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Category: Llwybr Arfordir Sir Gaerfyrddin – Carmarthenshire Coast Path

144. Porth Tywyn (Burry Port) – Crofty

144. Porth Tywyn (Burry Port) – Crofty


Distance: 18.5 miles

Max Altitude: 41 m

Min Altitude: 4 m

Height Gain: 223 m

Height Loss: 225 m

I had decided before leaving Porth Tywyn (Burry Port) that I would visit the Amelia Earhart memorial. As a trailblazing adventurer, she’s among my list of personal heroes. But why is there a tribute here? Well, when she became the first female to cross the Atlantic Ocean by air, Amelia Earhart landed slap bang in Burry Port. Indeed, on the 18th of June 1928, aviation history was created when a small red seaplane with the word ‘Friendship’ written on its fuselage, was spotted flying over the town. The plane gradually descended and landed in the Burry estuary. Earhart and her two flying companions had set off from Newfoundland 20 hours and 40 minutes earlier. Of course, there was much excitement in the local area at this news and the seaplane was escorted into the harbour accompanied by a flotilla of small boats. Hundreds of well wishers had rushed to the dockside to greet the pioneering aviators. The entire story of the flight and the subsequent landing here is a fascinating one.

I set off from the harbour and there too was a memorial to Amelia Earhart.

There are always numerous things to photograph in a harbour. This one was no exception.

Also on display at harbourside is the remains of a World War Two bomb which was found washed up on the beach nearby last year.

I continued along the Wales Coast Path leaving the chubby Burry Port lighthouse behind me.

Ahead of me lay the county of Abertawe (Swansea) and Gŵyr (Gower). I couldn’t have asked for a better walking day. Once again I was tremendously lucky to be hiking under sunshine and a blue sky.

I was on the stretch of the Wales Coast Path known as the Millennium Coastal Park. It’s hard to believe that on this very area once stood the huge beast of Carmarthen Bay Power Station. It occupied 220 acres having been built in 1947. It employed around 500 people and its three stacks could be seen for miles. It shut down in 1984 and was demolished in the early 1990s.

A project was then undertaken to transform the industrial wasteland left behind into something beautiful. The result was the Millennium Coastal Park, including the 22 kilometres of coastline along the Llwchwr estuary between Burry Port and Llanelli. What a success it is.

And glorious it is too.

It’s incredible to think that this area was nothing but ash and industrial detritus.

The railway line runs alongside it too.

I couldn’t resist crossing the line to get a look at the view.

I could include dozens of photos of the view, in fact.

Passing the dock area of Llanelli, I walked beside the Machynys golf course. I’ve walked past a whole host of golf courses on my travels but not one that’s been designed by Jack Nicklaus. Mind you, it could be designed by the ghost of Leonardo da Vinci and it wouldn’t mean anything to me. Golf really isn’t my bag.

I was more interested in the Llanelli Wetland Centre and was sorry that I didn’t have time to explore further. If it’s half as good as the Newport Wetlands Reserve then it’s a winner. Another time.

The marshland became more and more prominent beside me. I was heading up the Llwchwr estuary.

Having walked through some industrial and residential areas, I ended up alongside the Pont Llwchwr, which connects Llanelli with Swansea.

The road bridge runs alongside the railway bridge.

A permanent bridge linking Casllwchwr (Loughor) and Llanelli was first constructed here in 1923. Evidence of the original bridge can still be seen too.

The Wales Coast Path then took a rather convoluted, but unavoidable, route to get onto the Gower, through streets and along roads. I walked on the pavement until I arrived in Penclawdd. This is a village famous for its cockles (and my worst nightmare….bad memories of my family boiling them in a huge pot on the fire and me gagging at the stench!). I wasn’t thinking about molluscs but rather the view over the marsh.

The sun was setting but I still had energy in me for some reason. Ok, I admit to a few coffees and ice creams en route! I had also managed to successfully ignore my feet for the day (who says caffeine and sugar is bad for you?!). So I decided to continue onwards to Crofty while the going was good. I walked along the road until I arrived in failing light.

The weather, the views and the surface had made this day a perfect walking day.

143. Cydweli (Kidwelly) – Porth Tywyn (Burry Port)

143. Cydweli (Kidwelly) – Porth Tywyn (Burry Port)


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.

There were some very familiar sights. These cattle were not followers and merely eyed me with suspicion.

I was hiking on the site of the former RAF Pembrey. It was constructed between 1937 and 1939. 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. 

I continued along tiny concrete tracks.

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.

I couldn’t have asked for a better beach on which to rejoin the seaside. I was standing on Cefn Sidan (which means ‘silky back’) and it was the image of perfection…

…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.

Other than shipwrecks, walking along the sands presented an array of shellfish….

…and general sea life.

The sands are rich in bird life too.

I tried to zoom in on this flock as best I could.

Even the sand itself was mesmerising in its wavy patterns.

And although it’d be washed away in a few hours, I was pleased to have made my mark on Cefn Sidan. It was the first time I’d ever been here but it certainly wouldn’t be the last.

I had walked alone for several kilometres but began to see other people up ahead in the haze. They looked almost ghostly.

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.

Looking across the bay once more, I could see the Gower, and Worm’s Head.

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).

142. Cydweli (Kidwelly)

142. Cydweli (Kidwelly)


Distance: 1.3 miles

Max Altitude: 17 m

Min Altitude: 4 m

Height Gain: 15 m

Height Loss: 16 m

This was quite clearly one of my shortest walks so far. I left Cydweli following food at the Tea For Two cafe (which is very nice and run by lovely people, incidentally). Before I had even set out, my feet were giving me hell. I had promised myself that I would stop moaning about my feet on this blog, but by the same token, I can’t lie either. I literally hobbled out of the town, wincing. Yesterday had clearly had an impact on the trotters.

The Wales Coast Path hung a right onto a track next to Pembrey Airport towards Pembrey Forest; beyond that there would be a long walk along Cefn Sidan sands. I stood a while at the turn off point and pondered whether I was in a good enough condition to make it the whole way. It was a remote stretch and I would likely be alone for a few hours with no promise of a mobile signal. With my sensible hat on (I do have one in my wardrobe, you know), I decided to not continue.

I was disappointed in myself. I just wanted to walk. Sometimes though, mind over matter just isn’t enough when you’re carrying a chronic and worsening injury. Every day I am told by various people to finish my walk at a later date, or to quit, or to go home altogether for a rest, and every day I resist and carry on.

I suppose it’s hard to grasp why. It baffles even me sometimes. However, this trek is a very personal thing to me, and profoundly so. Also, I’m very stubborn (something inherited from my dad and a trait that I’m convinced is buried deep in my DNA).




And beyond that, this trek aims to raise awareness of pancreatic cancer. Those of us who have witnessed this killer disease know of its horrific cruelty. If I were to quit this trek now because of my feet (no matter what their pitiful state is), or even to postpone it, I would feel as though I were doing a disservice to the cause.

So I will carry on, regardless. Tomorrow though. Today I am having a rest.

141. Caerfyrddin (Carmarthen) – Cydweli (Kidwelly)

141. Caerfyrddin (Carmarthen) – Cydweli (Kidwelly)


Distance: 16.8 miles

Max Altitude: 135 m

Min Altitude: 5 m

Height Gain: 351 m

Height Loss: 363 m

I left Carmarthen somewhat reluctantly. It had been too much of a flying visit for my liking. However, I needed to get going. I had started to have an idea of a finish date in my mind. Despite not wanting to put pressure on myself, I was beginning to work towards it subconsciously.

I aimed towards the Afon Tywi and crossed the impressive King Morgan footbridge.

Finally I was crossing the river having been on its shoulder for miles.

I couldn’t have asked for a better day for it either. I had a crisp blue sky above me. The Tywi was like a pond.


I followed roadsides and farm tracks set way off from the estuary. I let my mind wander and listened to music to ease the repetition. I caught a glimpse of the Afon Tywi at one point.


Shortly after the above photo was taken I came to a Wales Coast Path way mark which was pointing precisely half way between two different tiny country roads. Which one should I take, the left or the right? Naturally, I chose the wrong one and ended up walking up and down a couple of random roads for a couple of kilometres. But I eventually found my way back to the path.

I arrived in Glan-y-Fferi (Ferryside) and stopped for snacks. I crossed the railway line down to the shore.

Opposite me was Llansteffan, my starting point yesterday. There was once a ferry running between here and Llansteffan. Incredibly, it was used by Gerallt Gymro (Giraldus Cambrensis / Gerald of Wales) way back in 1188. Now there is no such service nowadays of course, and you have to drive or bribe someone with a boat.

From Ferryside I followed a tiny country road which hugged the coast tightly.

These burgeoning pumpkins were set out on the side of the road to entice people into a farm shop and cafe. I wanted to go in so badly but on the other hand I needed to push on in order to get to Cydweli. Look at them though. Just beautiful.

To my right was extensive marshland as I snaked away from the Tywi estuary and further up the Gwendraeth Fach estuary. So many estuaries, so little time (and energy).

Finally, I was on the outskirts of Cydweli.

I followed signs to the castle. This is one that I had never seen before today, to my shame. I was intrigued by the bizarre scarecrow standing in the field in front of it.


This was built by the invading Normans as a defence against the Welsh. However, it fell to the Welsh several times during the twelfth century. When Owain Glyndŵr tried to take it with help from French and Breton forces, he didn’t do very well.

Centuries later, it was invaded successfully by ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’ and used as a filming location, proving that the pen is ultimately mightier than the sword maybe.

My day was at an end. By tomorrow, my estuary walking days would be at an end and I’d finally be back on the true coast once more.

140. Llansteffan – Caerfyrddin (Carmarthen)

140. Llansteffan – Caerfyrddin (Carmarthen)


Distance: 10.62 miles

Max Altitude: 108 m

Min Altitude: 7 m

Height Gain: 240 m

Height Loss: 229 m

Today was going to be a good day. I would be arriving in to Caerfyrddin (Carmarthen), the largest town I’d visited since Bangor. I would get to enjoy some browsing around shops and meeting up with my friend, Joann. So I set off bright and early.

I had already been warned that today wasn’t exactly the most inspiring of walks by both Terry and Joann. The Wales Coast Path follows small country lanes and farm tracks set well away from the estuary’s edge. With that in mind, here was my basic day’s view –

Although there was this red phone box in Llangain.

From Johnstown I followed the pavement into Carmarthen itself. This is a town very familiar to me from my childhood. The name Caerfyrddin means ‘Merlin’s Castle’ in English, for those of you who don’t know. With reference to Arthurian legend, make of that what you will.

I browsed around the town, including the relatively new market hall. 

I browsed the shops but didn’t buy anything. I went into Cotswold Outdoors and looked around. With fewer than 200 miles left of my journey, there didn’t seem much point getting anything new. Though I did spot these on a shelf. Are they really the secret to an energy-laden trek? Better than a Welsh cake? I doubt it.

Where the old market once stood is now a shopping precinct but this sculpture has been placed here as a reminder of where it once stood.

I met Joann and her mum Lyndy and we went for food together. It was such a tonic to sit and have food with good friends. I think I must have talked their ears off though. After tea, I said a sorry goodbye to the two and we couldn’t resist taking this selfie.

Home was now tantalisingly close and reaching Carmarthen was another psychological milestone for me. Onwards.

139. Talacharn (Laugharne) – Llansteffan

139. Talacharn (Laugharne) – Llansteffan

Distance: 14.29 miles

Max Altitude: 106 m

Min Altitude: 1 m

Height Gain: 360 m

Height Loss: 359 m

My wishes came true because I woke to a blue sky with clouded sunshine in Laugharne. Today would be a good day. I did a quick stat check and realised that I had reached the 1001th mile of my hike yesterday coupled with a total climb of 83,000ft. Today would be an even better day.

I set off from the castle.

A castle was established here in 1116. After being burnt down it was rebuilt by the Normans, and captured by Llywelyn Fawr in 1215. During the English Civil War the castle was captured by Royalists in 1644. During this time it was destroyed by cannon and left to go to rack and ruin.

Just a couple of hundred metres down the coast stands the famous Dylan Thomas Boathouse.

It would be hard to not be inspired by the view from the Boathouse.

Just before the path reaches the Boathouse, it passes by Thomas’ writing shed.

It has been left pretty much as it was.

I have visited the Boathouse a few times before now. Maybe I should have gone in again. It’s another to add to the return list.

I continued to be wowed by the view and the enormous sky.

After this point the path deviated away from the coast. It was to remain pretty much – except for a couple of instances – that way for the next few days.

I met a couple of women on the track who were lost and asked me for directions. I told them where they were and where they needed to be. They pointed east and asked me where they’d get to if they just continued that way. “This is the Wales Coast Path and you’ll end up in Chepstow”, I said.

The clouds were rolling in by the time I got to Sanclêr (St Clears) and crossed the Afon Taf.

And within minutes I was crossing another river, this time the Afon Dewi Fawr.

The Wales Coast Path deviated way inland yet again, across farmland and down tiny country roads until I got to Llansteffan. It may have been dull but I was grateful for the simple terrain – less chance of rolling my ankle on an even surface for one thing.

Opposite me was Glan-y-Fferi (Ferryside) and where I’d be walking past in a couple of days.

138. Pentywyn (Pendine) – Talacharn (Laugharne)

138. Pentywyn (Pendine) – Talacharn (Laugharne)

Distance: 8.13 miles

Max Altitude: 51 m

Min Altitude: 5 m

Height Gain: 130 m

Height Loss: 130 m

I was keen to put in some decent miles today in spite of my feet.

Pentywyn (Pendine) boasts ‘seven miles of golden sands’. You see it everywhere on signage and whatnot. It was on those sands that Malcolm Campbell set the world land speed record in his car, Blue Bird. Since then it’s been used for all sorts of speed-related records and escapades.

During the Second World War, the Ministry of Defence got hold of Pendine Sands for use as a firing range, and they still own those seven miles of golden sands to this day. For this reason, the Wales Coast Path detours far inland to avoid the range. What a crying shame.

What followed thereafter was a dull and uninspiring trudge along the side of the road, mainly, and in rain showers. The weather wasn’t as bad as yesterday, which was something.

I walked for ages until I could turn off the road in order to walk along farmland. Some familiar sights were there to greet me.

In fact, this lot started to follow me. Maybe they realised that I needed some moral support.

As did this pair.

I started looking around for different things to photograph. A barbed wire gate was the best I could come up with.

But then, after climbing a series of steps, I was given the most awesome view and vantage point.

I hadn’t realised it at the time but I had stumbled onto ‘Dylan’s Birthday Walk’. In 1944, the poet had written ‘Poem in October’ about a walk he took on his birthday, to the shoulder of Sir John’s hill (which was where I was standing). The poem is simply about his love of Laugharne and getting older. The poem was set on the 27th of October, 1944, his 30th birthday. Not the exact date that I was walking, but close enough and the right month besides anything else! I smiled at the almost coincidence.

Each bench I encountered featured a different verse from the poem.

Here is the poem in question, in case you’re wondering –

‘Poem in October’ by Dylan Thomas

It was my thirtieth year to heaven
Woke to my hearing from harbour and neighbour wood
And the mussel pooled and the heron
Priested shore
The morning beckon
With water praying and call of seagull and rook
And the knock of sailing boats on the net webbed wall
Myself to set foot
That second
In the still sleeping town and set forth.

My birthday began with the water-
Birds and the birds of the winged trees flying my name
Above the farms and the white horses
And I rose
In rainy autumn
And walked abroad in a shower of all my days.
High tide and the heron dived when I took the road
Over the border
And the gates
Of the town closed as the town awoke.

A springful of larks in a rolling
Cloud and the roadside bushes brimming with whistling
Blackbirds and the sun of October
On the hill’s shoulder,
Here were fond climates and sweet singers suddenly
Come in the morning where I wandered and listened
To the rain wringing
Wind blow cold
In the wood faraway under me.

Pale rain over the dwindling harbour
And over the sea wet church the size of a snail
With its horns through mist and the castle
Brown as owls
But all the gardens
Of spring and summer were blooming in the tall tales
Beyond the border and under the lark full cloud.
There could I marvel
My birthday
Away but the weather turned around.

It turned away from the blithe country
And down the other air and the blue altered sky
Streamed again a wonder of summer
With apples
Pears and red currants
And I saw in the turning so clearly a child’s
Forgotten mornings when he walked with his mother
Through the parables
Of sun light
And the legends of the green chapels

And the twice told fields of infancy
That his tears burned my cheeks and his heart moved in mine.
These were the woods the river and sea
Where a boy
In the listening
Summertime of the dead whispered the truth of his joy
To the trees and the stones and the fish in the tide.
And the mystery
Sang alive
Still in the water and singingbirds.

And there could I marvel my birthday
Away but the weather turned around. And the true
Joy of the long dead child sang burning
In the sun.
It was my thirtieth
Year to heaven stood there then in the summer noon
Though the town below lay leaved with October blood.
O may my heart’s truth
Still be sung
On this high hill in a year’s turning.

I walked along reading the benches and the little bits and bobs of Dylan Thomas along the way. With that I was opposite Castell Talacharn (Laugharne Castle).

And of course, the world famous, Dylan Thomas’ Boathouse, photographed below in the centre of frame close to the water. His writing shed is a little to the left of the Boathouse.

My walk finished in the shadow of the castle.

 I would wait for tomorrow until I actually walked past Dylan Thomas’ Boathouse, and I would hope for better weather too.

137. Dinbych-y-Pysgod (Tenby) – Pentywyn (Pendine)

137. Dinbych-y-Pysgod (Tenby) – Pentywyn (Pendine)

Distance: 11.74 miles

Max Altitude: 103 m

Min Altitude: 5 m

Height Gain: 323 m

Height Loss: 343 m


I was back on the trail today after a day off yesterday. I had to go on the hunt for a new phone after the demise of the old one. Thrilled with my new addition, I was looking forward to a day of walking and phone photography.

It’s fair to say that over these past few weeks I’ve been spoilt with regards to the weather. Somehow the sun has shone on me almost every day whilst I’ve been in Pembrokeshire. Yes I’ve had a few light showers here and there but I can’t remember the last time I had torrential rain (that’s why I’m writing these blogs…so I don’t have to remember).

That all changed today and not by half either. Torrential would be an understatement. Biblical, more like. Had I not had yesterday off I would probably have retreated indoors when I saw the rain. However, I didn’t want to miss out on yet another day’s walking. So I donned my waterproofs and headed out of Tenby.

I’d love to tell you that it was fresh and bracing and that I loved every second. That would be a massive lie though. I’m not a rain person, never have been, never will be. The truth is that I trudged in misery for miles on end, my new phone firmly in my waterproof pocket. I got to Saundersfoot, somewhere that I’d been looking forward to. The rain poured harder. I continued without a single photo of the village or of anything else for that matter.

On and on I slogged, finally arriving in Amroth. I had reached the end of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path.

It felt bittersweet.

There was hope of a blue sky in the distance but it felt like Pembrokeshire was spitting me out into Carmarthenshire. I knew that I would miss this section. Despite the struggles and difficulties it had become a part of me. I could foresee spending a lot more time here in the future.

I carried on walking, with the blue sky taunting me in the distance.

By the time I got to Pentywyn (Pendine), the showers were only light but the sea was full of chop. High spring tides were imminent, and coupled with the rain, local residents were out and about preparing for flooding.

There was only one thing for it. I headed into the Springwell Inn pub to dry out. It wasn’t just me who’d had that idea. When I walked through the door there was a topless man at the bar. “Sorry”, he said to me when he caught my eye, “I got stuck in the rain and I’m trying to dry my clothes off”. His coat and sweater were hanging up above the stove.

I sat in the window looking at the dirty storm outside. Another chapter of my journey was over. Pembrokeshire was done and I was feeling nostalgic already.

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