Author Topic: Taf Estuary fordable?  (Read 234 times)

Oldtramp

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Taf Estuary fordable?
« on: 17:15:47, 03/09/17 »
Having walked around England, over 20 years, I've spent some of this summer nosing into Wales; taking day then weekend trips from London.  Starting from Chepstow I've made it to Rhossili on the Gower, and count it'll take me four and a half days to Carmarthen and 2 more to Pendine.


From Ferryside onwards a lot of this is dodging round the Towy and Taf Estuaries, which begs the question of whether these can be crossed.



 The Towy certainly isn't wade-able and, whilst there's talk of restating the ferry from Ferryside (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-south-west-wales-39222789), I doubt it'll happen soon enough for me.


But what about the Taf: Black Scar Point to Laugharne?  The old pilgrim route to St Davids used to ford this at low tide.


http://www.llansteffan.com/walking/


Does anyone know if it's still possible or, better, have contacts --- local fishermen or farmers --- for getting across?






« Last Edit: 18:59:33, 03/09/17 by Oldtramp »

Dyffryn Ardudwy

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Re: Taf Estuary fordable?
« Reply #1 on: 20:01:16, 04/09/17 »
By what i can remember, the estuary in and around Ferryside and laugharne, are very muddy, heavily silted up, certainly not the best place for attempting a estuary crossing, as no doubt the silt and mud must be feet deep.
Just look at the river Towy winding itself through Carmarthen, the course of the river has altered considerably over the years, especially further up near Glangwili hospital.

I went to Trinity College, in Carmarthen from 1989-92, gaining a 2-1 in Welsh History.

I still visit my friend Colin, who lives in Priory St, opposite the Roman amphitheatre, and one can clearly see the course of the Towy changing over the years.

Even though Laugharne and Ferryside, are further up the coast, on recollection, there are no safe crossings, for those wanting to attempt a estuary crossing.

The best advice, would be to contact the harbour master, for the area, they will know if its safe, but i doubt it.

SteveCRunner

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Re: Taf Estuary fordable?
« Reply #2 on: 12:34:04, 05/09/17 »
I know, it can be frustrating walking around those estuaries, but then if you took a short cut could you honestly feel you had walked round Wales?  ;) When I did this piece in July 2015 I had to bite the bullet and go via St Clears. I couldn't at the time find any possibility for a short cut. My track for that day passing Dylan Thomas' boathouse is here http://bit.ly/2wDmzAA.

Oldtramp

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Re: Taf Estuary fordable?
« Reply #3 on: 21:43:07, 05/09/17 »
Thanks both.  Doesn't sound promising.


In answer to your point, Steve, yes, if I waded it, I'd think I'd walked round Wales.  Up in Lancashire and Cumbria I waded the Kent, Leven, Duddon, Cumberland Esk and the Sulwath across the Solway .... and think better of my route for doing so.    They were magical places; crossings steeped in history and beauty, always with a frisson of risk, despite good guides.   


The stagecoach - which Turner painted - used to run over Lancaster Sands to Ulverston, occasionally being toppled by wind or caught in soft sand, with the horses having to be cut loose. John Wesley wrote of fights with quicksand on the Solway and of scoundrels detaining him on the Sands Road from Lancaster to Whitehaven. One Scottish King (Alexander II, I think) lost an army on the Sulwath.


 Believe me, when you know you're safely across the channel, with the water turning shallower ...... and then on firm fast sand, you surely don't feel you've cheated the spirit of the route. 


Now using the Transporter Bridge, down in Newport, is quite another matter!


   








Oldtramp

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Re: Taf Estuary fordable?
« Reply #4 on: 05:56:12, 17/09/17 »
And here's a charming little account of fording the Taf (Tave) estuary from 1803:


The village, a neat humble place, is snugly situated beneath the “Castle-cap’d hill” in a woody hollow; whence we traversed a lofty ridge, commanding extensive views, to a neighbouring estuary, formed by the Tave near its junction with the sea.  As the tide was out, we could not avail ourselves of the ferry, but had ample directions where the water might be crossed; yet, unfortunately, on arriving at the sands, the description of circumstances received for our guidance proved so general, that we were unable to select the route intended; and the broad current ran with such threatening rapidity into the sea, only half a mile distant, that it would have [/size]
p. 43[/color][/size]
[/font]been highly dangerous to have ventured in upon hazard.  Ignorant how to proceed, and unwilling to return three or four miles for fresh directions, we gladly observed a couple of young women trudging on the sands in a direction toward us.  The proper place for fording was now pointed out, where, it was said, the water would scarcely cover our horses’ knees; we deemed it most prudent, however, to let the natives go first, and they accordingly entered the river, using the precaution of raising their drapery.  We followed close; but the lasses had considerably underrated the depth of the water, for it took both them and our horses above their middles; yet so carefully were their clothes held up, that not a thread was wetted.  On reaching the opposite shore, their petticoats were suffered to descend: my friend and I then looked at each other, passed an observation, returned our thanks to the damsels, wished them a good morrow; and under an overhanging rock of red granite, crowned with the ivy-mantled remains of [/size]Laugharne castle, reached the town, an irregularly built little place, seated on a low bank of the estuary.[/size]

[/size]
JT Barber, A tour throughout South Wales and [/size]Monmouthshire. 1803 Nichols & Sons[/size]
http://freepages.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~wakefield/history/36643-h/36643-h.htm


So, historically it was do-able.  Searching on 'Tave' rather than 'Taf' I can find several early C19 accounts of crossings.  Also, the 1839 Admiralty chart indicates a ford: [size=78%]http://www.coflein.gov.uk/en/site/519120/details/ford-laugharne[/size]
[size=78%]
[/size]
How much the sands and channel have changed since then is, of course, quite another matter...[/size]