Our Second Week Walking the All Wales Coastal Path
Having already walked for seven days up the coast from Cardigan, we were now in Machynlleth and the days were starting to take on a pattern, with the walking dominating every aspect of daily life
Routine tasks included checking the weather, planning the route and bus times, finding somewhere safe and quiet to park the van along with the normal stuff like food and housework. A small space such as ours needed daily sweeping out particularly as Jaycee sheds copious amounts of black and white hair
One of the questions that I was frequently asked was “did I get bored in the evenings?” absolutely not…without a computer and TV to distract I would write up my journal, plan the next day and read books that I had bought on route from charity shops. The radio was useful for local news and weather reports although getting reception was not guaranteed
The path runs inland in the Machynlleth area and offers fantastic walking with some opportunities to ride on existing bridleways but once again we had to face some awful wet and windy weather. In this respect it was a blessing not to be walking close to the coast
We continued in a northerly direction taking in Aberdyfi and Tywyn, finding it quite easy to find overnight parking spots where I could fill up with fresh water, there is no running water on my old van so getting water involved numerous trips to a tap filling 5 litre containers, and it never fails to surprise me how much water you need for washing and cooking
Sarah at Rhoslefain Farm near Tywyn was one of the many folks who kindly offered an overnight camping spot at their equestrian yard and has already promised us somewhere to camp overnight when we get there next time on horseback. They are well used to long distance riders arriving to camp as they accommodate the riders that ride over the old mountain trails from Dolgellau
The farm is surrounded by lots of bridleways and there are plans to open a new bridge at Dysynni, creating a circular route which will further increase the opportunity for riding safely and off road
While in the same area we had also been given a free pitch at the beautifully situated Cae Du Campsite and although the weather was awful the views from this campsite are incredible. The coastal path again runs inland and there were plenty of hills and fields to get through, walking when wet and cold is so much harder and getting back to a hot shower was just priceless so thank you Cae Du Campsite
This week was also the second time I had to hitch back to the van as the bus service was infrequent, it took a while for a car to stop although traffic was heavy and my heartfelt thanks to those two strangers who stopped for us despite us being soaked through. At least when I ride my horse around Wales, hitching won’t be necessary and I won’t need the buses either…
When you spend hours walking alone just accompanied by a dog, you ponder on the most oddest things, I had been shopping at the Co-op in Barmouth and was really annoyed at paying more for a 1lb of grapes than 8 Mars bars, any wonder we are all getting bigger?
The weather was improving with less rain and some sunshine, with that came the problem of horseflies particularly bad when the coastal path went through numerous fields of long grass, having said that the path also runs alongside the busy A496 and the thought of having to ride that section truly terrifies me so I will take on the horseflies in the safety of a field any time
Having always been aware of the growing problems concerning road riding, I may have underestimated how dangerous it can also be for walkers, the car is king and the attitude of many motorists angers me, their driving is often dangerous and inconsiderate with little regard to horse riders, pedestrians and cyclists. On some stretches of road we had to walk without the safety of a pavement, cycle path or verge, I often felt vulnerable even with a hi –visibility sports jacket on and I was planning on riding my horse on these same Welsh roads
Horse riders need more opportunity to ride safely off the roads, the Welsh coastal path has plenty of stretches that are safe and suitable for riding but there are access problems, if you would like this to be changed, then please sign here
We accepted another free overnight parking spot at the gorgeous Llwyndu Farm Hotel which is just outside Barmouth, stunning views overlooking Cardigan Bay and a fantastic hot shower on the morning I left set me up nicely for the walking in that area
So another week had gone by, we had walked through fields, up and down many hills, alongside busy trunk roads, along beautiful beaches and through sand dunes and once again the challenge of riding a horse around the whole of Wales was a daunting one which began dominating most of my thoughts…
Would it be best to do the ride alone?
Or involve other riders on a relay basis?
Where would the funding come from?
Bitless and barefoot or bitted and shod?
What sort of support would I need on the ride?
How long would it take?
How could I include my collie cross? Not including her is never an option…
Will the traffic make it just too dangerous to ride on or near the Welsh roads?
The questions just kept coming but my determination and motivation to carry it out seemed to grow daily, what do you think? Please add your comments, suggestions, offers of support below or email here