Day 075: Lighthouse Park to Swanbridge
Distance: 15.98 miles
Ascent: 1118 feet
Weather: Snow, hail, Wind & Even a Little Sun
Accommodation: Camping, The Captains Wife Garden
Well when I woke up this morning about 6 I though the weather report must be wrong as it was fairly mild and dry, but within an hour the temperature had plummeted, and the snow arrived. By 7 I was sat in the tent very much not wanting to leave and for a second considered delaying leaving by a couple of hours, but not knowing what the weather was going to do it seemed stupid not just to wrap up and leave.
So, after packing the tent and freezing my hands, I was off. The first part of the day was up on the sea embankment but due to the ever-increasing winds I was able to drop down onto a little track on the landward side of the embankment to get a bit of shelter from its bitterness. The path was fairly muddy but not absolutely terrible.
There were some very strange little properties and ‘business’ just the other side of the ditch from the path. I am not sure how to describe without possibly offending but people can guess the type by the rubbish strewn yards, random ponies and unofficial scrap merchants my personal favourite an old carriage that had been turned into an incinerator with tyres being chucked in. The only issue with these were the ponies that were a bit too friendly, rather enjoying trying to eat my backpack but eventually they left me alone.
The path joined the road on the outskirts of Cardiff at Pengam, passing the industrial areas including power generation and proper official scrap yards, and then a giant Tesco, and after being quite battered by the wind, snow and hail I decided to head into the Tesco Café which was a great decision and enabled me to have a little think about the rest of the day. Due to the Six Nations there was nowhere available (hostel or otherwise) in the whole of Cardiff or the surrounding area, and camping would not be an option till at least the other side of Penarth, so I knew I would have to extend the day slightly.
The snow had stopped by the time I left the café, but the next couple of kilometres of the walk were the most disgusting of the walk so far, with almost continuous fly tipping, at times completely blocking the path. On top of this there were Shetland style ponies pegged in amongst the rubbish and one in particular had wound his chain down so short he could hardly lift his head up, I tried to help but ended up distressing it even more so had to just leave him and hope he managed to unwind the chain.
My path skirted the edge of Cardiff, following the docks, and fortunately the snow didn’t return but the wind was still strong as I walked along the Cardiff Bay Barrage, and over to Penarth. From this side their were several lovely buildings but unfortunately they were derelict, and I had my only hill of the day which was up to the top of Penarth. After descending, the Penarth promenade was lovely, and the pier was definitely up there with my favourites, simple but beautifully detailed.
I had decided to head a further 4 miles on to Swanbridge, where there was a pub that I would possibly be able to watch the rugby and they may also be able to recommend somewhere to pitch. This final part of the walk was flat, and after detouring around a couple of static caravan parks I arrived at Swanbridge just as the sun decided to come out.
The Captain’s Wife Pub looked lovely and I had arrived just before the England game was starting. The manager also very kindly let me pitch in the garden at the side, and went above and beyond very kindly offering to pay for my dinner as well. A friendly local also kindly bought me some drinks. I had actually had a little bit of a down in the afternoon, based on the weather and the accommodation issues, and these acts of kindness really picked me back up, I am very grateful to The Captains Wife Pub.
So a tough but successful day, and tomorrow will be a short, sharp stretch on to my rest day location which again I really need.
NB - the snow and just pure laziness meant I didn't take as many photos today.