I return to Aberporth by car, and admire the mural in the parking area…
… before walking across the beach to the other side of the bay, where I can look back at the opposite headland and remember how grateful I was to arrive here yesterday.
There is a small charge for parking your car in Aberporth. I am always glad to pay these fees and, compared to our big cities, the prices are very reasonable and you’re contributing to the local economy.
I can’t work out if it has been removed for emptying, or has it been stolen? Oh, the irony.
‘Mary’ and ‘Jane’ are traditional. ‘True Briton’ and ‘Britannia’ are patriotic. ‘Lovely’ is just, well, lovely. And makes me smile.
The coastal path heading out of Aberporth has been especially created to be wheelchair friendly. It’s wide, smooth and covered in tarmac. Easy walking.
And I am struck by how clean it is. All the way to Tresaith. Not a scrap of litter to be seen. Not a single pile of dog poo. Very odd, considering how many holiday cottages, caravan sites, and dog walkers are to be found in the area. I wonder if they use a regular road sweeper?
There is something else that is odd. The holiday cottages that dot the slopes are long and thin in outline. And look like… well, like railway carriages.
I assume Aberporth once had a railway station, although there is no sign of one today.
Onwards. Towards Tresaith.
I’m walking into the morning sun, which makes photography difficult. It still seems strange to be walking eastwards, having spent so long making westward progress, and this part of the coast is north facing, so the cliffs and slopes remain in the shadows.
Tresaith is blighted by caravan parks, something my B&B landlady warned me about. But they look fine in the sunshine.
I walk down to Tresaith beach and wonder if it gets crowded in the summer. Today there are just a few elderly walkers, and couples out with dogs.
Then I begin the long, hard slog out of the valley. This is no longer a wheelchair-friendly route! The path climbs up, via a series of steps, through the houses that crowd the bay.
Then it begins to wind up the hill on the other side of the cove. And the hill never seems to end.
I overtake a couple of middle-aged walkers. The man is telling the woman they are nearly at the top. But, when I round the next corner and see the path – now a rugged mass of rocks – continuing to rise, I know this is not true.
On and upwards. I stop for the occasional breather and to take photographs looking down into the bay below. From up here you get a better impression of how built-up this area is. It must be bustling in the summer.
Up and up.
Eventually I feel that freshening in the air, a cooler breeze in my face, that usually signals you’re approaching the top of a hill. And I know I’m nearly there.
Ahead the coastline stretches away. No holiday homes or caravan parks in sight. This is better! And what a glorious day. No clouds. No wind. And the sea is calm below, just a gentle roll as the waves approach the shore.
Over the brow of the hill, and I am looking down along Penbryn Beach. This is a lovely stretch of sand, crossed by a shallow stream, and almost deserted.
Now the path turns inland and goes down into a wooded valley. The walking is easy, with steps. And I enjoy the change of scenery.
At the bottom of the valley is a bridge across the stream, and I meet other walkers, including a long line of ramblers. They stop on the bridge for a group photo – I offer to take it for them…
… and then they take a photo of me on the bridge too.
What goes down, must come up. On the other side of the narrow valley is a car park – which explains all the strollers and walkers – and a long climb up another steep hill. The views from the top are worth the effort.
There is a welcome, but short, period of flattish walking on the top of the cliff, and then I am looking down into another cove. This has no name on my map and appears to be inaccessible by foot. It’s very beautiful.
After another steep scramble – down and up – I regain the high ground. The next beach appears. This one is definitely accessible by foot. I can see walkers on the sand and a small boat is pulled up. Ah. This must be Llangrannog.
Coming around the corner, I can look down at the small village. It looks a promising place to stop for lunch, larger than I expected, with pubs and cafes.
The pub is showing football on a large TV. Wales at the moment is sports mad. They won the rugby last night – beating the English in a surprising turnaround in the second half – and seem to be doing well in the football qualifying matches too.
I sit in a corner and eat a bowl of Welsh cawl. My daughter is getting married next weekend and I am determined to drop a few pounds and so I’m choosing my food carefully and, instead of my usual cider, I’m drinking diet coke!
Self control – like walking uphill – may be hard at the time, but the end result should be worth the effort.
[To be continued…]