Wednesday 27 April 2016
Llantwit Major to Barry
Oli and Laura’s house, Cardiff
I was up early to catch the bus into the centre of Cardiff and then the train to Llantwit Major, named after St Illtud who founded a college and a monastery here in 393AD.
I stopped for a coffee at the velo cafe in the old part of town. Fuelled on caffeine I headed out to the coast. It was a lovely morning, the sun was shining and there was very little wind. Consequently I had an excellent view across the Bristol Channel to North Devon.
My walk to Aberthaw was nice, mostly along the cliff and then a stretch at the back of a long, rocky beach covered in anti-tank defences (known as Dragons’ teeth around here).
Unfortunately, while I was bathed in sunshine I could see a huge dark cloud looming over Aberthaw Power Station (all power stations seem to have dark, moody skies over them). With a lack of wind the rain clouds just didn’t seem to be moving.
Aberthaw has a biodiversity area, created by the power station, not only with finance but also by providing a tropical environment! Apparently Bass and Smoothound Sharks come here to breed in the warm water.
I had only just climbed the cliff out of Aberthaw when the first hailstorm hit me. I managed to get my waterproof jacket on but didn’t bother with the trousers and just accepted I was going to get soaked. For the next 3 hours the weather alternated between hail and heavy rain, and the temperature seemed to drop by about 10 degrees. All the time I could see Devon bathed in sunshine!
I walked past RAF St Athan (now Cardiff Airport) at Rhoose. Rhoose Point had a sign telling me I had reached the southernmost point of mainland Wales. This old quarry filled with new houses seemed like a desolate place in the pouring rain. I needed a cafe to dry off.
I was thoroughly soaked by the time I reached Porthkerry Country Park. I stopped at the cafe for a cake and a break from the rain so I could swap maps and add a layer.
The rain eased slightly as I arrived in Barry. I stood on the cliff and surveyed Cold Knap Point and Barry Island.
As the tide was out I walked across the sand/mud to Barry Island.
Whitmore Bay was just around Friars Point and there I came face to face with the famous Barry Island Pleasure Park. It looked a bit sad without any people and only a few places were open. I didn’t stop.
On the other side of the island are the docks and a view of Barry Power Station.
The sky was black over Barry so I hurried on, keen to cross the bridge and get to the train station before I got drenched again. I almost made it.
I sat at Barry station and watched the heaviest downpour. Everyone was shivering in the cold. The sun was out when I arrived back in Cardiff!