Wednesday 30 April (0700-1455)
Distance: 20.75 miles (Tot: 100)
Weather: Foggy start, then overcast; a couple of sunny intervals late on.
The sun set last night. I know that because I witnessed it:
I wasn’t able to witness it rise this morning for two reasons: 1) I was asleep; and 2) it was foggy:
Colin in the fog. Mick (very sensibly) was still in bed inside
It was tempting, when I first stepped outside, to turn around and go back to bed for an hour. But, I was up, my pack was on my back, my shoes on my feet and thus I didn’t give the fog chance to burn off, but rather groped my way (using the sound of the sea as my guide) back to the coast.
Visibility slowly improved as the day went on, and by the time I found the sea I could see sufficient yards to appreciate the gist of the surroundings.
I fear that I’ve been boring and repetitive with my raptures about coastal scenery, so I’ll not say more on that subject today. Instead, let’s talk about water.
There have been a few places on my way so far that I’ve thought “This would be a bit tricky at high tide; I’m glad the tide’s out!”. It was inevitable that at some point I would get to such a place at high tide, and today was that day. In the photo below, the path goes down the slip-way and along the beach. I managed to clamber over the rocks on the left and got to the other end dry-shod:
The tide was still on its way in, and when I got to this newly installed board-walk a while later, I found they hadn’t installed it high enough:
I didn’t get my feet wet there either. Teetering along the left edge of the walkway, I managed then to rock-hop my way to dry land.
Then I got to this bit:
I actually approached from the other direction, but forgot to take a photo until I got to the other end
I did get wet feet here, although more by carelessness than necessity. By good fortune, just at the point where I would have had no option but to wade (and I would have waded rather than back-tracked), there was a set of narrow steps leading away from a mooring point. I followed them and from their top was able to walk across a grassy area to a road. My wet feet didn’t stay wet for long; Mick was waiting 100 yards up the road and whilst he cooked me a fried egg bap, I indulged in the luxury of a dry pair of socks .
It was at the end of the day that I had a proper wade, which is a little ironic considering that I was relieved upon reaching the beach in question to find that the tide was out and thus I could avoid a soft-sand/dune walk by simply striding across the firm beach. That put me a little off course from the line of the coast path, but was not a problem in terms of general direction. The problem came when I reached the river at the far end of the long beach. Had I been on the coast path (which was now about half a kilometre away from me), there was a bridge, but I didn’t much fancy going all that distance out of my way. So, I took my shoes and socks off, left my trousers on (in view of the number of people around) and waded to mid-thigh across the river. It was quite refreshing! Not long later, I found Mick who had taken a gentle stroll down to meet me.
Another subject that warrants a mention is that this is not a peaceful area in which to be walking. Yesterday the Hawks were seen but not really heard, but for a few days the Sea Kings have been an intermittent droning presence. Today, in getting closer to RAF Valley, the noise was such that I had to give up on my audiobook as it was getting drowned out too often. In between the planes, there was the sound of the local racing circuit.
However, after the event, I’m pleased to have done this section on a weekday, rather than a quieter weekend. The path weaves about a bit and crosses the end of the runway three times. The first time is between the first and second set of runway approach lights. The next time is another set of lights further on, and the final time is right at the end of the runway. It was quite fun (but a little scary) to stand on the centre line and see a plane come at me so low that it felt like it would brush the top of my hair. Obviously, this photo was taken a little distance away from the line of the runway, but there was no zoom involved:
Finally, the distance is worthy of a mention today. When measured on the map, today should have been 19 miles long. As I’ve got the luxury of electricity at the moment, I’m carrying and using my Garmin Gadget and thus am getting accurate data as to the actual route taken and distance. It turned out that today’s route wandered around the cliffs far more than the line on the map suggested it would, such that (combined with the high tide detour) the intended 19 miles was actually just over 20.75 miles in length. That’s the biggest ‘measured versus recorded’ variance of the trip so far.