Step Count: 21,312
Max Altitude: 17 m
Min Altitude: 1 m
Height Gain: 62 m
Height Loss: 66 m
It was almost a deja moo (thanks Lals) on the Wales Coast Path this morning. After being accosted by the ‘cows’ (bullocks) yesterday evening, I picked a random field to sleep in, free from murderous bovine. I was out for the count until my alarm went off this morning. I had a quick tent wash (wet wipes), packed up my rucksack and set off for the Newport Wetlands.
I had to cross the same field again but luckily the bullocks were grazing on the other side. I was so pleased to have evaded them. But my delight was short lived because no sooner had I left the field that I landed back inside another one populated by even more bullocks. Well, first off I thought they were cows, but soon realised they weren’t when they started charging towards me en masse; also the lack of udders and huge horns were a bit of a giveaway (hey I don’t pretend to be an expert in livestock!). Off I pegged back over the stile, while they crowded towards me, snorting. Hmm, what’s the way out of this, I wondered…the path was leading me through the field, after all. I decided to make my way into the next field over to see if I could get through that way. No such luck. The thicket was way too, er, thick. So back I went to the field to see if I could spot another route. My luck was in! They had all decided that I wasn’t that interesting and had gone to graze on the opposite side of the field. I sneaked through and got to the next stile. Excellent I thought, and began striding through the long grass.
You’d think that by now I’d have learnt about hubris because, yes, you guessed it: yet another field with bullocks and one enormous brown bull with massive horns and a penchant for goring backpackers. Oh dear. They had spotted me and began heading towards me with a speedy intent. I had to escape into the thick reeds and ended up in soggy marsh, up to my ankles. Gah! And then I crouched down and hid, I’m unashamed to say. I kept popping my head up to see if they’d moved on and within about 15 minutes they had. I was then able to move slowly to the stile, ducking out of sight the whole way.
I was already behind schedule. Sprinting and hiding from bulls can take its toll on general timekeeping. However, I was only too happy to just amble along on the Wales Coast Path through the Newport Wetlands, and make the most of the sunshine. The East Usk Lighthouse is an impressive sight.
Nearby I met a woman from Warwick who was ticking off sections of the WCP and Offa’s Dyke Path bit by bit. Val had done Pembrokeshire and north Wales amongst several other parts. She would drive to Wales and take buses and taxis to the sections she was covering that day. We walked and chatted for a good 2km. She too had almost been gored by the bulls shortly after I had. We said our goodbyes and Val pushed on ahead.
Finally, I reached the seawall south of Goldcliff and decided to pitch Clark Tent right on top. I was tired and fancied a snooze, so that is what I did. After an hour or so I was back on my way. The path led me through fields of sheep and cows, often quite far inland in order to avoid the nesting places of wetland birds.
I was feeling good when, yet again, the path led me into a field full of bullocks, which I assumed were cows, and which, yet again, decided to advance upon me as I was half way through the meadow. Should I run forwards or back? It was like being hung up between third and fourth base. I began sidling. But each step I took was mirrored by the bullocks. There was no choice but to sprint, so away I went at a pace. And towards me they charged. I got to the stile just in the nick of time, out of breath. They were so angry they were butting the stile, but I had escaped. Relief!
In no time at all I had reached the Seawall at Goldcliff. This is a tiny shop and cafe operated by a family out of their home which is right next to the seawall. And a charming place it is too; a proper oasis for the traveller. The lady who served me told me that she had been expecting me; Val had told them that I’d be along in a short while after her. I had tea, a lollipop and some sugary treats, and managed to do some writing in the sun.
After feeling fully refreshed, I headed towards the seawall and appreciated the view before setting up camp nearby for the night.