I recently began a walk along the Ceredigion Coastal Path which, as part of the Wales Coast Path, runs from Cardigan in the south over 60 miles to Ynyslas on the northern edge of the county. This is my diary of the event.
Sunday 26th May 2019
Location: Camping on the Farm, Aberaeron
I blasted on from New Quay following the road for a bit then onto Traeth Gwyn beach for a bit, rounding the corner of Llanina Point in the rain, and took a break on a patch of that dead, dry ground you get under some pine trees as I got off the beach at Cei Bach 45 minutes from leaving the cafe. That was then my new pace, 45 minutes walking and 10 minutes rest. The next burst took me up and down the headland, over the Afon Drwyi waterfall and back up, up again.
The next hour brought me to the holiday village Gilfach yr Halen. The path had changed significantly since my guide book was printed as the route, described as ‘confusing’, was really clear on the ground now. Later still new sections of path and fencing guided me around horse paddocks and down onto a wider track or bridleway. I stopped here for a Huel lunch and to wring out my socks. My shrivelled feet looked as though I had been in the bath for hours, which I suppose they had, and a blister had formed, burst and the skin mostly dangling off now on my little toe. Oddly this didn’t hurt at all, but the larger blister on the pad of my forefoot did.
I determined one final push down into Aberaeron. The rain had now stopped so I slipped off and stowed my waterproof trousers and jacket and made for town. The route was really straight forward now, the only hitch were the kissing gates that were a real squeeze to get through with my pack on. I did get through them all today, only one having defeated me on this journey a couple of days ago. I thought it better/easier to climb that one instead of removing my pack and was rewarded with a thigh cramp as I lifted my leg over and a grazed shin to boot as my reflexes drove my leg down to avoid the cramp.
So now I am checked in to Camping on the Farm at Aberaeron for a couple of nights to rest and ride out the forecast rain storms. The tent is up, clothes out of the bin bag and drying in the wind on the wire fence, I’m pretty dry and on my second cup of tea. The veggie shop was shut and so was the chemist, I was hoping to get some Compeed blister plasters but that will have to wait until tomorrow now. I’ve used Compeed plasters occasionally to deal with running or walking blisters and find them really effective and allow me to continue walking or running whilst protecting the skin. The big question of the day now being whether I can physically walk back into town now and find a takeaway for dinner later. The pain of blisters can feel disproportionately intensely painful compared to the size of the problem. Vegetable chow mein and chips is sounding real nice about now.
It’s all starting to feel like a bit of a dream now. The late day’s sun is warming, the tent is warm and my belly is full of curry and rice. I’ve spread all my clothes around to catch the last of the rays, today’s sweat soaked ones and the ones I washed yesterday in the shower. My burst blister is throbbing and weeping and my thoughts are that enough is enough with this walking. The last three days, thirty odd miles of walking with a pack that’s too heavy and a pair of leaky boots.
The boots are a liability, when they get wet my feet get shredded. The pack is uncomfortably heavy, like that scene in ‘Wild’ where Reece Witherspoon as Cheryl Strayed tries to put on her pack in the hotel room for the first time. I’m going to blame it on the tent, more specifically the poles and the pegs, old school heavy fibreglass and steel. I don’t know how much it weighs as the scales at home only went up to 5kg and it was heavier than that. Other than the first night where the campsite was £22, the campsite at Cwm Tydu was good value at £12 and now here at Aberaeron where the owner’s discounted me to £15 a night. It’s half-term and it should be £20 for a pitch this week but they’ve squeezed me in for a couple of days.
Carrying my own food turned out to be essential for the first two stops, but having reached Aberaeron it is burgeoning with places to buy food or eat out even on a Bank Holiday Sunday. The Chinese take-away was closed for refurbishment, hence the curry from the Indian take-away opposite it. the Cost-Cutter convenience store now sells Co-Op products, did I miss the buy-out or takeover? I haven’t found anywhere to charge my phone yet, the man in the curry house only has a Samsung so I couldn’t blag 15 minutes of charging while I waited for the curry and read last week’s Mail on Sunday.
So at the moment I can’t face shredding my feet anymore in leaky boots, so the question is how much does the walk mean to me if it’s going to cost a new pair of boots, and where can I get boots? That’ll take a bus ride to Aberystwyth and at the moment my feet don’t feel like walking anywhere.
Footnote Friday 14th June 2019 – typing this up this morning it seems to me that I know the cost of everything and the value of nothing – the camping cost this, new boots will cost that etc. Whilst I believe it’s prudent to understand the value of where the next pound is coming from, there is also value in believing in the concept of the abundant universe. The theory being that you attract that which you create with your thoughts, whether this is true in a literal sense ie in a deeper philosophical meaning in the universe being energy or our perception of the universe being created from our thoughts, or from a more sociological perspective of seeing more of what we think of and filtering out that which we are not interested in. The example being when you buy a new car and you decide to buy a green one because you never see green cars out on the road, yet the act of thinking about or buying a green car changes your perception and suddenly you begin to see all the green cars that had previously been of no interest to you and were outside of your perception. So if one is always looking at the cost then one never sees the abundance. If I focus too much on the leaky boots and cost of camping, how can I hold the memory of the pod of dolphins arching their way up the coast that morning?
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