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#SwanseaWalk4EU – Day 3 – Bridgend & Vale of Glamorgan

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Edmund Sides

Day 03 – Bridgend to Ely, Cardiff

We were picked up from our home shortly after 7AM by Lee and Barbara who drove us to Bridgend.  We arrived in plenty of time and spent some time standing on the bridge in front of the Bridgend County Council whilst members of Bridgend for Europe and some Councillors came by to see us off.  We had some photos for International Women’s Day 2019 (IWD 2019 – theme #BalanceForBetter), a nod to the growing global push for professional and social equality. Described as a “business issue”, the aim of the theme is to encourage gender balance in boardrooms, in the media and in wealth as a way for economies to thrive.  This became the subject of several discussions during the course of the day – more about this on the full blog on the Wales for Europe website.

After the photo shoot, we set off at 9:00 and walked through the centre of town with about ten people accompanying us holding two of our placards and the walk banner.  Lee, Barbara and others left us at the edge of town with just our two fellow walkers Tom and Jackie, who remained with us to accompany us on the walk to Cowbridge.

Alison, who was acting as support vehicle driver for the morning, joined us mid-morning when we were having our coffee break, and then followed us towards Cowbridge.  All of this route was along the A48 which is quite busy and follows a straight line having been designed by the Romans; amazing to think that we are walking in the steps of others who used this same route over a thousand years ago.  Shortly before midday, we met a group waiting at a crossroads and, at first, thought that it was a welcoming party from Cowbridge.  In fact, it turned out that they were members of the Cowbridge Male Voice Choir waiting for a bus to London where they were going to participate in an event.

Shortly after that, we took a slight detour on the way into Cowbridge which we entered along the B4270 passing an area where a new housing estate is under construction.  We were met at the boundary of Cowbridge by Chris Hatcher, which seemed very appropriate when he explained that his surname means keeper of the gate.  It was dry for most of the morning but there was a short showery spell as we neared Cowbridge, presaging the rain of the afternoon.

About a dozen other members of the local Wales for Europe groups joined us at the edge of the built-up area and we walked up the High Street where we stopped at The Pencil Case shop to have our lunch and a welcome cup of tea and a piece of cake.  We stopped there for about an hour, continuing on our way shortly after two.  Sally and Chris accompanied us out of Cowbridge showing us an attractive short cut along the original line of the old Roman road which the modern A48 has bypassed.  We had met our support driver from yesterday, Ben, accompanied by his daughter, and he acted as support car driver until mid-afternoon until about 15:30 when they went back to Swansea and Sally took over.  From the outskirts of Cowbridge through to Culverhouse Cross it rained more or less continuously and by the time we got there, we were looking wet and bedraggled.  We saved a little bit distance-wise near the end of the leg by cutting through the Downs village and down a muddy track which came out just short of Culverhouse Cross.

After safely negotiating the Culverhouse Cross, we met our welcoming party of Sally, Anita and Laurence in the B&Q car park.  This is starting to feel like a relay race, with ourselves and our luggage being handed over as we pass from region to region along with our route.  Laurence, our host for the evening, drove us to his home where we had a very welcome shower and put on dry clothing.  Later in the evening, we had a meal at a local Indian restaurant.

Leg three of our journey now complete.  Today was a long haul where we covered 30.4 km (18.9 miles).  I am starting to think that the actual distances we are walking are 10% to 20% more than estimated from Google Maps, so I may be walking a deal more than 200 miles.

International Women’s Day 2019 (IWD 2019)

Details of the theme for IWD 2019 can be found at:  https://www.internationalwomensday.com/Theme

It had the slogan “Better the Balance, Better the World” which I think is a very admirable aspiration and should be kept in mind at all times.

During the course of the walk, discussions I had touched on the following issues, amongst others:

  • Stereotyping of girls and boys by some teachers, making them think that Science, Maths, Engineering and Technology (STEM) subjects are not suitable for them.  One person I talked to told me of a quite extreme incident of this nature which really hit the morale of her daughter.
  • Managing childcare within families.  Balancing childcare responsibilities between husband and wife was emphasised as one of the difficult problems face by a working woman in the modern world.  Employers could help with this by setting up work practices which give both mothers and fathers flexibility to set their working hours or to take time off so as to work around childcare responsibilities.
  • Another aspect mentioned was the attitude of schools to girls and boys sports activities, where it seems that often the main focus is on boys’ sports with girls’ sports treated less seriously.

Some thoughts for everyone to reflect on the day after IWD 2019.

Ed marking International Women’s Day 2019
Ed, his wife and Sally from Vale for Europe