Wales Coast Path Run – Ferryside to Llansteffan
Coast Path Vital Stats
Ferryside to Llansteffan
- Distance: 17.88miles
- Elevation Gain Today: 671m
- Highest Elevation: 106m
- Time: 3:29:41
- Av. Pace: 11:44 mins/mile
- Calories: 1981
Totals to Date
- Total Distance: 850.84 miles
- Total Time: 157:58:06
- Total Elevation Gain: 24095
- Total Calories: 78525
- Distance to go: 232 miles
Tuesday brought more Wales Coast Path capers for me. Although, this time the route wasn’t particularly coastal. Instead it headed inland on a detour around the River Towy. This took me up one side of the river, through the town of Carmarthen where I was able to cross the river, and then back down the other side. Around 18 miles in total, only to end up about 1/2 a mile from where I started! There wasn’t much sea in sight and only some estuary. Otherwise it was mainly rural countryside and woodland with plenty of hills and plenty of mud.
As usual, I made an early start as usual. I was up at 4:00am and then left the house just after 5:00am for a quiet drive to Llansteffan. I parked up on the beach, wandered along the seafront to use the toilets and take a photo of the castle on the hill.
I then wandered into town to wait at the bus stop. The bus was a little busier than buses in recent weeks but there was still only about 4-5 of us on it at any one time. I jumped off in Carmarthen and crossed the river on a footbridge to the railway station,. The train wasn’t due to leave for about 40 minutes but it was already waiting at the station so I jumped on and sat down. It departed on time and 10 minutes later at 9:10am I jumped off at the first stop, Ferryside. Looking out across the water I could see my car on the other side! I now had the small task of an 18 mile run to get to it.
Ferryside to Carmarthen
I headed straight off. The sun was shining but there were plenty of clouds in the sky. Temperatures were cool at around 8ºC and there was a fairly stiff, cooling breeze. The Coast Path took me along the roads of Ferryside and then out onto a track that ran alongside the railway line. As I climbed the hill I had some glimpses of the river below me but I spent most of my time sandwiched between high hedges.
The path meandered it’s way through the countryside, passing dairy farms, following hedge lined roads and crossing muddy fields. Cows lay in the fields and barely acknowledged my passing. The going was tough through the fields thanks to a combination of thick, heavy, sticky mud, hoof-pocked surfaces and long wet grass. I did loose the trail at one point and had a bit of a looped detour which took me up and down through a couple of particularly wet fields that turned out to be completely unnecessary. I found the signs once again and now dropped into a wooded ravine where I crossed a stream and headed back up the other side.
This was pretty much the state of play for the next few miles. Muddy fields, long grass and some woodland. The occasional stream crossing and some country lanes. I even went through a narrow gap in a hedge that took me into someones garden.
I passed a couple of large houses and Towy Castle and then emerged out onto roads that took me through Croesyceiliog. So far the route had undulated up and down various hills but now I headed downhill for a while along a road towards Carmarthen.
I soon entered the town of Carmarthen and negotiated its main road and roundabouts. I was taken through a subway at one point.
Strangely, I was only undercover for about 20 seconds but when I came out the other side it was raining. I stopped to put on my jacket and continued through the grey streets of Carmarthen. The footbridge I had crossed earlier ion the day was soon crossed again. This time crossing the River Towy in the opposite direction.
I then continued alongside the river itself for a while as I was taken back out of Carmarthen past meadows of buttercups and an interesting railway bridge.
The Railway bridge over the Towy was built in 1908-1911 replacing an earlier opening timber bridge by Brunel of 1852-3. The replacement was built as a rolling bascule bridge by the Great Western Railway. The opening mechanism has been derelict for many years.
The rain was quite heavy at times but I had some cover from some woodland for a while as I ran around the leisure centre and then out around the playing fields.
Carmarthen to Llansteffan
Next came a field of soaking wet, waist high grass. My feet were soaked through already, but now my shorts were too. This emerged out onto the road where thankfully the rain did start to ease. I followed the road for a while and then was taken through the muddy, slippery slopes of Green Castle Woods, first on one side of the road then then the other. By the time I left the woods the rain had stopped so my jacket came off once again as I made my way along yet more country lanes.
I passed a church and then finally descended back to the main road again.
The path followed the road for a short distance before taking me back off-road and up over another hill. I met a girl walking the Coast path here so walked briefly with her to have a chat before continuing on at my slightly faster jogging pace. More fields, more muddy tracks and another tarmac climb. I was making good progress though and still running rather than walking whenever the terrain allowed.
There wasn’t far to go now. Just some soggy field-side footpaths. It did start pouring with rain again so I sheltered behind a large hedge as I re-donned my jacket and then continued on my way. I was soon dropping down through a green lane into the village of Llansteffan. I ran through the village to the car. The tide was now out and I could see back across to Ferryside.
The journey home was an easy one, with the obligatory stop for a burger. I was bothered by the sign in the car park though.
Surely a full stop would be preferable to the word ‘and’. It doesn’t make sense using an ‘and’ as that makes it sounds as though they don’t want you to use the bins as well as not littering! Yes, I’m easily bothered by such things.
The next stage of the path could be equally as rural as I have yet another river to circumnavigate.