Day 079: Margam to Swansea
Distance: 18.78 miles
Ascent: 797 feet
Weather: Mostly Sunny
Accommodation: Beachcomber, Swansea
Well I was in for a little surprise this morning, before going to bed last night I checked the weather report and it was not meant to get to cold, well not below freezing at least. But I woke up early this morning cold for the first time on the whole walk in my sleeping bag and had to put my fleece on in the sleeping bag after which I was fine. But when I got up proper and looked around it was clear that it had got very, very cold. The inside of the tent had completely frozen, the sleeping bag also had frost on the outside, but the worst part was that my walking boots had frozen solid after my little trip into the river yesterday.
The boots posed a rather significant problem as they had frozen so solid I physically couldn’t get my feet in them. So, as it was a sunny morning I put the boots out to start thawing, and slowly packed everything away. After leaving the boots for just under an hour they were malleable enough to put on, but as soon as I put my foot in I knew I couldn’t walk in them for a while longer. So, I put my plimsols that I wear in the evenings on (even if they were completely inappropriate to walk in) and set off for first couple of miles actually into Margam, with my boots strapped on the backpack.
On reaching Margam I went into Tambinis Express Cafe and put the boots behind the window where it was very warm, and then had a tea and food whilst I waited for the boots to thaw to an acceptable level to put on. The café very kindly gave a donation to the walk and after 30 minutes or so I checked the boots and though obviously damp they were fine to go.
The first part of the walk took me around some of the massive industrial units on the outskirts of Port Talbot, which I found really interesting, before at the supposed River Avan Bridge crossing for the Wales Coast Path my route was blocked, it was very securely fenced off, so I had to turn back and take another route into Port Talbot. The Port Talbot promenade has had a lot of money spent on it, and in general has been done nicely, though I am not sure what penguins and whales have to do with Port Talbot as a small area of sculptures depicted.
At the end of the promenade the path joins Aberavon Sands, and I really enjoyed the little walk through the dunes and passed some of the industrial pipework which the path goes under on it’s way up to the A48 bridge to get across the River Neath. On the other (western) side of the river the path took a decidedly less scenic route following busy roads through industrial areas until I reached the Prince of Wales Dock on the outskirts of Swansea. Like the docklands in London, this areas was undergoing massive development/refurbishment and in general I liked what was being built.
My original schedule had me finishing in Swansea where I knew I would be unable to camp, but on my rest day had decided to extend the day to the Mumbles where I could camp before meeting my Dad tomorrow. But with the time lost this morning due to the boots, I decided to stop in Swansea and book into a very cheap, though actually nice accommodation. This will also enable me to fully dry my boots out over night. In a way I am slightly annoyed to have to book into somewhere which wouldn't have been needed if it had not been for my river fall, though will treat it as an early birthday present to myself.
So a day that started with a bit of an issue, but with some nice industrial scenery and good weather felt like a successful day even if I didn’t reach my altered endpoint of the Mumbles.