Wind 5mph West-Northwest increasing to 15mph decreasing later, sunny with broken cloud and warm, just a perfect day for walking and lots of photographs! Left St Justinian’s Lifeboat house at 10.00am Having explained to a couple, Mel an ex-miner and Gwennor his wife what I was doing and ran through the equipment as I set up for the day’s filming and arrived at Whitesands bay half and hour later. Got chatting to a couple of students publicising the RNLI on the beach for the summer, and surprised one of the girls studying graphic design at Falmouth, whose present tutor I had known from my time at the Woodlane campus, small world.
The Whitesands triathalon/Iron-man competition was running to raise money for the local community -coastal run, canoeing and cycle. Mind you, I found bouldering with a bicycle weighing in at 70lbs challenging enough, the solar charger worked astonishingly well, I congratulated myself on the shrewd investment taped to the top of the pannier rack happily trickle charging my phone as I went. The Terrain was the hardest yet though, elements of how I imagined Scotland to be and I knew Cornwall was kept crossing my mind -really tough, but breathtaking scenery all the same and well worth every effort, but very slow going, five large seals playing and feeding under the cliffs at Aberdinas near Aberieddi stopped me for a good half hour, but I didn’t mind in the least.
I’m also just getting good with snappy comebacks to any comments now, its taken this long to be able to pre-gauge likely responses with a level of accuracy. Walkers are a chatty lot particularly when the weather is good. “You’re mad!” seems to be at the top of the hit list, my retort is usually “seemed a good idea at the time”, accompanied with a big smile, I’ve got a rake of them.
“Alright?” I asked the lead of a group decending from the hill fort at St David’s head. “Are you alright?” came a swift reply in a german accent. I smiled back at the directness, which I really liked, good to have your interface with the world shaken sometimes I thought. These guys were a gift, mixed group, all the way from Bristol they were down for the weekend to walk this part of the coastal path. They walked regularly together, Clevedon on the Bristol side of the Severn was a firm fave I believe. Just great company and fun on the way eastwards, I talked with Mike longer than the others who was a really interesting guy. I left them swimming and enjoying the sun at Aberieddy (the english spelling) famous for its Blue Lagoon, Coasteering and Graptolite fossils, we’d said too many goodbyes as we passed each other over the course of the day and it was starting to become a bit repetitive. I quietly trekked on towards Porthgain in the late afternoon sun where I finished by the Harbour for the night and cycled 7 miles back to St David’s Cathedral where I’d parked.
The set fee of £3.00 per day seemed a very well considered and modest charge and I didn’t mind paying it, surprisingly cheap really as most places are squeezing £5.00 or more out of motorists, and churches particularly in Wales are in crisis, maybe not St David’s Cathedral hosting nightly musical events, recitations and relying on a healthy congregation boosted by tourism, but certainly many outlying parishes are in serious difficulties.
In the carpark I got talking to a mother who was being toured by her son on a walking break, he was based in Llanelli, a trainee chemical engineer and she’d come from Sweden to visit for a week or so. They’d spent all their time walking and talking while visiting different parts of the coast in South Wales. Reminded me of that deep connection between mothers and sons, my own too, where you’ll never be fully grown in their eyes, and how as you get older the rolls don’t really reverse exactly, to some extent they equalize, synthesizing into an accepted understanding of the situation, each other’s position in the relationship and how that dynamic changes with time. On my birthday I still always send my mum flowers, when you think about it whose special day is it really? 14 miles