Descending along St Illtyd's Walk by boxplayer

Descending along St Illtyd's Walk

On the 11-mile (or possibly a bit less) walk from Resolven to Cynonville. This was the final test - after all those months of training walks, was I going to cope with this hilly walk. And the next 5 days of walking.

Not a good night - it was very hot, being at the top of the house, and still and also never easy sleeping in an unfamiliar bed. Dave was restless - at some point the previous evening, he'd somehow pulled something near his hip, for no reason whatsoever, and it was hurting a lot.
Up for an early shower as we were down for the 7.15 breakfast shift. Rather weak pressure but breakfast was good: veggie sausage, hash browns, egg, mushrooms, and tomatoes. Gave Dave my beans as I then did every morning, trying not to let the landlady see.

A lot of faffing then getting ready, trying to get used to the Camelbak water system and decide what to take. Didn't like my new pale trousers, so went for the black ones and was worried my new socks would be too tight. But they were fine and very comfy as were the new black Peter Storm trousers.

The mini bus picked us up and drove us to the start. Weather was warm but fairly cloudy to start, with more sun coming out as the afternoon wore on. At the start though, found that the Camelbak was leaking, so there was a lot of faffing to try and fix whatever was going on there. And in a panic, I went into the shop and bought 2 bottles of water which Dave then had to carry back.

So in the end, my knees behaved very well and only played up on the descents even though there was quite a bit of climbing up to moorland in the morning. I used both poles throughout the day. Dave's hip though was a bit tricky. He ended up using his pole. But his knees were bad too so he forgot about his hip.

Lots of wind turbines at the top of the moorland, making rather spooky hearing aid noises. Some were turning, others not. Came across a herd of frisky bullocks in a field who kept charging about so we bunched together as we crossed the field. We came across a bog with lots of bog cotton growing - site of a holy well apparently and one lone black sheep. Julia jokingly starting saying we were seeing omens and should turn back

Lots of early Himalayan balsam out and a new discovery, fox and cubs, beautiful oranged dandelion-like flowers. Lots of buddleia, including a beautiful dark purple version, and foxgloves in the wooded sections. Larks around too.

Stopped for lunch on some tufty grass that provided cover for our al fresco toilet needs. The smoked cheese Co-op meal deal turned out to be very acceptable.

We descended after that through wooded ferny paths. Went through a tiny terrace of houses with a shabby bus stop and a bichon frise in the window. On Into Afan Park, following an old railway path - a few cyclists, but not that many people.

Finally arrived at the end point, the South Wales Miners Museum along with cafe. I shunned the cake and ice cream and just had a San Pellegrino and my apple. Had a nice long time to kill, so sat around and chatted, and looked around the outdoor museum bits before getting the minibus back.

Rested up in our room, while some of the women went swimming. Showered then walked in the lovely warm evening sunshine to Double Zero Pizza on the edge of the pier thing that we'd seen last night.

The tide was in and people in wetsuits were milling around. There was a bit of faffing as there were 12 of us to seat - some of us went inside and a group went to an outside table.
It was unfortunately all a bit hit and miss. The food took ages and when it came my seafood pizza and some of the others were a touch on the burnt side - although the roasted figs with honey and gorgonzola was very nice.

They ended up knocking a bit off the bill. Some of the crew then went to the Lorelei again but exhausted, we just went home.

Still smiling

14 July 2019
Countryside east of Port Talbot
Beautiful scene and it sounded like a great walk
August 4th, 2019  
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