Well, I am back in the saddle. I journey to some amazing places around the world and I realised some while back that there are some equally amazing places around the UK that I have never visited. It was then that I started a long term project to visit every settlement on the coast of England, Wales and, maybe, because it’s just so long & wiggly, Scotland. I am going to start to share these adventures with you so you can appreciate, with me, some of the wonderful places that lie on our doorstep.
I bought the new year in by kick starting my travels, after a 4 month lay off, with a visit to west Wales. I left a damp, grey misty, nay foggy Oxfordshire and drove west through the gloom, avoiding traffic and more traffic. The further west I travelled saw fewer and fewer vehicles on increasingly windy and smaller and smaller roads, more and more hills and rivers and valleys and trees and fields, and less and less cloud and gloom, replaced by clear blue sky.
I was heading to Llangrannog, a small village on the coast, north of Cardigan. A final narrow lane, ground down by centurIes of wheels from carts and tractors and wagons and lorries add trucks and cars threads its way towards the promise of ocean and sea ahead. Stone-lined banks, disguised as tall grass walls , and hedges tower above the metal track. Like a horse wearing blinkers there is only one way to go. Glimpses of the natural wonders ahead are caught through the bare trees and the occasional farm gates to the side.
Then the panorama is spread before me like a patchwork feast of farmland with sharp line at the furthest edges where a Stanley knife has precisely cut through the block of countryside butter to create the razor – sharp boundary between land and sea. Is the Iron Man with the glowing red eyes going to appear above the line of running fields. To the side, through a gate, lies one of those moments. The coastline meanders away like a huge mouse has gouged its way into a slab of Cheddar. Small, intricate lines of trees and hedgerows, with their fine detail of spreading branches, are silhouetted on the skyline. Behind, the sky with its setting sun merges its lines of blues and clarets and oranges with the purples and browns and greys of the land until the hues on the artist’s palette simply take one’s breathe away. I have arrived.
Llangrannog is a small village of a hundred or so houses. In the past ships, yes ships not just boats, were built here. Now it has a few houses for locals, a lot of quaint rental properties, a coffee shop, two pubs serving food and a small store. The beach is backed by high cliffs with a huge slab of slate dividing it in two at low tide.