Magnificent Mwnt, dolphins, seals and home

Day Fifty two to Fifty four (26-28 Sept) Walk Day 24 and 25

Day 52 Llangrannog to Aberporth Walk Day 26 Sept

Phone stats: 19981 steps, 8.44 miles, walking time 3hr 16 minutes

The morning began with a return visit from the heffer!

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Unusually this day’s walk started from base camp and had a bus ride in the middle. I walked from base camp out to the coast, and then over the ridge to Llangrannog, where I had finished yesterday. I communed with St Carannog’s statue which looks over the bay. The descent was quite steep, and there was enough time to enjoy a coffee in Llangrannog before getting the Cardi bach bus to Aberporth. Whilst I was enjoying the coffee in the warm sunshine, the peace was somewhat shattered by a school party but it was fun to see the children enjoying the beach.

When I got to Aberporth, I did some sorting out for tomorrow and established an end point for tomorrow’s walk at this splendid dolphin statue touching point, and also to be clear where the bus stops were to get the bus to Gwbert (there was one bus a day so it was important not to mess up!). Eventually I set off proper, round the beach and then on an inclusive access section of coast path – which was fab  and relatively easy going. I was pleased to see this having enjoyed another inclusive action section at Druidston in Pembrokeshire on previous welsh holidays. This included passing some very well placed converted railway carriages, which were being used as holiday lets.

The inclusive access path ended, and more normal path quality resumed. It eventually came out on the beach at Tresarth – I had hoped to have some lunch there – but the café was heaving so I carried on (it was a lovely day and lunch time!). This meant tackling the first big ascent of the day (in the photo below the right hand one of the cliffs – base camp is beyond the horizon on the left hand one of the cliffs). I had a breather and a snack half way up on the edge of the path. The path was very narrow and the edge was close on the ascent – thankfully wider and less exposed on the way down. The views were amazing and it was warm and sunny.

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About 3pm I reached the national trust café at Penbryn, following a descent through another wooded valley and had a very welcome welsh cheddar and chutney sandwich. I was a bit concerned about the ascent back up to base camp, but there was no need, as it was more of a farm track than the earlier path. I was soon working my way back, and it was good to see base camp come into view down a hedged track! The heffer had gone!

 

Day 53 Gwbert to Aberporth Sept 27th  Walk Day 25

Phone stats: 25827 steps, 10.91 miles, walking time 4hr 16 minutes

Another early start, to enable me to get the bus from Aberporth to Gwbert. It was a beautiful morning, and turned out to be the only day I walked entirely in a T-shirt with no fleece or waterproof over the top! After an eventful bus ride (where the driver had to back a long way when we met a huge double tanker on a narrow lane) – I was ready to go from Gwbert at 10:45 – having established a touching point for another day by the entrance to the Cliff Hotel. Gwbert was another of the destinations for childhood holidays in Wales – I did remember this one!

It was about ¾ of a mile of up on the road, and then out to join the coast through fields. The conditions were calm, warm and sunny. Once we reached the coast, I was soon spotting dolphins, and helped another couple of walkers to see the dolphins (one of them had never seen them before in the wild and was very excited). I have seen dolphins in this area of the Ceredigion coast often! The first mile of the coastal section of the path was easy going and then it got much more strenuous, narrow and up and down. The journey was enriched by being able to see the mountains round Cardigan bay, including Yr Wyddfa, clearly in the distance in the clarity of a stunning day.

After about an hour, the magnificent Mwnt came into view. This is one of the most beautiful places I know, and has a special place in my heart. I had an icecream at the National Trust booth, and used the facilities, and then went to the churchyard. This is one of the two places where my dear friend Jane is remembered, and spent some time there. I first came with her to Mwnt during my first year at Theological College in 2003, and a number of times subsequently. It is good to give thanks for how much her friendship enriched my life, and it was important that this was part of my walking journey.

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I visited the church of the Holy Cross, and had a chat with a couple about my walk. I realised I was only about 1/3 of the way I needed to travel so I walked on – looking back until the church was no longer visible behind. The going was strenuous, narrow, clinging to the cliffs and lots of ups and downs, and progress was slow. I had lunch about an hour further on and watched the seals swimming in crystal clear blue sea. I am not going to lie this was a challenging walk! And I was on the narrow cliff path from Mwnt heading towards Aberporth for 2 and a half hours. I was very relieved after two false dawns to reach the treelined valley route out. Again another beautiful autumnal colours valley – looking across to the DERA base and firing range on the next ridge. I wondered how it was going to work out as I was the other side of the valley to where I needed to be! But as is the way with these things it did work out, without too much more ascent.

Once I had made my way round the base, it was about a mile of descent back to the front at Aberporth. I touched the glorious dolphin statue touching point to mark the end of my walk. I put my rucksack, boots, poles and stuff in the car, and then went down on the beach and paddled my tired feet in the sea. It was very cold but refreshing.

It had been a fantastic and beyond beautiful final day.

I went home – refuelled and did the maths…. My final totals are a staggering 558,118 steps and 237 miles… Here’s the maps – the first is my whole trip and the second what I have covered this week.

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Day 54 Travelling home

After packing up and clearing base camp. I was on the road bright and early, I was keen not to end up on the M25 at the wrong time on a Friday. It was cooler but still bright and sunny. My final glimpses of the Ceredigion coast as I turned east was blessed with a  clear view of the mountains beyond. I thanked God for that, which brought me deep joy.

The journey was uneventful and long! Thoughts turned to when I could continue the journey I have started on the Wales Coast Path – I have only done just over a quarter of it. Maybe I can pick up next September where I left off at Gwbert.

The magnitude of the distance I have walked only really sank in – when I realised my drive home was just 8 miles more than I had walked over the past six weeks! So I was on the M25 approaching Reigate when I got to the 237 mile point… The cats appear to be pleased to see me and are currently staying close.

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