The restaurant last night was elevated a couple of hundred feet above the bay. I had panoramic views of kite surfers who are obviously total fanatics - they went on until it was nearly dark. 
Rain persisted until about 1.0pm today. I left the site at 7.20 am. Nobody had been to collect any money. Breakfast was taken in a cafe in Kinghorn - rwo Scotch pies and a rhubarb tart and a mug of tea.A lot of the walking has been through towns, run down areas with boarded up shops, and industrial wasteland, but interspeesed with some pretty scenery,  but it is all of interest. It seems odd how many new houses are being built at sea level.
It is now 3.15 and i am on an immaculate little family site and the sun is atruggling through. I have been told there is a pub half a mile away where i can eat. Weather and scenery seem to be improving, and i am settling into the old routine again.

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Tuesday, 5 April 2011

North Qieensferry to Kinghorn

The first drama was having to leave the train at Carlisle and bus to  Lockerbie to entrain again because of repairs to overhead cables. This put me about three quarters of an hour behind schedule, so I didn't leave North Queensferry until 12.30. I had a cafe stop at Inverkeithing and arrived at this site about5.00pm. Apart from some pleasant views of the Firth of Forth, and the drama of The Forth Bridge the route has not been particularly inspiring. I am hoping for improvement tomorrow. It has been sunny most of the day but with drizzle, and quite windy.
This site is a large static caravan complex including an hotel, so i'm  going to eat theretonight.
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