Liverpool to Hoylake 6.3.20

These walks were made over the course of a few innocent days before the onset of Covid 19.

We have come to Liverpool to take a look at the Prince of Wales aircraft carrier, docked in Liverpool for a week. Arriving on the day of its departure, we are much too late to get tickets for onboard but still in time to stand and stare from Princes Dock.

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Seven hundred people are employed on the ship and a Wiki tells me there is room for 40 F-35B Lightning II stealth multirole fighters and Merlin helicopters. It is massive…….

Here is the link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Prince_of_Wales_(R09)

And here’s a Google picture of the ship leaving Liverpool a little later in the day.

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It’s now time to take the ferry across the Mersey (I have the song in my head all day)……and here it comes.

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After a meandering crossing we arrive in Seacombe on the Wirral, to turn right and head down what must be the longest concrete promenade in the UK – it just goes on and on. So much so that there are very few photos, particularly because New Brighton certainly does not live up to its name – although there is an extensive sandy beach. I later discover that at just over 2 miles the promenade actually is the longest in the country.

In an attempt to brighten up the tedium of 2 miles of dull grey concrete, a local organisation has installed some colourful benches dedicated to lost loved ones.

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It is a worthy initiative but the overall effect is like walking through a graveyard.

On the other end of the scale is something a little more cheery. The contribution of local school children in a series of decorative plaques set into the concrete.

 

Knitting and crochet also play a part in livening up the promenade ……………..

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Eventually we reach New Brighton, an area which marks the outflow of the Mersey into Liverpool Bay. Across the river are the massive red and white cranes of the container terminal at Bootle Docks.

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A cup of tea in the sun and we’re off again, following the path through the North Wirral Coastal Park.

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A notice on the sign is a warning for prospective cockle pickers – Leasowe Bay has had its share of boom and bust over the years and it is now difficult to harvest cockles without a licence. Personally I don’t see what all the fuss is about, I always thought you might as well eat a piece of rubber soaked in vinegar.

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The rest of the walk has no highlights – to our left are never-ending rows of residential streets and to the right, featureless marshland leading out to the sea.

IMG_1500I am pleased to arrive at the station in Hoylake where there is a train just about to leave taking us back to Liverpool.

Distance: 10 miles

 

Whitesands to Porthgain 3.1.20

What difference a day makes…………………………………………….

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We set off from Whitesands Bay in bright sunshine, past the headland with an impossible name “Trwynhwrddyn” and up onto St. Davids Head where we get a bit lost. At one point we find ourselves scrabbling up a steep slope between large, tightly packed boulders and the signs we come across are ambiguous. Eventually the path becomes clearer, following the cliff edge past small rocky coves.

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Ahead is what looks like a tor – a large, free-standing rocky outcrop, rising abruptly from the smooth gentle slopes of a rounded hill top. I’m hoping we don’t have to climb over it but as we get nearer I can see the path skirts it.

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On we go – this is a video of our small silhouettes climbing up the other side of a valley. Gives you some idea of our pace.

Just before Abereiddy the path joins a minor road – I am struck by the colours on the rocks here but maybe you have to be there. After long strenuous walks I often experience a heightened appreciation of colour and shape.

 

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And so we amble down into Abereiddy, hoping against hope that there may be a tea van, even though we have been told that such provision is seasonal. Alas – but it’s not far now to Porthgain and its famous pub the Sloop Inn.

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As we get nearer to Porthgain we spy two white, cone like structures which we later discover are marker beacons to guide ships in to the harbour.

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We begin our descent, normally a relaxing lollop down the hill straight to the pub, but to my consternation the path gets narrower, steeper and rockier. Checking my map I see there is an alternative footpath off to the right which would takes us gently down in a long loop but Damian is adamant that we need to take the quicker way, particularly when we are overtaken by a man of about our age, older even, who literally jogs down the path.

After a lot of persuasion I grit my teeth and using my walking pole slowly pick my way down the slope trying not to look at the drop beneath me – at one point I sit down and slide a few meters. So glad no-one is around to see me.

And then, turning a corner, we are here and the path morphs into a metal stairway, much easier to negotiate!

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We head straight for the Sloop Inn, ignoring the sign that says “no muddy boots” and no-one seems to care.

The following day, before driving home, we visit St. Davids Cathedral – here are some pictures.

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Distance: 10 miles

 

 

 

Solva to Nolton Haven 2.1.20

The forecast is rain and strong winds and as we sit in the car at Solva, there is indeed rain, great sheets of it sweeping across the windscreen. So we sit and dither, shall we try in the hope of it clearing up? Or shall we call it a day of reading and hot chocolate?Finally we agree on a compromise – we will try for half an hour and if it’s too bad we’ll come back.

The path is up through woodland where the trees keep the worst of the weather out – I start to feel better. Up we go onto the cliffs and that’s where the fun starts. The rain is light now but the winds are making up for it. Buffeted from all directions we plough through gusts of 30 mph winds, struggling to keep our balance and this can be scary on a narrow cliff path. To my surprise I do not feel fear but instead a mounting rage – I feel like I’m fighting the wind and that it is NOT going to win. As you can imagine, there are not many stops to take photographs – but here are one or two ….

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After a while as we get closer to Newgale, the wind seems to abate a little and we are able to take a better look around. The path takes us past a construction site where some lucky person is building a beautiful one story house. The wave like turf roof curves over huge picture windows looking out to sea.

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Below is the digital model from the architect’s website…………….what a place to live.

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Eventually we reach a spot with a view over Newgale Beach and head down for tea and mince pies in the local surfer cafe. The plan is now to take the bus back to Solva, pick up the car, drive to Nolton Haven and walk back to Newgale.

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And this is what we do, braving the rain and winds again to end up on Newgale Beach where we can walk to the village – this is Damian disappearing into the mist.

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So yes, we got wet but I am so glad we didn’t give up.

Distance: 8 miles

 

 

 

 

Whitesands Bay to Porthlysgi Bay 1.1.20

It’s New Year’s day and time for the annual dip – for some………. Whitesands Bay has it scheduled for 12 noon, in about an hour, so we cannot hang around for the vicarious thrill of seeing people throw themselves into the freezing waters of the Irish Sea.

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Some have already started…

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……and just up the coast in Aberdovey my sister in law and her mates are braving the water. RESPECT.

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Soon we reach Porthselau where another New Year’s Dip is happening – someone has lit a fire on the beach to warm people up.

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Overlooking the bay is a beautiful little cabin tucked discreetly into the hill – its grass roof blending perfectly with the surrounding vegetation.

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Our next bit of excitement is when we reach the lifeboat stations at St. Justinians – there are two, the blue is the new one, completed in 2016.

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As we stand and take photographs the lifeboat arrives, discharging a dinghy which is then hauled up the ramp.

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Some time later, just as my patience is wearing thin, the huge lifeboat wiggles its way onto the ramp in reverse and is also winched slowly up into the hanger.

There is a slight drizzle around now and it is time to don waterproof trousers – a frustrating operation which tests one’s balance and patience even with long zips up the sides. They are also horrible to walk in restricting gait and speed but better than wet trousers of course.

The eastern shore of Ramsey Island off to our right follows us as we walk across the top of the cliffs, with the occasional heart stopping peek down onto a series of dramatic rock formations and caves. “Ogof” means cave in Welsh so we walk past Ogof Mary, Ogof Goch, Ogof Felen, Ogof Cadno and weirdly Ogof Mrs. Morgan. Further research indicates that in 1912 the Morgan brothers of Abercrave and a friend, were exploring caves in the area, so perhaps they discovered this cave and decided to name it after their mother or wives – who knows.

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Eventually we reach Porthlysgi Bay, where we finished yesterday, and stop for a rest. We sit on the beach and watch little birds deftly flipping over pebbles to look for food and later find out that these birds are called Turnstones.

From here we take the now familiar path over the fields and down lanes to St. Davids and a hot bath.

Distance: 7 miles