KEITH BURTON'S MACMILLAN CANCER RESEARCH

SPONSORED WALK 2017

 

Below is Keith Burton's letter describing his Macmillan Walk this year.
He set off on the 6 June and finished on the 21st June.
Each day he reported his progress on this page.  His route details can be seen HERE

Daily Diary of Keith's Walk 2017

Thursday 8 June 2017 -  No signal at Newport.  Left YHA at 8am all dried out but not for long!   An easy start to the old Port of Parog in strong winds and heavy rain.  Paths are well maintained but mostly flooded and very slippery.  Passed many little coves but few photos as wind and driving rain all day.  I took the alternative path missing Dinas Head.  50 mph win on top.  More little coves and many ups and downs.  Arrived Fishguard, near Goowick Harbour at 3pm.  Still recovering from yesterday - necessary to see Local GP as have large sores due to chaffing on inner thighs.  Iodine Pads with waterproof coverings all due to wet clothes and many steps.  Given another £10 from the friend of the walker who gave £20 at Newport YHA.

Friday 9 June 2017 - Not the day I had planned but did not wish to make the thigh wound worse by the 17 miles ahead.  The views from Strumble Head were from under blue skies but haze prevented views of the Wicklow Hills.  Caught shuttle bus to Abercastle and walked to Trefin.  Now into a more gentle landscape, leaving the toughest behind.  There were wild Ponies from Strumble Head to here.  At my lunch stop, one nudged me in the back while another grabbed my rucksack and ran a few yards and dropped it, scattering its contents.  It felt good to smile again.  Arrived at 2.45pm - a lovely day but rain forecast for tomorrow.

Saturday 10 June 2017 - Left Trefin at 8.30am in heavy rain - but only on the coast path where I was walking in winds of at least 50mph, swirling at times and then driving me off the path as it was near the sea, into the old port of Porthgrain.  It was too dangerous to continue.  The local gallery was open and the artist phoned a friend who took me to Whitesand Bay.  I tried St. David's Head, but driven back by the wind.  The Hostel was open so I left my rucksack and caught the shuttle bus to St. David's Cathedral.  I hope for a better day tomorrow.

Sunday 11 June 2017 - Left YHA at 8am but there was no let up with the gale force winds!  There is a 1 mile short cut to Whitesand Bay with many surfers enjoying riding the huge waves.  Then a quite straight forward walk to Solva.  But continuous severe buffeting was quite draining - the wind was from the sea today.  I passed the deserted beach of Port Mawr.  Then rounding Point John the wind must have been 50mph plus - but there were clear views of Ramsey Island.  A good section to the Lifeboat Station and Ferry to Ramsey - but closed and shuttered today.  I was blown over four times along the Sound of Ramsey with a cross wind and hoped rounding Penmaen Mawer would be sheltered.  Blown over again at Port Lysgi and arrived at Porth Clais tired and windswept.  The Cafe owner gave me tea and a lady bought me a cake.  There was at least another four miles to Solva plus steep climbs ahead.  A kind couple gave me £5 plus a lift to St. David's for the Puffin Shuttle to Solva, arriving at 2.45pm.  It just felt unsafe to continue and also there was water in my camera.  PS - A group walking for a local hospice gave me £10 - so far I have been given £65.    (Back home in Penkridge, Mary Kelly wrote to me, the webmaster, sending Keith their best wishes.  They met Keith when he walked the South West Coast Path.  They walked this Pembroke Coast Path last month - May - in much better weather.  I told Keith better weather is on the way and to keep smiling!  He replied "I am so far - through gritted teeth".)

Monday 12 June 2017 - Left Solva at 9am on what seemed the best day so far - but prevailing wind remained.   A gentle climb from harbour to join the cliff path along the Gribbin Ridge.  Across Gwadn Beach passing Penhryn Peninsular when I felt the force of the gale all the way to Dinas Fawr peninsular.  Then sheltered and easy walking on the crest of the cliffs to Porth Mynawyd Beach.  From here to the long and slow descent to Newgale Beach cafe was a lovely tranquil section.  Almost a luxury grass carpet as an avenue of wild flowers with a variety of birdlife.  Now a difficult descent as steps were quite a drop - by the end my knees were very painful.  The sands cafe was good.  Now a 2.5 mile road walk to rejoin the path to Nolton Haven.  My right knee now really hurting but just time to go the last 2 miles on the shuttle bus to the BandB on the sea front of a deserted windswept Broad Haven beach.  The best day so far!  I hope my knee is good to go tomorrow as it is a long day.  A couple at Sands Cafe, Newgale, gave me £5. 
 Webmaster comment: "I have just discovered that Google have just put a Street View map on the net and so you can see all Keith's daily walks on there - absolutely wonderful!"  Click on this LINK

Tuesday 13 June 2017 -  Left Broad Haven with weather dry but overcast.  The beach was blocked by a huge digger and a large working party.  Two interesting bays - dutch gin and brandy bay.  Just looked like sea water!  Path poor and dangerous so caught shuttle at St. Brides Haven to Martins Haven.   Very busy here due to Skomer Ferry.  Iron age settlements on deer park with good all round views of the islands.  Found a baby adder on the path and used my pole to move to safety - mother may be near!   The walking was easy on high cliffs.  Great to ponder as I approached the once iron age settlement of Gateholm Island.  A lovely path overlooking Marloes Sands, but high tide.  On to Red Cliff for a pit stop.  Here were RAF Dale and Fleet Air Arm Stations.  Then on to Hoopes Point and a slow descent to Westdale Bay.  Ahead St. Annes Head but turned left into Dale for a two night stay to give my knees some respite.
A stunning evening at Dale.  Beautiful setting of the port full of yachts against a clear blue sky with not a ripple on the sea.  Oh! what if it had been that from day one!  At Griffin Inn locally caught fish and a couple of pints of Reverend James.  He may have been a methodist but he was a master brewer!

Wednesday 14th June 2017 - Rest Day - Left Dale to return to Westdale Bay to circuit St. Anne's Head.  Steep stepped climb onto Great Castle Head looking back to yesterday's trail.  Path easy but inset giving limited views.  Passed Welshmans and Frenchmans Bays, but high tide revealing little.  More open now approaching the lighthouse with a small inlet called The Vomit.  Another viewpoint to Cobblers Hole where are dramatic folds in the rock structure.  In 1996 Sea Empress spilled 72,000 gallons of crude oil.  Passed a row of Trinity House cottages from 1800.  Then Mill Bay where Henry Tudor landed with 200 men to Bosworth Field.  Both Watwick and Castlebeach Bays have easy access with golden sands.  Joined the road at this point for a steady stroll back to Dale on a very hot day.   5 miles in 3 hours.
Webmaster comment:  "Not exactly a rest day Keith!"

Thursday 15th June 2017 -
A day of the unexpected!  There is a 2.5 mile diversion as high tide across the bay but b&b owner drove me to Mullock Bridge saving much road walking - then I rejoined the path.  A very hot day ahead.  Views limited as hedgtes high.  Passing Monk Haven good views back to Dale.  Passing Watch House Point and bay there was a pleasant breeze.  Paths are good along here.  Onto Great Castle Hdead with fort and radar station.  Little to see from here as tree covered with slippery paths to Sandy Haven.  Guide book states 4 hours around low water but here 2.5 hours - a two hour wait or 4.5 mile detour on the road.  Man came to work on a house and dropped me off at Herbrandstone to rejoin the path.  Scenic views disappear for a while around Milford Haven.

Friday 16th June 2017 - Left Milford Haven dry and overcast in the old part by the marina.  A very kind lady of the Heart of Oak gave me £20.  Not the most scenic of days.  Across the marina then a 4 mile road walk to rejoin the path to Nayland.  Path patchy but low down with little but Pembroke Dock.  There were aerial walkways but vertigo would be scary.  Hazel Beach to Nayland coast road.  Brunel Quay is dedicated to the great man.  15 mile ended here to catch a bus to Pembroke, a town of history with the castle, where Henry Tudor was born in 1457.  Statue erected last week.
Webmaster comment:  "Keith has asked me to thank Mary and David for detailed map on how to navigate the dangerous road over black bridge.

Saturday 17 June 2017 - Left Pembroke at 8.45am with a very hot day ahead.  By road to Quohts Mill to rejoin coastal path.  Another scenic journey as Pembroke Dock on my right.  Much inland to inspire.  Passing Sewage works and then Brownslate Farm to rejoin a road to navigate around a power station.  Passing many pylons to reach Pwllcrothan.  Then around mud flats and an oil refinery before the scene changes to the huge sweep of Angle Bay.  Another long road walk before rejoining the coastal path into Angle.  Many sections of the path were enclosed where horseflies and mozzies were a pain.

Sunday 18 June 2017 - Left Angle at 8.30am on a very hot day ahead.  Passed the Pilot pub where a fire has never been out for over 300 years. Also passe Thorn Island where there is a hotel.  West Angle Bay polluted 76,000 galls of crude oil from Sea Empress.  Then a rocky sectioon to East Pickard Bay - what a lovely sight!  Freshwater West Bay.  Dozens of motor homes camping here.  Toil under the sun on the road to Castlemartin.  Much kindness at the community cafe there.  I received a free pot of tea and an £8 donation and then a short ride to where I rejoined the coast path.  Impressive Stack Rocks with many Gannets.  It was level walking to St. Governs Head and then descending to the Chapel.  Lunch stop here and then a very weary waddle to Botcherston.

Monday 19 June 2017 - Left Botcherston via the lilly ponds to an almost deserted Broad Haven beach.  Then amongst the dunes of Stackpole Warren, passing Church Rock on the broad shoulder of Stackpole Head.  Crossed the lovely Barafundal Bay but deep soft sand was a strain in the heat.  Into a cafe at Stackpole Quay where £3 was given two couples.  Many ups and downs to Freshwater East.  Then through the dunes for the beach length and then a good path but I struggled in the heat.  Another walker, Simon, going the opposite way to me, offered to carry my rucksack a mile from Swanlake Bay to the point of overlooking Manorbier.  I rested for 30 minutes and then a slow descent  into Manorbier

Tuesday 20 June 2017 - Left Manorbier at 8.15am with another very hot day ahead. A steady climb from the beach around Priest's Nose with path on the cliff edge.  Still a challeng but easier than yesterday.  Presipe is a small bay with sheer vertical rocks.  No go to Castle Head - MOD.  An inland walk around the camp.  Skrinkle Haven was an unexpected treasure with three coves.  From here there was a very steep stepped climb, perhaps a stairway to heaven.  Then descended intio Lydstep Haven with a huge holiday park.  Pit stop at cafe.  Walked along the pebbled beach to rejoin coast path passing Proud Giltar view point.  Sadly the Rifle Range was closed (I heard shots) so had to detour to Penally to walk alongside the railway track into Tenby.  I arrived at 2.30pm.  There I met a dear elderly lady who gave me £2.  I found Plantaganet House (now a posh pub) where I had a few drinks!!   (The House of Plantagenet was a royal house which originated from the lands of Anjou in France. The name Plantagenet is used by modern historians to identify four distinct royal houses – the Angevins who were also Counts of Anjou, the main body of the Plantagenets following the loss of Anjou, and the houses of Lancaster and York, the Plantagenets' two cadet branches.  The family held the English Throne from 1154, with the accession of Henry III, until 1485, when Richard III died.  Courtesy of Wikipedia)  So far I have been handed a total of £120 on my walk.  

Wednesday 21 June 2017 - My last day - only 7 miles to go.  Left Tenby at 8.45am on a very hot and sultry morning.  I made my way along North Beach road following the acorn signs to join the cliff path via a steep stepped climb.  This was quite a disappointing section as views were very few and amongst many plantations and quite rough.  Another very high stepped climb with heat increasing.  Suddenly a very steep descent onto a beach to walk across to Saundersfoot.  A pit stop here.  Then joining an old railway trackbed to Wisemans Bridge for another pit stop.  A road walk from here to join the celtic cycleway for around a mile.  Then leave the cycleway to descend steeply through another plantation to emerge at the village of Amroth.  Just at that point a walker from Germany came behind me and we walked together to reach the official end/start of the 186 mile Pembrokeshire Coast Path.  End of the trail at 2.15pm.  Total donated whilst walking the path £125.  


 

PEMBROKESHIRE COAST PATH

Dear Friends,

I will be walking again for Macmillan, but hopefully will not encounter the same conditions as last year's North Downs Way

This will be totally different from my previous North Down Way trail, with many ups and downs along the way, but hopefully not the same humidity, thunder storms and dreadful path conditions that I encountered last year throughout Surrey and Kent.

The official start is St Dogmaels around 2 miles from Cardigan ending at Amroth - 186 miles and 36000 of ascent, with many well known Towns along this coastal path.

There are some long and demanding days ahead especially the first day to Newport with over 4000 ft of ascent and the 17 mile section from Fishguard to Trefin.   Accommodation is limited in quieter areas resulting in a Caravan in the grounds of the Hibernia Inn at Angle and also a scenic stretch amongst the Oil Drums of Milford Haven.

Sandy Haven is a Tidal area - should my timing be out it will be an additional 41/2 miles. Also there is the Bosherston M.O.D. area to navigate, but remains closed at certain times, hopefully an alternative route will not be mined.

I leave the YHA at Poppit Sands on June 6th arriving at Amroth on the 21st

I would again like to thank you for your encouragement over the years and will be posting my daily Blog to the website penkridge.org.uk

Anyone wishing to donate online, go to http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/keithburton

Keith Burton   TEL 01785 714386     27th April 2017