Charlie Blackwell and Al Monkman: Walked the Wales Coast path in aid of St Luke’s Hospice Sheffield between 24 April – 30 May 2013
Chester – Chepstow 37 days
A steady start up the Dee Estuary – around to Rhyl and onward towards Bangor. Just two climbs here: up Little Orme Head and Great Orme Head. Plenty of sea birds, guillemots, choughs, gannets on Great Orme Head, then down to Conwy and the castle, into Bangor and over the Menai Bridge and right around Anglesey. What a delight! Well way marked with many lovely beaches. Some steady climbs, look out for seals, porpoises, dolphins, sharks – we saw the lot. Six days of fine weather.
Back over the bridge and down to Caernarfon and the castle then down to the Llyn Peninsula. After miles of flat walking we reached Trefor where we had two long climbs on the way to Nefyn. Plenty of ups and downs on the way to Aberdaron where we saw more seals in the bay.
Around to Pwllheli, Cricceth and over the bridge to Penrhyndeudraeth. Wild flowers started to appear. Down to Barmouth where the first heavy rain appeared so it was heads down over the bridge and onwards to Aberdyfi. There were plenty of ups and downs on the path to Machynlleth and back to the coast at Ynyslas then two long days on the Ceredigion Way with the steepest climb of the walk before Aberystwyth and the walk south to Pembrokeshire.
The rugged Pembrokeshire Coast offered lovely villages, plenty of wildlife – birds, shags, oystercatchers, adders, foxes, and over 30,000 feet of ascent before arriving in Carmarthenshire. A good mixture of farmland, moorland, lanes and rivers around Burry Port to Llanelli with a lovely park walk then onto the Gower.
Initially the Path took in woods full of bluebells and wild garlic before heading to Whitford Point. Extremely strong winds on the beach. Plenty of ups and downs on the way around the Gower. On to Oxwich Bay then the dunes and good coastline around to The Mumbles. Easy walking around Swansea Bay then on to Port Talbot and the back streets. A big detour to Pyle then back to coast along the dunes and to Ogmore-by-the-sea, with a scenic coastline to Llantwit Major, before being reward by a visit from the Lord Mayor in Penarth. From here, it was over the bridge to Cardiff where the signs are on the ground, before Newport.
One day to go – 6am start. Fine weather, making good progress. Chepstow in sight – one last climb then down the hill to the finish at 3pm.
No aches, no pains, no blisters, no weight lost – A good suntan, met some generous people on the way and stayed at some great accommodation. Not a walk to be done without plenty of training, boots recommended.
Find out more about fundraising for Charlie’s Walk at www.justgiving.com/charlies-welsh-walk