Wales or Cymru, is technically part of the British Isles, but has a devolved parliament and language all of its own, like Scotland. West of Birmingham, north of Somerset (England), and south of the Isle of Man, Wales has 870 miles (1,400 kms) of corrugated coastline, and across the sea, on the way to Canada, is Ireland.

Cardiff, the capital, is where I used to live a long time ago. I can pronounce the place names, but not speak or understand the language.

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Dog roses in the hedgrows

Twice now I have travelled by Mega Bus to and from London, Victoria. It takes a long time and is full of university students, but cheap. Once I arived by boat on the Rosslare (Ireland) – Fishguard (Wales) ferry and took buses to Cardigan where I was met by a friend. The final trip was walk, bus, train x 3, and bus home to Edinburgh which took 11 hours – it is famously slow to travel across!

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The landscape is simply LUSH!

Green meadows and swathes of grass, golden beaches and perilous cliffs draw me to it.

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Between Aberystwyth and Cardigan lie tiny villages, at least an hour’s hike from the main A487 road. Headland above Llangrannog beach

All the paths are steep and therefore tough on the calf muscles, but the views across fields, towards hills with ancient forts on them, amidst baa-ing and moo-ing of lambs and calves, are rich.

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Callan the collie and the tottering geology of Llangrannog beach

I have visited quite a few times since I stopped living there in 1988, as I am lucky enough to have hospitable friends who have left the south for rural lives in the West.

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Spring 2019, West Wales

I have walked small sections of The Wales Coastal Path (opened in 2012) and plan to return and tramp more of it, however there is no handy series of hostels to be found (as there are along the Spanish caminos) so either a tent or a tidy sum will be necessary.  I have no doubt that it will be worth it – dolphins, seals and their white pups, wild horses and guillemots are all to be found there.

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Seagull over the cliffs

There’s a famous mountain: Snowdon; notorious singers: Tom Jones and Cerys Matthews; world famous choirs: Treorchy Male Voice Choir, and the Centre for Alternative Technology. There’s the LGBT support of the Miners Strike as made famous in the film Pride; and Daffyd, the ‘only gay in the village’ from the TV series Little Britain; the National Eisteddfod music and poetry festival dating back to 1176; and of course Doctor Who.

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Yellow lichen and layers of ages past 

From castles (Pembroke, for example) in the south west; to the valleys north of Newport, once the centre of the coal mining industry in the region; from the Royal home of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (William and Kate) on Anglesey in the north, to the surfing paradise of the Lleyn Peninsula; not to mention Mary Jones and her bible; Wales has some reputation.

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Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rage at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Dylan Thomas

Discover Wales