Thursday, 26 January 2012

The Dog Run.

looking towards Porthkerry as the sun returns
With some leave to use up, and with the need to get some longish offroad training runs in, I head off for a coastal run with the dog. We park up at Cold Knap in Barry - the plan is simply to head west for a while and then return!

The start is unpromising as I sit in the car waiting for the hail storm to pass. The dog is far keener to get out! So togged up we set off - there is a smattering of other cars parked up, all with occupants watching the world, but definitely not going to get out and experience it!

Soon though the storm passes........
Aberthaw nature reserve
The coast along this part of South Wales is a stark contrast of nature, industry, leisure and housing. Within a couple of km we're in the Porthkerry caravan park (I believe of Gavin and Stacy fame, and more recently of losing several meters of waterfront views down the cliff face!). Then through fields fringed with new 'luxury' housing that works so badly with the layered cliff landscape I wonder how the planning system works.

Past the most southernly point in Wales at Rhoose, which is the site of an old quarry being reclaimed by nature, landscaped and again fringed by new housing. Some cliff top running and its soon at the Fontygary caravan park, before steep steps down to a little nature trove of Aberthaw. This little nature reserve has many rarities and is characterized by its salt lagoons, pebble beach and bits of salt marsh, but dominated by the Aberthaw powerstation.

The dog enjoying some sun and sandy beach. Fontygary caravan park on the distant cliff top.

Aberthaw power station
When the tide is heading out the beach expanse here is huge and very impressive. We attempt to cross the rocky shore but the going is slippery and slow
Aberthaw sea front as the weather starts to turn.
We keep going as far as Summerhouse point, but the sky is looking grey and squalls can be seen out to sea. Time to head back. The weather soon turns to rain, and by the time we are back at the powerstation heavy hail hits us hard and the dog is not happy... I have to squat over her for a few minutes to shelter her from the worst of the hail - I'm getting soft in my old age!
The dog trying to shelter from the hail!

The 'smoky' shimmer is the hail.....

...with the power station looking even more grey in the squall.

Hail on the beach.

Sea front just east of Fontygary
After Fontygary the weather improves a bit and with the tide still heading out I opt to run on the rocky foreshore. The wave eroded limestone platforms form an  impressive seafront.

Sun blasting through cloud breaks back at Cold Knap
We arrive back at Cold Knap with more hail and rain threatening to blast us once again, but suddenly get treated to the sun breaking through some cloud gaps in the distance. Soon though the clouds close in, and with it more hail........ time for home and some hot tea.
Happy dog on the beach.
A good trip lasting about three hours but only around 15 miles - its always slower with the dog - she wants to do dog things!

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