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BOB'S DONE HIS BIT - NOW ITS YOUR TURN!

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Friday, 7 August 2015

Trident Trek Sucessfully Completed

Bob (middle) at the end of his epic 870-mile two-month trek around Wales, handing over the trident to our friends in the South-West of England - ready to continue it's journey.
 In an epic 870-mile relay like no other, the Trident Trek reached its end point at Chepstow on 5 August.

A huge thanks to the hundreds of people who took part and particularly for Bob for carrying Neptune's Trident around the entire Welsh Coast, and to George for coming up with the idea of the Trident and creating it for the Trek.

Bob has raised over £1,000 so far - every penny to go to a special project on the Welsh coast to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Neptune Coastline Campaign.  Please show your appreciation for his achievement and help the Welsh coast by making a donation here.

Whilst you decide how much to give, enjoy this slide show - featuring the entire Welsh coast in 2 minutes:





More images and the full Trident Trek story

Friday, 17 July 2015

Watch: Hymns and Arias on the Coast



Thousands of beach-goers showed their love for the coast recently by attending our Big Beach Picnics.  Local teams at four of our most popular coastal places hosted these special events on the 4th of July to celebrate the 50th anniversary of our Coastline Campaign.

At Rhossili, Gower, beachgoers basked in the sun on the headland overlooking one of Britain’s most spectacular beaches as they were entertained by the world-renowned Morriston Orpheus Choir, the Penclawdd Brass Band and other musical performances.  Happy picnickers at Barafundle, Marloes and Llanbedrog beaches were also treated to storytelling, surfing lessons, beach games, fancy dress photography and face painting.

There was no danger of anyone leaving any litter behind.  We teamed up with our friends at Keep Wales Tidy and organised popular two-minute beach cleans.  Event organiser Lowri Roberts said, “Everyone had a great time – and the beach was left cleaner than it was before.”

Enjoy this slideshow of pictures taken during the events or click here


Thursday, 2 July 2015

Tales from the Trek #2

I joined Bob today on his 22nd day walking on the Trident Trek around the Welsh Coast.  The train dropped me off at Barmouth where today's leg started.  I soon met Bob and we got started on the first section - a pilgrimage to the National Trust's first property, Dinas Oleu.
Ready to trek.  Me and Bob ready to start.  NT support vehicle to take Bob's tent to tonight'scampsite.
We soon got to Dinas Oleu, and met Vicky and Simon, a young couple who were on the last day of their holiday.  The were very interested in the Trek and took a photo of us at the NT commemorative plaque.
The plaque recording the founding of the NT at its first property, Dinas Oleu, the Fortress of Light
Simon and Vicky - Supporting the Trident Trek

The path then took us over the Mawddach on the famous railway bridge.  We then passed Fairbourne and started the stiff climb up to the Blue Lake quarry.  On the way we met a group of volunteer walk leaders from South Staffordshire Walking for Health.  They'd come on the train for the day to check  out the route of a walk their were planning.
South Staffs Bilbrook Walking for Health volunteers
The Trident makes a great toasting fork..
Lunch
The path took us to the ancient road that leads from Llynnau Cregennan (NT), passing a number of Bronze Age standing stones on it's lonely course over the mountain.  It was a strange feeling to think that people have been walking along this trackway for at least 3 or 4 thousand years.
One of the standing stones along the lonely route over the mountain. (John Pritchard)
On our way down to Llwyngwril, we met locals Carol and Josie, out for an afternoon stroll.  They looked a bit surprised when they saw us, then admitted that one had just said to the other "you'd be lucky if you see two people walking this way in a day".  They obviously didn't expect to meet a pair of mad men wielding a trident.
Carol and Josie
We eventually reached Llwyngwril and found a little shop which served us coffee and Welsh cakes.  We shook hands and I dashed to catch the train back, leaving Bob to continue with the remaining 520 miles.  Of course, we couldn't leave Llwyngwril, before saying hello to Gwril the giant, who made a pretty good impersonation of Neptune.
Gwril the Giant


Friday, 26 June 2015

The Welsh coast needs your help

Bob, our Trident Trek hero asks for your help....
We asked Bob, our Trident minder to explain why we need your help:

"For over 50 years, people from all over Wales and beyond have been helping us to save and look after special places on Wales’ beautiful coast.

"Did you know that as well as saving special coastal places through ownership, our Coastline Campaign also helps us look after the coast, doing important work such as…
  • protecting places of priceless historic or archaeological interest
  • restoring valuable wildlife habitats
  • mending eroded paths
 …all so that you and your family can get more from your visit to the coast.

"Did you know that it takes an average of £3,000 a year to look after one mile of the Welsh coast?
 

"That’s what it takes for our rangers to look after footpaths, wildlife habitats, heritage features and
provide a great welcome.
 

"You can help our coastal conservation work by making a donation now.  Please visit our JustGiving site and give what you can.

"This is what we are fundraising for through the Trident Trek:

£100 to restore five metres of traditional Pembrokeshire flower-rich bank, or produce 100 education packs for local school children.

£25 to enable us to create a metre of  wildlife trail around the flower-rich dunes and meadows at Freshwater West, Pembrokeshire.

£50 to cover the cost of establishing an apple tree in the community heritage garden at the traditional crog loft cottage at Fron Deg, Llyn  

£2,000 to pay for a bird hide at Cwm Ivy, Gower and £100 to pay for a wildlife-spotting  sheet for visitors to use to identify what they see from the hide.

"I asked three of our Rangers to share examples of improvements being made THIS year, thanks to donations into our Coastline Campaign."
 


Monday, 22 June 2015

Tales from the Trek: Confessions of a Trident Minder



Coastal supremo and Trident Minder, Bob Smith, heading for Caernarfon this morning
I caught up with coastal supremo Bob this morning.  He'd just crossed the Menai Bridge, and was heading for the Community Day at Glan Faenol before heading for Caernarfon.

As we strolled along I picked up a few stories about his first 200 miles, which I'd like to share.

What's the experience that sticks in the mind most over the last couple of weeks?Bob: Losing the Trident...We stopped at the Spar shop in Conwy to buy lunch.  Half an hour later when we stopped for our picnic we realised it was missing and had to run back.  We were mightily relieved to find that it was where we left it, leaning against the wall.

What's the most bizarre moment?

Bob: without doubt, it's where my fellow volunteer George suddenly grabbed the trident and headed out to sea at Trearddur Bay on Anglesey to do a passable impression of Neptune.
Neptune rising from the waves. Brrr!

What was the most shocking incident?

Bob: I was walking along a street in Prestatyn when a woman drinking cider took one look at my trident and shouted "Fork Off!", or at least that what I think she said.




Friday, 19 June 2015

Day 13: The Last Mile. Penarth Marina to the Senedd.

This is the final blog post of a 13 day voyage on-board the yacht Capercaillie, made to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Neptune Coastline Campaign in Wales.  

To follow our adventures as we visited the Trust's Neptune coast in Wales, go to our first blog post and follow the links through the days.
Capercaillie is dwarfed amongst the playthings of the conspicuously wealthy, at Penarth Marina
Last night’s late arrival caused us to put off the final step of our round-Wales coastal marathon, the short trip across the Cardiff Bay lagoon to the pontoons in front of our government building, the Senedd.  

We set off through the Penarth Marina lock and soon the familiar landmarks of Cardiff’s political and cosmopolitan tourist centre moved into view: the copper carapace of the Millennium Centre, the red brick Pierhead Building, the white painted Norwegian Church and, of course, the Senedd.  

“I think we may have a problem.” John was scanning the quays with his binoculars on our approach.

It turned out that the visitors’ pontoons had been taken over by performance racing catamarans and official race vessels.  We found a space and cheekily squeezed in amongst a few hundred thousand pounds worth of carbon fibre super-yacht.  Predictably, we were immediately approached by a man in a dayglow jacket and walkie-talkie who pointed to an official-looking notice and stated that the whole area was cordoned off for the duration of the racing event. 

But we had an event to complete too, I argued, and a brief stand-off ensued.  This was a public pier and we’d also been planning our event for over six months, I argued.  Nevertheless, a contest between two slightly disheveled tee-shirted blokes with a 30 year old yacht and a uniform-clad security officer backed by a multimillion-pound sponsored yachting event, there could only be one winner.
We moored cheekily amongst the super yachts before being moved on by security

With our inscrutable adversary watching impatiently over us, John and I cut one of the Sails Around Wales banners off, threw my bags onto the quay and gave each other a manly farewell hug.  I thrust the rolled-up banner under my arm, turned to the officer, who seemed to be at the point of calling for reinforcements, and I asked him to evict me from the pontoons.

On the Senedd steps, Tom, a friendly young man who explained that he’d just completed a survival training course and was heading for a big breakfast, agreed to photograph me holding the banner. Feeling slightly disappointed that John was not able to join me for this last step of our journey around Wales, I smiled for the camera as, over Tom’s shoulder, I spotted Capercaille and its skipper, heading off to prepare for their return journey.  

I thanked Tom, picked up my bags and headed off to find a taxi back to life on terra-firma.

Journey's end.  Sails Around Wales reaches the Senedd
Go to Day 1 to follow the whole voyage

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Day 12: A 'rather boisterous' journey: Swansea to Cardiff


Swansea marina - arrow marks Capercaille
For today's last leg of our epic tour of the Welsh coast, there was just John and I on-board Capercaillie.  Like the only other section when we didn't have any colleagues on-board, south Meirionnydd, this section of coast is unjustly devoid of National Trust properties.

Before sailing, we met yesterday's passenger, Kathryn with the long-awaited stop solenoid outside the National Waterfront Museum.  She handed over a bag with four bottles of Gower Gold beer and said, "because you didn't get to see Gower yesterday, I thought you should taste it instead"

Nevertheless, after about an hour into the sail we got great views of the south Gower coast, including Pwlldu Head and Three Cliffs Bay.  We sailed out far into the Bristol Channel to miss the Scarweather and Nash sand banks, which stood out as an menacing line of angry boiling surf to our north-east.
With the wind increasing to Force 6, we clicked in our harnesses as the boat yawed and rode the waves at a cracking pace.  At one point, as the wind was whistling in the rigging, John decided that we'd be safer with the genoa sail out and the mainsail taken down and sent me to walk along the pitching deck to furl the sail.  A couple of times when a big swell caught us, I had to hug the mast at to stop being thrown off.

The exhilarating sail continued in a similar fashion for another 7 hours, past Porthcawl, Nash Point, Barry Island, Penarth and eventually the barrage lock gates at Cardiff.

And so it was that 12 days and 402 miles since leaving Bangor, and having enjoyed the company of 10 adventurous colleagues and having sailed past all 133 National Trust properties in Wales, that John and I celebrated the completion of our circumnavigation with a satisfying "taste of Gower".

Entering the lock gates into the Cardiff Bay lagoon
One valedictory gesture remains, that is to sail across Cardiff bay to the Senedd.  But that will have to wait until tomorrow morning.

Go to Day 13