Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Current

Hello to all my regular readers! I know there are a number of you out there.
Thank you for your interest. 
We have recently returned from our third trip to Pembrokeshire this year when we walked 33 miles of the coast from Little Haven to Milford Haven.  There we were defeated by monsoon-like rains, so brought our caravan home to store it for the winter.  We shall return next Spring, when the Summer bus timetable starts up again, to finish the Pembrokeshire coast and move on towards the Gower.  Meanwhile I will try to get this blog up to date over the Winter.
I am just so glad that I can do this coastal walking again after two successful knee replacement operations.  Thank you Mr Balint (my knee surgeon), you have given me back my life!
To all my readers, thank you for your interest in our venture.
Rosemary
PS  Go to   www.bognorregisbeach.co.uk  to see what is happening NOW just left of Bognor Pier! (On the website, click on  'Live Webcam')

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Walk 346 -- Maltraeth to Dwyran

Ages:  Colin was 71 years and 168 days.  Rosemary was 68 years and 310 days.
Weather:  The rain clouds cleared away and it was mostly sunny and warm, though the wind remained strong.
Location:  Malltraeth to Dwyran.
Distance:  9 miles.
Total distance:  3572 miles.
Terrain:  A cycle track on the sea bank.  Beautiful forest walks.  A sandy beach.  Some quiet roads.  Boggy tracks and fields.  Stepping stones across a river.
Tide:  In.
Rivers: No.424, Afon Cefni.  No.425, Afon Braint — which we crossed on stepping stones,  HELP! 
Ferries:  None.
Piers:  None.
Kissing gates:  Nos.652 to 655, all towards the end of the Walk.
Pubs:  None.
‘Cadw’ properties:  None.
Ferris wheels:  None.
Diversions:  None, because I was brave enough to cross the stepping stones!
How we got there and back:  We were staying in a cosy little holiday cottage near Criccieth.  This morning we drove from there to Dwyran where we parked just round the corner from a bus stop.  From there we caught a bus to Malltraeth and alighted right next to the car park where we finished the last Walk.
At the end we finished the official Walk in the fields south of the village.  We walked across a couple of soggy fields and emerged on the bypass.  We crossed this and walked into the village, soon realising that we weren’t on the road we thought we were.  I was walking on looking at the map, trying to work out where we really were when I practically ran into our parked car!  So we had our tea and chocolate biscuits, then we drove back to our cosy little cottage.

We crossed the bridge over Afon Cefni which was canalised in 1824, but I can’t find out why.  Was it something to do with the copper industry?
The estuary on the southern side of the bridge is an important nature reserve.  We walked across “The Cob” which is a raised bank alongside the estuary.  My!  It was cold out there!  A bitter wind cut across the sands — I put my hood up and Colin got out his furry hat.  We were both still wearing our full wet-weather gear, which is also windproof, because we didn’t trust the weather despite the clearing skies.  (There had been torrential downpours until the early hours, and we had left the cottage in the rain this morning.)
After about a mile we came to a picnic area which was much more sheltered as it was amongst trees.  We sat at a picnic table and ate our quiche/pasty.  There was a permanent step there to mount horses, and we watched two girls use it to set off on ponies accompanied by a woman walking with a dog.  We followed the same track into the forest because it was the official coast path.  It was a wide track with hardcore, but was actually quite muddy after all the rain we’ve been having.  It was not the type of forest path we had been led to believe it would be from looking at the map, more like a rough muddy road.  We found it to be a bit soul-destroying.
After a mile or so we turned right through a muddy puddle on to a delightful forest path.  This was much better!  It was great to look upwards through the trees to the blue sky beyond.
The path took us out to the estuary which was marshy.  We could see a manor house in the woods on the opposite side — we had passed entrances to this estate when walking along a lane on our last Walk.  It was windy out in the open but not cold because, unlike The Cob, we had trees partially sheltering us on one side.  We could see the pony riders ahead, we must have been following them.  We also saw dragonflies and butterflies in the sunshine — that’s more like it!
The track led along the edge of the forest, then it turned in.  We saw strange flowering palms, very pretty but they looked totally out of place in this forest setting.  We wondered who had planted them, and why.
We could hear the wind in the trees and the waves on the shore which wasn’t very far away now.  It really made us feel good.  It was very sheltered where we were and we began to get quite hot.  So we removed our wet-weather gear.
The path came out on an earth road by a huge rock which looked like a sleeping dinosaur.  It looked man-made, then we thought it may be an erratic because it seemed so out of place.  We looked at the map and realised it was an extension of the rocks which make up Llanddwyn Island — Colin was the first to deduce that, and admitted he wouldn’t have thought of any such thing before he started studying geology with the U3A (University of the Third Age).
Two huge JCBs were working on the earth road.  One was a heavy roller, and as they passed us the ground vibrated like an earthquake.
The road led down towards the beach, we could see the sea through the trees.  We turned off the path, made our way over a bank and came out on the sands.  It was lovely!  It was not nearly so windy as it had been earlier and the sun was warm.  There were quite a few people there, many were speaking Welsh.  We had wonderful views of Snowdonia across the water, and of Llanddwyn Island stretching out towards the rest of Wales.
The tide was right in, so Llanddwyn Island really was an island — most of the time it is accessible without getting your feet wet, but not at that moment.  Also we were anxious to finish our Walk before we began to lose daylight, so we decided to miss out Llanddwyn Island as being a dead end we didn’t have to walk.  But we hadn’t realised the significance of the island, nor of the strange rocks on the beach.
Two years later we revisited this beach with our local U3A Geology group — a trip led by a university professor.  She told us that this area is a geologist’s “Mecca”.  The rocks on the beach are pillow lavas which only occur on constructive plate margins at the very bottom of oceans.  The geology is complicated, but to put it simply Llanddwyn Island is a remnant of a defunct ocean which was here hundreds of millions of years ago.
And beautiful the rocks are too, many coloured minerals are exposed.  (On that visit the tide was out and we walked the length of the island.)
Llanddwyn Island was also revered as a holy place by our ancestors.  Dwynwen was a 5th century saint who lived as a hermit on the island after her love affair turned sour.  She was said to be the patron saint of lovers.  (Surely not the right person if she couldn’t manage her own love affairs!)  If a woman scattered breadcrumbs on her holy well on the island, then laid her handkerchief over them, she could tell that her lover would be faithful if the eels in the well disturbed this arrangement.  (I wouldn’t have relied on it!)  This practice became very popular in Tudor times when the chapel was built, and it made the area very rich.  (Another medieval scam?) 
Getting back to the Walk, we walked about a mile along this beautiful beach.
Though the tide was right in, the sand was not too soft to walk on.  With the wonderful views of Snowdonia across the strait it was absolutely glorious!  We approached the sand cliffs where the tide was too far in for us to walk comfortably.
We came to a dip in the cliffs — it looked like a decent path inland, it was well-walked and we weren’t the only ones using it today.  So with a last look at the wonderful view of Snowdonia across the water we turned into the forest.
The path led us up and down through woods.  We could see the official path which runs parallel to the beach but we had to climb over a fence to get to it.  It was not a barbed wire fence so that wasn’t too difficult, but why was it there?  We came to “Trim Trail”, a picnic site with gym apparatus like parallel bars, and there was nobody there.  But we both wanted the loos which we knew were around somewhere, so we looked on the map.  We deduced we must climb a sandy hill behind “Trim Trail”, and there we saw just below us the roof of the loo block in a huge car park.  The toilets were clean, open and free — well done to whoever was responsible for them!  Feeling much more comfortable, we sat at a windy picnic table to eat our sandwiches and apples.


The path continued from a corner of the car park through woods to the eastern edge of the forest.  There we turned north-east and walked along the edge of the forest, just within the trees, for about a mile.  The sun was shining brightly and we loved the interplay of light as it fell between the trees.
Newborough Warren was on our right, not the sea.  There are paths across the Warren, but they are tidal and come to a dead end when they reach the Menai Strait.  So we didn’t walk them, there was no point.  The Warren has been grazed by ponies ever since the myxomatosis crisis of 1954 wiped out the rabbits.  (Colin and I both remember how scrubland shot up that summer because there were no rabbits grazing.  I was nine years old, and remember the grassy slopes in Arundel Park disappearing under a mass of ragwort and brambles.)
The path turned away from the forest — there was still the Warren to the right but now there were fields and a pond to our left.  We came to a car park cum picnic site with a weird sculpture of marram grass stooks.  A notice told us, “This sculpture depicts the ‘gafrod’ of marram grass, harvested and drying in the sun.  Newborough residents used to harvest the grass every two years and leave it to dry from its green colour to a golden yellow.  ‘Gafrod’ was a local term for the bundles of marram standing on end, gathered and tied at the top with a plaited cord of marram.” 
We sat at a table to eat our chocolate.  A group of ponies were carrolled in a pen at the side of the car park.  Some men turned up with a horse-trailer and started inspecting and sorting them.  They all spoke in Welsh so we had no idea what they were saying.
We walked along a road for a short way, then turned down a track towards Afon Braint.  Colin saw a stoat, but it had run away before I caught sight of it.  As we approached the river we were getting a little worried because we couldn’t see the footbridge we thought was there.  That’s because there wasn’t one, there were stepping stones!  (We should have looked more carefully at the map, it is clearly marked as stepping stones at that point.)
The stones were real rocks which had been squared off, and they were more or less flat-topped.  The gaps between them weren’t too big, though one in the middle was a bit wider.  The river was running fast after all the rain we have had, and the crossing looked daunting.
Colin was confident, but I was a little nervous — this type of situation is where my lack of 3D vision becomes a real handicap.  I glanced at the map to look for an alternative route, then I said, “I’m not going back to that b****y road!”  In my own time I leapt safely from stone to stone with great aplomb, even over the bigger gap in the middle.  I was quite proud of myself!  (Colin did take a photo of me doing it, but that was one of the ones that got deleted.)  We then had only a quarter of a mile to go — along a marshy river bank, then through some fields until we were at the nearest point to Dwyran.
That ended Walk no.346, we shall pick up Walk no.347 next time on a footpath just south of Dwyran.  It was half past three, so the Walk had taken us five hours fifty minutes.  We walked across a couple of soggy fields and emerged on the bypass.  We crossed this and walked into the village, soon realising that we weren’t on the road we thought we were.  I was walking on looking at the map, trying to work out where we really were when I practically ran into our parked car!  So we had our tea and chocolate biscuits, then we drove back to our cosy little cottage.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Walk 345 -- Rhosneigr to Maltraeth

Ages:  Colin was 71 years and 166 days.  Rosemary was 68 years and 308 days.
Weather:  Wet and windy, but not at all cold.
Location:  Rhosneigr to Malltraeth.
Distance:  10 miles.
Total distance:  3563 miles.
Terrain:  Grassy/muddy paths.  Some track.  A little bit of rocky beach.  Tarmacked lanes. Undulating.
Tide:  In, going out.
Rivers: No.423, Afon Ffraw at Aberffraw.
Ferries:  None.
Piers:  None.
Kissing gates:  Nos.642 to 651 on the footpaths.
Pubs:  None.
‘Cadw’ properties:  None.
Ferris wheels:  None.
Diversions:  No.77 inland from Porth Cwyfan because the beach was impossible.  No.78 inland from Afon Ffraw because the official coastal path actually went under water!  No.79 was a short cut over the dunes because it was windy and rainy, so we thought the path round the coastal side would be too unfriendly.
How we got there and back:  Two days ago we drove from home to a cosy little holiday cottage near Criccieth.  This morning we drove from there to Malltraeth where we parked in a car park right next to a bus stop.  From there we caught a bus to Aberffraw, then another bus which dropped us by the car park in the dunes where we finished the last Walk.
At the end we finished at the car parked on the edge of Malltraeth.  It was too cold and windy to stop in that exposed car park by the river for more than a few seconds, so we drove straightaway to a forest picnic site about a mile away where we were a lot more sheltered.  There we had our tea and chocolate biscuits, then we drove back to our cosy little cottage. 

It rained incessantly, sometimes torrentially, for most of this Walk, so photography was very difficult.  I didn’t take my camera, and we struggled to take a few pictures with Colin’s trying not to get it wet.  Then they accidentally got deleted before we could transfer them to the computer!
It was two years before we were in the area again.  So, on a bright sunny day, we took a few photos of some of the places on the Walk that we could access by car. 

The toilets we had used at the end of the last Walk were padlocked – as we thought they might be because there was a notice saying they were “seasonal”.  We set off along the dune path in pouring rain and a strong wind, but it was not at all cold.  We would have been able to see Rhosneigr behind us if the visibility had been better.
The dunes came to an end and we had to continue on a clifftop path, but it wasn’t too unpleasant despite the wind and rain because it was so mild.  We came to a restored chambered cairn which we could get inside out of the rain.  There was what seemed to be a stone circle inside, but it was behind padlocked gates.  We could sit on a stone in the entrance out of the rain, so we took the opportunity to eat our slices of quiche.
Then we read the notices about this burial mound: 
“Legend has it that this mound was carried here in the apron of a giantess.  The true story is even more remarkable.  Five thousand years ago New Stone Age (Neolithic) travellers used their knowledge of the movement of the sun and stars to navigate their way across the sea.  They brought with them ideas from the Boyne Valley in Ireland, the west coast of Portugal and Spain, the Orkney Islands and Brittany.  The people from these far-flung places were united by a shared tradition of rock art and tomb building.  The burial chamber beneath the large mound of turf and earth was reached by a long stone-lined passage.  You can enter the tomb and enjoy an ancient display of European art.” 
Except that we couldn’t because of the padlocked gates – and it was dark in there!  (The flash photos revealed a lot more, but we couldn’t see anything.)  We read another notice: 
“Barclodiad y Gawres is the largest Neolithic tomb in Wales.  Dating from 2500-3000 BC it was built at the same time as the pyramids in Egypt and the stone circles at Stonehenge.  This was a public grave for the local farming community.  Built without the use of metal tools, its construction would have required considerable organisation and it would probably have acted as a focus for religious ceremonies over several generations.  During excavations two cremated male burials were found in one chamber, and in the central area there was evidence of a fire on to which had been poured a strange stew consisting of wrasse, eel, frog, toad, grass snake, mouse shrew and hare, then covered with limpet shells and pebbles.” 
Sounds like a witch’s brew!  Another notice (yes, there were four!) told us: 
“The mound covers a cruciformed inner chamber used for the burial of the dead, and approached by a covered passage.  Three of the stones at the junction of the passage and chamber and two at the back of the side chambers bear original decorations.” 
That’s all very well, but we couldn’t get past the gate.  The fourth notice told us: 
“Of prime importance at Barclodiad y Gawres is the exceptional decoration on the massive stones forming the burial chamber.  Here can be seen zigzags, chevrons and spirals, similar to the decoration found in the tombs of the Boyne Valley in Ireland, emphasizing the close association across the Irish Sea.  There is only one other example of this Neolithic art form known in Wales (Bryn Celli Ddu).  Such decoration is equally rare in England and Scotland and Barclodiad y Gawres is unquestionably the finest example in Britain.  Unfortunately the decorated stones have become increasingly vulnerable to graffiti and vandalism, so it is with regret that Cadw is currently unable to allow unsupervised access into the chamber.” 
So that’s it, a few bad behaved louts spoiling everything for the many once again.  B-----y vandals!
We continued round the little headland and came down to the beach where there were two surfers in the water.  (They were so wet they didn’t mind the rain.)  One of them was quite good at surfboarding, he caught lots of waves.
It was only a tiny beach, we were soon climbing the next cliffs.  The visibility improved, though the rain didn’t, and we could actually see Rhosneigr in the distance behind us.
The views of the cliffs and the waves were good, but we couldn’t photograph them because of the rain.  It stopped occasionally, but always started again within a few minutes so it was never worth shedding our wet-weather gear.  I found that putting my cape over my kag and overtrousers kept me more or less dry, and kept my rucksack pretty dry too.  Colin battled with his infamous umbrella in the wind — I ignored him.  The path was muddy and a bit slippery in places, it was not easy walking.  While we were still on the clifftops we had about ten minutes of pounding rain and a high wind — it was horrid!
Further on the path led us inland, uphill across fields.  The signposts were a bit elusive, but we found them.  It tended to be very muddy where we were supposed to climb over stiles, but the adjacent field gates were usually unlocked so we were able to avoid most of the mire.  We came out on to a road.  A farmer’s vehicle was approaching, and seeing it a number of cows started moving towards the gate we had just come through.  One frisky cow slithered on the mud — she didn’t fall but she stared at us as if it was our fault!
We carried on along the road, then took a track which led us down past Anglesey Motor Racing Circuit.  It was behind grassy banks so we couldn’t see anything from where we were, but there was nothing happening this wet Monday morning anyway.  Colin was speculating on how “easy” it  would be (it wasn’t) to scale the barbed wire fence and brambles and get in free — I reminded him he was no longer a teenager!
We came out on to a beach where there was a chapel on a rock.  The rain stopped momentarily so I was able to take a photo of it, but that was one of the photos that got deleted.  The path disappeared under stones on the beach.  The tide was in, so it was rough walking.  Then we had to climb over rocks which were slippery — we were not happy.  So when we got to the place where a road came down to the beach we went inland along said road instead of continuing along the official Coast Path which supposedly carried on along this difficult beach.
We followed the road for about half a mile.  There was no traffic, but it was boring!  So, at the first opportunity, we turned off on a good track which led us down to the river and the official Coast Path further on.  But there the coast path went down into the water!  We were wet enough already with the rain, so we backtracked to take a parallel path higher up the hill into Aberffraw.  We suffered another torrential downpour as we did this.
In Aberffraw we passed a stone drinking fountain where the water used to come out of a lion’s mouth.  No water comes out of it these days, of course, it never does.  We sought out the public toilets — clean, open and free.  Thank you, Aberffraw, especially as we had both forgotten our RADAR keys!  It actually stopped raining as we walked down to the packhorse bridge, so we took the opportunity of eating our sandwiches there whilst sitting on large stones.
We had a choice of paths there — either take a minor road straight across the dunes, or walk closer to the sea around three sides of the dunes on a sandy path.  We decided against the latter because it was still very windy and that path was dodgy.  As we walked across on the road, I took off my cape and waved it in the air in an attempt to dry it.  But then I thought it would be easier to dry it just by wearing it.  This worked quite well, for it was still very windy.  When I thought it was dry enough I took it off and asked Colin to stuff it in my rucksack, after all the sun was out and the clouds were breaking up.  No sooner had he done this than it started to rain again, so it all had to come out once more and get wet!
On the other side of the dunes the road went between two stone posts, and the footpath led off to the left.  It was only marked as an ordinary footpath, yet it was the official Coast Path according to the map.  It seemed to bear round to the left, yet the map said it should go straight on.  A bit confused, we got out the compass and made for the chapel at the top of the hill.  There we saw a beautiful rainbow, for the sun had come out before it had stopped raining.
We left the official Coast Path there because, for reasons beyond our understanding, that led northwards from the chapel to a main road which it followed for nearly a mile.  We took a minor road — again no traffic — which was nearer the sea and led to the same place.  It led through woods and was very pleasant to walk.
As we approached a cottage we could hear a loud squealing sound above the noise of the wind, and wondered what it was.  We passed the corner of the cottage and saw that it was a stoat trying to kill a rabbit!  At the same moment we came upon this scene, the stoat saw us, dropped the rabbit and dashed off over a low wall.  The rabbit was lying on its side absolutely still.  Colin gently moved it with his foot, and there was no sign of life.  “It’s dead!” he said, and looked over the wall to see if he could see the stoat.  But I was still looking at the poor ‘dead’ rabbit when it suddenly leapt up and bounded away in the opposite direction!  It gave me quite a fright!  We were left wondering if it did eventually survive because we didn’t know how injured it was.
We reached the main road at the point where the official Coast Path left it, and couldn’t think why the pleasant route we had just walked wasn’t the official Coast Path.  We took another minor road downhill towards the river.  Just before it got to the water we turned northwards for the last half mile.  It was a lovely path taking us sometimes through woods, but it was very narrow.  The brambles and gorse needed cutting back in places too.  Duckboards had been put down over the muddiest bits, but netting was missing in places leaving slippery wooden boards.  Colin slithered at one point but didn’t fall.  I walked very carefully — I’ve broken enough bones in the past to last a lifetime!  We came out on to the main road through Maltraeth, just a few yards from the car park where our car was waiting for us.

That ended Walk no.345, we shall pick up Walk no.346 next time at the car park by the river bridge in Maltraeth.  It was twenty to four, so the Walk had taken us five and three-quarter hours.  It was too cold and windy to stop in that exposed car park by the river for more than a few seconds, so we drove straightaway to a forest picnic site about a mile away where we were a lot more sheltered.  There we had our tea and chocolate biscuits, then we drove back to our cosy little cottage.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Walk 344 -- Four Mile Bridge to Rhosneigr

Ages:  Colin was 71 years and 129 days.  Rosemary was 68 years and 271 days.
Weather:  Threatening sky at first, and a cold wind.  One sharp shower just to annoy us!  Then mostly sunny.  The wind dropped and it got much warmer.
Location:  Four Mile Bridge to Rhosneigr.
Distance:  8 miles.
Total distance:  3553 miles.
Terrain:  Grassy paths around the estuary.  Lovely beaches, especially Traeth Cwmyran beach which was fantastic to walk along.  Grassy path across the dunes.  Pavement through town.  Mostly flat.
Tide:  Out.
Rivers: No.421, Llyn Cerrig-b√Ęch outlet.  No.422, Afon Crygyll.
Ferries:  None.
Piers:  None.
Kissing gates:  Nos.622 to 641 along the estuary path (20 in all!)
Pubs:  None.
‘Cadw’ properties:  None.
Ferris wheels:  None.
Diversions:  None.
How we got there and back:  We were staying in our caravan on a remote farm in the middle of Anglesey.  This morning we drove to Rhosneigr station where we caught a train to Valley.  There we walked down the road to Four Mile Bridge.
At the end we finished in a car park amongst the dunes.  It was twenty-five past three, so the Walk had taken us 6 hours.  We walked about a mile inland to Rhosneigr station where our car was parked, mostly alongside a lake so it was very pleasant.  There we had our tea and chocolate biscuits before driving back to our caravan.
We immediately took down the awning — in perfect weather of sunshine and no wind — and packed it away, dry, into the car.  The next morning it had turned wet and windy again, so we were very pleased we had done that.  We packed up the caravan and returned home to Malvern.

A little way across the bridge we turned off the road and followed a track.  We then walked across fields which were a bit rocky, in fact we passed an old quarry.  We sat on a rock to eat our pies, and while we were there we were passed by a group of teenage girl hikers, different girls from yesterday’s group.
We met a friendly horse and gave him (or her) a pat.  The path was a bit undulating, and when we rose up high we could still see Four Mile Bridge if we looked behind.  We came to a footbridge over an inlet where a notice told us it was “Valley Tidal Doors”.  We assumed the doors were to stop seawater getting to the marshes behind us.
We emerged on to a lane where we met a woman with her two children in a car.  She asked us if we had seen two groups of girls.  We replied that we had been passed by one group but hadn’t seen the other.  She explained that she was their teacher, and she was looking for them to make sure they were OK.
A bit further on we realised we had missed a turning, so we retraced our steps.  We found the blue logo and arrow were so buried in a hedge we hadn’t seen them as we passed by.  Next we were in a field with lots of horses trotting round us.  They seemed to be friendly, but they were a bit off-putting as they were so big.
The path led us down to the Anglesey side of the Cymyran Strait which we followed for several miles.
My camera then packed up!  The batteries were low, so I changed them for a set of charged-up batteries.  I took a couple more shots, and these batteries read low as well.  It’s time I bought myself a new camera.  I had to use Colin’s camera for the rest of the Walk.
We met the teacher again, walking towards us on the footpath with her two children.  She’d spoken to the group who were ahead of us and they were all right.  She could see the group who were behind us and she was walking to meet them.  We had quite a long conversation with her.  She told us that there were four groups walking towards each other yesterday and they had all spent the night in a bunkhouse in Rhoscolyn.  Today the groups were walking away from each other.  We told her about our coastal venture and how far we had got — she was impressed.
We walked on, and soon it started raining quite heavily.  I just put my kag on because I had assessed the sky and realised it would only be a shower, though a heavy one.  Colin insisted on putting on his kag, overtrousers, the lot!  “I’ve been caught out before!” and other such exclamations exploded from his lips when I tried to reason with him — so I left him to it.  It took him ages, by which time the shower was over!  The sun came out, it got quite hot and we had no more rain all day.  It was a long time before Colin could be persuaded to remove his wet-weather gear — obstinate, or what?  Meanwhile the teacher came running back with her two children, she’d left their coats in the car.  She’d spoken to the other group of girls and was now satisfied that they were all OK.
We came to another inlet.  There was what looked like a narrow concrete causeway across it which would have saved us about a mile of walking.  It looked as if there was a gravel path along the middle between the seaweed, so we went down to the shore and started to carefully pick our way across.  It got more and more difficult, so Colin went on to look at the end.  It was washed away there — we would be stepping on stones but they were under water, skewed and slippery.  It was not worth the risk so we turned back and walked the mile round.
The actual path was narrow and up on a bank, but we found there was a kind of road round three-quarters of the inlet — it was hard-packed enough to walk on anyway, and much easier.  Coming back the other side we saw the second group of girls emerge from the undergrowth behind us.  They sat on a wall to eat their lunches, so they never did catch us up.  We were up in the fields by then anyway, behind hedges.  When we reached the other end of the concrete “causeway” Colin went down to photograph it where it was broken.  Looking at the close-up pictures later I realised I never could have crossed it safely, so we had made the right decision to turn back.
I sat in the sun on a wall post while he did this.  It was so lovely to be out on a brilliant day in such a lovely place!
From there the path led zigzag-like through fields.  We could see a wide expanse of estuary sand down below and knew we would soon be down there.  We could see people walking on it, and Colin wanted to go down directly from where we were.  I said, “No!” for two reasons:  (1) there was a barbed wire fence and a steep bank to negotiate, and (2) there was a river down there which needed to be crossed.  He moaned and moaned about having to walk “all the way inland” to the buildings (it was about 200 yards!) to where we could cross the river on a footbridge.  He never learns that 95% of the shortcuts we have attempted to take have ended in disaster!
We saw the big propeller plane, which dropped parachutists yesterday, about to take off.  There were no parachutists today (was it because it was Saturday?) nor jets, thank goodness, because they are so LOUD and we were now right by the airfield.
But there was a lot of helicopter activity.  Prince William has only recently moved on after seven years with RAF Search & Rescue here.  We would hate to live in this area, the noise is worse than Farnborough!
We came to a car park where we were advised not to loiter!  A blue arrow had led us into the car park but didn’t show us which way to go to get out of it.  We tried two different narrow paths, but soon realised we were wrong both times.




Everywhere seemed to be overgrown, but the wild flowers amongst the weeds and thorns were lovely.
We got out the map, and concluded that a track running parallel to the airfield perimeter track must be the right way although there was no blue arrow nor logo telling us so.  We passed another “NO LOITERING” notice, so we loitered but not with intent because we hadn’t got a tent (sorry!) 
It was the correct path, it led across the dunes to the estuary sands where we wanted to be.
It was lovely to be out on that gorgeous sand!  We sat on a bank to eat our sarnies.  We carried on through a gap to the real beach.
Across the entrance to the Cymyran Strait we could see a sandbank which was a corner of Holy Island where we were yesterday.  On the other side of the bank was Silver Bay where we had sat on a rock so miserably in the rain eating our apples.  I expect it was lovely over there today, it was absolutely glorious where we were today!
There was a wide expanse of sand, and we could see Snowdonia ahead looking like smoky mountains.
It was two miles along this wonderful beach to Rhosneigr, but…..just before the town is a river which is not visible until you get right up to it.  We knew about it because it was marked on the map, and we had been warned about it by a hiking couple we met on the train this morning.
It is too deep to wade, and it winds back along the beach next to the dunes.  They had been caught out, thinking they could just step off the beach into Rhosneigr, but had to retrace their steps a long way to get on to the path leading to a footbridge behind the dunes.
We knew we had to take a path off the beach into the dunes after one mile or so, but there were several paths and we weren’t sure which one to take.  Eventually we came to one with the blue arrow and logo — this time the Wales Coast Path signage didn’t let us down! 
It was a bit hot away from the breeze on the beach, and we began to peel off layers.  A helicopter on the adjacent airfield (Yes, it was still with us!) was doing hovering exercises.  The noise was a bit of a pain, it rather spoiled the pleasantness of the place.  The dune path was boring at first, no view, but at least it was grassy rather than loose sand which makes walking so difficult.
Then we went up high above a bend in the river and we saw how impossible it would have been if we’d continued along the beach — we had been tempted!  The path led down to a footbridge over the river, then up into town.
We passed a group of people standing by the railings looking along the beach.  “There they are!” shouted one of them, pointing.  In the distance, walking blindly towards the river was one of the groups of teenage girls.  And there, in the town, were their parents waiting to take them home after their two-day trek.  We hadn’t the heart to tell them about the river, which they hadn’t noticed because it was directly below them partly shielded by the wall they were standing on.  We often wonder how the girls coped when they reached it — so near yet so far!  They should have looked more closely at their maps.

We met a lady pushing her dog along in a pushchair!  She told us the dog was old and had recently been ill, so that was the only way she could take it for a walk.  We bought ice creams and sat on seats at the end of town overlooking the next beach to eat them.
We then walked along this gorgeous beach to the car park where we intended ending this Walk.  In fact we overshot it a little, we couldn’t see it from the beach and went up an overgrown path through the dunes to find we’d already passed it.
Colin took his cap off and found a HUGE spider on it!  Good job neither of us are arachnophobics. 


That ended Walk no.344, we shall pick up Walk no.345 next time at the dune car park about a mile out of Rhosneigr.  It was twenty-five past three, so the Walk had taken us 6 hours.  We used the loos and ate our apples.  Then we walked about a mile inland to Rhosneigr station where our car was parked, mostly alongside a lake so it was very pleasant.  There we had our tea and chocolate biscuits before driving back to our caravan.
We immediately took down the awning — in perfect weather of sunshine and no wind — and packed it away, dry, into the car.  The next morning it had turned wet and windy again, so we were very pleased we had done that.  We packed up the caravan and returned home to Malvern.