Saturday, 28 February 2009
Aberporth → CardiganDistance: 12.3 miles
Ascent: 520 metres
Duration: 4 hours 34 minutes
When I first researched this walk it looked to be mainly on roads. Since then development of the Ceredigion Coast Path has allowed walkers to get much closer to the cliffs, but for two reasons today our walk returned to the originally planned route.
A recent landslip was the cause of our first diversion, but without it we'd have missed the derelict farm at Mwnt-mawr. Here, a mile down a green lane, an abandoned farmhouse sits in a courtyard of disused barns and outhouses. The skeletal roof has lost its tiles; joists and chimneys look perilously loose. In a society that seems obsessed with home renovation it seems curious that this property, with its stunning views and isolation, remains overlooked.
After a couple of hundred metres of road we struck out across a new path again - the footpath through Pen-y-Graig farm has closed, replaced by one due north from Llwyn-ysgaw. We rejoined the Ceredigion Coast Path at Traeth Bach and stayed on the cliff-tops all the way to Foel y Mwnt. Here an isolated church sits in the shelter of a small hill which the sea is working hard to turn into an island.
So our connecting walk ended with a significant road walk after all, a mile or two through Y Ferwig and Gwbert before cutting across the fields to Cardigan. Here in the shadow of Cardigan Castle the recently redeveloped Prince Charles Quay incorporates a newly commissioned poem by Ceri Wyn Jones (roll mouse over the poem for the English):
Fel glaw hallt, fel awel glyd, fel hiraeth,
fel y wawr 'ar machlud,
mae ffarwel a dychwelyd
yn yr afon hon ynghyd.
Like salt rain, like a sheltered breeze, like hiraeth,
like sunrise and sunset,
bidding farewell and returning
are joined together in this river.
Words like that make me wonder whether I should've saved this walk for the very end, after completing the circuit of the whole island not just Cardigan Bay.
With just a hundred metres to go we crossed the Teifi and finished at the road to St Dogmaels where I started walking ten years ago. And right there, in an old mill building below a Howies shop we found the perfect place to stop: a snug café with fresh bread, large hunks of cheese and deep bowls of soup.