Saturday 28 November 2015
Friz and Deb’s house, Aberaeron
I had an interrupted night’s sleep in an uncomfortable bed that was separated from the crying baby next door by a paper-thin wall. I felt sorry for the baby’s parents and I wasn’t annoyed; it was just one of those things.
Yesterday the man on the desk in the museum had mentioned that the last few tides had been quite high and today’s high tide was around 9 am. I headed down to the sea front to see if the poor weather and high tide would combine to provide a bit of a show. I wasn’t disappointed.
The sea looked rough and was crashing into the sea wall, spray coming onto the promenade. It was fun to watch.
I walked up and down the promenade enjoying watching the tumult that was going on sea-side of the big wall.
Other people also came to look and a couple got soaked when a wave came over the barrier.
The wind was building but not yet too bad; however, the rain was coming in very heavy waves and I was forced to keep dodging in and out of shelter as this rain was no respecter of waterproofs!
I knew that walking the coast path would be a silly idea today. Getting wet is not the problem; being blown off a cliff by a 60 mph gust of wind, or slipping off while walking on my own could be a problem. (I don’t want to be in the papers as the idiot who fell off a cliff while walking on her own, without good reason, in treacherous conditions.)
Unfortunately, I was meant to be meeting Greg halfway on today’s walk, staying with his friends in Aberaeron, and then walking together tomorrow. I felt guilty but happy with my decision not to walk. Even more unfortunately, tomorrow’s weather forecast was worse than today’s and so it looked like Greg had driven the 180 or so miles from Oxfordshire and wasn’t going to get the walk he came for. Now I felt really bad, but it still wasn’t a good reason to walk the cliff path.
Instead of walking to meet me Greg drove up from Aberaeron and we discussed plans over a coffee in town. Greg’s host, a keen walker, had advised him against walking the coast path today so we were in agreement.
After a coffee we walked to take a quick look at Aberystwyth Castle ruins. Another King Edward I castle. This one was built in 1277, along with its 3 contemporaries at Builth, Flint and Rhuddlan. All part of Edward’s strategy to dominate Llywelyn ap Gruffydd.
Walking around the castle was a challenge. The wind was now definitely gale force and at one point I was blown off the path. We definitely couldn’t have walked in this weather. (The rain was still torrential.)
Greg drove us to Friz and Deb’s house in Aberaeron, where we chilled out for the afternoon. The weather forecast for the whole of next week did not look promising and I hatched a plan to go home. Whilst I don’t mind walking in poor weather, recent experiences have led me to the following conclusions:
1. I avoid walking an exposed coast path in extreme wind conditions.
2. I don’t mind getting wet in the rain but I do prefer not to walk day after day in persistent rain because rain means cloud, cloud means low visibility, and poor visibility means no views.
3. Poor weather generally means little contact with wildlife or people, as both tend to hide.
Aberaeron is a beautiful coastal town and I was lucky to be well hosted by Friz and Deb.
Greg and I went out to the Harbourmaster Hotel for a lovely dinner and I was surprised by how busy the town was. We stood on the top of a small watch tower in the dark and watched the high tide batter the coast.
During the night I could hear the wind battering the windows and was glad to be safely tucked up.