Day 7. To Llanelli – Swansea Bay and the Clyne Valley Country Park

My cosy Cobra 2 in the morning

I woke up with the sun shining through the canvas and looking forward to the day’s journey. I would have a chance to have a good look at the Stadium, then a traffic free ride into Swansea to pick up route 4 on the promenade which went for several miles around Swansea Bay before turning off through the Clyne Country Park to follow an old railway line towards Llanelli.

The Liberty Stadium was magnificent and I was shown proudly by an attendant how the front was designed so that one half was taken up by the football  entrance, signs and display, and the other half the Rugby so each set of supporters would have a sense of going into a stadium of their own sport.

The dark, crowded path from last night now seemed like a pleasant, wooded trail and emerging into Swansea by a very busy roundabout was a shock. I think I must have missed an underpass and found myself asking bemused pedestrians the way to the sea. I assumed they were wondering if I was going to float my bike but later, looking at the map, realised that the way was blocked by a marina one way and the Town Hall and dual carriageway the other so I was shown how to go through a car park.

I was interested to see Swansea Bay as there had just been announcements that the government would not support a proposed Swansea tidal barrier; the one in Cardiff had been a great success giving rise to considerable regeneration as well as supplying electricity. The government’s reasons were that the costs were so great that there would be cheaper renewables on-line before it was completed. You could see how long the barrier would have to be at Swansea’s lovely sweeping bay.

Then I took an old railway line heading inland through the Clyne Valley Country Park, and, as it was a lovely day, there were lots of families with children of all ages cycling along the path. Had a surprise a mile or so later when it emerged from the Clyne Valley  Country Park by a disused railway station. There was the old platform and, behind it, the small handsome Railway Inn looking welcoming in the sun. Bought a snack and drink from the pub and, sitting on the edge of the platform, watched the weekend cyclists and walkers arriving and leaving. There were more local real ales on tap than seemed necessary for such a small place but the person behind the bar, pleased at the interest I was showing, described how they had lots of customers coming along in the summer.

The traffic free path eventually emerged by the road going to the main bridge, guarded by a ruined castle over the end of the Estuary of the River Loughor but, before crossing, I was brought to a stop by another picturesque scene. The path ran alongside a large village green en fête. Got off the bike and sat on a seat munching on one of my bars while I listened to the ballad singer, who had connected with his audience, and watched the villagers and children on the amusements and looking around the stalls and generally having a good time. A lady, who then introduced herself as one of the organisers, came over and invited me to try their cake stall.

Passing over the bridge I found myself on a long flat main road into the town of Llanelli and, with the wind behind me, sped along and all was right with the world. The sat nav on the phone worked perfectly and took me to the Travelodge where I could keep my bike in my room. I was contemplating making the next day a rest day as I had wanted to be where the WiFi would be reliable, was comfortable, and could spend all the day planning if necessary. I checked in to the usual friendly Welsh welcome, sorted everything out and went out and bought a new helmet. Then, on recommendation, went round the corner to the Hungry Horse, felt ravenous and had a large plate of chick pea and sweet potato chilli.

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