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#SwanseaWalk4EU – Day 1 – Swansea

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Edmund Sides

Day 01: Swansea to Neath Port Talbot

Successfully underway now.  I had a good send-off at 12:00 from Fulton House with a group of about twenty Swansea for Europe campaigners.  Several Swansea City Councillors came out to wish us well on the steps of the Guildhall.  I then, set off along the Welsh Coast Path accompanied by four intrepid walkers, my wife Rhiannon, Ben, James and Mike.  Barbara provided vehicle support and met us at our first rest stop at the Park and Ride.  We had showery weather at first but the weather had cleared by the time we got to the Tennant Canal – one of Swansea’s hidden gems.  We had a break for a late lunch on tables outside The Towers Hotel and then commenced a long stretch walking alongside busy roads past Baglan and through the western part of Port Talbot.  We didn’t see any of the Banksy snow; did notice that the air quality in some parts of the area is not as good as elsewhere in southern Wales.  We arrived at Port Talbot Parkway station at 18:00, having covered 22.2 km (13.8 miles) in six hours.  For planning the daily schedule, I think that I will need to factor in some extra time for photo stops, with a lot of photos having been taken both at the start and along the route.

Why am I doing this walk?

This walk is mainly a way of venting some of my frustrations about how the Brexit negotiations have been handled since the referendum in June 2016 and trying to reflect on some of the underlying issues.  Although I fully support the People’s Vote protest March in London, I do not intend to actively campaign for this as I walk.  Rather I want to think about and discuss the real issues of importance to our daily lives, most of which will be negatively affected by Brexit.  I feel that discussions and debate on the Brexit issue have become far too polarised.  In front of the Guildhall, I likened it to the preparation of a Brexit Stew where instead of turning down the heat and taking the pot off the stove when the stew was nearly cooked, someone had instead turned up the heat and was at risk of completely spoiling the meal.  Citizens and parliamentarians are spending too much time talking and ignoring one another rather than listening and understanding each other.  If, during the course of the walk, I can convince some people (including parliamentarians) to spend more time listening and understanding each other rather than hearing and ignoring one another, then I will feel that it has all been well worth the effort. 

On this walk, I intend to reflect on certain specific issues on most days and to discuss the selected issue with walking companions and also via social media. Tomorrow I intend to think about future options for UK-EU relations.  At the end of the day, I will try to give some personal thoughts on this issue which have been developed during the course the day’s walking.