Distance: 12.92 miles
Max Altitude: 87 m
Min Altitude: 1 m
Height Gain: 344 m
Height Loss: 359 m
I woke up to numerous messages of encouragement. It felt good to read people’s comments. I felt better than I had the previous day, though I still felt exhausted.
The Wales Coast Path took me back to the beach, where I was given a good omen for the day.
I passed a set of lime kilns. I am a fan of these relics from the industrial past.
When I arrived in Llansanffraid I got a bit confused by the waymarks. But then I asked some local people and they pointed me in the right direction. Somebody had left two tea lights on the stairs to the beach.
I could see Aberaeron in the distance. I couldn’t wait to get there.
In Aberarth, the WCP led me past pretty houses which looked idyllic in the sunshine.
There was also this touching memorial nearer the beach to local men who lost their lives in the Great War.
On the final stretch into Aberaeron I walked past a pair of alpacas, clearly in a huff with each other.
I arrived into Aberaeron and planted myself on the harbour wall with my legs out. It felt great to have reached the town. I have many happy childhood memories of visits to Aberaeron, where the treat was always honey-flavoured ice cream; the height of glamour in the days where the adventurousness of ice cream flavours extended only to vanilla, chocolate and strawberry. I also remember that they had a wire extending across the harbour and a sort of cage contraption hanging from it. A strong man with enormous forearms operating a pulley would use his brute force to transfer the cage from one side of the harbour to the other for a fee. Very exciting for a small child. That’s no longer there; health and safety maybe.
I had arranged to meet an old friend – Cathryn – who was holidaying nearby. It was great to see a friendly face and have a decent chat, and also to see her three children. Cathryn is also a journalist and blogger so we had many subjects in common which needed a good airing. It was very kind of her to come to see me and lift my spirits. It’s always good to see a familiar face on the trail (especially when there’s ice cream involved!).
The Dylan Thomas Trail runs through places associated with the poet Dylan Thomas in Ceredigion. Aberaeron is one of those places, as is Cei Newydd, down the coast.
I did consider getting a bottle of whisky in order to drink it while walking, as an homage to the poet. Another future challenge maybe?
As I was getting ready to leave and head south, I heard a noise. It sounded like a funeral dirge. Indeed it was. I assumed it was a memorial for some town dignitary or such like…until I saw a 20-foot mackerel leading the procession.
Not something you see every day. I had unwittingly bumped into the 11th annual Aberaeron Mackerel Fiesta, where the town honours the humble fish. Absolutely fantastic. I mean, if you can’t honour a mackerel, what can you honour?
It was time to say a sorry farewell to the town, for the first time on foot and not in a car.
When I reached Pont Y Gilfach, I was treated to some waterfalls.
It was worth the extra effort to see a secluded spot most people, let alone walkers, would never experience.
Across the bay, I could see Cei Newydd (New Quay). I would reach there tomorrow.
My stopping point was just before Cei Newydd, in Cei Bach, just around the headland. It was a familiar spot for me and looked just as perfect as I remembered. Many was the time that I visited here as a child, usually with my mother. She would always have an egg roll somewhere in the food bag. It’s strange the things that you recall.
I had some signal so published blog number 87, the one in which I struggled. As soon as it went online almost, I received a barrage of positive wishes urging me onwards. How kind people can be when you’re in a bit of a bind. I was overwhelmed, truly. So to all those friends, acquaintances and strangers who sent me good will messages and donations, thank you a million times over. You know who you all are and I think you’re brilliant.