A week that not only involved walking but also catching up with old friends and family.
I have been very lucky to have been hosted by several, old and new, friends as I have made my way down the NW coast (including the IOM). Staying with friends makes a huge difference to my trip, both in terms of admin (e.g. getting washing done) and, more importantly, my emotional well-being. It can get lonely on my own and seeing friends is a huge fillip.
The Wales Coastal Path seems to be well signposted so far. It is 870 miles long so it’s unlikely I’ll get to the end before Christmas.
I woke to another grey day; the theme of N Wales so far. It was only a short hop to Colwyn Bay, where I had arranged to be picked up tomorrow for a family gathering in N Wales. I strolled through Rhyl and across a relatively new pedestrian bridge over the mouth of the River Clwyd. A lot of effort was being made to smarten up the sea front and make it more attractive to tourists.
At Pen-Sarn, just across the Clwyd and sea-side of Abergele, I came across my first static caravan park for a while. There seemed to be hundreds, or even thousands, of caravans all squashed in. The railway line ran through the site and the hills were the backdrop. There was no beach to speak of, just a concrete promenade, some shingle and brown sea.
The coast path was now running directly alongside the A55 and the railway line so the walk was no longer so peaceful. It was also a cycle path and I was passed by lots of cyclists.
The hill to my left was scarred by mining; half cut away and a huge conveyor belt that crossed the road and rail line to end at a pier.
Just on the outskirts of Colwyn Bay I stopped for a coffee at a smart-looking new venue that was both a restaurant and a cafe, and had a grass roof that one could walk over. It was owned by a Welsh celebrity chef: Bryn Williams. I wasn’t very impressed by the service. However, this is Porth Eirias, a new development at the heart of Colwyn Bay’s promenade improvements and efforts to create a sandy beach.
I walked through Colwyn Bay town centre to my B&B and had a leisurely evening. I ate at The Station, a nice little restaurant in the centre of town with several local ales.
I was late getting up after a very late night spent catching up with my family news. It was lovely to see my Aunt and Uncle, and they looked after me very well. They even drove me across the border into Wales so I could start my walk from Flint, thus missing out walking past all the industry and power stations around the River Dee.
The drive along the A55 to get to Flint was lovely; the Autumn colours of the trees was wonderful. We passed Broughton, where the A380 wings are made and then shipped along the Dee by barge to Mostyn before being loaded onto a ship and taken to the South of France.
Flint has a castle that was built by King Edward I after he began his invasion of Wales in 1277.
My walk took me mostly along the banks of the estuary as far as Mostyn and then I headed across the main A55 and walked through a couple of the small towns. The small, terraced housing and cramped villages surrounded by beautiful hills was a marked contrast to England.
Talacre looks like a holiday village with a power station attached and is right on the corner at the mouth of the Dee estuary, opposite Hoylake in Wirral. There are big sand dunes that protect the beach facing the Irish Sea and an old lighthouse that looks abandoned on the beach.
The sky had gone very dark as I walked through the dunes to Prestatyn. Fortunately the cloud passed over me before it rained. Prestatyn was pretty deserted and looked rather soulless and sad.
I carried on past on the promenade and headed for Rhyl, which also looked closed for the winter. The fairground and promenade attractions were all boarded up or fenced off.
It had been a long day and I arrived at my hotel in Rhyl just as the daylight was fading.