Day 08

Tue 29 Sep: Barry Dock to Llanelli, via Porthcawl, Mumbles & Port Eynon

An early start from Barry. With both the wind and early morning sun on my back and the fuel tank topped up with porage, great headway was made along the flat stretch, passing two large airfields (Rhws & St.Athan) and over the gentle rolling hills towards Porthcawl (27m).  Grin on face soon wiped away by high-pitched bleep from Garmin, informing me that it’s battery was critically low. For the first (and hopefully last) time, I’d forgotten to recharge it!  Consequently, today’s mileage details are based on Google Maps figures.

Arrived Porthcawl way ahead of schedule. Decent latte on the sea front. Met by jolly John Abraham, Chairman, Porthcawl ILBS. Thanks John for the fascinating anecdotes, especially about the recent Elvis Convention.

A short (13m) ride to Port Talbot ILBS, still ahead of schedule. Met by Rebecca (Becs) Owen, crew. Thanks B, for the top quality tea & Bourbons. Your infectious, buoyant enthusiasm will keep many a sailor-in-distress afloat. Port Talbot IntHope the medical (cardio-something) assignment went well and good luck with the rest of your studies at Swansea Uni. Thanks also to Paul, another good humoured local young volunteer crewmember who called in to cheer me along.

Another short (15m) flat stretch, up over the ‘old’ Briton Ferry bridge then via Swansea along the very civilised seafront cycle path. Mumbles ALB on pierReached the new Mumbles ALB station, perched majestically on the end of the old pier. An interesting mix of Victorian iron work and modern timber structure. It works well.

A big thank you to Sid Wilkins for the very informative, thorough tour of the recent Tamar all-weather lifeboat.Mumbles Sid2

Having lost some of my earlier progress advantage by lingering for over an hour at each Lifeboat Station, I set off on the first real climb of the day, from Swansea Bay to the top of the Gower. Never underestimate this stunning but lumpy-edged Welsh peninsula. ‘Round about an hour, to cycle round the Gower?’ No way! I challenge even Froomie to do it at the end of a long day, on a well laden bike, when you’re nearly 63.

I’d forgotten that my plan was to visit Horton & Port Eynon ILB station the next morning. When I got there, surprise surprise, no-one there. Oh well, back up the hill …. Apologies Claire (Horton). I look forward to properly planning a return visit soon. Onwards, towards my old home town of Llanelli.  Thanks cousin Wendy & Steve, for the 5-star rescue. As usual at your house, I ate & slept very, very well indeed.

Day 9