After catching the train back to Llanelli, I resume my walk at Seaside. The tide is in, and so the little estuary (called The Flats) doesn’t look quite so muddy today. (I love these practical and prosaic names: Seaside and The Flats.)
There is a breakwater at the end, and a sign warns of sinking-sand near the rocks. Unfortunately the day is overcast and visibility is very poor. I was hoping to get a good view of Llanmadoc Hill across the estuary, but all I can see is a mass of low-lying cloud.
I walk back towards Seaside, sticking to the rocky beach as much as I can.
Then I rejoin the official Coast Path, walk past the café (site of tea and cakes yesterday) and follow a broad promenade. There are new houses on my right, and a dismal view of the sea on my left.
There are people walking along the promenade, and some along the beach. It’s certainly not a warm day, and I am surprised when I come across a swimmer. The dog walker looks a little shocked too.
I come to a dead-end, where the promenade ends abruptly at a railway line. And manage to catch a shot of a little train rumbling along. What a lovely journey, so close to the sea!
The train enters a tunnel, and I realise I have to climb up and over the top of the tunnel.
After this, the going is easy as the promenade continues through a long strip of parkland. I pass by ponds and some interesting sculptures. This rugby post is not real. Neither are the players. It’s all a piece of artwork.
This is a popular recreational area. There are dog walkers, cyclists, joggers. I walk quickly, looking back from time to time to watch Llanelli disappearing into the gloom. Shame about the weather. But at least it’s not raining.
This blue plaque explains that Amelia Earhart landed nearby, in the estuary, after flying across the Atlantic in 1928.
I walk onwards. There are cyclists, joggers, other walkers. The promenade disappears and becomes a rough track. All the while the railway line runs to my left, a barrier between my walk and the sea.
Another train whizzes by. This one is faster.
And my path finally rises up onto a bridge and crosses over the tracks. Ahead is Burry Port.
This whole strip of coast is parkland: the Millennium Coastal Park. I pass another one in the series of identical sculptures.
And then my track turns into a path, and I am heading towards another spit of land, sticking out into the estuary. This one has a moulded look to it, as it curves around a small beach. It’s as if the land has been carved to form a grassy amphitheatre. It looks odd. Manmade? I wonder if it might once have been an old quarry.
I stop for a drink and a snack before leaving the official path and setting off to walk around the curving promontory… and on the other side I find a long stretch of beach.
This comes as a surprise. According to my map I should find gravel here. So I wasn’t expecting sand. I decide to walk along the beach and hope I can get through at the other end and rejoin the path.
I soon come across a giant jelly fish. The tide is going down and the poor thing has been left behind.
A little further on and I meet a lady with her collie. The dog is running to and fro in front of her feet, keeping very close to her toes. At first I think he is ‘herding’ her, as a sheep dog might. He keeps getting almost under her feet, and makes her stumble.
‘He’s staying very close,’ I say.
‘He’s trying to catch the sand that gets thrown up with each step,’ she tells me. ‘It’s a bit of a nuisance, really. I’m worried I’m going to kick him.’
Sometimes I wish I had a dog for company on my walks, as Jannina Tredwell did when she walked the coast in 2006. Spud Talbot-Ponsonby made the same decision back in the 1990s, when she walked with her dog around the coast too. But they can be a nuisance, in all sorts of ways. And a responsibility. I prefer to walk alone.
Further on and the beach deteriorates. I walk over rubble, the ruins of buildings.
Ahead is the entrance to Burry Port harbour. A squat lighthouse guards the approach.
Just inside is a marina area with rows of boats. There is no lock gate to hold the water back, so they will soon be sitting in mud.
At this point I head inland to find somewhere for lunch. I also want to check out the trains. My return journey involves a complicated bus and rail schedule, and I want to make sure I know where the station is.
[to be continued…}