Back on the trail – Ras Dewi Sant 2/3/2019

Having decided it would take me at least 2 years to cover the whole 870+ miles of the Welsh Coastal Path, due to all my other commitments, I had had a fairly lazy January and February before Sarah and I headed West on St. David’s Day to St Davids, Pembrokeshire, for the “Man Up” Ras Dewi Sant. Originally I was registered for the gruelling Marathon, but, having had a few niggles in training, I had decided to step down to the Half Marathon. As both races are run on rugged single trail, cliff top coastal path, this was still enough of a challenge. On arriving in St David’s, Sarah and I immediately bumped into Ian and Jayne Ogilvie – two experienced runners from a neighbouring club. Ian had been braver than me and opted for the full marathon – I can’t say I envied him as he contemplated the 7.30am start. Affectionately known as “mixed grill” to a few of us due to his passion for a post race meat fest, Ian is a very strong trail runner, and I knew he would be up to the challenge!

I had a Full English breakfast at the City Inn B&B and then jogged the 200 metres to the start next to St David’s cathedral:-

51949667_2111386055603849_6031974953811705856_o

It was great to see the daffodils dancing outside the cathedral – their iconic bloom beckoning in the promise of spring. The races were due to finish with a run up the cathedral steps. 

54731116_2145268552215599_4423730887980482560_o

https://www.strava.com/activities/2185419095

The 13 mile loop I ran took in only 9 miles of coastline, but the rugged nature of the trail made that more than enough for one day. Luckily the rain held off until after we had finished and the 50 mph winds forecast did not materialise and were more like 20 mph. I was pleased to get under 1h 55mins and in the top 40 finishers. “Mixed Grill” managed to get around the full distance in around 4h 30mins which was an awesome time for this event. Maybe I will come back next year for the full – either way I intend to tackle the remaining Pembrokeshire Coastline in April.

I have come to learn that in distance running, race day nutrition is almost as important as putting in the training for a race – I don’t always practice what I preach – The Full English was probably a mistake, but afterwards I had promised myself some fish and chips. After some shopping in Haverford West on the way back we got some on the route home from Hank Marvin in Narberth- gorgeous!

55515098_2145268662215588_7443139806701289472_o

Advertisements

Where has Wilfy been?

I am fundraising for Breast Cancer Care and Prostate Cancer Care by Completing the 870 mile Wales Coastal Path in 2018. Miles covered:- 292 miles! To go 578 miles!
45089406_1928486270560496_8701452949689204736_o

It’s been a funny old year – my last post was back in the early Summer and, though I have been pavement pounding all the while, my focus has been elsewhere.

Readers will be pleased to know that the friends I have talked about, who inspired this challenge, are beating Breast and Prostate Cancer and inspiring many others with their weekly Parkruns. My friend with Prostate Cancer has received exciting news that he will shortly be able to cease treatment.

Having been picked as part of Team Brecon Carreg 2018 – where £1 has been donated by Brecon Carreg water for each mile I record on strava in either training or a race, twenty of us have been pavement pounding to notch up £6000. 

Also last week my first 15 recruits that I have coached personally on the NHS Couch to 5k completed their first Parkrun in Porthcawl  for the 100 year celebrations of Armistice Day. We organised the Porthcawl Runners to support our new recruits by wearing buffs (snoods) (a piece of material which can be used as a hat, headband or scarf. We sold 100 and made £200 for The Poppy Appeal.

That’s the beauty of these personal challenges – the Coast wasn’t going anywhere, so it went temporarily on hold.

To give me an extra incentive, I have signed up for the Ras Dewi Sant Coastal Marathon on St Davids Day Weekend – starting and finishing in St Davids, Pembrokeshire – this is a gruelling Coastal Marathon organised by “Man Up”. It has over 3000 feet of climbing and is on single trail along cliffs for much of it. This covers an area of North Pembrokeshire.

46502362_1961223990620057_7893468128414269440_n

A beautiful sunny Sunday this weekend, and with Monday off, Sarah and I headed off for a night away in Tenby, and this afforded me the opportunity for a little practice in South Pembrokeshire. I thought to myself, as Tenby Blues Festival was on, an 11 mile afternoon run would leave me with plenty of energy for a boogie and a few pints with Sarah. How wrong I was! Starting in Freshwater East, and arranging to meet Sarah at the B and B just off North Beach in Tenby; anticipating an hour and 30 minutes, two and a half hours later I trudged wearily up the soft sand of South Beach with legs like lead! Oh, my word though – awesome coast! Rugged and uneven, spectacular, cliff-top single trail with 1300 feet of climbing.

46477005_1961224683953321_1232440264291778560_o

I had assumed the next Bay over from Freshwater East was Manobier, but had completely overlooked the beautiful unspoilt Swanlake Bay – wow! I was thankful for my new super-grip trail shoes on some of the descents here though! 

Manobier, still largely unspoilt, was a little busier and several walkers move aside with comments such as, “rather you than me” reminding me of my stupidity of running this terrain.

Onwards to Lydstep and it’s Golf Course and Caravan Park. This section was a little tricky to find the trail and loosing it I tried a short cut through the Golf Course, only to find exit the other side blocked my thick bushes of brambles. A friendly resident in the Caravan Park helped me back on track and over the hill out of Lydstep you are greeted with the welcome sight of Caldey Island and to the left of it, Tenby rising majestically in the distance.

46463375_1961224323953357_7802003479836229632_o

After a nice downhill section and a few hundred yards on the road, the path diverts around Tenby Golf Course and spits you out on South Beach – somehow by the time you reach here Tenby seems further away? 

Having stayed in Kiln Park with the kids several times whilst they were growing up, this section of South Beach is very familiar.

https://www.strava.com/activities/1972644818

46493582_1961224257286697_3762729343747358720_o

I was overjoyed to see Sarah again, having only left her two and a half hours earlier! A quick shower and few cups of coffee to wake me up and off out on the Town – listening to Blues bands in favourite haunts such as the Tenby Arms – either the Festival or the extra booze being consumed was encouraging a real buzz and lots of people ended up chatting to us about their memories of Tenby over the years (we struggled to find any actual locals); and we found some great Fish and Chips in The Hope and Anchor – which always seems to serve great seafood.

46502325_1961224197286703_3761899646260084736_o

A cooked breakfast down the next morning we were treated to further blue skies! It was a fair bit windier and colder, but undeterred I set off on a path I knew to be lumpy from North Beach to Saundersfoot – wow – what a trail run – photos won’t do it justice – Just Do It! – through woodland the rustling of the autumn leaves underfoot mingling with the howling of the wind and the roar of the sea as I travelled up and down a series of hillside staircases – the most sheer one labelled by locals on Strava – “The Travelator” (from Gladiators).

46520049_1961214257287697_6763962368893386752_n

https://www.strava.com/activities/1973656851#

Finally getting to Saundersfoot to meet Sarah for a cuppa. Wind was really picking up and swirling the sand around. I was weary of heading off for Wiseman’s Bridge (anyone who has watched or competed in the Long Course Weekend or Tenby Ironman knows of the hill in Wiseman’s Bridge)! However, to my relief the coastal path is cut through the rock with a couple of tunnels – making it the flattest mile of the weekend! I don’t know anywhere else where there is a proper tunnel on the Wales Coastal Path!

https://www.strava.com/activities/1973656818

After making use of the Public Conveniences in Wiseman’s Bridge (not too bad and still toilet roll), I head off to Amroth, to meet Sarah again and have a spot of lunch at the cafe there. It’s a lovely spot and I really liked the fish they had designed to emphasise the importance of plastic recycling – nice bit of local art.  

46498165_1961213323954457_8051762425168396288_o

46474570_1961213140621142_1889380826752221184_o

I am fundraising for Breast Cancer Care and Prostate Cancer Care by Completing the 870 mile Wales Coastal Path in 2018. Miles covered:- 292 miles! To go 578 miles!

Recovery, Refreshment and Reset

I am fundraising for Breast Cancer Care and Prostate Cancer Care by Completing the 870 mile Wales Coastal Path in 2018. Miles covered:- 222 miles! To go 648 miles!

 

When I started this journey, I had visions of training scenes from Rocky, where the eponymous pugilist is joined in his endeavours by an ever increasing throng of well wishers and friends during his training. Sometimes, though, I love the solitude on the coast. It’s a paradox we all face – essentially we travel alone, but it is only shared journeys that provide enlightenment.

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” Maya Angelou

Today I find myself spurred on by sponsorship by two fellow runners from Porthcawl Runners – Martin Gush and Jo Rowlands – like me, neither are likely to win any race, but they are both inspirational runners in their own ways. With the help of Sarah, and blessed by a sunny day, I started at the Loughor Estuary with the aim of joining the section I had done of the Carmarthenshire Coast with the section on last weeks walk in Llangenith, Gower:- so, firstly a cycle ride down the west of the estuary to Millenium Coastal Path centre in Llanelli (6.3 miles); and then an equally picturesque, flat ride from Loughour down the East of the estuary to Gowerton and then North Gower and onwards across the salt marshes to Llanrhidian (approx 8.7 miles). These two flat rides, should leave me with enough energy to run the section of coast between Llanrhidian and Llanmadog to Cwm Ivy Car Park. (about 5 miles). Thus ticking off another 20 miles of some of our most beautiful coast, with a couple of pubs on route.

For anyone new to cycling, I cannot recommend enough, this section down Cycle Route 4, from the Loughor Estuary to the Millenium Coastal Path – it is flat, and traffic free. Here are a couple of the views:-

https://www.strava.com/activities/1629775135

35356013_1731453366930455_4181988129739112448_o

35394731_1731370650272060_9165096309969911808_o

 

Prostate Cancer has hit the news a lot recently. It first popped up in my life when, as a GP Trainee, I was asked to explain in a teaching session, a raised PSA to an actor playing a patient. As a GP since, these conversations of probability and contextual explanation remain rife with such uncertainty that it is often a situation that prompts me to reflect on the futility of the work we do. Let me elaborate – the sea of uncertainty regarding a raised PSA often leaves the poor patient on a raft, set adrift – seeking a plan of rescue but told they must navigate based on “shared” decision making and “specialist” input. In essence the PSA test is not a great screening tool. If it normal, you could still have cancer and many people with raised levels are needlessly investigated and stressed. Couple this with the fact that of those with a raised level who DO turn out to have cancer; in a signficant proportion the cancer does not progress at any significant rate and could be present for 30 years and not result in an untimely demise. However, most of us know people who sadly have had an aggressive tumour and that is our overriding image of prostate cancer.

In January, after several weeks of dodgy tummies and about half a stone of weight loss, I sought some bloods from a fellow GP. As an afterthought to the standard batch of tests he chucked on a PSA. He did it out of kindness, oblivious of my impending doom which set me on a raft on that same sea of uncertainty which my intellectual detachment had previously immunised me against. I had a PSA of 11 – equating to greater than 50% of cancer. Coupled with this, the repeat test was refused by the laboratory due to “prudent healthcare” – a decision which ultimately meant the Nurse Specialist I saw in Urology (who was fantastic), informed me of a possible irregularity on rectal exam, and promptly ordered a pelvic MRI. (possibly the initial repeat PSA would have been cheaper?) The irony that I am raising funds for prostate cancer care, whilst burning into the resources was not lost on me. Thankfully the MRI was normal and repeat PSA, when eventually done had dropped to 4. For me, a relatively swift resolution (months) to a shipwreck that sets many men adrift for years. You can’t plan anything. The real positive I drew out of it was how inconsequential most of the day to day stuff we stress about is.

Here is a picture of many people running with similar stories – the race for life in Llanelli on Sunday 10th June making a pink river of determined flow of life down the coastal path:-

35518041_1731370720272053_4320550792684634112_o

From the Millenium Path Sarah and I head back to Loughor Estuary for the second ride down the North Gower Road and Cycle Route 4 to Llanrhidian and the salt marshes via Gowerton:-

https://www.strava.com/activities/1629775454

35406336_1731370543605404_8796792410387513344_o

I had forgotten that after going through Penclawdd, Cycle Route 4 takes you down through Crofty (in distance in above picture) and onto a beautiful wide, flat, tarmac path along the salt marshes all the way to Llanrhidian:-

When we arrive at the lower end of Llanrhidian is the Dolphin Inn which serves up some quality real ales and has one of the prettiest beer gardens of any pub :-

35428332_1731370360272089_2651052637717266432_o

35346988_1731370236938768_9111272802018656256_o

After a swift real ale (rude not to), and a brief walk with Sarah to show her the salt flats, I ran on down the Coastal Path towards Llanmadoc – with the recent warm weather interspersed with showers, this area of the path was particularly overgrown, and I soon found myself lost in thick bushes, swallowing flies as I ran!

https://www.strava.com/activities/1629775337

Then all of a sudden I emerged at a campsite next to a Castle!

35334998_1731370016938790_4582511293428137984_o

This is what’s great about doing the coastal path – not only do you rediscover things, you also uncover things you had never know were under your nose! The pic doesn’t do it justice, but Weobley Castle is a stunning 14th century castle nestles on the coastline and was abuzz today with the Weobley Folk Festival, numerous campers and marquees.

https://www.strava.com/activities/1629775723

A few miles down the road I finished for today at the Britannia Inn – another great pub serving Ales of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Llanmadoc:-

35461947_1731369870272138_8960736826813841408_o

and another great beer garden:-

35401556_1731369913605467_4658665934079131648_o

I am fundraising for Breast Cancer Care and Prostate Cancer Care by Completing the 870 mile Wales Coastal Path in 2018. Miles covered:- 222 miles! To go 648 miles!

 

 

 

 

The Fish and Chip Tour – Part 2

I am fundraising for Breast Cancer Care and Prostate Cancer Care by Completing the 870 mile Wales Coastal Path in 2018. Miles covered:- 202 miles! To go 668 miles!

34118426_1714471711961954_3576752226128887808_n

 Sarah and I head again to Aberaeron – this time to venture South. The beach at Aberaeron was not as spectacular as I had hoped, but we were to be treated to some amazing beaches on this route – the price for these jewels paid by my long suffering legs as I laboured up and over the spectacular cliff-side coastal path. 34074378_1714471821961943_4684050818591096832_n

I soldier on, rewarded by Newquay Beach all to myself!

https://www.strava.com/activities/1608347769

34031020_1714471871961938_6512463519424708608_n

The harbour beyond was a little more crowded! Prime Dylan Thomas territory – allegedly he drunk himself silly in the local pubs and started Under Milk Wood in the white cottage in the picture.

34065904_1714471915295267_3917471320295604224_n

Possibly some influences for Llareggub (Bugger All bacwards) – the village Under Milk Wood was set in – were found here. After another fine picnic, I arrange to meet Sarah at Cymtydu – a journey that should have been a straight up and over the cliffs – unexpectedly though a section of the coastal path was closed due to treacherous ravines and coastal erosion – I followed a woodland path and ended up lost in some woods!

https://www.strava.com/activities/1608348080

After this we journeyed on to Cymtudu and then Llanganog, before resting up for the night in a B and B in Llanarth.

34035327_1714472041961921_3770407340818300928_n

Restarting in Llangranog the following morning I was treated to one of the lumpiest sections of path from there over to Tresaith. Spectacular views!

34135741_1714854378590354_5753975898428669952_o (1)34155851_1714472145295244_7750487198251614208_n

https://www.strava.com/activities/1608348603

I take a tumble on the way down to Tresaith as my foot catches a root on a less trodden part of the path. Luckily the path from Tresaith to Aberporth is more traversed:-

https://www.strava.com/activities/1608348419

Aberporth made a great spot for another picnic lunch:-

34132861_1714472231961902_2826620202014212096_n

With these lumpy miles along the coast turning my legs to lead, I decided to mount my trusty cycle for the last few miles down to Cardigan via Gwbert on sea:-

https://www.strava.com/activities/1608348676

34187461_1714472268628565_873393385031860224_n

From here I follow the Teifi Estuary inland to Aberteifi (Cardigan).

https://www.strava.com/activities/1608348661

34012109_1714472301961895_6628421670707134464_n

There was far more in Cardigan than we’d thought, so we stayed for a few hours shopping, walking the river, visiting the Castle and the Indoor Market.

Another 23 miles of coastline covered.

Highlights for me from the Ceredigion Coast – too many to list but Fish and Chips on the beach in Borth; Strongbow Sunset over Aberystwyth Prom; the beauty and serenity of Llangranog, and the awesomeness of Devil’s Bridge ranking highest. 

On Sunday morning, I had agreed to help marashal an aquathlon, so got to kayak with friends on the Welsh Coastline:-

https://www.strava.com/activities/1614021450

Finding ourselves with another beautiful weekend of weather after returning, we signed up for a coastal walk in Llangenith, Gower on the Sunday afternoon, which started from the King’s Head in Llangenith.

34340917_1717812631627862_8018371738796556288_n

We were guided around the village of Llangenith by a local writer. She had grown up there and had lived in 4 different houses within the village during her 60 odd years, and told us many interesting stories about the inhabiatants and the area. We took in the spectacular coastline and surrounding estuaries:-

34338147_1717812578294534_6424045467243380736_n

“Blue Pool Bay” which contains a deep pool for diving within the rocks.

 

One of her stories was about Burry Homes – this is the island which is only accessible at Low Tide on the Llangenith side of Rhossili Beach.

34340889_1717812658294526_1418383997129457664_n (1) This Island was home to Saint Cenydd – the church in Llangennith being called St. Cenydd’s.

Saint Cenydd’s Day is celebrated every year in the village by the hoisting of a seagull up the church’s  tower by the local teenagers on July 5th.

We walk on towards the more famous Worm’s Head at the Rhossili end of the Beach:-

34529466_1717812701627855_8668200977876123648_n

Collecting shells as we go, we meander down the beach passed beached Jelly Fish and a rotting seal carcass, before turning up to Broughton Caravan Site for an ice cream and drinks.

Then back to the Kings Head for an Ale of Outstanding Natural Beauty – a Gower Gold:-

34382032_1717812504961208_4578463905226948608_n

On our way home, we stop at the Roma Fish Bar in Penclawdd for some well earned Fish and Chips to conclude a great week on the Welsh Coast.

https://www.strava.com/activities/1615434024

I am fundraising for Breast Cancer Care and Prostate Cancer Care by Completing the 870 mile Wales Coastal Path in 2018. Miles covered:- 202 miles! To go 668 miles!

 

 

Abers, Waterloo. The Fish and Chip Tour. Part 1.

34135741_1714854378590354_5753975898428669952_o

I am fundraising for Breast Cancer Care and Prostate Cancer Care by Completing the 870 mile Wales Coastal Path in 2018. Miles covered:- 176 miles! To go 694 miles!

 

         Temporarily distracted from my plan to circumnavigate the Welsh coastline this year by the Newport Marathon at the end of April, but I console myself that I’m counting the section between Newport and Magor as 10 miles of the Coast covered, although I intend to return to the beauty of the Newport Wetlands later in the year:-

https://www.strava.com/activities/1540345352

On Whitsun Bank Holiday Monday we were blessed with a second sunny bank holiday, so with Sarah and Milly along for the ride, we set off for Penarth to continue on from Penarth Pier, where I had finished back in February and ride my bike on to Newport to link up the section I had done on the Marathon.

https://www.strava.com/activities/1601473664

33677195_1710758345666624_8657920063120080896_n

Setting off from Penarth Pier. (photo by Milly).

The Cardiff Bay Barrage section was packed with Bank Holiday Strollers 6 abreast at times, which meant I took it very easy, taking in the views.

34506011_1717812458294546_2467435707707162624_n

Riding on beyond the Barrage, the path links up with Cycle Route 4 towards Newport – past Rumney and through Wentloog and Marshfield. Some pretty countryside and wild horses are often seen at the roadside.

34364107_1717816868294105_3275834228821983232_o

I am mainly glad it was nice and flat, and linking up with my Newport Marathon Section means I had covered the 27 miles from Penarth Pier to Magor. I had promised, when I started this journey, that I would swim sections of the coast and on returning to Porthcawl from the ride, I went in off the lifeboat slip, for the first time for a coastal dip – totally outside my comfort zone, the vastness of the sea and the distance out from the coast was a shock – but definitely something I plan to repeat:-

https://www.strava.com/activities/1602301591

Later the same week, Sarah and I made the journey from Porthcawl to Aberaeron by car, to start an assault on the Cerdigion Coast which runs from Ynyslas in the North to Cardigan in the south. It is a lumpy bit of the coast, which has many hidden gems. 

34070316_1714471075295351_1884166298368212992_n

Taking to me bicycle again, I cover the stretch between Aberaeron and Aberystwyth:-

https://www.strava.com/activities/1608346846

If you click on this activity, you will see many pics taken on the route which largely followed the lumpy A487 though Llanarth and on to Llanon, but then linked with a pretty cycle route for the last few miles before dropping down into Aberystwyth for a picnic lunch on the prom.  A splendid old Victorian seaside prom, today was resplendent and almost restored to former glory by blue skies, 23 degrees and sunbathers galore. We took a stroll and found an arts and crafts display, one section of which caught my eye:-

34162886_1714471115295347_3850920905123299328_n

I particularly liked the poster from late Victorian times advertising taking the train from Devil’s Bridge (near Aberystwyth) to Instanbul.  The age of the train opened up the world for so many people and late Victorian times became an age of endless possibilities. The irony is not lost on me, that my father’s father, whom I am named after, was born at this time and worked on the railways; yet he never used his free travel pass as he couldn’t sleep outside the comfort of his own bed. The poster also prompted us to take a little detour off  the coast from Aberystwyth to Devil’s Bridge to see the old narrow gauge steam train that started the trip.

34048631_1714471618628630_6074031711660802048_n

Also here is the view from Devil’s Bridge:-

Devil’s bridge is about 10 miles away from Aberystwyth, but well worth the trip and reached by a spectacular mountain A road, popular with motorcyclists, due to the magnificent views. On the route you pass through Pisgah, a small village – the name Pisgah though apparently a reference to when God took Moses to show him the Promised Land from Mount Nebo – the views certainly are spectacular from here and the place does have an Old Testament “vibe”.

34156760_1714471681961957_4249425670406406144_n

And this is the old Funicular on Aber prom built about same time and still running:-

33871896_1714471375295321_4552296533508227072_n

From Aberystwyth I cycled on up to Borth – again, largely taking the A487 – Borth turned out to be one of the hidden gems where we enjoyed a lovely beach walk and some spectacular fish and chips.

https://www.strava.com/activities/1608346930

It was amusing to see children from the Caravan Park at Borth wearing t-shirts from a local t-shirt printing shop – such as “The Borth Face” and “May the Borth Be With You”. It reminded me of the time I had a t-shirt printed at Weston Super Mare at the age of 10. The t-shirt showed a rooster looking tired out and the slogan “I am tired of rockin’, I am tired of truckin’, and after last night ……I’m bored! I never really understood the t-shirt, or why I was sent home from the school disco for wearing it, but the attraction for me was the mirth and interest I got from the older kids for wearing it!34211570_1714471201962005_9169693196286951424_n

From Borth, Sarah and I cycled on to the tip of the Ceridigion coast at Ynyslas Nature Reserve, where you can look out across the estuary to Aberdovey.

34199902_1714471241962001_1442230819492986880_n

The following day we drove back down to Aberaeron to tackle the southern end of the Ceredigon Coast from Aberaeron to Cardigan over two days, and largely by foot. Thirty-five miles or so covered today by bike, but with plenty of interesting stops on the route. We finished the day with a can of Strongbow watching the sunset on Aberystwyth Promenade. No picture could do that justice!

I am fundraising for Breast Cancer Care and Prostate Cancer Care by Completing the 870 mile Wales Coastal Path in 2018. Miles covered:- 176 miles! To go 694 miles!

 

 

Vale Coastal Ultra and a few extra for luck Part 1 of April 2018

30127348_10156282805391552_8751423902040719360_o

I am fundraising for Breast Cancer Care and Prostate Cancer Care by Completing the 870 mile Wales Coastal Path in 2018. Miles covered:- 124 miles! To go 746 miles!

It seemed the smart thing to do – get 19 miles of the Coastal Path under my belt with friends on a Saturday in spring, gamboling along like a new born lamb through the glorious pastures of Porthkerry Park, Llantwit, Nash point and then Southerndown and Ogmore. I even had some lovely white trail shoes and a new hydration back pack mum and dad bought me for Christmas. A “no brainer” then to do the Vale Coastal Ultra as my Parkrun coffee club buddy Dave Bennett (above) had already signed up with his wife Heidi and friends Mark and Louise James.

The night before the run I was asked to do a quiz for a surprise party for a friend and team-mate and had a chance to catch up there with my friend Kerry Dare-Edwards who is currently battling breast cancer and in the midst of a tough chemotherapy regimen. Her strength was an inspiration for us through our run.

Several of the Porthcawl runners had been braver – not content to tackle the 19 miles section from Porthkerry Park in Barry to Ogmore; they were starting earlier from Penarth Pier for a 34 miler. Little did we know, that those of a biblical persuasion were busy building fecking arks. What seemed like most of the Alantic had been liberally sloshed all over the coastal path and during the kit check before the run, I asked the guy if he could lend me a snorkel. Secretly I have developed a love of hard courses though after many years in the club’s Cross Country Team and I loved every minute of it. Here is Dave and I grabbing some coke at a feed station in Llantwit:-30441485_10155470789428059_3179458160586915840_n

The astute among you will have realised that by then 8 miles of bog wading had left my white shoes a little dirty!  I must admit the event was incredibly friendly and on route we encountered many friends from neighbouring running teams Ogmore Phoenix and Cornelly Striders. I also bumped into a fellow coach Sam Bowen from Run 4 All at Nash Point, and was chuffed when I received a friend request from her at the end of the event – she was there cheering on her athletes. Also got passed by the Bridgend Athletics Express that is Nick Stocker in Llantwit in a good rhythm but still chatty. There isn’t the pressure of time in events like this and it’s great to have some chats along the way. Here is our route on Strava:-

https://www.strava.com/activities/1495099291

We finished in Ogmore at the carpark, then after waiting for others finished drove on to the Pelican in her Piety Pub for “rehydration”.

These are my braver friends who did the 34 miler at the finish. Andy Breeze (left), Nicola Thomas and Rupert Thurston.

30222090_10211502557379170_4359412605966614528_n

A much nicer Saturday afternoon the following week I returned with my younger daughter Milly to finish the 2 miles we drove at the end between Ogmore Car Park and the Pelican to make it 21 miles of the Wales Coastal Path done for this week:-

30725603_1668590939883365_2289049819674770619_n

https://www.strava.com/activities/1508357799

30707899_1668590886550037_297710528953425211_n

This photogenic Sheep is modelling the latest woolly kimono at the mouth of the River Ogmore with Newton Beach and Porthcawl in the distance.

Please keep giving (or the sheep gets it!):-

I am fundraising for Breast Cancer Care and Prostate Cancer Care by Completing the 870 mile Wales Coastal Path in 2018. Miles covered:- 124 miles! To go 746 miles!

Wilfy’s Welsh Coastal Path – March 2018

29594402_1131217217020908_3452709161778704159_n (1)I am fundraising for Breast Cancer Care and Prostate Cancer Care by Completing the 870 mile Wales Coastal Path in 2018. Miles covered:- 103 miles! To go 767 miles!

 

29873208_1657825320959927_2300859562076563500_o

                      March proved to be a slow month on the Coastal Path journey,  for your humble narrator, for a number of reasons – no holidays and poor weather on days off being chief amongst them.  

I did manage to join up the Aberavon Beach and Porthcawl sections though with a half marathon distance run that took me firstly past one of my favourite stretches of coastline between Rest Bay and Kenfig Nature Reserve. 

841121_428872607188544_2031885945_o

                        Then on through the Steelworks to travel along Morfa Beach – once inside the Port Talbot Steelworks, it was the devil’s own job to get out alive and I ran through several hard hat only areas! Afterwards, I discovered the official Welsh Coastal path diverts inland around the Steelworks, but how was I to know – I just followed the signs! 

https://www.strava.com/activities/1452547902

When my children were small I used to tell them that the Steelworks were the Manhattan skyline they knew from movies when we drove past them to our home, in Margam Park Village then, late at night. They certainly wouldn’t have been fooled during the day! It’s a singularly impressive fact though that these men of steel churn out 5 million tonnes of steel per annum and have been a vital cog in Wales Economic Machine since 1901. Turbulent times of late threatened this, but thankfully the Machine runs on.

One of the hidden gems I have discovered during my coastal journey so far is the Castle and Beach at Llansteffan on the Carmarthenshire coast – the majestic sweep of golden sand out of the mouth of the Tywi Estuary is something to behold. The weather when we visited with Milly for an afternoon walk does not do it justice, so I’ll post a sunny picture on next visit. The carpark for the Norman castle there  is right next to the beach and parking at the bottom of the hill, it is a pleasant stroll up the hill to the Castle ruins:-

29872322_1657850440957415_3250405765702487798_o

Just a couple of miles covered here (but looking forward to a return trip soon!) :-

https://www.strava.com/activities/1469372141

Having been fortunate enough to be picked as part of Team Brecon Carreg in 2018, I am further encouraged that they will donate a £1 to Welsh Air Ambulance for every mile I run in training or races from March 25th until the end of the year. They also gave me and some of my team mates an entry to the second running of the Cardiff Bay 10k on March 25th and I managed to cover a few more coastal miles there, alongside a few others from the Brecon Carreg Team and 25 of my Porthcawl Runners friends:- (I’m the one in the back with the novelty size “Kenny Everett” hands).

29594402_1131217217020908_3452709161778704159_n (1)

https://www.strava.com/activities/1471309544

There were PBs for so many of my team mates and a real feel good factor afterwards enjoying some well earned drinks with them. I am sure I will need the help of both teams through the rest of my challenge.

Remembering the friends who are fighting battles against Breast and Prostate Cancer, here again is that link:-

www.justgiving.com/fundraising/william-edwards11

Much more to come in April!