Wales Coast Path Run – Llanmorlais to Burry Port
Coast Path Vital Stats
Llanmorlais TO Burry Port
- Distance: 17.37 miles
- Elevation Gain Today: 117m
- Highest Elevation: 27m
- Time: 3:04:29
- Av. Pace: 10:37 mins/mile
- Calories: 1971
Totals to Date
- Total Distance: 816.62 miles
- Total Time: 151:09:12
- Total Elevation Gain: 23116
- Total Calories: 74861
- Distance to go: 276 miles
It was back onto the Coast Path for me on Tuesday. This time running around the Loughor Estuary from Llanmorlais on The Gower to Burry Port. It turned out to be a nice day for it too. The journey to my starting point was relatively uneventful. I first drove the 2 hours to Burry Port where I was to end my run later in the day. There was nothing to report from the drive except for the spotting of a robot lawn-mower on a large lawn at a John Deere depot. We’re quite into our robot mowers at the moment and I hadn’t seen one elsewhere before!
I parked right on the Coast Path at the Burry Port RNLI Station and then walked into town to find the railway station. After a 40 minute wait I boarded the train for a short journey of just two stops to Gowerton. Here I walked through the town to find a bus stop that would take me out onto The Gower.
As usual, the bus stop was populated by the slightly odd folk that seem to frequent buses. I suppose I can’t say much though as I’m obviously one of them myself. I may not have had an encyclopedic knowledge of the local bus network that I insisted on sharing with everyone. Neither was I ‘kind of dancing with my hands only’ whilst muttering to myself. However, I was stood there in skimpy running shorts trying not to shiver in the early morning chill whilst my nether-regions had a slightly warm glow thanks to the lightly mentholated anti-chaff cream I’d spread on them!!! Yep, I guess I’m one of the weird folk.
The bus arrived from the exact direction and at exactly the time the guy with the encylcopaedic knowledge of these things had predicted – precisely 2 minutes and 33 seconds later than the schedule promised! Fair play, even I was impressed with his precision. I jumped on the bus and sat down ready for a short journey to Llanmorlais. I have to say that travelling by bus and train is actually quite pleasant at the moment. Coronavirus precautions mean that you are only allowed to sit on one of each of the pairs of seats. This means that there is no chance of anyone else sitting next to you and you don’t have to share your space with anyone – perfect for me.
I was soon off the bus at exactly the spot I had finished my last Coast Path Run from Llangennith to Llanmorlais.
From the bus stop it was just a short run down Station Road to re-join the Coast Path. It was still a little chilly. The forecast was for sunshine and heavy showers. My rucksack was therefore a little heavier than usual as it had waterproofs in it as well as everything else. The sky was indeed one of dark clouds with patches of blue between them.
As well as spare clothes, food, water, some cash and a few emergency essentials there was also a new iPhone in my rucksack. My trusty iPhone 7 had been replaced by an iPhone 12. This made little difference to my Coast Path running except for the fact that I didn’t have to worry about the battery dying and the fact that I had a better quality camera. Also on the technology front was a new watch. My Fenix 3 had died so I had relied on alternatives on my last Coast Path run. The replacement Garmin Fenix 6X had now arrived so I was using that today. The enhanced mapping features might come in handy and the route I was taking was pre-loaded. I didn’t have to wear a heart rate chest strap either which was nice.
After a few hundred metres of tarmac I soon left the road an headed out onto the flat marshland of Llanrhidian Marsh.
I had thought of wearing my road shoes today rather than trail shoes as it looked to be mainly tarmac but here it was quite muddy as I jumped and weaved between the puddles. The track then went up onto the edge of the marshland and became a rocky trail as it took me out and around the village of Crofty. It soon emerged off the marshland though and did indeed take me onto the pavements through Crofty and then out onto a path alongside the main road.
Along the Southern edge of the Loughor Estuary
The path followed the road for a while and then became a cycle path that followed the route of an old railway. This meant that I was just off the road somewhat and often shaded by trees. A good thing as one of those promised showers had arrived and the trees sheltered me from it.
There wasn’t really much to report from this section of the Coast Path. There was the occasional walker or cyclist but not many. The route was easy to follow and flat and I was making good progress. There wasn’t much in the way of scenery or points of interest though. The Coast Path took me all the way to the outskirts of Gowerton where I had caught the bus earlier. Here it turned left down a little road to the River Lliw where I crossed a small bridge over the shallow river. I then headed under a road and railway bridge and started heading uphill. The path soon took me off the road and continued uphill along a nice little woodland path. It was a little muddy in places along here but a nice change from the tarmac.
At the top of the hill I crossed a road and joined a cycle path that took me alongside the main road and then up into the back streets of Loughor. I could just see the ruins in Loughor Castle atop a little hill as I climbed up onto the bridge across the River Loughor.
The Millennium Coast Path
After descending the steps from the bridge I headed around a little industrial estate and then across a road into a wooded car park which then looped around and up and over a large footbridge across the road and railway line.
This took me down onto paths around the National Wetlands Centre. I couldn’t see anything of the Wetlands Centre from the path but it how now turned into a pleasant day. The threat of showers seemed to have gone. The sun was out, the path edges were lined with wildflowers, the trees alongside were bright with fresh Spring leaves and birdsong filled the air. It was getting a little warmer out of the breeze as well.
The path then took a look around the Millenium Coastal Park. Again there was little of note along here. The path was flat and well surfaced. The only really excitement was when it changed from tarmac to fine gravel. There were some nice lakes with ducks on them at the Machynys Golf Club and there were now a few more people about. It was never busy but people were out walking dogs, strolling in the sunshine, biking along the path or out for some exercise.
I stopped for a while overlooking the mud and sand flats of the Loughor Estuary to have a snack.
It took a while to get going afterwards as I continued on my way following what was now the Millenium Coast Path as well as the Wales Coast Path. There were a few sculptures here and there to mark it. Looking across the estuary I could clearly see the headlands of the Gower that I had run around a few weeks ago. I remembered to use the 2x optical zoom of my iPhone 12’s camera here!
As I came into Llanelli the path was wide, tarmacked once again and well kept. I’d never really been along the seafront in Llanelli before. The tide was out now so huge swathes of sandy beach were exposed. The path scalloped it’s way around the various promontories formed by the sea defences. Tall buildings overlooked them as I jogged by. There were more people around here as well, all enjoying the Spring sunshine. I crossed a couple of bridges as I approached the town and then headed out into a large parkland area where the wide path followed the sweep of the bay.
My legs were getting tired now so there was a little bit of walking involved from time to time. Cyclists were using this stretch of the path not only for transport but also for training now as there were quite a few lycra clad riders on decent bikes going in either direction. The path was plenty wide enough and it was good to see it being well used.
I crossed the railway line once again and descended down onto a path that followed alongside it. Things got a little quieter once I had passed a playground which seemed to be the starting and ending point of most peoples walks. My run still had a little way to go so I continued on. I followed the Coast path signs which took me out along side Tywyn Bach beach protected by a terraced hillside. I could see kite-surfers having fun in the channels of the estuary from here. There were some seating areas either side of the path at one point that had been sculpted out of the ground in such a way as to mirror the terraced hillside like little scale models of the hill they were upon.
I was walking more than running now and with only half a mile to go was unlikely to start running again. I followed the path alongside the dunes and then out onto the slipway at Burry Port. From here I had amazing views out across the estuary to the north shore of the Gower – coastline that I had already run along. I could also look back east up the estuary to see the entire sweep of todays run.
The car was waiting for me just a few hundreded yards away.
At 17.37 miles it wasn’t a massive run, but it felt like it for some reason. Maybe the good quality surface and lack of elevation meant that I had been running more consistently than I would along cliff tops and sand dunes. Maybe I’m just getting old? It did make me re-evaluate my next stage of the Coast Path though. Rather than do a 24 mile run to Carmarthen I think I’ll split that into two shorter runs.
Another nice day on the coast path, more miles ticked off, better weather than expected and only a 2 hour drive home as well.