"Each step forward has a sacred meaning of its own"   Sri Chinmoy

Dylan's Birthday Walk (Run)  - August 2022 - Laugharne

I've found myself hiking and running in the footsteps of poets a few times lately - Wordsworth's paths around Tintern and the Keats Walk at Winchester to name a couple - and staying a few days in Laugharne it was inevitable I'd find myself retracing the steps of Dylan Thomas at some point. The charming town seems to be built on his legacy now, with his boathouse and writing shed the main attractions and everthing named after him from the Dylan Coastal Resort to Dylan's Wine Bar. Out on a morning road-run I spotted signs for Dylan's Birthday Walk and seeing as I was gearing up for a first fell race in a long time, I thought I'd make that my trail-run the next day.

It was a glorious morning that would have inspired any writer with an intuitive connection to nature - maybe that's all writers? I took the winding road down the hill from our Air BnB (tucked away behind the houses by the chapel & opposite the Post Office) to the forbidding ruins of the castle and the calm, expansive foreshore. The sign I'd seen was on the far side of the inlet, past the gulley of the tiny River Corran that snakes its way into the estuary here, so I jogged on the grassy fringe of the closed road to the turning for the trail. Immediately I was off the tarmac and climbing on a mix of hard-packed dirt and wooden steps, out towards the headland. There were gaps in the trees with incredible views over the estuary, bright sunshine starting to pierce the morning cloud and banks of mist handing over the river here and there.

After a steady climb I came to a steppy descent to the wide marshy foreshore around Salt House Farm and here I was running on hard-packed gravel or the grassy ridge in the middle of the drove. Gates and styles took the path around the farm and on to another steady climb that took me through the woods and on to the road. I could have headed back from here but I wanted a decent session and more off-roading so I took the first signed public footpath back on to the hill, climbing steeply on sodden but firm grass - styles at the field boundaries and soon a way into the woods. I explored the hilltop and the slopes for some time, taking dead-end paths that ended in a forest of ferns and back-tracking to the lane which eventually led to a pathway I knew from the day before, back down to my starting point through a deep and dark valley on hard-packed trail alongside a stream.


At every turn the views were magnificent, the foreshore near Salt House in particular felt very ancient - parts of it looking untouched and others still with the appearance they could have had centuries before. The memory that came back to me wasn't of previous runs in Wales, on the coastal paths near Penarth that I used to do before work in Cardiff in the mornings, but of Nngurdoto in Tanzania. Somehow there was the same quality in the air, in the light, in the serene and primordial landscape spread out before me. It was one of those timeless runs that fed my soul and gave my legs and feet a bit of conditioning ahead of Machen Mountain, which I hope to run on bank holiday monday. If life doesn't get in the way....


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