The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Sunday, 25 September 2016

WCP: Sandy Haven to Pwllcrochan

Sunday 25 September

Distance: 22.2 miles

Weather: Sunny intervals, one short shower

That wasn’t an interesting or particularly enjoyable day, featuring far too many roads (many through residential streets and housing estates), quite a lot of drab woodland (of the sort where you could imagine people going to dispose of a body…), and too many fields, without much nice coast at all. That said, I did take lots of photos which illustrate the day nicely, which makes it a shame that I haven’t got wifi tonight so can't make this a photo-heavy post.

There was a little bit of rugged coast at the beginning, where I crossed the tidal inlet at Sandy Haven (the walkway which had been under feet of water yesterday was fully exposed this morning, and I was surprised at how narrow the running channel was), and even walking around the first oil refinery, west of Milford Haven, wasn’t offensive to the senses.

Milford Haven isn't short of oil refinery infrastructure

I didn’t know what I would make of Milford Haven. On previous walks I’ve found myself surprised at how much I’ve enjoyed walking through industrial areas, particularly those with old, decaying industry. Milford Haven, it turned out, neither surprised nor disappointed me. It was exactly as I had envisaged it to be.

My first break today came early, as Mick was loitering in Tesco’s car park, waiting for the shops to open so that he could resolve our grocery shortage, and as I was walking past I popped by for a substantial second breakfast and to make arrangements to meet again just over the large toll bridge which connects Neyland to Pembroke Dock.

The route to get there was very much not to my liking. This was typical:

And there were three bridges, of which this is one:

Note the mesh walking surface and the steps mid-bridge

I didn’t much like that bridge, but it was the third which filled me with terror.

Fortunately, I have no problem with road bridges running over water, or I would have been a gibbering wreck by the time I reached Mick on the other side.

Alas, the car park where we had intended to meet had a height barrier, but I'm sure that, with it being Sunday, the National Park Authority won’t have minded us using the car park in front of their offices.

More weaving through housing estates, with some unnecessarily circuitous routing (sometimes not clearly waymarked) and more nasty woodland (including one bit so liberally littered with crisp packets and chocolate wrappings that I began to wonder if a local resident has a secret binge habit and that woodland is their location of choice) made me wish I’d just followed the main road, rather than the coast path, through Pembroke Dock. The highlight of the day appeared soon after, when I came upon the large and impressive-looking Pembroke Castle. Spookily, just as the very place featured in my audiobook!

Yet more fields ensued, where Mick was seen coming towards me, indicating that I didn’t have too far left to go.

I’m not sure how I managed to count my mile markers on the map inaccurately twice, as I only expected today to be 20 miles. When we reached Colin the GPS told me that it had been 22.2 miles.

I have high hopes that tomorrow will be a much better day in terms of my surroundings and I can't really complain about today. Considering the length of the Wales Coast Path it has to be expected that there will be a dull bit every now and again. I've not got much of the Path unwalked now, and there has only been a minuscule percentage of it that hasn't met with my approval.

Seen parked up opposite houses in a residential street

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Le Snoz

Three days after the event, I thought I'd share the damage I did, even though it involves some very unflattering photos. It feels a lot better, in that I can now move my face and wrinkle my nose without too much pain.

Looking at the left side, where the cut doesn't look so bad but the bruising has yellowed and spread out to my eye:

Cut is a bit worse on the other side, but the bruising not as extensive:

Still quite a noticeable lump on the bridge, which I hope isn't going to permanent:

WCP: Wooltack Point to Sandy Haven

Sat 24 Sept
Distance: 18.2 miles
Weather: overcast and very windy

With the weather forecast for today telling of 30mph winds (+/- 3mph) gusting up to 45, and with heavy rain due to be added to that by early/mid afternoon, I was out before dawn had broken. The first couple of miles were on road, so with a red light flashing on my head, off I went at quarter to seven, knowing that the early start would see me done well before the rain struck.

The first three miles were in a generally southerly direction, against a southerly wind. Few places were really exposed, but where I did feel the full force of the gusts, it did feel like a combination of hard work, exhilarating and madness, as I fought my way along. Of course, the coast never heads in one direction for long without throwing in a wiggle and the side winds were the worst. Oh, how I staggered, leaning at what felt like 45 degrees. (For my sister's peace of mind, I should clarify that the winds were onshore. Had they been blowing offshore then I wouldn't have even contemplated tackling the clifftops today.)

The white blobs either side of the path are foam off the sea, which is a way down to the left. It looked like it was snowing at one point.

foamy seas

Faster than expected, I reached Wooltack Point (yesterday's end point), at 10am, in the company of Mick who had staggered out to meet me. When I planned this walk, I had intended to do a circuit of the headland, but given the conditions I contented myself with following the official coast path, which cuts across. Far more appealing was a cup of coffee and a crumpet in Colin.

The eagle-eyed may have noticed that the last line of yesterday's post said I was only going to walk 11ish miles today and at the top of this post it says I covered 18.2. Perhaps predictably, with my miles walked by 10am I thought I may as well squeeze in a few more before the really awful weather hit, so over to Sandy Haven Mick drove me.

Sandy Haven has a crossing of an inlet which is only possible for 2.5 hours each side of low tide, and today's low tides were inconveniently timed, but by getting dropped off on the Dale side (Dale being where we are currently staying) I got around the problem for today.

Alas, I'd failed to notice, until we were on our way there, that there’s another tide-dependent crossing on the way to Dale, so I asked Mick to go and recce that one. The news came back that it wasn't going to be crossable until a couple of hours after high tide - and I was on course to hit it about 20 minutes before the tide peaked. Bugger!

I contemplated having Mick pick me up from the nearest road, and going back out to walk it once the tide had receded, but in the end decided that, as the high-tide-detour was only 2 miles, I may as well walk around. That also gave Mick a stretch of the legs as, once I told him that I didn't need a lift, he walked out to meet me.

I was all done by half past one and at just after 3pm the rain started lashing. I was glad about that - I'd have been miffed if I'd cut short my day (I had intended to reach Milford Haven today) unnecessarily (such a fair weather walker, me!).

A particularly interesting information sign as my current audio book is Part 2 of the War of the Roses, although I'm only in 1460 at the moment

Friday, 23 September 2016

WCP: Solva to Wooltack Point

Friday 23 Sept

Distance: 21.6 miles

Weather: mainly sunny, but breezy

I spent the first half an hour of this morning mentally defining a scale of energy levels, where (I decided) 1 is the energy level when suffering from proper flu, when even thinking about moving from bed to sofa is too much, and 10 is being on top of the world, feeling like it’s possible to go on walking for ever and no hill is going to stop you (I did also define the numbers in between, but I’ll not bore you with those). The reason for this line of thinking was that yesterday afternoon my energy level was somewhere approaching 9. First thing this morning is was wallowing at 4.

It had just about clawed its way up to 6 when the path decided to throw in a ‘Pointless Down and Up’. Usually, there’s a good reason for a descent and re-ascent: the land falls away because of a stream/cove and the path also drops down, because it’d be an awful long way around (and no doubt create all sorts of access issues) to contour around. Every now and then, however, the path descends for no apparent reason, only to come back up to the original height a very short while later. Here’s an example (although I concede not a clear one), where the path had been following the fence line for quite a while, before suddenly dipping down. At the point where I took the photo, I’d just climbed up almost back to the fence line, and the only thing that had prevented me from maintaining my height was the fact that the path didn’t go that way (though gorse and brambles):


It’s probably not the best mental attitude to coastal walking, as dropping down the hill does, of course, put the walker closer to the sea. Personally, however, I can live with being those few yards further away for an easy life (see, I always said I was lazy at heart!).

After I’d exhausted (no pun intended) the line of thinking about my lack of energy, I popped my audiobook on and got on with it, and was happy when I saw this beach coming up:


Photo taken later, looking back. I didn’t take one on my approach.

That looked like a chunk of flat, easy walking! Seeing the car parks along the beach, I then rued not having asked Mick to meet me there, rather than five miles further on. He must have read my mind as not very long later I saw a familiar figure walking towards me. He’d seen the car parks too, realised they were on my route and thought that maybe I’d like a quick cup of coffee. A top chap, that Mick, you know. He met me again in Broad Haven, per the original plan too.

Like yesterday, my afternoon was unexpectedly easy (and my energy levels had bounced right back). This path may not look overly inspiring, being completely hemmed in by greenery, thus giving no views, and a bit muddy to boot, but great sections of it were level and stride-outable and those hedges completely shielded me from the wind.


Even when I broke out of the tunnel, the balcony path continued, as can be seen in this snap:


And, of course, there were lots more good views to be had today:

20160923_155426I’d initially toyed with finishing my day early at St Brides, but the weather forecast is awful for tomorrow afternoon, so I asked Mick to meet me a couple of miles beyond. He duly did so (walking out to meet me for the third time today), but, predictably, when we got to the turn inland towards Colin I opted to continue on to my originally intended end-point of the day, at Wooltack Point.

In view of tomorrow’s weather forecast, I’ve shortened my planned day to just 11 miles-ish), and we’ve also driven south for me to walk it backwards, so at least I’ll have the wind mainly behind me.

(Nose update: It’s still quite remarkably swollen, right from my eyebrows to its tip and from cheek to cheek, and the scab is far from attractive, but the bruising is feeling much better today.)

Thursday, 22 September 2016

WCP: Abereiddy to Solva

Thursday 22 Sept

Distance: 21.2 miles (including 0.9 off-trail)

Weather: Mainly sunny, but a bit breezy

I woke up this morning with a swollen and bruised nose with a weeping wound, a stiff neck and a sore right arm, all as a result of yesterday’s tumble. None of that seemed to suggest that I shouldn’t go for a walk, so I sprang eased myself gently out of bed and just before 7.30 I was off.

As I finished yesterday some miles short of my intended end-point of the campsite, I had a gap to fill, and to save Mick from having to get up to drive me, I decided to walk it in the opposite direction, ending in Abereiddy.

A road walk of a smidge under a mile took me back down to the coast, where two early-bird swimmers were having a good time off the lovely beach at Whitesands. It’s the nicest beach I’ve seen on this section of the walk to date, and accordingly rather than the free or nominal-fee  (50p or £1 per day) car parks we’ve encountered to date, this one charged £5.

The walk around St David’s Head was as lovely as you would expect the Pembrokeshire Coast to be, but I was struggling to see what was ahead of me with the rising sun in my eyes. Worse, the margins of lots of sections of the path I walked this morning had recently been strimmed, with the off-cuts left in the grove which is the path. The problem with that was that what looked like a nice level grassy walking surface (as shown in the shot below) was anything but, with soft greenery of varying depths covering the exact line of the path, so I kept either falling into the grove, or (when in the grove) discovering, in an unpleasant way, all sorts of hidden dips and rocks. Plus it was all too easy to step on a piece of old bramble with one foot and cause it to grab onto the opposite calf. Much high-stepping was done.


Spying a person coming towards me way over the other side of a big dip in the landscape (the only big dip I had to visit today) I suspected that I might be about to have the best sort of company, and I was right. Here’s Mick striding ahead of me on the approach to Abereiddy:


I had intended to continue my reverse-direction walk, by having Mick drive me to the end of my day for me to walk back to the campsite, but as I couldn’t decide how much further I wanted to go, I took the gamble on having a phone signal later in the day to summon Mick and set out from Whitesands for the second time today.

What a joy the path was this afternoon! I hadn’t expected there to be any easy sections in Pembrokeshire, but this one was just that. The 12.5 miles to Solva were almost entirely of a ‘stride out’ nature, in gorgeous surroundings, such that my only complaint was an incredibly selfish one: whilst I do like to see other people enjoying the outdoors, I’d rather they weren’t all on the same path as me. This section was just too busy for my liking.


Porth Clais, where I bought a can of pop to solve the ‘ooops, forgot to refill my water bottle’ issue, and ate a piece of cake in place of having remembered to pick up something for lunch.

I only had five miles to go after lunch and they passed quickly, which was good as I’d kept up a fast pace all day, with only two breaks, and by the time I was a mile from my end point my feet were ready for a rest.


This waymarker post in Solva complained it was cold, so someone crocheted it a cosy

I only had a few minutes to loiter at the far side of Solva before Mick appeared, whereupon I accidentally whacked him with a walking pole before we headed off back to the same campsite as last night.

(As an aside, whilst I was out today Mick did a bit of laundry, including the tea towel which was involved in the milkfest incident the other day. That tea towel has now been washed three times today and it still smells of milk. The carpet has so far been washed twice and also still has a strong aroma, such that it’s currently living rolled up in a plastic bag.)

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

WCP: Strumble Head Lighthouse to Abereiddy

Wednesday 21 Sept

Distance: 16.1 miles on coast, plus 0.8 miles off-route

Weather: Overcast with one short sharp shower


That was a day that started well and ended badly.

The morning’s continuation around Strumble Head from the lighthouse was lovely, marred only by the misty dull weather. It even featured a beach full of seals and their pups (on the full-sized photo, it’s possible to zoom in and see them really clearly; on this reduced size you can easily make out the white of the pups; the adults are more camouflaged):


A couple of hours into the day a pause for second breakfast was had on a convenient rock on a deserted shingle beach, soon after which I met a couple on a very narrow uphill path hemmed in by tall hedges, which really wasn’t designed for people to pass. As we squeezed by each other, we exchanged a few words, and I now wonder if I completely misheard the chap who told me (or so I thought) that “It’s very slippery up the top” followed by “But it’s okay getting up there”, because I didn’t encounter a single slippery thing either there or at any other point.

I think it was in Abercastle that I found a BT wifi hotspot and posted yesterday’s blog, and I was soon pleased to have delayed myself as, when a violent shower suddenly landed upon me without warning, I was only about twenty paces from some public toilets, in which I duly sheltered until it had eased off. This rusty machine was nearby and whilst not looking particularly interesting to me, it’s the only tractor I’ve seen so far that hasn’t been shiny and modern:


A while later I came across a much better example of a relic:


Porthgain, where I was due to meet Mick, was further than I expected (14.1 miles, versus my miscounted 12 miles). I didn’t actually meet Mick there, as he had walked out to meet me, so I had company for the final walk-in:


Porthgain harbour

Another good long lunch break was had, until at 1330 I declared that if I was going to walk another 9 or 10 miles then I needed to get going, so off I went seawards as Mick tootled off to St David’s Head.

Then it all went wrong when I caught my toe on an embedded rock and before I knew it my nose had taken the full brunt of the fall against a rock. There was blood and pain and a couple of very kind passers-by who stayed with me whilst I dug tissues, a first aid kit and a mirror out of my bag to patch myself up.

Traumatised and dripping blood through the steristrips, I didn’t think that finishing my walk was the wisest thing to do, so I tried (and failed) to make a call to Mick before despatching a message asking him to return to pick me up. The problem I had was that I had no idea if he had a phone signal, so I also dropped Louise a message asking her to look up the phone number of the campsite for which he was heading. The spanner in the works was that, having sent those message, and without my having moved, my phone signal disappeared and I couldn’t get it back.

There ensued an hour and three quarters of stress as I repeatedly had to make decisions (in a somewhat befuddled state) as to what to do for the best given that I had no idea if Mick had got either my initial message or the one I’d sent from a phone borrowed from an American tourist. If I sat tight, I could be waiting forever with Mick sitting on a campsite blissfully unaware of what had gone on, but I knew that the danger of moving was that Mick would then arrive in that spot to look for me.

At half past three he found me at a road side where, having found myself a phone signal, I had established that he had arrived at, and left, the campsite and thus was out looking for me. I thus resolved to stay exactly where I was, on the basis that he would eventually drive out from wherever he was to find a phone signal himself – which is exactly how the situation was resolved.

Now, what was it that I said yesterday about the need for me to carry two phones on different networks when doing a Mick-supported coast walk?

(Thanks go to Louise for her assistance, and apologies to Louise, the campsite staff and Mick for all the worry I caused. Vic only escaped the worry-fest by virtue of it being school-run time when I finally found that elusive signal.)

WCP: Newport to Strumble Head Lighthouse

Tuesday 20 Sept
Distance: 20.1 miles
Ascent: I don't even want to think about that number!
Weather: overcast, clearing to sunny intervals just as I finished my day's walk

There are three things which occur in everyday life of which I have an intense dislike (some may say bordering on phobias): aggressive Border Collies, milk, and pedestrian footbridges over multiple lanes of traffic. Today featured all three.

The day started uneventfully, and very early, as I was woken by passing traffic at five to five, so by six o'clock I thought I may as well get up and get walking. The bonus of the early start at this time of year was that, by occasional glances behind me, I got to witness sunrise:

The dog incident of the day came not long after, as I was walking along a very pleasant cliff top path, and would barely be worth a mention if it wasn't for today being the 'day of the phobias'. Border Collies sense my fear of them and, as a matter of course, react to me with aggression, so it's something that happens all the time (this was the second time in 48 hours). Happily this owner didn't blame me for their unleashed hound's behaviour (a surprisingly common occurrence), but restrained it and apologised. I carried merrily on along the narrow, undulating path, wondering if they had witnessed, a couple of minutes earlier, the incident when I'd realised, again, that my phone was missing and started running back along the path to find it. I'd not gone more than fifty paces when I remembered I'd put it in a different pocket - so that I wouldn't lose it.

Whilst I was enjoying this fine morning, Mick was having a bit of drama. He'd pulled into the parking area we had earmarked for him to meet me for elevenses, and decided to have his breakfast. A new four-pint container of milk was got out of the fridge and the seal removed. The mishap came about as Colin was parked on a notable slope, and as Mick turned to put the seal in the bin, the full, uncapped container slid off the side. Let's suffice to say it was very messy and I'm glad I didn't arrive until the clean-up operation had been completed (as far as possible; the carpet, a tea towel and one of the seat covers are in need of deep cleaning).

After rounding Dinas Head and stopping for second breakfast in a lovely cove...

not this cove, but a later one just like it
...many, many more wiggles in the path (there were a lot of wiggles - my morning came out, as measured by the GPS, as being 1.4 miles longer than it measured on the map) I eventually reached Fishguard Fort Car Park, and Mick, who was not a happy bunny after the milk incident.

My morning had taken me 20 minutes longer than my estimate (although I suppose it had been further than expected) and I was thoroughly unconvinced at that point (11.4 miles in) that I wanted to do another 8.5 miles. So, after a lengthy break/elevenses/early lunch, I set out (finding five minutes down the road another free car park, in a much more attractive position and dead-flat such that milk containers couldn't slide even if they wanted to) for just another couple of miles where Mick was going to meet me again, that being the last obvious place I could bail out before the intended end of my day.

The going around Fishguard was so fast, on a tarmac cycle path, that Colin was deserted when I reached him. Expecting me to be longer, Mick had gone out for a look around. One of the lessons learnt from the incident when we lost each other on the Welsh coast a couple of years ago was that I should carry a spare key and that was the one lesson upon which we acted, such that I was able to let myself in*.

After another cup of tea, by which time Mick had returned, I'd decided that another six and a half miles were perfectly doable, so off I went to face my final fear: to cross the port access road and railway line, the WCP goes over a footbridge. It was awful. So much so that I nearly cried half way across, and it was only when I was safely on the other side that I gave myself a mental slap and pointed out to myself how irrational I was being.

The final six miles of the day, around Strumble Head, turned out to be a delight. Wide grassy tracks through bracken and gorse were common, the ups and downs seldom steep, and the views of the rocky coastline superb. With the addition of the mournful wailing of seals echoing around one particular cove, it was a fantastic afternoon. Moreover, the going was so good that I reached my destination a whole hour faster than anticipated, just as the sun came out.

Strumble Head Lighthouse, around which lots of people were about, thanks to the two car parks nearby

(*other lessons learnt from that incident were for me to carry a pen and paper; for both of us to carry mobile phones on two different networks; and to have map printouts for both of us. I still don't have a pen and paper in my pack, we still only brought one extra phone between us on a different network and we couldn't find the extra maps, which we know are printed and in the house somewhere.)

Monday, 19 September 2016

Mynydd Carningli (SN062372; 347m)

Mynydd Carningli is a good looking little hill, with a series of rock tors atop it. It's also a very easy hill when approached from the parking area on Carningli Common, to the east, sporting a nice wide grassy track up the first section and a path the whole way.

Seeing how nice it looked, Mick opted to join me and thus was available for photographer duties as I admired the views from the top, including the section of coast I'd walked this morning and at the section that I'll be walking tomorrow.

Frustratingly (for him, at least) he's still nursing the calf injury he incurred when out running 3 weeks ago, so I scurried off ahead of him as he made his way cautiously down. I passed him as I made my way back up, having arrived back at Colin to find that my phone was missing. Two ascents of a hill weren't really what I'd had in mind for this afternoon, after a reasonably hard morning on the coast!

Fortunately, I only had to reascend half way (but I did it at quite a pace!), where I found the phone sitting exactly where I hoped it would be. That was a relief!

WCP - Cardigan to Newport

Monday 19 Sept
Distance: 17.2 miles
Weather: a few periods of light drizzle but otherwise overcast and dry

Getting away from civilisation this morning seemed to take a long time, with a lot of tarmac, although immediately beyond Cardigan there had been some farmland walking, where I wiggled my way around a series of field boundaries. One of those fields presented me with quite an obstruction.

I didn't initially think anything of seeing a cow with its head poking over the pedestrian gate and I soon convinced it to back away so I could get through. At that point I realised that the cow had got itself trapped between two pedestrian gates in a place measuring about one cow wide by four cows long. I clearly couldn't get past it to open the far gate and the map didn't reveal an obvious route around.

A cow where a cow should not be

A bit of clambering, involving stinging nettles, brambles and a bit of snagging of my shorts on barbed wire got me into the field, whereupon it seemed the right and proper thing to do to try to release the cow. I did succeed, but trying to hold open an inwardly-opening self-closing gate and to keep out of the path of the escaping beast was no mean feat.

Still, it gave an interest to my first couple of hours, which were otherwise quite dull. There certainly would have been merit (per my original plan) of getting as far as Poppit Sands last night, so as to set out on 'proper' coast this morning.

Finally, five and a half miles through my morning, I reached Cemaes Head and from there I was fully surrounded by glorious rugged coastalness.

In the full-sized photo you can make out all the wavy layers in the rock

Three miles or so later, having passed no-one but two dog walkers near the road at Ceibwr Bay, I reached a gate bearing warnings about the strenuous nature of the next seven miles, about the lack of escape routes on that section and about the lack of facilities. The sign was pretty accurate (exaggerating a little on the quantity of violent ups and downs) which is perhaps why that section didn't seem to be as well walked as what came before it.

Here be dragons. Or something...

I was just approaching the end of the section when a chap dressed in jeans, and carrying nothing with him, approached. I greeted him warmly, as it was Mick, and he turned back to escort me across the golf course (I'm not very good with golf courses) and back to Colin.

A tidal pool, inland of the coast path

It being only just gone 2pm when I finished my day's walk, there was plenty of time left in the day to sit around for a good while before going a little inland to do some hill reps. I'll cover that little outing (and re-outing) in a separate post.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Finishing the Wales Coast Path – Day 1 – Into Cardigan

There’s really not a lot to say about the two miles of the Wales Coast Path (WCP) that I walked this evening, which is why it was probably a good thing to get that bit over and done with today, so I can start with (I hope!) more pleasing surroundings tomorrow.

Finding the place from which I walked north the September before last, Mick dropped me off and off I strode, soon encountering this:


Definitely no sea views here!

More fields ensued, followed by the lowlight of this short section:


I’m sure that tomorrow will deliver far more in terms of terrain and sea views!

Hafod Ithel, Rhos Ymryson, Frenni Fawr and Foel Cwmcerwyn

It’s been ages since I was last on the Wales Coast Path, so the time had come to fill in the gap left over from my previous trips, from Cardigan to Pembrey. Looking at the map, it also seemed sensible to visit the few Marilyns which lie near to the coastal route we would be driving to get here, so the plan for today featured three Marilyns, six miles of coast and five hours of driving.

The result was a day which was all a bit of a rush, and a revision of my plans to fit in an extra hill, but at the expense of a few miles of coast (which, now that I’ve counted up tomorrow’s mileage, isn’t a problem at all).

Hafod Ithel (SN610678; 361m)

I don’t think that Mick will forget the drive in to this one in a hurry. It turned out that the lane I chose (out of many options) to get to my start point has fallen out of use such that overgrown hedges and trees resulted in it being not only to be narrower than Colin in places, but also lower. A couple of times I had to get out to scramble up a steep bank and hold a branch back for Mick to inch through and there was much flinching as Colin’s flanks were scraped by other trees. We chose a different route for our exit!

As for the hill: it looked, on paper, like it might feel a bit pointless, like a few other road-side ones I’ve done. The difference, as it turned out, was that this wasn’t just a walk into a crop field, but had the feel of a proper hill (and with excellent views) – even if I was at the summit two and a half minutes after leaving Colin!

I padded it out a bit by wandering around the summit and, of course, I took photos, but I was still back within six minutes.

(less than half a mile; 30m ascent)

Rhos Ymryson (SN459500; 327m)

A layby right opposite the track which leads up to a covered reservoir gave quick and easy access to this one, but it was to my dismay to find that the covered reservoir was the high point, as it’s firmly locked inside a compound. Fortunately, it was Sunday lunchtime, there was no-one was about and there was a tiny weakness in the security which I exploited.

I was back at Colin before Mick had put the finishing touches on the lunch he was preparing.

(1.1 mile; 50m ascent)

Frenni Fawr (SN203348; 395m)

I was mildly disappointed by my approach to Frenni Fawr. On the drive in I saw a nice heather-clad lump, and that’s what it was – except for one little wedge, running right up to the summit, comprising a grassy field. It was up that wedge that I walked*, only popping out onto what felt like a real hill a handful of paces before the trig point.

It was the third hill of the day that was suitable for running down, making another quick outing.

(*Part way up I glanced back and saw Colin behind me, with a horse standing on his roof. That made me look twice! A couple of paces further up the hill and the horse moved to its real position, which was in the middle of the field behind Colin.)

(2 miles; 125m ascent)

Foel Cwmcerwyn (SN094311; 536m)

It occurred to me, after Frenni Fawr, that this one was close enough to make it sensible to go and do it this afternoon, rather than needing to fit it in either after tomorrow’s coastal walk, or before Tuesday’s, so off to the car park to the NW of this hill we went.

I’d read reports about the going being a bit of the soggy side for this one, and for one relatively short section it was, but it was largely good going. Thus, instead of taking me the couple of hours I expected, I was back in just over an hour, just as the drizzle (which had marred my views a little from another pleasing summit) really got going.

(3.7 miles; 130m ascent)


Hill No 3. The bird above the right side of the trig point is a red kite.

It was already quarter past five, so I’d barely had time to stop the Garmin Gadget before we were off again, to try to find the place from where I’d walked north on the coast, two years since.