Llantwit Major to Southerndown

After a lot of changing our minds, we decided that for our second walk we would do the Llantwit Major to Southerndown route which is 8 miles.  We headed to Southerndown where we left the car to catch a bus into Llantwit Major. It was a rather foggy morning with not a lot to see at this point:

Southerndown in the fog
Southerndown in the fog

But while waiting for the bus the fog magically lifted – the guidebook said that bus 145 was the one to get us to Llantwit Major, but that had been replaced in 2013 by the 305, which turned up 15 mins late, and we were on our way.

Cleo excited to be on the bus (maybe)
Cleo excited to be on the bus (maybe)

Once in Llantwit Major we headed for the beach (which explains why we walked nearly 2 miles further than the coastal path today), grabbed a coffee and hot chocolate and headed up the first cliff.

Cleo posing with Sharon nice and clean before the walk
Cleo posing with Sharon nice and clean before the walk
The view from the cliff down onto Llantwit beach
The view from the cliff down onto Llantwit beach

We had debated whether to go with walking boots or wellies, and opted again for wellies, which turned out to be the right choice after the first mile which was mainly spent sliding from side to side in the mud.

mud mud glorious mud
mud mud glorious mud
Sharon high-hurdling
Sharon high-hurdling

We found a contender for house by the sea at Tresilian Bay

Fortresses
Fortresses
Wild mushrooms
Wild mushrooms
Tresilian House
Tresilian House

Once we climbed up the other side of this cove we were faced with a problem:

End of the walk?
End of the walk?

Part of the path had fallen off the cliff into the sea below, but we were able to detour slightly and keep the walk going:

And not up here
The path is not up here
Is down there...
It is down there…
The missing path
The missing path

Lunch followed at St Donat’s castle

St Donats's castle
St Donat’s castle
Lunchtime selfie
Lunchtime selfie

And off we set on better paths to the Nash Point Lighthouses

Nash Point lighthouses as we neared them
Nash Point lighthouses as we neared them
Nash point lighthouses in the distance
Nash point lighthouses in the distance
Well mostly better paths- Sharon did have to swim across this one
Well mostly better paths- Sharon did have to swim along this one

The rest of the walk was one of the most picturesque and quietest walks we have been on, very few people had ventured out today, and this was one we will return to on a summer’s evening when the views will be even more spectacular:

601
Which bridge should I cross?
This one is safer!!
This one is safer!!

599 607 608 611 614 616 619

There were some massive slippery slopes to climb down, and some equally large hills to climb up, and Sharon gained the first injury of the walks when she slipped on to some gorse and drew blood (I didn’t pass out!!).

Another bridge to cross
Another bridge to cross
Over a very pretty stream
Over a very pretty stream

And time for a very nice view while eating afternoon tea

Afternoon tea view
Afternoon tea view
Cleo enjoying a rest
Cleo enjoying a rest

And before we knew it the walk was almost at an end as we past through Dunraven castle, and on over to Southerndown and our waiting car.

For those who like statistics (and who wouldn’t!!), the walk was 15km or just under 10 miles, and took just over 3 hours including breaks.  During the walk we gained a total of 654 metres in elevation.  So that is now 17.5 miles completed, and 852.5 to go. Already planning the next leg of our journey.

Andrew and Sharon

Chepstow to Caldicot

An early start (which is not easy on New Year’s Day – Happy New Year to you all by the way!!) as the rain was forecast from 2pm, and we got to Caldicot train station by 9.30, for a quick journey to Chepstow. Cleo’s first ever trip on a train as well.

Waiting for the train
Waiting for the train
And on we go
And off we go

We decided to walk from Chepstow back to the car in Caldicot and, after stopping off for a Costa, we headed for the Bandstand which starts the walk (we had been advised that wellies would be more suitable than walking boots for today’s leg of the journey).

The wheel showing the sections of the walk
The wheel showing the sections of the walk
This is us (before the walk and smiling)
This is us (before the walk and smiling)
And this is Cleo - nice and clean at this stage
And this is Cleo – nice and clean at this stage
The coastal path is 870 miles - today we are attempting 9.5 miles
The coastal path is 870 miles – today we are attempting 9.5 miles

There isn’t really much to say about the first 2 or 3 miles – once you get out of Chepstow town centre it is all suburban streets, industrial units and woodlands, following the signs but not seeing much coast at all, as the sign explained…..

One of the signs which will become all too familiar
One of the signs which will become all too familiar
Andrew with Cleo at the Chepstow wall
Andrew with Cleo at the Chepstow wall
Cleo and Sharon racing ahead
Cleo and Sharon racing ahead
The sign explaining why the coastal path had no coast!!
The sign explaining why the coastal path had no coast!!

But once on the coast proper we found a fish, and had our first casualty as the water bottle dropped to the floor and shattered.

Andrew is the one on the left!!
Andrew is the one on the left!!
A fish out of water
A fish out of water
The first casualty
The first casualty

A church and a nice statue of King Tewdrig soon followed and the walk then took us across a few very swampy fields some of crops and others of animals – including, according to Sharon, some very pretty sheep (she has been living in Wales too long!!).

King Tewdrig
King Tewdrig
The church
The church
A very muddy Cleo
A very muddy Cleo
Another muddy field
Another muddy field
This field was flatter and less muddy!!
This field was flatter and less muddy!!

After stopping for a wee, crossing the golf course briefly and then the train tracks we finally started to see the coast and some lovely views of the Second Severn Crossing, before having a paddle at Black Rock.

Look left and right
Look left and right
IMG_0789
Like the Monaco harbour
The Severn Bridge
The Severn Bridge
Black Rock
Black Rock
The water is lovely - come on in
The water is lovely – come on in
IN the sea at Black Rock
In the sea at Black Rock
Hence why it is called Black Rock
Hence why it is called Black Rock

At Black Rock we also got an update on our progress – 6 miles completed and just 864 to go!!

A statistician needs some figure work
A statistician needs some figure work
The 6 is good (miles completed)... the 864 is not so good!!!
The 6 is good (miles completed)… the 864 is not so good!!!

The last part of the walk is the best for views of the Severn Estuary, and for landmarks – we crossed under the Second Severn Crossing, then walked along by the motorway (the famous windsock you see as you drive over the Severn bridge) and then we crossed over the M4 on a footbridge.

Under the Severn crossing
Under the Severn crossing
Looks magnificent from this angle
Looks magnificent from this angle
The windsock
The windsock
Over the M4 we go
Over the M4 we go

And the end was in sight – 9.5 miles, in just over 3 hours, the wellies and swampy conditions didn’t help but we beat the rain, and boy are we shattered – I bet even Cleo sleeps well tonight after a well-earned bath.

Newport left and 16 miles (via a shortcut)- the car is right - we choose right!!
Newport left and 16 miles (via a shortcut)- the car is right – we choose right!!
Cleo having one last pose
Cleo having one last pose

And off now to plan the 2nd leg of our mammoth journey. This morning Sharon said we should try to do all 870 miles during 2016, let’s see if she is sticking to that plan tomorrow.

Andrew and Sharon