Monday 28 April (0730-1650)
Distance: 19 miles (Tot: 59.25)
Weather: sunny intervals, quite hazy
Number of packed lunches carried today: 3
Number of packed lunches carried at any one time: 1
Number of packed lunches eaten by me: 1
In the league table of ‘unexpected turns of events during a walking day’, today is vying for a title position.
It all started ordinarily enough. Mick was a star and got me back to my start point before 7.30 this morning and off I toddled, through Bull Point and along the coast. Even though it wasn’t set off with the backdrop of a blue sky, it was every bit as lovely as yesterday, and I was really quite taken by the ruined buildings (copper mines, I expect) across the bay at Porth Wen:
Many a photo was taken as I made my way around the bay, and then the steep ups and downs started.
It was at the bottom of one of the downs, at a place called Hell’s Mouth, where the day went unexpectedly off course, when I came across a lurcher lying in the grass looking rather sorry for himself.
He looked in such a sorry way that I quickly handed over my lunch, of which he made short work, but in eating it he didn’t move more than his head. It was soon clear that the poor thing wasn’t capable of walking along with me, and that left me with a problem. Whilst I may not be an ardent dog lover, I have sufficient compassion for the beasts not to want to leave this lost chap in his predicament.
The situation wasn’t helped by Mick’s phone being turned off, my one mobile having no signal, and the other (it turned out) being down to its last few pence of credit. I spent those few pence wisely and despatched a text message to Mick asking him to call the police and/or RSPCA and to meet me in Cemaes with more lunch provisions.
I didn’t pay much attention to the next 2.5 miles, as I pondered what, if anything I could do to help the dog, and upon reaching Mick (who had turned his phone on and acted on my message only a few minutes after I sent it) I sat with a cup of tea whilst we mulled over the options. The final decision was that we would have to put trust in the RSPCA and I was just about to set off to dwell and be maudlin about the situation some more, when the phone rang. It was an RSPCA man, who had been despatched with all speed and was now just down the road.
Ten minutes later I was heading back the way I’d just come in the RSPCA vehicle and after an off-road adventure followed by a bit of a walk, the dog was found where I’d left him.
With the RSPCA man pulling on a lead and with me coaxing with my second set of sandwiches, the dog made it back to the vehicle, and within two and a half hours of me first finding him, he was on his way to the vet. Even though the end result will quite likely be death by a lethal injection in a couple of weeks’ time (no microchip and no identification collar means it doesn’t bode well for him), I consider it a satisfactory outcome. Given the choice between a painless lethal injection or a drawn out death of starvation and exposure on a cliff, I’d certainly chose the former.
Having been returned to Mick in the layby in Cemaes, I took no chances: I ate my third lunch before I set off again. By then it was noon, and I’d only walked 6.5 miles, so brought forward my end point for the day and planned to omit the almost-out-and-back of Wylfa Point.
I did stick with the revised end point for the day, but I couldn’t bring myself to omit Wylfa Point, which it transpires was donated, in 1969, by the electricity board as a open space for enjoyment by the local parishioners. I fancied that the donation was by way of an apology for a monstrosity of a power station that was being built next door.
Once past the power station, and the building site next door, the rest of the afternoon was lovely, good and interesting coastal walking, with my only complaint being about the bit that (due to a closure to prevent disturbance of ground nesting birds) took me across a pebble beach, into which I sank on every step.
By the time I was in my final mile, the day was feeling longer than its true distance. It was no doubt due to this morning’s disruption (and I suppose I did put an extra mile in on my second visit to Hell’s Mouth), but by and by (and along some slightly overgrown paths – they’ll not be pleasant in a couple of months time) that mile passed and Mick was found exactly where I’d said I would meet him.
I’ll finish with a snap of the dog, once it had staggered to its feet, who looked at me so beseechingly, hoping that more sandwiches were going to spring out of my bag: