The Long Walk Continues Despite Sore Feet & Drunken Antics
Tuesday 10th July 2012 found us camped at Amlwch On Anglesey where we met Liz with her two dogs Gwen and Salix. We had arranged to walk to Benllech through Red Wharf Bay and had a really enjoyable day. It was good for me and Jaycee to have some company , we spent so much time alone and the coastal path in that area is particularly lovely, flat easy walking with great scenery and lots of places where you can safely ride a horse, except of course you can’t get onto the path on horseback because of the damn stiles and kissing gates. Bridle gates would have made access so much easier for everyone
Within a few days we had completed the 125 miles around Anglesey and were now walking on the North Wales Coast through the towns and villages of Bangor, llanfairfechan and Conwy. The weather was awful some days, the path varied from great to bloody horrible as it runs alongside the A55 and the railway line, while safe its incredibly noisy and busy with traffic. The cost of building the new pedestrian bridges to avoid the A55 tunnels must have been enormous and it’s doubtful that any sane horse would be happily ridden on them. There is an alternative route in this area that goes up the mountains inland but as I didn’t walk that way I am unsure as to how rideable it is?
The van was still attracting attention and when I parked it for two nights on the road adjacent to the Conwy Bowls Club, it’s overlooked by Conwy Castle so the views were great, an elderly gent came over for a chat and made me feel welcome, a bonus because you need deep pockets to pay for parking in Conwy
We had a place to park on the top of Great Orme at Llandudno so we headed there on the Sunday and was greeted with probably one of the best views I have ever seen in my life followed by a roast pork dinner, apple pie and some brilliant company, thank you to those lovely folks who extended such great hospitality to a complete stranger
The path continues along miles and miles of paved sea front broken up by the stretch up the Little Orme, which once again you cannot access on a horse due to the stiles, it would be fantastic riding although there are some very steep bits. Weather was still wet and windy and we were still averaging ten miles a day although it was quite boring trudging along the sea front through Rhos On Sea, Colwyn Bay, Abergele, Kimmel Bay, Rhyl and finally Prestatyn. Miles and miles of paved cycle track past huge parks of static caravans and park homes, some of which were not even facing the sea, why would you position a caravan with its windowless back to the sea view? There are hundreds positioned like that and the only conclusion I could come to, maybe it’s to reduce the risk of storm damage to the windows?
But although the cyclists have these fantastic cycling opportunities they are still grumbling, this is a quote from The Wales on Sunday (Dec 2010)
“FED-UP cyclists want a cycle path redesigned so they can actually cycle on it.
The route, from Llandudno’s West Shore to Conwy, cost more than £7m to build.
But one section, near West Shore, is usually covered by fine sand blown from the nearby beach or dunes, which stops cyclists in their tracks.
Now Conwy council is sweeping the path monthly, at a cost of £6,000 a year, instead of every three months – but still receives complaints about sand.”
So despite all the money that was and is being spent the cyclists are not using the path in that area, whereas horse riders would just jump at the chance of some safe off road horse riding,we are currently running an online petition to highlight the lack of access for horse riders to the Welsh coastal path. Please sign and share if you agree that more needs to be done to provide safer off road riding
So why is so much money spent on accommodating the needs of one sport but not another?
The popularity of riding and keeping horses continues to grow with over 7% of the population riding. The British Horse Industry Confederation estimates that there are 4.3 million riders in Great Britain, with over 2 million of these riding at least once a month. This makes riding a horse more popular than cricket, rugby or fishing
It’s estimated that there are approximately 5 million cyclists in the Uk so the numbers are similar but with such disparity in public spending on the two sports
The week ended with a couple of unpleasant incidents, the first was a really grumpy bus driver and because Jaycee had barked on the bus at someone outside in a hoody we had to get off, the lad in the hoody was not even a passenger and after walking over ten miles on a concrete surface my feet really didn’t need the extra 2 miles that we then had to walk, so thanks for that Mr Grumpy
The second incident was a bit scary, I had asked permission to park in a pub car park near Mostyn which the bar manager granted. After a long day and a couple of beers I got into bed only to be rudely woken by the very drunk landlord demanding to know why I was parked in his car park, I tried ignoring him but Jaycee was getting louder and louder so eventually I spoke to him through the window, I was never prepared to open the door at night and after I had explained he went away and left us in peace
Do you think it’s a viable option to ride a horse all around Wales on or as near to the All Wales Coastal Path? Let us know