The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Monday, 15 September 2014

WCP: Mwnt to New Quay


Monday 15 September 2014 (0735-1520)

Distance: 19 miles; Ascent: eleventy billion feet (perceived) or 6000’ (actual)

Weather: Very fine, again

Number of dogs which tried to steal my sandwiches: 1


In the 209 days of the year up to 28 July, I went for 172 walks. In the last month and a half, until yesterday evening, I didn’t go for a single walk. Today proved to be a brutal re-introduction. Superb walking, hugging the coast all day, and all in good weather, but the ups and downs meant that by the time Mick found me, less than a mile from the end of the day, I was having no thoughts as to pushing on any further.

Other than incredibly nice coastal scenery, a striking feature of today was the sheer quantity of blackberries and sloes lining the path. I’ve already picked a couple of kilos of blackberries at home, and jam has been made, but it still seemed such a shame that people weren’t out in droves enjoying the sea air and picking such perfect fruit. The only blackberry picker I passed all day was within yards of New Quay. In fact, except within half a mile of car parks, I barely saw anyone all day (and of the few I did encounter, I caused one to scream!).

The excitement of the day came at the bit of path (between Llannagog and Cwmtydu) which plentiful signs told me was closed due to a major landslide. You just never know whether such closures are for good cause, or because of over-zealous risk assessments and each time I passed one of the closure notices, I pondered whether to go and take a look at the issue, or whether to take the inland diversion. The decision was made where a bit of graffiti had been added to one of the notices saying “10/9/14 We enjoyed this walk. Council obliged to put up these notices for insurance reasons. We are 66. No problems with walk.”.

My view in hindsight is that the author of that graffiti believed that ‘no physical obstruction’ equalled ‘safe’. My assessment was that the signs saying that the land is extremely unstable were absolutely spot on. The sizes of the cracks (which in places ran straight down the path) told me that the path is going to land in the sea sometime soon. However, my own risk assessment also suggested that it was highly unlikely to give way during the minute it would take me to clear the area, during a period of dry weather. I certainly wouldn’t have set foot on it if it had been wet lately.

I do hope that work is carried out to re-instate a path around the landslide, and that the temporary diversion doesn’t become permanent, as the rest of that path is truly lovely.

Just a mile away from my destination for the day, I saw someone running towards me and that someone turned out to be Mick. Around he turned, slowing down to my (snails) pace, and retraced his steps back to New Quay. I was so knackered that (to his surprise) I accepted his offer to carry my bag.

I’ve looked at tomorrow’s profile, and it looks to be gentler than today. I suppose the downside of an easier walk will be less rugged surroundings.


  1. Good to see you out again Gayle. So why is Mick not walking. AlanR.

    1. It's good to be out again!

      Mick's not walking because a few years ago he agreed to support me if I decided to walk around the coast of Britain. I'm not committing to doing the whole coast just yet, but every time you see me posting from a coastal location, it's likely that Mick will be driving in support. He is joining me for bits and pieces here and there.

  2. You didn't explain the dog. Or the screaming.
    I do however need the giggles, keep it up!

    1. The dog was a lab, and I had an open lunch box. Need I say more?!

      As for the screaming: I'd been following very close behind this woman for a while and didn't really have time to walk the rest of the day at her pace, so I politely said "Excuse me" as a precursor to asking if I could pass. I didn't get any further in my request as she positively leapt in the air and screamed. Considering the time it had taken me to approach them (on a perfectly straight bit of path) and the time I spent following, it's impressive that neither she, her husband, nor the dog had noticed me. I didn't laugh at her reaction ... much.

  3. Brilliant!!
    David thinks it was me, I can be jumpy, apparently.