Distance: 10.3 miles
Max Altitude: 27 m
Min Altitude: 2 m
Height Gain: 93 m
Height Loss: 84 m
I was back at the point where I’d made the decision not to continue yesterday. My feet were a tad better after icing and elevation but not much. I had to go on though, in order to get back to Cardiff on the finish date in my mind.
I found myself walking through a salt marsh first off.
I was hiking on the site of the former RAF Pembrey. It was constructed between 1937 and 1939. During the Second World War it played host to many of the RAF’s flying aces including Guy Gibson, known for the Dambusters. In the 1950s, part of the airfield became agricultural land, which is what I was walking on. Another part became motor racing’s Pembrey Circuit while another bit serves as Pembrey Airport, which opened in 1997. There’s still an RAF station here to this day, and Dyfed Powys Police’s helicopter is kept here too.
I walked through Pembrey Forest for a few kilometres. Finally I reached the coast, the true coast. I had spent days negotiating my way up and down Carmarthen Bay’s numerous estuaries so I was delighted to see the sea once again.
…in both directions.
I came upon a shipwreck that was poking out of the sand. Cefn Sidan is the resting place for dozens of wrecks. Many of them were revealed in the January 2014 storm surge.
Cefn Sidan was once known for a group of people known as ‘Gwyr y Bwyelli Bach’, which means ‘people of the little axes’. These were people who carried hatchets with them in order to plunder shipwrecks. Between the years 1770 and 1870, they lured vessel after vessel to their doom in order to get their hands on the cargo. When it was dark and stormy they would light bonfires inland. To a captain or a lookout they’d look like they were near a harbour and the ships would be drawn inshore to the shallows only to be devastated by the enormous waves.
Other than the one I saw below, the most obvious wrecks that remain on Cefn Sidan are hard to reach. They are mostly lying at the northern end of the beach, further up than where I entered the sand. Also, the northern end of the beach is closed on weekdays due to the firing range. A crying shame.
The sands are rich in bird life too.
Across the water lay Gwyr (the Gower) and there was the Worm’s Head sticking its neck out. I could hardly believe that I’d walked this far. To think that I was almost on the Gower.
I left the beach and entered Pembrey Country Park, which exists on the former Royal Ordnance Factory site. It was here that the manufacture of explosives took place. The isolated sand dunes of Pembrey Burrows provided the ideal conditions for such a task. One thing that has really struck me during my hike is how the nature of the Welsh coastline has been shaped so much by war, conflict and defence.
Anyway, on display within the Park are these two anchors. They were found on Cefn Sidan within 200 metres of each other. Their weight signifies a ship of at least 1000 tonnes.
I think this place is a lovely place to spend the day. To think of what it was and what it has been transformed into is incredible. And I never even knew it existed.
Also, who doesn’t love a timber dinosaur?!
The track took me next to the EU-funded Ski Pembrey facility.
Today’s destination was Porth Tywyn (Burry Port) though.
I had a dedicated track, which I was thankful for. What with the state of my feet these paths are a godsend, they really are.
My finishing point for the day was the jolly harbour at Porth Tywyn.
And to my sheer delight I got to add yet another lighthouse to my burgeoning collection. Not that I’m becoming obsessed with lighthouses. Oh no. Not me. No sir.
This harbour was built between 1830 and 1836 to replace the harbour back at Pembrey, and this lighthouse was built in 1842.
It’s no Strumble Head or South Stack maybe, but I like its chubby little charm.
Another ten miles in the bag, then. Tomorrow I would bid Sir Gaerfyrddin goodbye and say hello to Abertawe (Swansea).