Monday, June 10, 2013

Active Wales

To truly experience a country, I need to get intimate with the land. Taking in the aroma of blossoms and pine needles. Listening to the soft crunch of leaves underfoot, and the wild roar of the ocean. Touching craggy boulders strewn along my path or rough bark in dense forests. Tasting the salt spray from a turbulent surf on my lips. Here's are some activities that will bring you up close with the varied landscapes found in Wales.





Surfing
        Along the Gower Peninsula with its soaring cliffs and its sweeping sandy bays, you'll find fine quality waves, especially and consistently along the beaches of Llangennith. Beginners will be comfortable here as well as skillful surfers. But, either way, you can rent all your equipment from PJ's Surf Shop.

Whitewater Rafting and Kayaking
      Thrill seekers will find plenty to get their adrenalin levels skyrocketing in the north of the country at the National WhiteWater Centre along the River Tryweryn, which is a dam-release waterway. Here you'll be able to negotiate Class III rapids whether via kayak, canoe or inflatable raft. Or sit it out and watch one of several competitions regularly held here.

Mountain Biking
     The network of trails networking the conifer-laden forests of Coed-y-Brenin Forest Park make for a premium mountain biking venue. They're graded similar to ski trails, with the green ideal for novices and the black reserved for those who are fit and fearless. (A trail named the Beast of Brenin is self explanatory.) Bike rental is available at Beics Brenin.


Road Cycling
       Wales is plenty bicycle friendly with many traffic-free trails (whether rails-to-trails or forest paths) linked together as part of the National Cycle Network. On one of these, the Lon Geltaidd Celtic Trail East, you'll be able to pedal almost 200 miles from Fishguard, a town on a scenic headland that's noted for its music festivals, to the Severn Bridge in the south of Wales. And the vast majority of the time, you'll be on paths that are car free.


Walking and Hiking
        The Pembrokeshire Coast Path, in the eponymous national park, sticks mostly to the clifftops along its sea-hugging route for most of its 185-some-mile length. Whether spotting seabirds or sunbathing seals, you'll be traversing a path that you can stroll for an afternoon or a couple of weeks. If you're in Fishguard, you'll be able to access the path that runs through old ports; or the precipitous section of the path where seabirds may be your only companions above St. Davids Head.

17 comments:

Sheryl said...

What a great choice of activities!

Brette said...

Wales is on my bucket list. These are all great options.

Jeanine Barone said...

Hi Brette, Cool. You'll have the best time there. It's amazing the choice of activities in scenic locales. And this was just a small sampling.

Jeanine Barone said...

Hi Sheryl, I had to whittle it down otherwise the post would've gone on and on with active options.

Alexandra said...

The introduction to this post was so well put. This is exactly what I seek out, too. Wish I had received your suggestions prior to visiting. We stayed mostly in the Swansea area.

Irene S. Levine said...

This list seems to include something for everyone!

Kerry Dexter said...

I've yet to spend much time in Wales -- your suggestions remind me it's time to change this. if you visited places to do with history, perhaps you'll write of your experiences with those in future.

merr said...

Very diverse activities - something for everyone/different athletic levels...but a way for everyone to stay active.

Jeanine Barone said...

Hi merr, Yes, instead of just dealing with the tried and true hiking activities, I wanted to open it up to a diverse set of activities.

Jeanine Barone said...

Hi kerry, Hoping you get to visit Wales soon to explore all aspects of the country.

Jeanine Barone said...

Hi Irene, Thanks. I was hoping to be pretty inclusive.

Jeanine Barone said...

Hi Alexandra, Maybe you'll be able to revisit Wales and take up some of the activities I suggested.

Jane Louise Boursaw said...

I think I'd be all over the hiking and biking options. Too much of a scaredy-cat for the others! But agree that getting into the land is the best way to experience a country. Beautiful photos.

Vera Marie said...

I've always wanted to visit Wales, and I love your introduction about the ways to know a place. Beautifully put. I had never thought of Wales in conjunction with all those activities--rather I'm focused on the deep past--all those stone age relics.

china visa said...

Wales, sounds like a lovely place that i was ignoring. Added in my list :)

Jeanine Barone said...

Thanks, Jane. Biking and hiking are two of my favorite activities wherever I travel.

Jeanine Barone said...

Hi Vera Marie, Thanks so much. I often try to see a land from the active side.