THE city of Chester is a lovely place to amble about in on a crisp January morning, whilst stuffing one’s face with delicious but unhealthy goodies bought from an old-fashioned sweet shop. Trust me, I speak from experience (the actual speech may be muffled on account of the mouthful of sweets).
MY MOST recent walk was neither particularly long nor particularly coastal, involving as it did an amble alongside the River Dee as far as Chester, which is not on the coast. But what Chester lacks in coast it makes up for in being absolutely lovely and that was justification enough.
IT IS early December as I write this and winter is closing in. It is already much darker and colder than when I last walked and that was but a few weeks ago in mid-November. And autumn was already skulking home, wrapped in a coat and muttering, even then.
AS I start to write this, the sun is blazing in a blue sky and we are experiencing an unseasonably warm beginning to November, with the promise of an exceptionally cold spell to follow. I should therefore have made the most of the good weather and gone walking but — thanks to my prioritising socialising over organising — that has failed to happen. Today’s walk-related endeavour will therefore be limited to documenting my last perambulation.
I HAD a plan that, while not exactly cunning, had at least had some cunning described to it once. The plan was this: stay overnight in Llandudno, catch the train back to Llanfairfechan and then walk back to my hotel, where all the heavier things from my bag would be waiting for me. It was a good plan. I liked my plan. But it had one tiny little flaw.
WHEN I awoke in Beaumaris, I found that the glorious sunshine that had accompanied the previous two days had quite vanished; the skies were grey and clouded and the weather forecast confirmed that rain would arrive sometime around mid afternoon. This called for drastic action, if unpacking my waterproof jacket from the bottom of my bag can be called ‘drastic’, which it probably can’t.
It could rain if it liked, I was going to walk anyway.
MONDAY mornings are not renowned for their better qualities and are sadly often only appreciated in contrast to something worse. Monday last week (as I write this) was a glorious exception, beginning with the awareness that I’d taken the day off and that a full English Welsh breakfast awaited. Also it was sunny, I had slept well and I was ready to walk…
To be honest, I think that Monday was more than a little confused. I know I was.
TO RESUME my perambulation around the coast of Anglesey, I took advantage of a lull at work and travelled back to Amlwch on a Friday afternoon, staying overnight in nearby Bull Bay. This meant that I was up and out early on Saturday morning, returning to Amlwch just in time to realise that I’d left my sunscreen in London. The weather forecast was approximately ‘Gas Mark Five’.
I AWOKE bright and early in my hotel in Cemaes to find that the promised ‘glorious sunshine’ was indeed glorious. Later, when I was on the cliff tops, I would find that it was accompanied by a howling gale of a wind, but one that was suitably sun-warmed so that it felt as though walking under the blast of an enormous hairdryer. This is not the weather usually associated with North Wales (I’d had some of that the day before).
This was to be a short walk, just far enough to get me to Amlwch, from which I could catch a bus that would begin my journey home.
WHILE I may have avoided walking in August, on account of hot weather and everywhere being booked solid, September is an entirely different prospect. And this is good because if August is optional then the start of September is almost compulsory for walking: I started my coastal perambulations on the third of September 2010, which means that as September rolled around again I was into my fifth year of walking.