The friendly dolphin marks the start of our walk today, around the beach at Aberporth and up on to a very steep minor road which leads to the military base just outside the town.
A little research reveals that MOD Aberporth is used for the testing of air launched weapons and Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS). We will be hearing from them later in the day.
There is a blue sky above us and the temperature is rising. It is with relief that we find the right turn that takes us down a dusty track and into a patch of woodland.
Soon we reach the coast at Traeth (beach in Welsh) Gwyrddon and turn left along the cliffs. The path now plunges up and down into small steep valleys with the inevitable haul up the other side. It is very hot – this is the beginning of a five day heatwave which will make the following days walking a little difficult. At one point I stop to catch my breath and take a photo of this strange grassy pyramid in the distance.
On we go along the narrow path, lost in our own thoughts when suddenly a high pitched whine followed by a loud boom makes us look up to see a sleek bullet-shaped projectile thundering across the sky in the direction of Ireland. We stand in shock for a minute or two until the air around me stops reverberating. What on earth was that? The direction it came from is of course the Ministry of Defence at Aberporth and that must have been some sort of weapon testing event.
We are now getting closer to the grassy mound which turns out to be a steep conical hill marked on the map as Foel y Mynt. At the foot of the hill is a pretty white church, built in the 14th century as a place of rest for sailors. It would be a lovely cool place for us to shelter from the scorching heat but it is unfortunately locked.
On the other side of the hill (no we didn’t have the energy to climb it) is a beautiful little beach – people are swimming and sitting enjoying the sunshine. It looks so tempting but we have some miles to cover still (when I write this I’m thinking we could of course stopped for a dip but neither of us had a towel or bathers – damp underwear and sand in your boots is not ideal)
Up onto the cliffs again we walk with the occasional peer down onto the rocks to see if we can catch sight of dolphins – no luck. A little later we meet a woman walking the other way who tells us that she has just been on a dolphin trip and that they came right up close to the boat to play. One day………………just like the puffins………we’ll come back next year.
The coast path now branches off inland due to the objections of a local landowner who runs a tourist attraction on the spit of land facing Cardigan Island. Cardigan Island Farm Park offers farm animals experiences and trailer rides to enjoy the sea views and wildlife. The owner’s objection is that if walkers were allowed to follow the coastline across his land it would undermine his business because they then could enjoy the views for free – maybe but we have not exactly encountered hundreds of ramblers on this stretch. The dispute continues.
Meanwhile we walk through fields of bright yellow daisies…………..
………….until we reach a tarmac path bizarrely named Coronation Drive which follows the estuary for a little while heading up to Cardigan. There are wonderful views over Poppit Sands.
We still have a way to go now, following the river, through patches of woodland and open fields, through a boat building site, past a sewerage works …………………………….
…………and finally to Cardigan Castle. I notice the quay has been rebuilt and smartened up using money from the EU – wonder what we’ll do now?
We lay our bags down and relish the taste of a cold lager in the pub overlooking the river. It has been a hot but lovely day.
Distance: 11 miles