Stage 44, 10th April: Penarth to Llantwit Major
After a very civilised overnight stop with full use of the facilities at Penarth Marina, including a comfy lounge and laundry, the weather was pleasantly unchanged and to help my mood the scenery became a little more interesting too. With suburban Penarth Streets to start I enjoyed a brief foray onto the low rolling cliffs around Lavernock Point, only having to dodge inland to skip around the odd caravan park or three.
From Sully I hit roads again and had to grind inland to circumnavigate the chemical works of Barry. More busy suburban streets greeted me and continued at length until I dropped back down to Barry Docks which looked as if much of the area was being prepared for major development works. Barry seemed to drag on a smidge, but really it was the tarmac that dragged on.
At last I escaped up over the cliff close to Cardiff Airport (Cardiff? It’s not even close!). It was low cliff walking with the path edging the seaward side of old quarries sandwiched between Rhoose village and the sea. A concrete path and sea wall around Aberthaw Power Station spoilt things a bit, as did the thin but ever-present orange smoke slick oozing its way east away from the single large stack. It was a genuine relief to reach the rape seed fields and enjoy a very bright Welsh afternoon ramble over to the edge of Llantwit Major and a rendezvous with Clive at the hidden little cove of Cwm Colhuw.
Stage 45, 11th April: LLantwit Major to Porthcawl
A third bright sunny day made me ponder on one of Rhod Gilbert’s rants about not knowing that he was allowed out in anything other than a cagoule until he was aged fourteen. The weather was so good that it even tempted me to give my blue / grey legs an airing and change into shorts.
A proper coastal walk over cliff tops, crossing valleys and beaches was a real pleasure and a gentler mini-reminder of the South West Path and my days ascending Little and Great Hangman, both of which I could still see across the other side of the Bristol Channel. I was expecting a three-mile inland estuary walk at Ogmore-by-Sea. When I arrived, the tide was out and the river just begged a wade. So, with boots and socks off I duly waded across an ice-cold shallow fan of a river lined with pebbles and stones behaving like a big girls blouse wincing, eeking and ooing with every step.
A walk across the sand of Traeth yr Afon followed and took me into Newton and Porthcawl which was crawling with visitors and seaside trinket shops knocking off their winter dust and opening up their tills. I ventured to wrapping my tongue around a blackcurrent ripple cone and attempted to get some cash from a cash machine. With the bright sunlight the ATM screen was nigh on illegible and…. after accepting, in error, Welsh as my language of choice I guessed which button I needed to press to get myself a few notes to line my pocket. Having picked the shortest word on the basis that ‘cash’ in Welsh surely doesn’t have too many Ls in it – my logic worked and my card wasn’t retained for being a complete imbecile.
I met up with Clive in a popular surfer dudes car park next to Royal Porthcawl Gold Club and headed back for a fish supper in town and to nurse my now flamingo coloured legs. I might have slapped the sun cream on my arms, neck, ears and face, but guess which prat forget to do his legs!