Walking Wales Coast Path

Began 11th May 2012

Well it all began with a throwaway comment about the Wales Coast Path being opened and walking it. With good memories of previous long distance walks along the CistercianWay route in Wales, I ask when we were going to begin. Not quite the response expected. Decide we will not begin walking until after all the Razzamatazz of the Official opening on 5th May weekend is over.

Preparations and thoughts.                

Well it’s ages since we managed to find time to go out walking together, being kept busy with many other things. Committing to walking The WCP will keep us focussed on getting out regularly. I’m seriously unfit and could do with shedding some weight, so hopefully the WCP will address these concerns. Concerns about the condition of feet, particularly the left one, but having recently bought 4 pairs of new socks which I know work well for me I’m confident I’ll be able to manage care of my feet. Will wear walking boots, sandals and trainers, based on likelihood of mud patches, depending on the weather.

Will be able to do the first stages from Chepstow to Swansea from home, which will give us time to get ourselves organised and reasonably fit for the next stages. We have done linear walks before using 2 cars, placing a car at the finish of the day’s walk, then driving to the start, sounds complicated, but in practise not too difficult, once we remember what need to go in which car.

What do we carry, Rucsac with liner, to ensure contents are kept dry, water, emergency rations, mine are dates and pineapple slices, Godron’s are probably pre 2000, mint cake and other unappetising goodies. Personal First Aid kit, mobile phone, cache bag,

We hope to do follow the route starting each day at the point we finished at the last time, but will adjust our plans if expedient to do so.

Walking Wales Coast Path

Day 1. Chepstow to Sudbrook. Friday 11th May

Day dawns dry with some cloud and sunshine. Plan to do a few caches in Chepstow prior to the start of the walk. Breakfast and back to the 2 mugs of tea routine, sandwiches made and carrots, celery, cucumber and tomatoes prepared and packed. Filled new Water Carrier, which has the benefit of an on off switch, packed rucsac and got organised with cars. Placed car at the end location of day’s walk, then drove to Chepstow. Parked up in a small side street and got ourselves ready, oh no, the Water Carrier is leaking, DOH, that is not a good way for 870 miles of fun to begin. Thankfully, contents of rucsac are safe in a rucsac liner so nothing is wet. Leave Water Carrier in the car boot, and get organised boots, stick, hat and suncream, right, nothing more to do but leave the comfort of the car. Steadfast and confident (I don’t think) take first steps away from the car, down towards the town. Toilet stop first, then a few caches around the walls of Chepstow. Leaving the main car park, reasonable charge for all day parking, a couple walk past us, he asks where we are going I reply that we are starting to walk the WCP, as he walks away, he remarks, that I still look lovely! Makes us both smile and I feel lighter of heart and uplifted to begin to think that I might manage at least today’s walk.

Buy water at local supermarket. Thankful that I’d brought my small water bottle that fits in my trouser pocket with me, as I’d be able to keep it topped up from larger bottle. I like to sip water frequently as I walk but using a bottle is time consuming as I don’t have enough hands! There is a Pub by the Bridge where when we have completed our walk, we will be having a meal and a drink, wonder how long it will be before that happens!

No putting it off any more ~ we are at Chepstow Bridge, time to bring out the Wales Flag and have a photo shoot. Another person, rucsac gives away the fact he’s a walker, comes along. Pleasantries exchanged, turns out we live near a person he knows and we know and who is friends with our neighbour. He takes a couple of photos of us together and he heads of to Tintern and we begin our 870 mile walk.

Are we ready, best foot forward, Chepstow WCP (Wales Coast Path) signs are easily seen and show we are on the correct route. These signs are are going to become our constant friends over the following months. We set a steady pace, stopping to search for 2 geocaches on our route, but move on when it seems they are missing. Just remember to keep the River Severn on the left and all will be well. It’s pleasant walking alonside the river, tides out so the mud doesn’t look very exciting

A brief lunch stop and we are ready to move on. My feet know they have been busy and it is a relief to find the car we left at Sudbrook earlier in the day. We then go back to Chepstow to pick up our second car. Day 1 is done, and once home I ease my aching body into a soothing soak in the bath. Worn out by my unaccustomed exercise I have an early night and wonder what the morrow will bring.

It is lovely to be walking in the countryside, saw a heron and heard a few birds, and saw lots of plants and weeds, some we don’t recognise. Need to refresh our knowledge of plants and animals we might see on the way.