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PeterS - United Kingdom Trails Journal - 2019

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Peter Shaw
City: Rancho Palos Verdes
State: Ca
Country: US
Begins: Apr 9, 2019
Direction: Southbound

Daily Summary
Date: Tue, May 14th, 2019

Journal Stats
Entry Visits: 44
Journal Visits: 2,769
Guestbook Views: 72
Guestbook Entrys: 10

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Caswell Bay

Day 36

Unfortunately my worst fears from last night came to fruition. I'd camped on a lovely flat spot of short grass but at the expense of being a little exposed. But last night the wind was quite modest in strength. At 3:00am, however, I woke to the noise of my tent being hit by very strong winds, probably the strongest winds I've encountered in that tent. Although the tent was standing up to the onslaught very well, I was a little worried that a rogue gust could tip the balance and cause severe or even catastrophic damage. After a while I sort of got used to the tent moving around and the noise but I couldn't go back to sleep again. Once the light started to appear at about 4:30 am, I decided to get up, pack up and dismantle the tent. Ironically, the wind didn't damage my tent but I managed to snag a fingernail in the bug mesh and tear a hole in it.

I started hiking at 5:15 am, the earliest yet by far. The wind was blowing hard and I was quite cold so although I noticed some nice cliff features, I was in no mood to get colder pulling out the phone to take pictures. The first place I reached was Port Eynon but, as I expected, nothing was open and wouldn't be for a couple more hours. During that time, I walked on to Oxwich where there was an upscale hotel. I walked in and asked if there was any way I could get some food and the receptionist pointed me to the restaurant. There, I got a strange look from one of the waiters but he seated me and once I told him what I was doing he invited me to go and get some toast and orange juice from the buffet that was set up for residents only. I ordered a full breakfast that was a tad on the pricey side but after allowing for the free pot of tea that was included and the extras from the buffet, it was actually quite good value. There were a lot of young families there and the fathers all had tattoo sleeves. I think they were a football (soccer) team that were having an end of season retreat based on some of the conversation I overheard. But I didn't recognize any of them so I think they were from a lower league team. Then the trail went past a cafe and shop. Although they didn't have pre-made sandwiches, they were quite happy to make one for me. I walked out with a ham and cheese baguette that would do fine for a late lunch. So I went from famine to feast in the matter of half an hour.

The next place was Three Cliffs Bay and I think the picture shows why it got that name. Going down to it and coming back out was like walking through a massive sand dune. I don't like sand dunes at the best of times but here on the way back up the cliff, the signs were in a location that was not on the trail as defined by both my track and the base Ordnance Survey map. This is the first time I've encountered a discrepancy like that. In the end I figured out that the point where the trail left the beach had suffered some erosion and they moved the signs to indicate an alternative route that had not yet made its way into the map database. Unfortunately there weren't enough signs so it was very easy to go awry in the sand dune maze. Several other hikers were struggling with this as well.

After that, I took a few pictures of views that took my fancy. I did meet the same person I saw yesterday who was recording bird songs. Then, as I was nearing The Mumbles, I met a hiker and his dog who I'd seen earlier in the day. I remembered him because he told me about the bridge that was essential to get me out of the sand dune maze at Oswich Bay. Then I reached The Mumbles, a name that stoked some interest. It turned out they were just a couple of rocks that extended from the western headland of what is now called Mumbles Bay. I looked it up and there is speculation that, like the Grand Tetons in the US that is French for " big nipples", the Mumbles may be derived from the French " les mamelles" which translates to "the breasts".

This was the outer edge of the city of Swansea so I knew camping was out of the question tonight. I tried to get accomodation near The Mumbles but it was in short supply and very expensive. In Swansea center, there were lots more opportunities at more reasonable rates and I found a place that was on the trail and booked it on my phone. Although it was three miles away, that three miles had to be walked anyway and I figured it was simply easier to do it now. So I added three more miles to an already long day.

Entry 37 of 42
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England Soiree Part 2

Hiking the Wales Coastal Path and short connection to South West Coastal Path.


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