Distance: 1o.27 miles
Max Altitude: 142 m
Min Altitude: 1 m
Height Gain: 480 m
Height Loss: 458 m
I’m not sure what to say about today. I was miserable. I wanted to quit.
It didn’t start like that though. Quite the opposite in fact.
I had a hearty breakfast and felt cheered to be walking under a blue sky and sunshine.
I walked down the promenade, past the castle and towards the harbour.
I followed the waymarks and was led onto Pont Trefechan over Afon Rheidol. Everything seemed to glisten. There was traffic and people but it felt like there was no noise at all.
I noticed this plaque on the bridge.
So many feelings came to the surface on account of that little plaque and those few words. Maybe that was the source of my later misery, I don’t know.
The Welsh language, my language, has come so far since 1963 in many ways. But it has gone backwards in so many others. And what I’ve seen and heard during my travels so far around Wales leaves me nothing but concerned, frustrated and sad. Moreover, I feel helpless. More on that another time maybe.
The Wales Coast Path then took me past the breakwater and over another river, Afon Ystwyth, which gives Aber its name. See that peak on the right hand side of the photo? I was headed for that.
I had a walk along a stony beach. There were hardly any people about, just a couple of men fishing. I looked back at Aber behind me.
And then it was time to tackle the hill in front of me. I took this photo half way up, huffing and puffing like a choo choo train. It felt endless.
Ok, I admit that the view from the top was a stunner. I could see Craig-Lais (Constitution Hill) opposite me with Tywyn far away in the distance.
A humerous and perplexing sight lay ahead. Two men sitting on deckchairs with all their personal effects, wearing shower caps just enjoying the sun and peace, miles from anywhere. Beautiful.
And who could blame them? I mean, just look at the Wales Coast Path. It’s pretty perfect isn’t it?
But I started to tire. I don’t know why. I had had enough food and was drinking water but the fatigue just set in like a fog. It clouded my mind and negative thoughts began dancing around my mind.
Why was I doing this? What was the point? My fundraising seemed to be grinding to a halt. Did anyone care? Did I care? And on and on.
Before anyone gets the wrong idea, I know exactly why I’m doing this and so forth. However, when you’re on your own day in day out, and you’re tired, it’s pretty easy to drift into glass half empty mode. The solitude and the trekking can play tricks. One of the greatest challenges, arguably, is not the walking but the thinking, the believing. Keeping the mind strong is so much harder than keeping the legs strong.
Arriving at Clogwyni Penderi was scant consolation. Though I was surprised that this very site was once one of the largest cormorant breeding locations in Wales until hungry foxes drove them away.
And then I sat down, spent. I sat with my head in my hands for ages and felt angry with myself.
I tweeted that I was struggling and immediately got encouraging and positive replies in return. What a boost. So people did care.
Sharp shooting pains plagued my feet and I elevated them for a while. It helped a bit. Somehow I picked myself up enough to continue. I hobbled onwards.
I arrived in Llanrhystud, my stopping point for the evening. What a relief. I had made it. The WCP seemed to throw a beautiful sunset at me as a reward. And I was thankful.
Tomorrow would be a new day.