Steps, stones …. and stepping stones!!!

Friday 24th June 2022

Day 4 and I was back on the track today, feeling revived after my glorious sunshine beach day. Thank you to my two Guest bloggers for yesterday – it sounded like a good day to miss and it certainly looked it as they wearily trudged across the beach to meet me!

And it was David’s turn to take a day off walking today (blister recovery), but he had lots of interesting activities planned including a practice session with the Beaumaris Brass Band this evening. We missed you David … and you missed an easy one!

So, Steve and I stepped out alone on a cloudy day walking from Newborough to Brynsiencyn. A lot of inland today so no magnificent coastal views but we did have the wonders of Snowdonia in the distance to enjoy, a little marred by the low cloud.

And steps, yes always steps on coastal paths – there were steps rather than stiles today which are quite manageable. The steps cut into slopes however are another matter – thoughtlessly designed to suit only walkers with long and stable legs – both of these attributes I am lacking … so am prone to stumble. And stones – a stony beach section today when first reaching the Menai Straits – boulders, pebbles and shingle are always tough terrain in coastal walking … and just how do those stones make their way into your boots!?

But today’s test of nerves came in the shape of stepping stones – the Rhuddgaer Stepping Stones, described as the ‘Giant’s Stepping Stones’ – enormous stones that straddle the Afon Braint tidal river. We weren’t far into our walk by the time we came across them – Steve was ahead of me as I had stopped to chat with some beautiful horses. He started walking over them and then came back – I thought he was wanting to take some photos of us crossing. But I soon realised he was coming to check on my anxiety and assess my ability to tackle what was ahead. Now, they weren’t your normal stepping stones which just poke out of the water – these genuinely were enormous as stepping stones go, standing about 4 feet out of the rocky lined river below – yikes! My first reaction was to think that my Sir Galahad could hold my hand and guide me over but the misshapen rock surfaces did not allow for this. Gulp!! They were tall with a sizeable gap between each one. Why is it that when I’m required to balance my body is prone to wobble!? So, I just had to put my big girl pants on and make my way over with full concentration. I was so proud when I got to the other side – I felt like I’d completed a trial on ‘I’m a Celebrity!”

After that trauma, the rest of the walk was so pleasurable – no hills, mostly woodland and farm land, cows, sheep, goats and rabbits. Some fabulous properties too – gosh, there must be money in these parts.

When you walk the coastal path, very occasionally the signposted path leads you through someone’s garden – today the sign informed us to enter a gated extremely well manicured garden where an elderly couple were busy gardening near the entrance. So we were able to ask them to confirm that this was indeed the path and they warmly opened the gate to allow us in. The lady actually thanked us for being so polite in asking as recently they had walkers that came through and proceeded to sit in the shade of one of their trees to eat their lunch. We chatted for a while and as we were leaving she mentioned that we would probably find a field of cattle at the back that would be likely to ‘show some interest in us!’ She then went on to mention they were heifers and bullocks and so if we were nervous there was an alternative route by road. I was very interested in this alternative but as you can guess Steve’s response was “we’ll be fine!”

Lucky for him (and me) – the fields were empty of cattle!!

Cloudy views of Snowdonia

Eventually we reached the Menai Straits and from here it was a relaxing walk to our finishing point. We even stopped to eat our sandwiches and enjoy the views. Just short of 7 miles today and low elevation – that’s my kind of coastal walk.

Oh, and Steve lost his hat …. AGAIN!! (See blog ‘The well-travelled hat’ 30/31 March 2018).

This time, it wasn’t his beloved leather cowboy hat but it was his beloved running/walking cap that he has lost and found several times before. Despite running back to search and then driving back for another search after the walk, it was not to be found. So, poor heart-broken Steve – the cap of nine lives is no more!!!

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