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]

Friday 13 March 2015

WCP: Lavernock to West Aberthaw

Friday 13 March (0800-1420)

Distance: 17.9 miles

Number of muddy miles: too many (unusually, I was glad to get onto tarmac more than once today)

Weather: wet

Number of backtracks caused by paths shown on the map now being in the sea: 2 (there’s a reason the WCP went around the houses, but I found that out the hard way)

Number of backtracks caused by losing the path: 1 (it turned out to have been re-routed and I subsequently found it further up the road)


My experience, gained from all my days spent walking (and that is quite a lot of days), is that it very seldom rains for an entire day. Today was one of those rare days, with not a single dry minute during the whole time I was walking.

That is not what I had expected based on the forecast I saw yesterday morning, which showed a band of rain passing through overnight, before getting stuck over the middle of England for the rest of the day. By this morning that forecast had changed to showing the band of rain stuck over the area of today’s walk. Oh, how I wished I had decided to walk on an extra 3 miles yesterday (although I’m sure Mick was happy with my decision, as it meant that he didn’t have to drive me anywhere first thing).

The grey, murky wetness did rather mar the day, but I must have been having some fun when one attractive bit of coast distracted me enough that I completely forgot, until a mile too late, about my thoughts of taking a shortcut towards Barry.

Had I taken that shortcut, then the timings wouldn’t have aligned such that Mick, me and a MacDonalds all came to be within 100 yards of each other at the same time. I was more than happy to spend half an hour out of the rain and, over a McMuffin-based second breakfast, take advantage of the wifi.

Heading back out into the rain, I thought I still had 3.5 miles to go to reach Barry Island, but it turns out that there’s a pedestrian walkway further to the east, and I felt no guilt at omitting a bit of my circuit of the island by entering via the walkway and leaving via the more westerly roadway. Perhaps it was the miserableness of the weather, but I found myself entirely underwhelmed by the island, with only my visit to Friar’s Point standing out as having any merit.

Back on the mainland, the depiction of cliffs on the map led me to believe things were going to get a bit lumpier than the last 3 (relatively flat) days, and I wasn’t wrong as I was sent steeply down into clefts before heading equally steeply back up the other sides. The lumpiness was short-lived and by the time I met Mick at Watch House Point, flatness had been resumed, as we made our way to and around West Aberthaw Power Station.

Despite the rain, and the disappointment with Barry Island, it wasn’t a bad day’s walking, with some attractive bits of coast outweighing the street-plodding through Barry.


  1. Thanks for interesting post, I'm toying with the idea of doing it. Do you make or save the gpx files for each days walk and maybe publish them somewhere? would be quite a useful resource. You could even edit Open street Map and correct the route.

    1. I do usually record a GPS track of most days (with a few gaps when I forgot to switch the Gadget on!), and I probably still have most of them for what I've walked so far, but I'm not convinced that they'd be overly useful to anyone else, as they won't tell the true story of when I took a ridiculous (and in one case positively dangerous) route, or deviated either because I lost the path, preferred a different way, or was aiming for where Colin was parked.

      Whilst the section just walked from Chepstow to Barry didn't have me gasping at the splendor of it all, the other sections I've walked (from Cardigan to Chester, including Anglesey) were very enjoyable indeed, and all reports state the Pembrokeshire Coast to be stunning - so I'd say it's definitely worth walking.

  2. Hmm, it was great to see you both at the Snake. Thanks again for the tea and flapjack. I'd forgotten how soon you were setting off again. Enjoy the walk, and the vagaries of the route.

    1. Twas good to see you both too.

      As it goes, when we saw you on Sunday I hadn't intended for us to set off for Wales until Wednesday. The weather forecast for Tuesday convinced me, on Monday, to abandon planning and just go an do it.

  3. Did you see the sign at Rhoose Point indicating the "most southerly point on the mainland of Wales"? Judging by the unsightly surroundings (or to use one of your favourite adjectives "shabby"), had I been in charge of Wales, I wouldn't have been boasting about it.

    Not sure if Dropbox link will work in Blogger comments - if not copy and paste into browser.

    1. I did see the sign at Rhoose Point. In fact, it was one of the very few occasions yesterday that I broke the camera out of its waterproof bag for a snap. Not an inspiring location - but an order of magnitude nicer than the horrible bit of wasteland crossed by the WCP on its way into Cardiff. Whatever route you took on that Cardiff stretch had to be better than the now-official route.