Wales Woes

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks researching and plotting a route along the Wales Coast Path but I’m beginning to have second thoughts. Finding reasonably priced accommodation has been frustrating. I’ve looked up well over a hundred B&B’s and it would seem that accommodation, on average, is much pricier on the WCP then what I’m used to on long-distance footpaths in England and Scotland.

At first I thought the sticker shock might be the cost of inflation since 2010 but when I checked many of the B&B’s I stayed at on my LEJOG I found the majority had only increased their rates marginally, and in fact a couple had shaved a quid or two off their prices. Of course there are some reasonably priced B&B’s along the WCP, not to mention hostels, bunkhouses and camp sites, however I’m wondering if I’ll get better value for money elsewhere, for example, on the southern section of the SWCP and on Offa’s Dyke Path. What do you think?

I’m also wondering if a month and a half of coastal walking is too much of a good thing. I loved the SWCP but after 11 days I looked forward to a change of scenery.

Wales Coast Path blogs are as thin on the ground as cheap and cheerful B&B’s and so I’ve read very few opinions on the WCP. I suspect both of these will increase in the next few years. In the meantime if you have an opinion I’d love to hear it.

 

Pathfinding

In 2010 I had roughly 100 days in Britain, 72 of which were spent walking from Land’s End to John O’Groats. This time around I’ll have about 125 days and I’m hoping that 110 will be available for walking. A conservative estimate of 15 miles a day would allow me to cover 1650 miles. But where to go?

One of my objectives is to retrace as few steps as possible and another is to leave myself more flexibility then I had on my LEJOG. I don’t plan on creating a day by day itinerary like I did in 2010 but I will have a good idea of which footpaths I’d like to follow. Last time around I enjoyed modifying my route on the fly and so I’m looking forward to more spontaneity.

The Wales Coast Path (870 miles) will be the centrepiece of my walk and I plan to do it in a clockwise direction. I’d like to start with a walk in southern England and at this point the South Downs Way (100 miles) is at the top of my list. From Winchester I would piece together a route to Chepstow (~125 miles). I might head north towards Lechlade so that I can complete the Thames Path, or I may choose to head in a more westerly direction so that I can include a visit to Wells.

Once in Chester I will take a short break so that I can put in place the final piece of the puzzle surrounding my great-grandfather Herbert. I found out after my visit in 2012 that he died in Neston in 1960 but I have yet to locate his final resting place.

At this point I’m looking to end my walk in Edinburgh and I would like to approach it from the coast. I’m thinking of getting myself to the Reiver’s Way and then cobbling together a coastal walk that would pass through Berwick-upon-Tweed, another town I’ve always wanted to visit. The most difficult section to figure out is the one between Chester and the Reiver’s Way. I’ve come up with at least six variations over the past few months however the latest version is easily my favourite. Tell me what you think.

From Chester I would head to Birkenhead, possibly via the Wirral Way and then take the ferry ‘cross the Mersey. I would follow the Sefton Coastal Footpath and cut over to pick up the Ribble Way. I’d branch off at Gisburn and make for Ilkley where I would pick up the Ebor Way which would include a visit to York, my favourite city in England. The Cleveland Way would get me to Roseberry Topping at which point I’d head north to pick up the Teesdale Way and follow it west to Middleton-in-Teesdale. My way-hopping would continue along the Weardale Way and up to Allendale where I would finally link up with the Reiver’s Way.