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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Sunday, 26 June 2011

Dickie Morsley - update on my post of 6th May (day 17 of Welsh Walk)

In the post referred to I told of meeting the widow of Dickie Morsley in Llandygai near Bangor. Mrs M told me of her husband’s connections with JHB Bell who I erroneously said had written “Mountaineering in Scotland”, the proper title of his classic opus is “A Progress in Mountaineering” published in 1950. John Proud and Tom W did some research and found some reference to Dickie, and these are detailed in the comments on the post.
In Bell’s book I have found reference to Dickie in a lively account by Bell of an ascent of Central Buttress on Scafell in September 1940 with Dickie,  Jack Henson and Percy Small. Here is a short extract describing the start.
“The climb started up a steep slab with with two rather difficult movements. At the top of the first pitch we were hailed by Syd Cross, and Mrs Cross and A T Hargreaves from below, bestowing words of advice and encouragement. Cross had led CB in boots without any combined tactics at the Flake Crack ...”
Mrs M also mentioned her husband making the first ascent of Suicide Wall which led me to The Climbers’ Club Guide to Ogwen and Carneddau (1993), and the following extract.


 "Of the characters hardened by army training Chris Preston stood out above the rest. He had been one of the party which clipped an hour off the Welsh 3000 footers, and after a day's climbing had raced up Snowdon in 48 mins. His route Advocate's Wall on the Devil's Kitchen was merely a prelude to a major breakthrough. On October 7th 1945 Preston led the first route on Suicide (WallSuicide Wall Route 1). By modern standards it is graded E2 5c, and one must remember that it was done in gym shoes - there were no runners - and it was utterly serious and committing from the moment that he made his big push. Not surprisingly there were only two repeats during the next 14 years, and the route remained for some years as the hardest route in the country. By comparison John Lawton's  1948 route Suicide Groove was far more amenable, but nevertheless it was an intimidating line and compared well with other hard routes of the day.


One pre-war push had been made when Paul Work and APG HUghes attacked the front to Llech Ddu but sadly after completing three very hard pitches they were forced to retreat. It was left to George Dwyer and Dickie Morsley to complete the Central Route of Llech Ddu in 1946. It was an inspired foretaste of what was to come in the future".


I have not been able to trace who seconded Preston on Suicide Wall, but guess this may have been our Dickie - I reckon persistent Googling may find the answer, but Climbers’ Club records are unreadable on badly reproduced pdfs. Somebody who is a member would presumably have access to the originals, which would also most ilkely be lodged with the British Library. 

Monday, 20 June 2011

Welsh Boundary Walk - aftermath

Thursday/Friday 16/17th June
Thursday night at The Cartref Hotel was enjoyable. The proprietress, Kristiina is a Finnish lady and an interesting conversationalist. There was a good connection because I visited Finnish friends in Finland with my family back in the Eighties. I had noticed that Kristiina had framed illustrations from Kalevala, and some other interesting paintings which we talked about; she also had a good knowledge of the history of the French Invasion of Fishguard in 1797. 
I needed a taxi to get to the station the next day for 1:30pm, the alternative being more than half an hour’s walk. Kristiina could not find a taxi for me and eventually offered to drive me herself. In the morning I left my rucksack at the hotel and looked round the town including a visit to the town hall where is displayed a magnificent tapestry celebrating the two hundredth anniversary of The Invasion. This splendid item was made over a period of four years involving seventy seven local people and depicts the history of the event in fascinating detail. It is 30.4 metres long by 53 cm deep, and is intentionally based on the Bayeux Tapestry. I try to avoid coercing other people into seeing, or reading things that might not be of interest to them, but I would strongly recommend anybody to go and have a look at the Fishguard tapestry.
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A few reflections on the walk.
The walk gave me a great feeling of satisfaction in its achievement proving to be a readily identifiable and appealing project.
The most enduring impression was the generosity and willingness to be helpful, very often at inconvenience to themselves, of the Welsh people. That may sound trite which impels me to re-emphasise the point.
The second impression was the sheer lengths of continuous beauty of the Welsh coastline. I had an ongoing personal debate comparing The Gower and Pembrokeshire coasts, and whilst they each have their individual merits, the fact that the Pembrokeshire coastline is National Park, where unsightly development has been restricted, is something to be truly thankful for. The estuary area of The River Towy including Ferryside and Laugharne was another part that particularly impressed me on two glorious days of sharp clarity and rich colour, and having the added ambience of its association with Dylan Thomas.
A surprise for me was the coastline between Chepstow and Cardiff which I had imagined would be partly industrial and dreary, but turned out to be peaceful, pretty and dotted with unspoiled villages mostly occupied by local people and not turned into townees’ weekend  retreats. 
On the downside the state of public footpaths was often tiresome, particulalry down the eastern border. Most of these are marked by signposts where they leave the road, but after that tend to be badly overgrown, indiscernible on the ground, and at worst blocked off with barbed wire and locked gates. In the end, if I could see a road alternative that kept me within the guideline that I had set myself, of staying two kilometres either side of the border, I would take the road. Campsites were limited in many places leading to a test of one’s resourcefulness to find a place to stay.
I only remember one disagreeable person, and I hope he was not Welsh - he was the manager of The Acorn Campsite at Llantwit Major who would not let me stay on his site because he said it was full when it was obvious he could easily have accommodated a tiny backpacking tent on various bits of grass that were evident even as I spoke to him. It was about five in the afternoon, and his refusal put me to a lot of trouble, but it was his downright negative attitude that rankled with me, being in such marked contrast to the many people who had been so helpful.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Welsh Boundary Walk - Abercastle to Fishguard

Thursday 16th June - day 58 (last day)

When I arrived at Trellyn last night there was nobody about. A notice asked delivery people to blow their horn for attention. I have carried a bright orange emergency whistle for years now, and fortunately have never had occasion to use it. One blast produced immediate results (no need for six times a minute).

In the evening Kevin and Claire invited me into the house for wine and chat with their son and two other boys who were staying and cycling back to their home via Cycle Route 4 (the one I have mentioned before running from London to Fishguard). I also had a tour of the site, and yes Gimmer you are right about teepee versus yurt, but Kevin has made a de luxe yurt which I saw and will show you photos later; I had intended to post photos but forgot to take them on the iPhone.

This morning the sun shone and the sea sparkled. If you are reasonably fit and want your soul uplifting go and walk The Pembrokeshire Coast Path for the fourteen miles or so between Abercastle and Fishguard. During the first two hours I only met one person who turned out to be a friend of Kevin and Claire; he was called Pete and he had four dogs who all seemed to be as excited by the spectacular scenery and glorious weather as I was. The combination of last night's stay and that walk have provided a wonderful climax to what has been a very worthwhile project.

The walk was finished at Fishguard railway station at 3:15pm.

I am now in the Cartref Hotel in Fishguard having bought a Welsh T shirt, and another shirt to wear for my proposed visit to one of the two recommended restaurants. According to the Welsh dictionary app that I downloaded to the iPhone Cartref means a home.

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Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Yurt

My yurt at trellyn.co.uk

Me and my fire at Trellyn

Welsh Boundary Walk - Whitesands Bay to Abercastle

Wednesday - 15th June - day 57

It is not often that I get down to Plan D. Plan A was to to stay in the Ship Inn at Trefin. B was to bed a breakfast at Trefin and eat in the pub if the pub did not do accommodation. C was to camp on the site at Trefin.

The pub did not do accommodation, but recommended three b and bs all of which were no good for various reasons, and when I saw the campsite I didn't fancy it, so Plan D evolved. There was another campsite a couple of kilometres up the road at Abercastle so I made for that. This turned out to be Trellyn Woodland Camping - trellyn.co.uk. This is a huge woodland site with yurts set up and also camping pitches. Tarpaulin type kitchens are also set up and full provision for wood fires including supplies of wood. Kevin Bird has Canadian background and set about bringing a backwoods camping experience to this site. I must say it is a wonderful set up. I am now installed in my own yurt and have a huge wood fire outside keeping me warm. What a find, and what a last night.

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Welsh Boundary Walk - Newgale to Whitesands Bay

Tuesday 14th June - day 56

Ups and downs for the first two miles then mostly flat cliff top walking in full sunshine.

There have been more people on this section than anywhere else on the trip. I probably encountered someone every ten minutes including a chap I had chatted to in the village last night (no, not the Bernie Ecclestone character). Most of the people are middle class retirees, well dressed, and wearing stout shoes.

I called at the post office in Solva where I was made welcome and chatted for some time.

At Porth Clais there was a kiosk cafe (fruitcake, flapjack and tea).

There is literally drama at the moment in Whitesands Bay. A film company is making a production of either Richard the Second, or the Third. My two sources differed as to which king it is. As I arrived on the cliff top I came across two people, the first being some sort of paparazzi who had found himself what coarse fishermen call "a good hole" well nestled into the long grass with camera and long lens overlooking the scene of the production on the beach. The second was an archetypal security, night club bouncer type who was trying to eject Paparazzi, but with very little verbal skill- they were really going at it as I slid past unnoticed by these two combatants.

The guy in the cafe a bit further on said the production had brought little extra business because the film company are almost self sufficient, and in fact at one stage they had been trying to prevent the public from visiting the bay.

This has been an easy and pleasant day. The campsite here is mediocre - I am on a slope, and there is no paper in the wc. I have just walked down to the car park area and public toilet where things are much better appointed. My neighbours are a German family with a campervan tent combination, and it is their first campsite in England which made me feel embarrassed, and urged me to assure them we gave better sites than this.

It looks like one more night after this and a finish on Thursday.

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Tuesday, 14 June 2011

My shadow

Not far off the longest day. 8:50pm - 13th June at Newgale, Pembrokeshire.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Welsh Boundary Walk - Maloes to Newgale

Monday 13th June - day 55

The sun shines again! A glorious day of walking on the coastal path. It was interesting to see about half a dozen tankers at anchor in the sheltered bay off Maloes, presumably waiting their turn to moor onto the docking platforms to unload their oil via the pipework I enthused about a couple of days ago.

I met another backpacker which makes about six since I came onto the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path. The odd thing is that very few backpackers I meet seem to be experienced. By that I mean that they are carrying grossly heavy loads with tents and sleeping mats looking as though they are about to fall off, and straps dangling everywhere. They also seem to continue wearing heavy warm clothing when I, who suffers the cold more than most, am walking in just a shirt and shorts. I think because they have spent three hundred pounds on a multi layered Berghouse jacket they feel that they are not creating the right image if they are not wearing it.

I forgot to mention a few days ago in the Stackpool area I saw choughs in abundance on the cliff tops. I have only seen them on the north Pembrokeshire coast before.

I had some good chat with a guy and his wife from Cheshire in the pleasant cafe at Little Haven where I dallied for some time.

I am camping at Newgale at the northern end of Newgale Sands which is a huge three kilometre sweep of golden beach which attracts the surfers, and I am eating in The Duke of Edinburgh which is also residential. I enquired if I could get breakfast but they said they didn't do breakfasts which I found difficult to believe. This place seems to be staffed by, and frequented by, a caste that resembles the characters in Little Britain; everybody seems weird in some way - perhaps I have finally flipped? Some examples: a small person looking like Bernie Ecclestone who has just come and complimented me on the way I ate my soup - "very few people do it properly these days, nice to see". This will perhaps rank as the oddest encounter of the trip. A woman wearing a black jacket and tight black trousers (Richard the Third) but with hair like Worzel Gummage. An elderly couple - the man goes to bar to ask for more lemonade in his lager - returns to find wife with head in hands, "are you having one of your moods" he asks, and then they move to another table. An elderly man on his own looking very depressed with head bent staring at a glass of lemonade which he does not appear to be drinking. There are more than this but I draw the line here. Amidst all this the hotel is presented as being reasonably
sophisticated but we are subject to a tv showing Coronation Street which nobody is watching.

Bravely, I am going to risk a dessert and hope to get out before I end up in the loony bin.


Believe it or not a guy has just walked in who is over seven feet tall. I'm off.
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Reply to comment

Welshpaddler - welcome to my blog. I see you use a tarp. I have a Terra. Nova Competition that weighs less than 1kg. If there was little difference in weight I would prefer a tent, but to be fair I have never used a tarp. Whilst I would agree that lightness is paramount the line has to be drawn somewhere. My pack with one day's food weighs about 22llb (10kg).

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Sunday, 12 June 2011

Welsh Boundary Walk - Bicton to Maloes

Sunday 12th June - day 54

A good breakfast and lots of interesting conversation with Georgina and John this morning made me reluctant to leave, and I reckon this has been the most welcoming and comfortable stay on the trip to date. Departure anxiety was heightened by the pouring rain.

I marched hard and with the tide favourable was able to use the stepping stones (not shown on the map) to cross to Dale. The long thrash round St Ann's Head followed then back up the western side of the peninsula. All this was in driving rain and fierce wind. Apart from one stop, of which more shortly, I walked at a hard pace non stop for six and a half hours in vile conditions to arrive at another Mrs Llewellyn's at Albion House in Maloes , where Georgina had made a reservation for me.

That was one tough walk. Although the adverse conditions were unpleasant there was satisfaction in finishing with all the kit in my rucksack dry, and my clothing underneath the waterproofs nearly so, arising from experience and acquisition of good kit over the years. The sights of crashing waves and white foam viewed from on high, and excitingly exposed positions on the cliff tops added to the day's drama.

Back near Oswestry I had met a chap called Martin Clare and chatted about backpacking, and today along the western St Ann's Head peninsula I came across him again sheltering under an umbrella and munching chocolate. He was embarked on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, and on his way to the Maloes YHA hostel. It was only when I told him what I was doing that he recognised me from our previous encounter, so that was my only five minute stop in six and a half hours of walking.

I took no photos today. I wonder why?


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Saturday, 11 June 2011

Welsh Boundary Walk - Pembroke to Bicton (near St Ishmaels)

Saturday 11th June - day 53

Interesting walking today with the petro-chemical import industry slapped onto an area of outstanding beauty, within the huge natural harbour of Milford Haven. I crossed, on strange metal bridges, series of huge pipes running in elegant lines leading from tankers moored at jetties. The pipes lead to huge cylindrical storage tanks. As a failed plumber, having respect for anybody who can make pipes go where they want, there is a symmetry to all this which I appreciate, but others may not.

At Milford Haven Tourist Information I eventually obtained the phone number of The Brook Inn at St Ishmaels who recommended Georgina and John Lewelyn's b and b at Bicton Farm near St Ishmaels.

In the midst of my enquiry a local woman arrived enquiring about a proposed £2 fee to be charged by the local authority for access to the sea front at some town event. She went on and on about this when it was obvious that the info lady could do nothing about it. My valuable time was being wasted, and I was cross. Eventually I told the lady very forcibly that she had interrupted my time with the info lady and however long she wanted to rant she was not going to achieve anything, and after some muttering she departed. I said to the info lady "you have to be polite to your customers, but I don't ".


The Bicton b and b is an old family farm house with very kind and welcoming hosts, and all very comfortable - the best in b and bs.

I am now sitting in the aforementioned Brook Inn (Georgina has driven me here and will pick me up) having a pint and awaiting my cawl starter; this is a hearty welsh kind of soup.

All this now seems a long way from my depressed state last night, even though the heavy rain is still predicted for tomorrow, and I now have plans afoot to combat whatever is thrown at me.


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Welsh Boundary Walk - Bosherston to Pembroke

Friday 10th June - day 52

Well, last night I had my own firework display from the hotel window. Bosherston is situated next to a military firing range and there was a big exercise progressing until about 11:00pm with different coloured tracers tearing across the sky with intermittent whizzes bangs and crashes - all very entertaining.

In the morning It was not possible to walk the boundary coast path because of the firing Range, and there is a road alternative shown on the map for the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path, but the military have recently constructed a path within their own perimeter which I had been told about. I imagined this to be some kind of consolidated surface but it turned out to be fields with the grass roughly cut, still long enough to wet your boots through, and with a lumpy, ankle twisting surface providing an uncomfortable start to a long day. I was away at 6:10am having had a breakfast tray provided the night before. By my route Pembroke was over twenty miles, but in a straight line maybe less than eight.

Just before Freshwater West Bay I met the usual dog walking Jonah who told me about the grave severity of the ups and down on the path between there and Angle. It turned out to be fairly normal up and down coastal path walking. Seascapes and weather were brilliant in the exact meaning of that word. I met a young couple backpacking who had camped on the cliffs with a Terra Noiva tent; they had carried water from Angle and seemed to be well organised.

After Angle it started to rain getting progressively worse, and the path to Pembroke went on and on and on. I met one other backpacker who had set off from Pembroke and we chatted for a few minutes. Later I met a guy called Simon renovating a shell of a house he had bought from the military I think; it will make a great residence I reckon - Simon told me to call for a cup of tea next time I was passing that way.

At 4:15 I arrived at the Tourist Info Office, but believe it or not, at what must be the prime time of the week for its existence, late on Friday pm, it had closed at 4:00pm.

I was dripping wet on the outside, mentally, but not physically exhausted, and then a guy told me about the forecast for Sunday with 9mm of rain, and I couldn't help letting that get to me. I found the Old King's Arms Hotel and booked in. Looking at the maps for the next two days, including the predicted Sunday downpour there seemed to be nowhere to stay, and I became even more dejected. I ate in the hotel and found myself almost falling asleep over the meal.

I am now writing this at breakfast on Saturday, and am glad to say that last night's depression has been eliminated by a good sleep, and so off we go again for the final few days.



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Friday, 10 June 2011

Welsh Boundary Walk - Jameston to Bosherston

Thursday 9 June - day 51

The village shop, an independent opened at 6:30am; I was there about 7:00am. I had a sandwich and coffee breakfast, and the proprietor let me sit in his storeroom whilst I chatted to him about his disdain for the groups like Spa and Happy Shopper. He took this shop over five years ago, and it is now very well stocked with a good variety of provisions. Let's hope Tesco don't move in.

Don't plan a long walking day on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path. You will arrive late at your destination after many stops to look at the views. Today the light and atmosphere were vibrantly sharp with rolling puffy white clouds and bright sunshine. Magic secret bays with golden sand all edged with rocky cliffs with many variations of colours unfurled one after another, and each one taking you by surprise. There was of course a compulsion to photograph all of them causing further lengthening of journey time.

Fortunately this was a shortish day of about 12 miles so I was able to enjoy it to the full. There were many people about after midday and I stopped and talked often. The car park attendant at Broad Haven was involved in a project to restore a Spitfire which had been found in Australia - he had a small white van advertising the project and adorned with evocative Spitfire pictures. If you are interested look at www.welshspitfire.com

I have booked in at St Govan's Country Inn. On walking through the door a friendly atmosphere prevailed followed by a willingness to be helpful, and all the facilities so far are at a good standard, and all for £40 including a Continental breakfast which will be left outside my room tonight. I intend to set off early and try to get to Pembroke tomorrow in one hit as there is nowhere else to stay between here and there. It is over twenty miles, so I hope the going us good.

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Thursday, 9 June 2011

The start of The Pembrokeshire Coast Path

The painful footway leading to Tenby

Welsh Boundary Walk - Marros to Jameston

Wednesday 8th June - day 50

I left a note for the camp site owner
saying I would send payment when I return home. I was away at 7:15am.

The cafe in zzz,8 which is where the Pembrokeshire Coast Path starts, had not opened. I followed the switchback path to Saundersfoot where I paid dearly for a bacon sandwich, tea, and apple pie. The quality was good but teapots were not available and I was presented with a sort of Art Deco mug with the tea bag still swimming, and another big gripe from this grumpy old man - the seats were too low for the tables placing one in a continually reaching up position. This is a universal problem that I have not heard other people complain about. I wonder why?

Coming into Tenby a steep path had been paved with some peculiar concrete sets which looked like oversize waffles with pointed corners; all I can say is that the guy who decided to put them there should be made to walk twenty mules on them himself.

If you want to get fit walk The Pembrokeshire Coast Path. Steep ascent follows steep descent at short but regular and excruciatingly painful intervals.

Having stated all my grumbles the scenery is a coastal addicts dream with savage cliffs, spuming foam, fascinatingly clear water in many shades of blue, and wind and sunshine in abundance - wonderful!

At one point the path circumnavigated a military firing range. I saw a noisy, and I guessed radio controlled plane in the air which suddenly cut it's motor then dramatically deployed a red parachute, and all this over the sea, but the strong wind brought the whole thing back within the confines of the range to land.

I have camped at Jameston and am currently eating in The Swan Lake Inn
Which is satisfactory but not worth reporting in detaIl.

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Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Welsh Boundary Walk - Llanybri to Marros (nw of Pendine)

Tuesday 7th June - day 49

Very heavy rain last night was handled by the Terra Nova with no problem.

I had to keep walking north and inland to St Clears to bridge the River Taf. I had a bacon sandwich, an apple turnover, and coffee standing up in the back of the busy baker's shop where it was cosy compared with the cold and intermittent showers outside.

The weather did clear developing into a day of pleasant sunshine with the occasional shower.

At Laugharne I went to visit the Dylan Thomas hut where he did his writing, and then The Boathouse a hundred yards or so further on where Dylan lived for the last four years. The hut is locked up but you can look through the window and see the interior as it was with pictures of D H lawrence, Augustus John and others stuck up in random fashion. The setting overlooking the river estuary with golden sands and blue sea is splendid.

The Boathouse incorporates a cafe below and you can pay to look round the rest of the house which I did. There were only a few other people around and the atmosphere was low key with nothing overdone, and I must say that I was moved by the whole experience.

There are other venues in Laugharne that can be visited, but I find I can only take so much of this sort of thing at a time which is a bit difficult explain. It is like eating cream cake - an enjoyable experience, but ruinous if overdone, and today I had had experienced enough for my emotions to handle.

Back down in the village my route followed a sort of cliffy path which had been designated as Dylan's Birthday Walk, with notice boards every so often with sequential verses of Dylan's poem about his thirtieth birthday which was inspired by this walk.

I marched on to Pendine and stopped in a cafe there. I was heading for a Caravan and Camping Club CL at Marros, and had in my mind a picture of a cosy little site with welcomng owners and, and perhaps meeting some conversation-2worthy people on the site. On arrival there was a windswept field on top of a hill with a distant tourer caravan and a static covered in green mold that looked as though it had not been used for the last three years. A notice said to ring a number to camp. There was no signal on my mobile. I walked across to the tourer and a guy came out reeking of cigarettes flowed by his wife in a dressing gown. They told me the owner lived in a farm about a quarter of a mile away, so much for the rosy picture in my mind. I pitched my tent, and have no intention of seeking out the owners to make payment; if they want paying they will gave to come and find me.

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Monday, 6 June 2011

Welsh Boundary Walk - Carmarthen to Llanybri

Monday 6th June - day 48

Departure from Carmarthen in the rush hour and schools traffic was fraught this morning. Walking out of town I found Countrywide, a warehouse retail outlet catering for farmers and countryfolk where I was able to buy a new pair of socks, and they very kindly let me use their staff toilet - my thanks to a bunch of helpful people.

Llansteffan looks across the estuary to Ferryside where I was yesterday, and heard claims to Dylan Thomas's use of their town in Under Milk Wood. In the cafe at Llansteffan the lady proprietor made the same claim for her town, but I guess Dylan used bits of this and that so I suppose they are both justified. Apparently Dylan's parents lived jn Llansteffan but the connection has remained low profile, bur there is now a move to start capitalising more on this. I hope it doesn't spoil the place. I had tea and Bara Brith, a kind of heavy Welsh cake like teabread which has seaweed as an ingredient, and is spread with butter, delicious.


Above the town, proudly situated overlooking the estuary is a well preserved castle which I had a look at. Further on I was able to look across to Laugharne where I hope to visit Dylan's boathouse tomorrow. From there the only footpath of the day ended in a wood and vanished leaving me in a tangle of briers, nettles, thistles,thorns and having to climb yet another barbed wire fence. This was followed by a long hot road ascent to the campsite here in the tiny village of Llanybri. This is a Camping and Caravan Club "certificated location" where no more than five tents are allowed. At the moment we are only two. This is a peaceful and welcoming location run by a farmer and his wife on their land, and the facilities, although basic, as is the case with CLs, are immaculate. The pub marked on the map has closed along with very many others in the UK, but for this one there is hope because it has been bought and is in the process of refurbishment for reopening

The connection with Dylan has been palpable today and I am looking forward to more of this tomorrow - the Dylan Tbomas thing had a great influence on me when I was a youth round about the time I left a school.

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Sunday, 5 June 2011

Welsh Boundary Walk Port Burry to Carmarthen.

Sunday 5th June - day 47

I had a good meal at The Cornish Inn last night at Port Burry - whitebait then baked sea bass stuffed and wrapped in ham. This is a good pub specialising in fish, but inexplicably they had Sky tv showing darts; it wouldn't have been too bad if it had been rugby. I chatted with a couple - the husband was in the forces and we had quite a merry evening during which I had a tutorial on iPhone operation and various apps recommended to me.

The walk to Carmarthen was over twenty miles but mostly on the flat and following the Sustrans national cycle route 4. I have been on and off that cycle route since Chepstow and have now discovered that it runs from London to Fishguard so I will probably be seeing more of it

I wenf past, and heard, but did not see the BARC's own motor racing circuit. I must gave only been a couple of hundred yards off but it is all hidden by trees.

There was a pleasant little teashop in Kid... something or other (the name is cut off on my map). There were two groups of local WI type women there when I arrived who seemed to be involved in regular Sunday morning gossip meetngs.

At Ferryside I came across a gent who had refurbished a 1959 Mini to make it look like a team rally car of the period. He also had a Mini Moke which he was going to drive in the Laugharne Under Milk Wood event in a couple of weeks. We chatted about Dylan Thomas and he had the cd in the Moke and we listened to some of it. I was told It was said that Dylan had based much of llaregub on Ferryside. He used to come there to drink in the White Lion and is reputed to have missed the train back when he had overdone things.

A bit further down the high street there was a cafe where I had more tea. As I was leaving, having told the guy about my project, he presented me with a bar of chocolate to munch along the way.

There was only one section of footpath today starting from a farm. There were no signs and I ended up with the farmer coming out and showing me the way; why on earth don't they put up some markers and save everybody a lot of trouble? I have to say that this is a major gripe with me. Further on I took a compass bearing on the path descending steeply into a wooded valley. The stile was at least two hundred yards off the line and completely hidden by overgrown bushes and only visible from about fifteen yards away - why, oh why, can't they help themselves and others by making these things more visible?

I entered Carmarthen by two complicated roundabout systems, the second one using a dual carriageway to go into the town centre. After spending fifteen minutes of suicidal crossing and recrossing trying to find the footpath, I descended into an industrial estate and found a guy supervising the loading of a wagon and asked the way. He said he could direct me but it was complicated and he offered to drive me into the town centre, and now I have to confess to dodging about 1.5kms of my route. Martin was a stocky guy and I reckoned he was a rugby player to which he admitted when questioned.
He Is now playing for Laugharne of Dylan Thomas fame. Once again the Welsh demonstrated their generosity and welcoming nature- thanks a lot Martin.

I am now at The Rose and Crown in the centre of Carmarthen and have just eaten agreeably, but once again I have encountered the forks with scalpel ends which dig into the palms and are really quiet painful.
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Saturday, 4 June 2011

Fwd: Welsh Boundary Walk - Greyhound Inn to Port Burry



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From: Conrad Robinson <conrob@me.com>

Subject: Welsh Boundary Walk - Greyhound Inn to Port Burry

I got up at 5.00am and departed at 5:45 after a mild midge attack. At Crofty the post office was still closed at 7:10, but a local said "they'll be opening anytime now", but I've heard that one before, so no breakfast there. My plan for the early start was to beat the heat of yesterday. I pressed on to Pen-Clawdd (what a name) and just as it looked as though I was drawing blank again I rounded a corner and there was a large supermarket, CK's Foodstore, with customer toilets, a cafe, but no socks (one of my two pairs of Brasher Wool Ultra has worn out.) I had scrambled egg and bacon on toast and a piece of cherry cake and two pots of tea. The transformation in my marching and general attitude was dramatic. Compared with yesterday there was a slight breeze making things much more comfortable.
A couple of hours later, just after crossing the River Loughor I came across The Lewis Arms at Bynea. The landlord was outside but he said they were closed, but asked me what I wanted, and when I said a brew of tea I was invited in by Stephen Rogers and his wife Liz for a tea. I had a good old chat with Stephen who told me about him doing The International Four Day Marches at Nijmegen in Holland. This consists of four separate loops on each of four days starting and finishing every time at the same point, and each loop being 50km. Stephen said 50 miles but I got my info. from Wikipedia, but even so it is a formidable achievement by anybody's standards. There you go Gayle another cup of tea to chalk up.
At Llanelli I booked ahead into Harbour House b and b, Alunand Marina Clements, at Port Burry. The room was not going to be ready until 4:30 which gave me more than enough time, and I dawdled soaking up the sea, sand and sunshine. At Pwll I stopped at The Pavilion Cafe and had more tea and  watched a fairly high class game of cricket for about half an hour between Pwll and Porthcawl, and chatted to a sprightly eighty two year old from South Yorkshire who had played cricket until he was sixty six, and then turned to umpiring.
Harbour House is a comfortable and welcoming b and b, I have been able to have a bath and also get my clothes washed and dried.
I have just looked at the maps and tomorrow looks like a twenty mile march to Carmarthen. I reckon I have done eighteen today.



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Friday, 3 June 2011

Welsh Boundary Walk - Pitton Cross to Oldwalls (Greyhound Inn)

Friday 3rd June -day 45
Had a bad night to and fro from the toilet block. I don't know the cause, but I think doses of Immodium have sorted it. I was away at 7:30 with a cloudless blue sky and the heat already making itself felt. I had Worm's Head all to myself at 8:30; in case anybody doesn't know this is a Mecca for surfers, although today there was not much surf and no surfers.
The heat became overpowering. I stopped at the site shop at Hillend and stocked up on drinks, and after that I wAs having to stop and rest and drink every thirty minutes. I have a little thermometer which is part of my whistle and it registered 26 degrees.
At 1:15 I landed at the Geyhound Inn where Chris, the landlord, allowed me to pitch in the beer garden. I reckon I have done about ten or eleven miles, but that was enough today.

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Worms Head-8:30 this morning.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Welsh Boundary Walk - three Cliffs Bay to Pitton Cross

Thursday 2nd June - day 44
A bad start to a good day. I left my Mili charger with the site shop overnight. They didn't open until 8.30 so it meant a late start, but they had promised to make me a couple of ham rolls fresh for my breakfast, and they also served coffee, so I opted for the late start.
In character with the gourmand image I seem to have created I was so focused on wolfing my breakfast it was only when I had walked for fifteen minutes and descended about three hundred feet to the beach that I realised I had forgotten Mili, and I had to go back up the steep rocky path and look silly.
After that the Gower turned on its charms. The views got better and better. I had a great walk across the huge expanse of Oxwich Beach to find the Oxwich Bay Hotel where I had two cups of coffee and a small piece of Welsh fruit cake - £8.80. I thought that was a bit steep but the place was posh, and the coffee scored ten out of ten.
There is no doubt the Gower has spectacular coastline with rocky cliffs, huge and mini unpopulated beaches with golden sands contrasting with blue sea and sky on this hot sunny day. I met and chatted to various people who strangely seemed to have a concensus about the Gower versus Pembroke coast paths comparison, in that they thought they both had their own merits and should not really be compared.
I met two guys, Tom and John  who seemed to have been  looking for a good surfing spot without success ( I may be wrong about that). It seems that surfing depends on local knowledge because certain locations are only any good when certain circumstances coincide to produce good surfing waves. These two were climbing a barbed wire fence into a field occupied by cows and a bull. Surf boards had already been thrown across in a virtually irretrievable position so they were comitted to follow. We had a bit of banter about all this, and so I went on my way. Fifteen minutes later I came across them again resting not realising they had been taking a shortcut. About ten minutes after this when I had gone through a series of stiles and three hundred and sixty degrees I came across Tom and John again which was a bit embarrassing because they had obviously found the direct route.
I am now at Pitton Cross Caravan Park where the staff have been very helpful trying to find accommodation for me tomorrow, but to no avail. This is a well run site with a shop selling a limited amount of food - it would always be worth a visit.
Everything seems to have come good today except for finding lodgings for tomorrow. We seem to hsve entered a spell of good weather, and the ankle has totally recovered - it's like a true miracle- how could it be after a week of quite severe pain it has suddenly come good? Perhaps JP would like to make a learned comment about this. 





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Gimmer - just found your comment regarding redirected footpath near Chepstow in my junk mail - not sure how this happened.
The messages were long and in legal language referring to locations not named on my map, and therefore way beyond my attention span.

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Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Welsh Boundary Walk- Bagnal to Three Cliffs Bay (Gower)

Wednesday 1st May - day 43
I was able to breakfast at the Premier Inn at 7:30.
Today's walk as far as Mumbles at the tip of the Gower was wholly on cycle tracks alongside mostly busy dual carriageway, and all flat. The ankle was still painful. At Mumbles the TIO were able to book me place on the Three Cliffs Bay site and it was then 11:15 with another eight or nine miles to do. Al
Almost miraculously the ankle pain subsided and I was able to march well and arrive at 5:30, but it was more thane twenty miles and I am tired despite being reasonably fit. The Gower scenery has presented great seascapes, but so far not as good as Pembrokeshire in my opinion.
I have often wondered about the carelessness of our forebears when archaeologists are always finding coins. So far on this trip I have picked up one pound coin, a fifty pence piece and a twenty pence piece. I'm not sure what that says about the present day.

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Gayle - the subject of a rest day has already been suggested by my daughter Jill. I replied "what is one of those?"
If it becomes necessary it will have to be, but I am am reluctant.

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