Tuesday 22nd February 2011 I was joined by Gerryn Roderick who works for the local Alzheimer’s support centre in Bridgend. We were dropped off in Newton by Andrew and continued along the coast in dry but cloudy weather, through Porthcawl then along Kenfig Burrows and Margam Sands. The chimneys and industrial works of Port Talbot loomed closer and before long they diverted us inland following a cycle route past the steelworks and housing estates, before returning us back to the beach at Aberavon. Norma collected us and returned us to their home. That evening I chatted with her to find out more about her involvement with Alzheimer’s Society.
Wednesday 23rd February 2011 I had an early morning telephone interview on BBC Radio Solents’s Breakfast Show with Julian Clegg, and then after breakfast Gerryn Roderick dropped me off in Port Talbot. In heavy rain I crossed the River Neath (Afon Nedd) and Crymlyn Burrows (big sand dunes!) into Swansea and around its new marina complex. Continuing round Swansea Bay, the going was flat and easy going. I made it up to the pier and was collected by Val Walker of Alzheimer’s Society local support centre based in Gorseinon. I stayed in Val’s beautiful cottage in Mumbles and spent an enjoyable evening talking about her work with the Charity.
Thursday 24th February 2011 Val dropped me off at the Pier in Mumbles and I set off to enjoy the first day on Gower. Rugged cliffs and inland the occasional view of hills and mountains through the mist and rain. Long beaches, firm sand and a couple of small rivers to cross. Friendly chats and donations. At one of the river crossings, a girl out jogging stopped for a chat and asked me where I was staying. That evening she greeted me at the Oxwich Bay Hotel where she worked. She served me a delicious meal and made a donation. How brilliant is that! I love Gower!
Friday 25th February 2011 Wet. Rain. Mist. That’s the way it stayed all day! I sheltered in a café at Port Eynon for a free cup of coffee followed by an unnecessary scramble out of Port Eynon on a steep section of path at Port Eynon Point. Met a guy who had been having coffee at the Oxwich Bay Hotel. Two greyhounds were with him. His “short dog walk” from Oxwich Bay to Overton and back must have been over 11 miles! I had lunch in the rain but this presented no problem for my Paramo clothing which seems to keep me dry and comfortable even in atrocious conditions like today. Got to “Worm's Head” in the gloom and had thought that there might have been a clear path for me to take out across the foreboding “Devil’s Causeway” when the tide was out There isn’t! Just a mile or so of jagged, slippery rocks. So I stayed on the mainland and thought about the man who had recently died there when he was caught out by the tide whilst trying to get back onto the mainland after exploring the Causeway. I continued round to Rhossili and found a room at “Worm’s Head Hotel”.
Saturday 26th February 2011 Decided to start using more features on my Satmap. Today I walked 12.8 miles. Time moving was 5.50 hours. Average moving speed 2.1 mph! I was late in leaving Rhossili, partly due to the interest in my walk by hotel guests and I finally got going at 10.30 am. I walked north along the west side of Gower in glorious sunshine and for the first time I was actually able to see my beautiful surroundings properly. Some small pine copses, marshland and sandy beaches were the order of the day. Found a pub in Llanmadoc for lunch. As I walked in with a Welsh flag attached to my rucksack, Wales were kicking off against Italy. I got a cheer and we settled down to watch the rugby. After my soup and roll, much to everyone’s amazement, I saddled up and continued walking at half time! Wales won apparently. I continued along muddy paths and in the mid-afternoon met a rambling group who stopped for a chat. One man in particular, Dennis Gilbert, stood out from the crowd. He has walked every National Trail in the British Isles at least once. His passion for walking was matched by his generosity to my cause. Thank you sir for your donation… I finished the day in Llanrhidian at the North Gower Hotel.
Sunday 27th February 2011 Distance walked 21 miles. I was joined by Wendy Leslie of Alzheimer’s Society who was dropped off by her husband Andrew. A talented photographer, Andrew took our picture before we set off. We walked from LLanrhidian round to Lougher where we crossed the River Loughor and officially left Gower. Then we walked round past Llanelli to near Pwll where we met up with Andy for hot chocolate and cake! After saying our goodbyes, I plodded on to Pembrey in the dark under a beautiful night sky complete with a gliding satellite. Picking my way across a golf course I eventually found the Ashburnham Hotel.
Monday 28th February 2011 Distance walked 21 miles. A sunny day with a chilly wind at times. From Pembrey I passed through Kidwelly and onto Ferryside. I stopped off for a chat with the crew of the Ferryside inshore rescue boat who offered me a lift across the River Towy… and across the River Taf as well, tomorrow at 3.00 pm… conditions permitting. Before I could accept their offer of a lift however, I had to walk on up to Carmarthen. “I will be back tomorrow at 3.00 pm” I told them. I had another appointment to keep in the meantime. That evening I staggered into Carmarthen. A phone call from Wendy Lesley brought welcome news that she had managed to find me B&B accommodation at a moment’s notice and that the B&B owner was on her way to pick me up! Furthermore, the owner, Anne Lewis of "Llety'r Haul", was determined not to charge me for the room.