It seems we've had about 50 feet of rain so far this month but there was half a sunny day yesterday which made me smile just a little and today for the first time. Although a ton of water means superb waterfalls and living near Waterfall Country it's bonus time at the falls but I do need my time at the beach for the sake of sanity and to me there is only one beach that cures and clears the mind so I've re-opened this blog with a walk to the Ferry Bend. What is the Ferry Bend I hear you ask. It's the spot where the River Neath meets Aberavon Beach. Traditionally for me the Ferry Bend has always been the end of Aberavon Beach but I suppose technically it's the other side of the river as well where the River Neath meets Jersey Marine Beach although it's not as defined there because Aberavon Beach meets the River Neath at right angles and Jersey Marine Beach is a continuation of the river bank, so I suppose there it's the Ferry Straight. I walked there last week or was it the week before I'm not sure. The last couple of months and in particular November the 5th onwards have been like Groundhog Day to me. Get up, work, go to bed, start again the next day. My one saving grace has been the Thursday night quiz at the Halfway where I've had a chance to put a tie on and dress up and let my hair down, lie in on Friday morning then back to work and Groundhog Day until the next Thursday. Back to the Ferry Bend, I don't know what pulls me to it but I'm drawn there. It's a bit like Neath Canal, I bought a house on the canal many moons ago then discovered that my great grandfather built the cemetery at the end of the street and my dad's family all lived on the canal about a century previous and about half a mile away. Perhaps some of my ancestors were approaching the River Neath and fell overboard there, it would make sense as my great great grandfather was from the Taunton area and I suppose it would be a lot quicker to Neath on a boat from there, I'm glad he got back on the boat. Back to the bend again, there's a new path which wasn't there when I did this stretch of the coastline on my Walk Around Wales leg which as it happens was on my 50th birthday. The path travels down the river past the new council offices and the Intertissue plant, so I took the path to the bend, popped a few photos with the iphone and did a circular around the first part of the beach. Happy days, Dai is back a-blogging.




I had to make a delivery to Bute Town near Rhymney, an interesting little village described by a local as God's pocket, which is the first time I'd heard that expression. God's country is a regular saying that I hear but God's pocket, a new one to me and I like it. After the beach yesterday I needed mountains today so I headed through nearby Trefil and the quarry road which reading the signs later on said I shouldn't have. I parked up near Duffryn Crawnon which was one of Nye Bevan's favourite spots. His ashes are scattered on the mountains near there. I went on a compass bearing from there directly to the Chartists Cave via the large Cairn on Garth Fawr. From the cave onto a circular route through Trefil and back via the tram road. I had the garmin on but won't put the route up here because  I don't want anyone following in my footsteps, I turned at the wrong shake hole and ended up in some good bog. A lot the route was off the path and it was wet, at one point I put my foot in a hole and sunk up to the top of my thigh in water. Luckily my phone was in the pocket on the other side. The last time I walked this area I lost my trusty Nokia 5610i phone and almost lost my car keys too, I heard a tinkle behind me and turned around to see them glinting in the heather, very lucky. Back to the car before I got locked in (the gate to that road closes at 5.00pm), the walk was exactly 6 miles.


35-dyffryn-trawnon-plq-nye-.jpg (260940 bytes)

36-nye-bevan-stone.jpg (138484 bytes) 38-chartist-cave-plaque.jpg (525327 bytes) 37-chartist-cave.jpg (442926 bytes)
Duffryn Crawnon - Nye Bevan Trail plaque Stone with the Nye bevan plaque on and the hill where I lost my Nokio 5610i 8 years previously Chartists cave plaque Chartists cave entrance




A couple of days ago I was put forward by my acting agency for the role of an undertaker in a BBC series being filmed in Horton called the Living and the Dead. I love Horton of course, the village next to Port Eynon with a magic beach and a great pub, the Ship Inn. I was picked for the job but they changed the role to a harvester and sent me the check in details for Horton in Gloucestershire............ aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrgggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhh.

Being the professional that I am I accepted the job and then they changed the location to Berkley Castle, Gloucestershire, about a 5 mile saving but still a 160 mile round trip if I wanted to avoid the Severn Bridge toll on the way home. I was up at 4.30 for a 4.50 start and arrived at the location for the 6.20am check-in. It was into make up for a date with the comb, the costume where my head was too small for a bowler hat, gutted, had a trilby instead, then breakfast time, they love to fatten you up on for filming and into the mini-bus for the drive to the set. At this point I had resigned myself to a day making hay as a harvester and then an assistant director jumped on the bus and asked 'where are the llama handlers'. There were only 3 of us on the bus and we all looked at each other and then the girl who works with costume pointed at two of us and said, those two and my mind did somersaults and shouted as loud as it could.............

yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes 

06.jpg (95121 bytes) 05.jpg (247180 bytes)

.......................  yes I was going to be a llama handler for the day. Magic. What an absolute joy to spend the morning with my new butty Grappa. We were like twins, inseparable, what an absolutely beautiful gorgeous animal with amazing softness on it's coat and such a tender temperament, I'm not allowed to put photos on the web yet until the programme has been shown. It'll be about 8-10 months in production but I'll pop them on here as soon as the programme has been aired. A happy happy day. 

Grappa is from Catangar Farm near Towcester in Northants, if you fancy a day trekking with him and his friends, visit the website first for details.





I helped organise the Glynneath 5 mile road race so took a short walk from my bike to take photos of the early part of the race. The race was won by Kris Jones who used to thrash me big style in my orienteering days followed by Iestyn Harrett who used to thrash me towards the end of my triathlon career and third was Richie Gardiner who thrashed me in my cross country career. Carry on thrashing guys. Click here for more info on the Glynneath 5.



It was full moon on Christmas Day this year but I missed that so at the first opportunity I got out at night and onto the Wales Coastal Path from near the Briton Ferry bridge and headed down towards the Ferry bend. From the path it was a short trek through the dunes onto Aberavon Beach. I took a few photos with the iphone of Swansea, there's not a lot see............. 

............... so I headed off up the beach towards the pier. The tide was almost in so with the lack of sand I headed back to the car following my old route home from school but first as I hadn't long eaten I had to restrain myself from indulging in Franco's fish and chips at their new premesis. 

On this walk, I saw the moon 0 times.


It's still the Christmas holidays and the first chance in ages for a lie so I finished the book I've been reading for the last couple of months 'On Angel Mountain' by Brian John. The storyline of book is set near Newport, Pembrokeshire, an area I know slightly because I holidayed there with my parents for two weeks back in the 1970s. The book is set towards the end of the 18th century and the narrative is the diary of the lead character Martha Morgan. It gives a good look into the social structure of 18th century Wales and an insight into the crude and often corrupt legal statement. It also encompasses the 1797 French invasion of Pembrokeshire. On finishing the book I was excited to find that there were another seven titles in the series. 

21-map-newport.jpg (310702 bytes)

Other titles in this series:

House of Angels, Dark Angel, Rebecca and the Angels, Flying with Angels, Guardian Angel, Sacrifice, Conspiracy of Angels.

To purchase the books direct from the publisher or for more info on the series please click on the link below.


To purchase secondhand on our sister website Rugby Relics please CLICK HERE



Understanding the ORIGIN & EVOLUTION of Sport

Volume 1 - Rugby Union

During this month I continued writing this book therefore my walks and blogs were limited. To view more information about this book or to buy a copy please click on the link to visit the book page our sister website Rugby Relics.








Search the website with Google