Thomas Leber, Westerwald Germany
The Challenge (and the dream): I’ve met a few people who were going on a round the world trip for 6 months or longer. Normally, people do these things when they are young, during university, or when they reach pension age. After doing my job for 20 years, I thought that now was the time to make a dream come true. That dream was to walk once around Wales – starting at Chepstow in the south following the Offa´s Dyke Path to Prestatyn in the north. Then along the coast following the Wales Coast Path, back to the south again.
Start Date: 14 August 2013
End Date: 11 October 2013 (with only 6 rainy days. Apparently the locals told me that 2013 was the best summer in years!)
High Points: On the Offa’s Dyke Path, you start with small hills which get higher and higher with spectacular views. The Wales Coast Path was much easier to walk because of the nice beaches and only small hills. The landscape changes very often so it’s never boring.
These are my top highlights along the Welsh coast:
Beaches, a few castles and swimming my way along
My favourite places are the castles of Conwy, Caernarfon, Harlech and Pembroke. The most beautiful beaches are in Barmouth, Broad Haven (including Little Haven), Broad Haven (near Stackpole), Trewent Beach, Tenby and Pendine.
And the perfect beach, my personal number 1 is…….Three Cliffs Bay on the Gower Peninsula with it’s small mountains, cliffs, dunes, a river with a lake, caves – and all of that directly on the beach!
Perfection in every way - sunny weather, low wind and a B&B not far away – all of which resulted in a spot of swimming and relaxing in the dunes or on the beach! There were dozens of beautiful beaches to enjoy, but at these particular ones, everything was just perfect.
A pub with a view and being backpack-less.
The best pub with a beautiful view was in Llangrannog. With the rain pouring down, I decided to stop my walk for that day. That was when I discovered a pub with good food, real ales with a beach view where you can eat, drink and relax. It was a perfect place to stay on a rainy day and I’m sure it would have been even better on a sunny day.
My 2 night stop in Llandudno included a visit to the Great Orme’s Mines and Conwy and Llandudno itself - my first time without my backpack!
A very small chapel and Tenby
St. Govan, the smallest chapel set on the rocks and St. David´s Cathedral were the best places to pray and to join the evensong. Tenby is now in my top 5 of the most beautiful towns I have ever seen!
Low Points: Near the big towns and mostly in the south you have to follow the roads a lot – so the feet hurt more . But I had perfect shoes and not even one blister!
My Lightbulb Moment: The most important thing if you go on a trip like this is to forget the hectic pace of everyday life, to get a free mind.......and I would always do it again!