Day 118: Talacre to Hawarden Bridge

Distance: 18.86 miles

Ascent: 921 feet

Weather: Sunny Spells

Accommodation: James & Gina'S House


I woke early and could see the gas flares from the nearby gas tower as I opened the tent flap. It was a beautiful morning and the views over the Dee Estuary Nature Reserve were stunning. Slightly stupidly given how many shops I passed yesterday, I had actually forgotten to get anything for breakfast, so would be starting the day with very little food, though thought I would pass something within a couple of hours. The path followed a series of fairly solid tracks first around the gas works and then under the railway track before quickly reaching FFynnongroyw.

The next part was not so scenic following either along or near the main road until passing Mostyn Quay, where it turns of and through a wood before joining the embankment (sea defence), this part was much nicer. Only a mile away or so there appeared to be the decaying hull of a large ship (Duke of Lancaster), but as I got slowly closer something seemed odd. Though at first it looked like a wreck, the windows seemed in good order, the paint (jet black) appeared not that old, and then to my surprise two people walked out with some wood. Something was definitely up with this ship. Only a couple of hundred meters later I came across a bacon butty van as I crossed the stream next to the road, which was perfect for my breakfast. The guy said the ship was shrouded in a certain amount of mystery since the council refused the permission for the fun ship it had been turned into 40 years ago, but he believed it maybe being turned into a scare experience for groups now. It would be a shame if this ship was never allowed to function as something, as the interior shots online look stunning.

The path continues along the river’s edge on a good track, sometimes solid sometimes soil, passing a few business parks, industrial plots & skirting Bagillt before the path became much busier through the park formed on Flint Marshes. Just after this the path passed Flint Castle, which though not the most impressive I have seen has been really improved  by building a steel staircase up one of the tall ruined turrets with a viewing platform on top which makes it more fun for visitors. This castle was the first of what would become know as Edward I's Iron Ring, a series of forts designed to encircle North Wales and oppress the Welsh. I diverted inland to buy supplies and lunch in an Aldi, and was soon back on my way and the next mile or so were again lovely following the edge of the river.

Unfortunately, the final 4 miles of the day were not going to be overly scenic following moderately busy roads for a while before following a track through industrial areas up to Hawarden Bridge. Though there were some glimpses of the very impressive Flintshire Cable Stay Bridge, and some other interesting industrial units.

Waiting for me at Hawarden Bridge were James & Gina, an old friend from Eastbourne who I can’t have seen for 11 years or so. We drove the short distance to their house where they had kindly offered me a bed for the night, they made a lovely dinner and I actually relaxed a little too much which is why diary published a bit late. They also laminated a poster for my backpack which should be interesting to see if more people stop and chat to me based on this (I was meant to organise this in the first month but better late than never.)

So, a fairly easy but not overly photogenic day, and I should cross back into England very early tomorrow. Strangely my finish point was just one side of the border and where I am staying is just the other side.

charles compton