Saturday, 3 January 2015

Llanrhystud to Aberaeron - 14 April 2014 - 8 miles on foot

I appear to be slipping into bad habits.  This is my first blog for some time, although I am still continuing to manage about one outing each month.  Thus chastened, I shall try to write up each blog soon after the journey and catch up on all the other trips I have not yet written about.

The early (0630) train from Smethwick Galton Bridge brought me into Aberystwyth on schedule at 0915.  The First number 40 bus departed from opposite the Railway Station and deposited me in Llanrhystud outside the Black Lion Inn at 1000, where I had completed a previous walk (details later).

I spent a few minutes exploring the narrow streets, whitewashed stone cottages and attractive church with a tower before moving on my way.  The weather was cool, but bright and occasionally sunny - perfect for walking.

I walked down the main street and along a narrow lane past sheep and lamb filled fields against a backdrop of gentle wooded hills.  Within 1 mile (1021), I arrived at the grey pebble and shingle beach backed by low cliffs that rose from the end of the lane.

My walk took me along the Wales Coast Path across fields, passing some abandoned stone-built lime kilns.  I soon reached the village of Llansantffraed.  This time, the equally attractive stone church with slate wall hangings had been built with a tower.  After some refreshment, I walked through the village of whitewashed stone cottages and into the neighboring twin village of Llanon  (2.5 miles - 1115).

Llanon, situated on the main road was noisier than and not so tidy as its neighbour.  Outside the village, there was a development of new houses.  To the credit of the developers, they were built in the local style with rendered walls painted in a variety of attractive colours.  The prices looked reasonable too!

Onwards along another lane to the seafront and the uninspiring Hotel Plas Morfa.  The path continued along low earth cliffs an over the occasional streams with stepping stones.  Ahead, the path rose over higher cliffs, but there was always the comforting view of Aberaeron ahead of me and New Quay in the distance.

A pleasant undulating walk and I was descending into the village of Aberarth (6 miles 1231).  The village had sparkling streams and multi-coloured cottage - a very pleasant place to live.

Moving forward, the coast path remained level and I soon reached the caravan site that marked the beginning of Aberaeron, my destination.  (8miles - 1317).  I spent some time rediscovering this town since my last visit in 2010.  Aberaeron is famous for its harbour and multi-coloured houses.

All too soon it was time to catch Richards X50 bus to Aberystwyth, a meal at the station (Wetherspoons) and the 1730 train back to Birmingham.  All in all, an excellent day out.

Ramsgate to Margate on foot - 2 February 2013

My original plan for the day was a walk over the White Cliffs from Dover to Deal.  However, the forecast of very strong winds for the day would have meant a far less than agreeable walk, to say nothing of safety.  I modified my plan to walk a stretch of the coastline I had already covered on the venerable bike.

Leaving Coventry at 6:51, the train was early (7:50) into Euston.  A brisk walk over to St Pancras and I was on board the 8:14, arriving at Dover by 9:20.  (Not bad for less than £8).  My change of plan meant a short wait in Dover before my train arrived to take me to  Ramsgate, where I duly arrived at 1040.

Ramsgate Station is about a mile away from the seafront which made for dreary walking past row upon row of dreary terraced housing.  At some time in the past these houses would nave looked alike, making for a harmonious whole, but in the interest of individuality, cheap renovations and extensions have made the place look a mess.  As I approached the seafront, things looked up and I came across more attractive level of architecture.

On reaching the seafront, there were a number of large and attractive hotels and a delightful square of coastguard cottages.  The view over the beach and towards the harbour to my right were excellent. On the downside, the strong wing made its presence felt in comparison to the sheltered narrow streets.

Onward then along the promenade and through Winterstoke Gardens, (A broad swathe of grass with a mock Grecian pavillion and into King George VI Memorial Park (An even broader swathe of grass with trees).

Dumpton arrived with some interesting architecture and the English terminal of the cross Channel telephone link.  The building looks diminutive and old, but I am informed that it remains in service as a fibre optic connection with Belgium.

Broadstairs is a splendid unspoiled place with many ancient buildings blending in well with the Victorian.  It has an air of calm superiority about it and is a place I intend to return to when I have completed the coastal journey.

Walking out of Broadstairs along the the beach, I passed a yellow door in front of a cave in the cliff.  The sign on the door read "Bay Inspector's Office" and the company "Thanet Leisure Force".  My only thought was "To Hell with the standard of office accommodation, I appear to have missed my vocation somewhere along the line!"

I climbed the steps up the cliff to the road and a little further on entered the North Foreland Private Estate.  Despite the OS map showing the route of the footpath along the busy road, it is more pleasant to walk through the estate past large and expensive houses and there are no indications to the contrary.

Emerging from the Estate, I rejoined the cliff top path and walked past the impressive looking Kingsgate Castle, now converted into apartments.  Turning east by the small fort at White Ness, I was greeted by a windy blast which slowed my progress for the remainder of the journey.

The grassy strip between Cliftonville and the sea would have been a pleasant walk on almost any other day, but I pushed on through the wind into Margate, a town which has clearly seen better days.  Many of the buildings appeared to be in poor condition and seemingly little progress was in evidence to restore this resort to its former glory.  Wandering around the town, I was impressed by the railway station and little else.

A meal and a pint at Wetherspoons was followed by a bus journey back to Ramsgate and the train home.