Monday, 23 November 2009

The Ramblings of Briohny

I've been finding out more information about the Marine and Coastal Access Act which is set to see a path created around the coast of Great Britain. Access to the English coastline will be much improved but here in Wales work has already begun on creating a continual path around Wales.

The Wales Coastal Access Improvement Programme was launched in 2007 to ensure that we can all enjoy the natural beauty of the Welsh coastline. Over 70% of the Welsh coast already has good coastal access. The Welsh Assembly Government are leading the way for British walkers.

I've been a keen walker every since, yes I hold my hands up and admit it, I was a Cub. Then on to Scouts and completing my Silver Duke of Edinburgh Award. So joining a walking club like the Ramblers was the next logical step.

I tagged along with the Cardiff Ramblers and braved the elements and set off on a 8 mile hike along the Gower. We parked at Port Eynon and then descended onto a coastal path which took us 4 miles up the coast before heading inland in a circle route back to Port Eynon. It was absolutely breath taking.
It had rained heavily in the morning, the sky was grey and grumpy. But this provided the perfect moody backdrop for the glistening rocks and the jets of sunlight that were trying to penetrate the darkening sky. The wind was fierce and for most of the walk all of the group found it difficult to walk without getting swept along. At one point I could actually lean into the wind! The great winds meant the waves were big and strong, crashing fearlessly onto the rocks. It was as if Neptune himself was showing us the absolute power of the sea. Tremendous.
It wasn't just the sea that seemed to be showing its might, the horizontal rain was attacking my face, it really hurt! Luckily the rain came in small blasts so I managed to dry off before getting completely soaked again. We were lucky and found some shelter in a valley so we good stop for lunch. I got out my trusty 'sit-mat' out and then tucked into some well deserved sandwiches. After a short stop we set off again on the slippery paths. The ground was sodden and squelched under every foot, streams running off the grass down into the sea. We took a path inland to begin the loop back to Port Eynon. It was only a mile or so after coming off the coastal path that we came across a right of way over farmland.
What made me chuckle was the sign that was on one of the stiles that we had to use "Beware of the Bull". I chuckle because you do hear of people putting up such signs to deter ramblers from using the footpaths. But indeed there was a bull in the field, a big black one at we cautiously set off over the field hoping not to be caught out by a big black bull. The next thing I heard was shouting and yelling and at first I thought someone may have been being chased by the bull. But I turned around and it was a farming yelling at us to stop. Immediately I thought he was shouting at us to get off the land and that he had put the "Beware of the Bull" sign up because he didn't like walkers. So I went over to the gentleman to try and figure out what he was saying. And a gentleman he was. The farmer informed us that he had some fresh calves in the next field that were days old and he didn't want us to frighten the mother and calves. So he kindly led us over the field along a route that wouldn't disturb his cattle. I've worked on a farm before and I know how protective cows can be over their calves. They often become more aggressive; much scarier than a bull I can assure you! I was extremely impressed by the farmers attitude and it just goes to show you never know what's around the corner when you go out for a ramble!
We eventually stumbled back into the car park at Port Eynon, all exhausted but elated at what a great walk it had been. I felt privileged that I'm able to enjoy the coastline of Wales. It sounds cheesy but I felt proud of our country and it's beauty and if the Marine and Coastal Access Act can preserve it, then that can only be a good thing. Diane Davies who is the secretary of the Cardiff Ramblers spoke to me about Welsh Coastal Access.
Briohnylivewalk by bribriwilliams

You can also see a very blustery snippet of the walk on YouTube.

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