Post image for Wales Coast Path: Flint to the end

Wales Coast Path: Flint to the end

December 13, 2015 · 27 comments

Date walked: 17th August 2015

Distance: about 12 miles

Maps used: OS Explorer 265 – Clwydian Range (for 10 minutes), then OS Explorer 266- Wirral and Chester

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After three and a bit years my last day of walking the coast path had arrived. As I am writing this up three months later I am feeling a little nostalgic about it (question: is nostalgia a feeling?). On the day I seem to remember mostly looking forward to a luxurious pampering at the Chester Grosvenor Hotel and to seeing Anne.

I celebrated by having breakfast in bed, thus avoiding my undoubted annoyance at taking breakfast downstairs in the bar where I was quite certain some horrid musak would have annoyed me.

From The Ship Hotel I crossed the footbridge over the railway line and had a brief walk through Flint’s suburbs. The Flintshire Countryside Service leaflet about the path describes Flint as having a “refreshing seaside feel”; in my view it was about as refreshing as the Blackwall Tunnel.

I picked up the path again at Flint Castle,  the last of 10 (I think) which I had passed in this 870 (ish) mile hike.

Flint Castle, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Part of King Edward I’s “Iron Ring”

 Those good-humoured Countryside people have installed a cheery greeting to the path users, here.

Coast Path at Flint, photographed by Charles Hawes

Roughly translated: “Beware of dive-bombing terns near the castle”

Over on the marshes, a flock of Canadian Geese seemed to find my presence, disconcerting, moving away as I paused for a pic.

Canadian Geese on the Flint Marshes, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes.

This might be your last sheep-shot of the walk, too.

This marsh-side section was very brief, the path route then crossing back over the railway line…

Railway line at Flint, photographed from the Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Clever of me to get a train in the pic, don’t you think?

…. to provide a mile and a half’s trek alongside the A 548 and a chance to admire the SCA Okenholt paper mill.

SCA Okenholt, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

“Care of Life” it says- they make toilet tissue

Up ahead, my last power station of the walk (OK, can we have a bit less of this last xxxxx stuff, it could get very tedious – Ed) – the 4-chimneyed Connah’s Quay gas fired station.

Connah's Quay power station, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Now children, how many power stations have I walked by?

Fabulous! I can’t decide which is my best pic of it.

 

Connah's Quay power station, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

This one?

Connah's Quay power station, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Or this?

There was a little park beside the road, so I popped in for a last, lingering pic of the power station…

Connah's Quay power station, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

This puts it in its context

…before turning my attention ahead to to the very grand Flintshire Bridge.

The Flintshire Bridge, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Inspired by pylons?

It is the largest asymmetric cable-stayed bridge in the whole of Britain – fancy that!

The Flintshire Bridge, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Worth another pic, then.

Next up, was The Rock, although I did not see it.

Sign for The Rock at Connah's Quay, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Maybe I was standing on it?

The path passes through  the back streets of an industrial estate where the gate-posts of a burnt -out house little house sported the ubiquitous Welsh dragon.

Burnt out house near Connah's Quay, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

That satellite dish hardly seemed touched by the blaze!

The Old Quay house, may have had an interesting interior but when was the last time I stopped for a lunchtime drink?

The Old Quay House, Connah's Quay, photographed from Thje Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

I wonder if it’s changed hands since the landlord attacked someone outside a nearby kebab joint?

Another little gem in this back street stage was a wonderful garage door mural.

Mural of power station at Connah's Quay, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Perhaps pre-dating the existing power station?

Then I was back overlooking the mud of the Dee, and on the other side of the river the Shotton Steel Works brought back memories of my geography A level (but not very clear ones).

Shotton Steel Works, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Must have been the biggest or summut.

I have passed a lot of fascinating rocks in the last three years, but I can’t remember seeing one so stuffed with fossils as a lump by the path that seemed unceremoniously discarded there.

Fossil packed rock by the Dee, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

I picked at it a bit but it was too hard to dig anything out

This predominately industrial scenery was endlessly interesting; a small plantation of what I took to be venting pipes, presenting me with another novel view.

Venting pipe near Connah's Quay, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Perhaps built on top of some noxious waste?

Ahead, the 126 year old Hawarden Bridge carries the railway over the Dee…..

Hawarden Bridge, photgraphed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

They don’t make them like that anymore.

…. and me, too.

Hawarden Bridge, photgraphed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Strictly speaking I believe I was supposed to cross at the next bridge

Pause for a pic of the river.

The River Dee, photographed from the Hawarden Bridge by Charles Hawes

I think I can safely say that I will not get lost today

Feeling ever so slightly deviant at my premature crossing of the river I was faced with the path being fenced off. A couple of cyclists turned up and were most disgruntled at their path being blocked. Never one to go back unless forced to do so, I climbed down the bank and back onto the path with minimal effort.

Cycle Path by the Dee at Garden City, photographed by Charles Hawes

I’ve always had a bit of a problem with authority

The trouble is, when I do what I am not supposed to do, I generally feel doubly rewarded. Firstly with that warm glow of simply doing wrong. Secondly, by seeing or experiencing something that I shouldn’t have. Here, my reward was a very good view of the 100 plus year old General Office of the Shotton Steel Works. 

The General Office of the Shotton Steel Works, photographed by Charles Hawes

Isn’t it great!

I do hope that this wonderful building gets a new life.

The General Office of the Shotton Steel Works, photographed by Charles Hawes

Commissioned by John Summers and Sons as the company was known before nationalisation

The General Office of the Shotton Steel Works, photographed by Charles Hawes

Throughout this walk I have usually shown you what lies ahead, but often the views looking back can be very rewarding and there was another fine view of the Hawarden Bridge to be had by doing so.

The Hawarden Bridge over the River Dee, photographed by Charles Hawes

Throughout the Path there has been evidence that the coast has always been vulnerable to invasion, and on the far side of the river a concrete Pillbox was a final reminder of this.

Pill Box on the Dee in Flintshire, photographed by Charles Hawes

Ahead,  the turquoise  Jubilee Bridge, (also known as the blue bridge) was the one I was supposed to have crossed.

Jubilee Bridge over the River Dee, Flintshire, photographed by Charles Hawes

It is is a double leaf rolling bascule bridge

Tower Bridge is another example of a bascule Bridge but this one doesn’t swing any more.

The Jibilee Bridge, River Dee, Flintshire, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

I thought you might like to see it’s bottom

I had about three miles to go; and as with the vast majority of the time on the Coast Path, I mostly had the place to myself.

Wales Coast Path by the River Dee near Queensferry, Flintshire, photographed by Charles Hawes

On my side of the river the landscape was arable fields but on the other bank were occasional industrial units.

Industrial unit on the River Dee near Chester, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

I rather liked my fantasy that the white one had fallen over

But the most significant by far was the Airbus site. It is located in the grounds of Hawarden Airport and produces the wings for the largest passenger jet in the world, the A380.

Airbus factory on the River Dee, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Ian (see Llanfairfechan to Conwy) had told me to expect to see it.

The plane itself is built in France. The wings are too big to be flown there so they are moved by road to their own ferry on the river ….

Ferry terminal for Airbus wings on the River Dee, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

If you squint at the screen you might make out a wing sitting in a field.

….and taken by barge up to Mostyn Dock before being shipped by sea to Toulouse.  As I was contemplating this large scale international Meccano, I saw a very large plane fly over the airport. I assumed it must be an Airbus. A few minutes later a roar over to my left commanded me to look skywards. The same massive plane passed low overhead…

Airbus Beluga, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Very exciting!

… and then landed; I had time and composure to manage just two pictures.

Airbus Beluga, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Ian later identified this for me as a Beluga, or modified Airbus A300 and used to transport plane parts. Wikipedia says that there are 0nly 5 of these.

A further on was Higher Ferry House – the last (or first if you go the wrong way) on the path; it had pretty windows and beautiful bricks.

Higher Ferry House, Flintshire, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Next to it, was the footbridge that made the ferry redundant.

Saltney Footbridge over the River Dee, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

Not so beautiful

Over this last few miles I had been tweeting my progress, my faithful follower, John, tweeting me back that he was ready with his congratulations. I did not expect to be met by anyone; Anne was driving up later and no one else had dropped any hints that there might be a welcome party. Nevertheless I did feel a smidgen of disappointment that when I could see the rather insignificant lump of stone that marks the end of the path, there was no one else there. Hiding perhaps? No.

But, greeted or not, pictures had to be taken, so here are a couple of  selfies.

Charles Hawes at the end of the Wales Coast Path

This was the best of a bad job; will someone give me cosmetic surgery for my double chin for Christmas?

Charles Hawes at the end of the Wales Coast Path

This one is for John

I did feel a little odd, hanging around there, half expecting still that something might happen.

Walking the Path had been quite a big part of my life in the last three years. 870 (give or take) miles is a long way to have walked by anyone’s standards and I could probably double the time that I had spent in the actual walking in  the travelling to and fro and in the organising of the trip. And for every one of the day’s walks, so about a day and half has been spent processing the pictures and writing a post here.  So, I feel slightly odd knowing that this is also my last post from the walk.

To say that I have enjoyed it would be inadequate. I don’t feel able to make some concise or neat summary about what it has been like; I hope that I have provided at least a faithful account of my journey here. I hope,too, that I have provided pleasure and entertainment to those of you who have regularly read the posts and I thank you all for your comments and contributions.

Thanks, too, to Neil, Paul, Philip and Ian who walked with me at various times and who all tolerated with good humour my inevitable waywardness. And to Anne, who encouraged me always and who came with me on  several holidays to places that she probably wouldn’t have chosen to go to.

A few days after I finished, I got this very touching card from John. Nice.

card

card inside

 

 

{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Neil December 13, 2015 at 7:46 am

Congratulations (again) Charles 🙂 a very fine achievement !!!

Lots of pleasure had here in South Wales reading your (mostly) weekly accounts. Sometimes pleasure gained from reading accounts of your less enjoyable wet and caravan strewn days, safely from the warmth of our bed. But mostly gained from reading your accounts of those glorious moments, sometimes days, when the sky was bright, the sea sparkled, and the coast fascinated.

So thank you for the entertainment, and sometimes sheer delight, of reading your tales and looking at your thoroughly fascinating pictures. A blog to be proud of 🙂

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Charles December 14, 2015 at 6:33 pm

Thank you Neil. Its been really nice to know that the two of you have been following and enjoying the walk.
xx

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David Marsden December 13, 2015 at 8:01 am

Yay! Congratulations, Charles. That is quite an achievement and you certainly deserved a brass band, bunting and a chanting crowd at the finish (or, had I known, me waving a little flag to a comb and tissue paper accompaniment). Great final post – planes, trains and automobiles … and, er power stations. Next! Dave p.s. I quite like the footbridge actually!

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Charles December 14, 2015 at 6:35 pm

Thanks Dave. I should have given you notice; I’ll hope to be serenaded by your comb and tissue repertoire another time. Yes, the footbridge is quite elegant, really. Now we really must meet up for a walk in 2016.

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Anne Wareham December 13, 2015 at 10:03 am

HURRAY!
I should have come to meet you at the end instead of in Chester. And then we could have navigated nightmare Chester together too! XXxx

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Charles December 14, 2015 at 6:36 pm

You had enough problem finding the hotel. Finding me in the middle of Chester outskirts would have been worse. xxx

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John December 13, 2015 at 11:08 am

Well, it has taken you nearly 2.5 years (you started this blog on 17 July 2012 and only kept us waiting 24 hours till your second post) to get us to the starting point so we look forward to joining you on the walk to the finish.

So, in a tribute to the past:

* “presence [comma?] disconcerting”
* “next up [comma?] was The Rock”
* “burnt -out house little house”
* “The Old Quay house [comma?] may”

Anne can take care of the other half 🙂

So congratulations and thanks. Don’t forget you also got certified! Oh, and thanks for reminding me about the old web site which I’d forgotten to delete. A quick bit of DNS pampering has put that right. Off to stick the label on my watering can now.

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Charles December 14, 2015 at 6:38 pm

Haha . I have no idea what the first half of this is about, but thanks, once again, for your many and touching congratulations.

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James Golden December 13, 2015 at 3:31 pm

Charles, congratulations! I enjoyed the quirky narrative, the humor, the refusal to be stopped by barriers and blockages. The life of the thing is you and your (almost) endless, good humored voice going on and on and on like a Beckett character.

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Charles December 14, 2015 at 6:40 pm

Thanks James. I like quirky. Not so sure about me going on and on like a Beckett character! But to be in the same sentence as Beckett is pretty good.

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Paul Steer December 13, 2015 at 3:36 pm

Crinoids ! The fossils you were trying to hack out of limestone that is. Why not publish this in book format – you can self publish and sell to your blog followers – we can all then own copies of your wit and photos to return to when we need cheering up !

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John December 13, 2015 at 8:15 pm

Do crinoids look like little corrugated plastic tubes? But did you spot the little dinosaur skeleton? I support the book idea, though you may have noticed that the textual content has reduced as himself has moved further north. He may need to learn a bit from herself. Maybe add a squirrel or two. But like all great literary geniuses Charles needs to be given peace to write his opus. We could crowd-fund the purchase of a caravan!

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Paul Steer December 13, 2015 at 10:32 pm

Love the idea of a crowdfunded caravan! Yes crinoids do look like plastic corrugated tubing – and the name sounds like a Dr Who monster or a part of the anatomy of the throat.

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Charles December 14, 2015 at 6:46 pm

Yes, they do! Google images has several exactly like the ones in this rock. I just don’t recall seeing them before. I don’t need any more animal pics for the book. As it happens I am working on a possible office at large!

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Charles December 14, 2015 at 6:42 pm

You are right! And have deeply impressed me. Crinoids they most certainly are. Yes, a book is what I would like to do with the material, but my vanity means that I will be seeking someone to publish the book for me! A project to pursue on these wet winter days.

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Patricia Richards-Skensved December 13, 2015 at 7:51 pm

Congratulations Charles! I’m held up in Cornwall at the moment with a frozen shoulder but as soon as I thaw out I’ll be on the road again.

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Charles December 14, 2015 at 6:43 pm

Thanks Patricia. Hope the shoulder improves soonest!

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Kev - The Yank December 14, 2015 at 2:34 pm

What a wonderful entry chronicling the last segment of your journey! Sorry we were late getting to there for the End of Walk Party! 🙂 3 things – First: I am already sending the link to various friends for them to read. B) Grace and I are so honored to have been welcomed into your (and Anne’s) lives and home, both via websites and in person. Lastly… as always… GREAT PICS!

Merry Christmas from the Colonies….

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Charles December 14, 2015 at 6:48 pm

Kevin, it was great to find you two along the way. And many thanks for the promotion over your side of the pond. I shall hope to see a massive spike in visitor numbers. Best of Christmas wishes to you and Grace.

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Colin Russell December 15, 2015 at 8:31 pm

“Most enjoyable!” Thank you.

(What comes next?)

Colin

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Charles December 20, 2015 at 12:43 pm

You are welcome. Coming up a piece about layers, three walks from Italy, and a tribute piece to my Uncle, Nigel Buxton, who was a travel writer and who died recently.

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Charles December 20, 2015 at 12:43 pm

You are welcome. Coming up a piece about layers, three walks from Italy, and a tribute piece to my Uncle, Nigel Buxton, who was a travel writer and who died recently.

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rob grover December 23, 2015 at 9:29 am

You know the feeling when you’ve just finished a book that you have relished reading at every opportunity, or come to the end of a favourite TV series ( no not Downton). It’s called (WCP) blog loss.
It’s been great fun, being impressed, entertained, amazed and amused.
Congratulations on finishing, Happy Christmas and keep b….. blogging on

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Charles December 23, 2015 at 5:03 pm

Thanks Rob. That’a a really nice message! And its been great of you to have contributed so much, too, thanks. I will keep on blogging, of course, but I can’t see there being another saga like to WCP. Happy Christmas to you, too.

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David&Rhona August 22, 2016 at 9:04 pm

We’ve enjoyed reading your blog giving us a flavour of the Anglesey coastal path, thank you. Two Scots heading for a wee trip to Anglesey tomorrow.

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Charles August 22, 2016 at 10:06 pm

Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it. Have a great trip to Anglesey.

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Mike May 5, 2017 at 8:45 pm

Hi On the 22nd of April I compleated Greenfield – Menia Bridge Non-stop in 20 hrs in total I did 60 miles along the Coastal path missing out the Great Orme, as im doing Charity Challeng on 23/05/17,
And just yesterday I did just over 20 miles from Heswell-Holywell, I have to say though I was very Disapointed by the Lack of Coastal Signs along both routes, and the ones that had not been Vandalised or completely removed by individuals are only pointing in a somewhat general direction… whch became very confusing to say the least, I only hope in future anyone who’s job it is to put the sinage up has a little idea of geography and has a basic understanding of the local area. (Rant finished)

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