Distance: 10.80 miles
Max Altitude: 30 m
Min Altitude: 1 m
Height Gain: 143 m
Height Loss: 148 m
It was great to be back at Rest Bay, one of my favourite beaches. It wasn’t often that I had seen it under such grey skies. My memories are of a blue sky, fluffy clouds and hot sun. So I was extra pleased to see the water teeming with surfers, keen to make the most of the windy conditions.
I followed the Wales Coast Path towards Porthcawl and along the seafront. It was quiet with hardly anybody about. The polar opposite of when hundreds of Elvis impersonators descend on the town each year.
I was reverting to type and making a beeline for the….yes you guessed it, the lighthouse! What else?!
This iconic lighthouse was built in 1860 and was the last coal and gas-powered lighthouse in the UK. It switched to being powered by gas in 1974. Incredibly, it had run on a meter placed at the bottom of the tower and brave souls had to feed in coins into it in order to keep the light burning. The lighthouse eventually went electric in 1997.
Porthcawl lighthouse and breakwater is also notorious for its storms. If you want to see how rough the sea can get at this apparently calm spot, then click here.
The Wales Coast Path then diverts inland to avoid Coney Beach Pleasure Park. You can walk through it but I wasn’t much in the mood for neon and flashing lights so I followed the track and came out on Trecco Bay.
I left Porthcawl and the funfair behind and headed across Newton Burrows towards Merthyr Mawr.
The photo that follows hardly does it justice but Merthyr Mawr is the site of some of Europe’s highest sand dunes.
And some of the scenes from the 1962 film, Lawrence of Arabia, were shot right here.
I am kicking myself for not taking some better shots while I was passing through. Many’s the time I’ve struggled up those dunes in the name of exercise.
It all went awry after the dunes. I was routed inland in order to avoid the Afon Ogwr. There were missing waymarks and I ended up in some commune. I was lost.
It was a little creepy to say the least. I needed to get to Ogmore Castle so I was delighted to finally spot this helpful stone waymark to help me.
Rather than cross the Afon Ewenni (Ewenny river) further up stream using a footbridge I chose to use these stepping stones. Many’s the time I’ve padded across these stones trying to avoid clattering into the water. I’ve not fallen in yet and today was no exception! Dry feet all round. Result!
The prize when I reached the other side was one of my favourite castles in Wales, Castell Ogwr or Ogmore Castle. I would have liked a photo of it from the other side of the river featuring the castle and stepping stones, but the tractor and trailer that were parked out front didn’t exactly add to the ambience, so here’s one closer up instead.
I decided to end my day here. It wouldn’t get much better than this after all. I had intended to go further but I believed that I could make up the distance in the coming days.