I wake up to a much nicer day and head down to the footbridge with the coracle memorial. Closer up I see that it was put up in memory of a young boy, Cameron Comey, who was swept away by the river last February. Ribbons and football shirts adorn the railings – it’s all a bit sad.
Retracing my steps past the fiery Welsh dragon at the other end, I follow the path that runs alongside the river on the west bank, under a road bridge and later a striking rail bridge defaced by the usual mindless tags.
After the bridge the landscape opens up into a stretch of parkland where I see horses grazing freely. I watch a man and his fretting dog walk through them with no trouble so I steel myself to do the same. When I was a child my parents arranged to look after pony trekking horses over the winter, so for two years running I spent all my free time riding and taking care of them. At that time I knew my horses well and was almost never nervous but strange horses are different.
I walk quickly past the horses and although the small white one starts to follow me, he soon gives up and goes back to grazing. I walk on, meeting no-one on the path, until it ends in a metal gate and the back wall of a leisure centre.
Sadly, even after such a short walk, my new cheap boots have given me a blister. I cannot believe my feet and I have no plasters left. Trying not to lose heart I drop in to the leisure centre and ask for a plaster – the lovely girl I talk to rushes off to get one.
Setting off again I follow the ambiguous Welsh coast path sign the wrong way and end up having to clamber over a five bar gate with a big private sign on it – but at least I am now on the right road to Llangain. From now on the walking is on the main road and pretty unpleasant it is. At one point I nearly get run over trying to avoid two huge noisy Alsatian dogs hemmed in by a none too high fence at the side of the road. As I pass they repeatedly hurl themselves at the wire fence – it should not be allowed……
Eventually, when the barking dogs were out of earshot I catch sight of a footpath sign off to the right – this is not marked as the coast path but I am so desperate to get off the road I climb over the stile and into a lovely patch of woodland. The welly sign is a warning of mud ahead but I really don’t care ……
The silence of the wood soothes my ears, still ringing from the sound of cars roaring past at fifty miles an hour and I am pleased to see that a very thoughtful person has laid out a raised wooden walkway to keep us out of the worst of the muddy ground.
Soon the path rises steeply and coming to an unmarked crossroads I am lucky enough to run into a young man who gives me directions. Coming out of the wood I walk down a wide grassy area and am immediately accosted by an overfriendly pit bull, who despite feeble protestations from his owner, jumps up at me leaving traces of mud and slobber all over the front of my trousers – nice. Muttering silent oaths I come out onto a main road which I follow until the coast path sign becomes apparent on the right hand side of the road.
I jump over the stile and down into a dank forest – I walk gingerly downwards on the muddy path, it is very peaceful. At the bottom there is a hand carved bench where I stop to investigate the blisters.
I am by now quite tired and it is starting to look like rain again. Out of the wood the path directs me into a field where over in the top left corner is a herd of cows which look up expectantly as I walk towards them. Not only is it a herd of cows (and bullocks) there is also a huge brown bull with a ring in his nose – I grant him a second’s worth of appreciation for his strong shoulders and tight blond curls before the anxiety kicks in. Fortunately for my nerves I can see that the herd is hemmed in by an electric fence (far too low in my opinion!) although some of the bullocks are playing “see how far I can go without getting a shock” – some of them do and then bound way snorting indignantly. I stride past the herd, trying not to run, and mercifully quickly the stile appears. By the time I have gathered my wits to take a photograph, the herd has gathered around the bull obscuring my view.
On the other side of the fence is a pretty grey pony munching away at tree foliage – I take a moment to have a chat and calm down.
And then the rain starts in earnest – I scrabble around for my rainwear, wobble around for a while trying to get it on and then walk up the road to Llangain church. Thinking I might find shelter in the church I try the door but it’s locked, so after fifteen minutes of road walking I squelch into the bus shelter on the main road from LLangain to Carmarthen. The timetable says a bus in 20 minutes – it doesn’t take long for me to decide to call it a day, go back to the hotel and curl up with a good book. Tomorrow is another day……
Distance: 5 miles