Nice to see you again.
As we're down in Cardiff Bay, we're going to have a walk all the way round the 494 acre fresh water lake, controlled by the Cardiff Barrage.
The Bay used to be subject to the tides from the Severn Estuary/Bristol Channel but by erecting the Cardiff Barrage from the Docks to Penarth, opened in 1999, the rivers Taff and Ely flow into and are contained in the lake that is Cardiff Bay, ideal for boating and which looks much more attractive than the mudflats of the previous low tides. This encouraged regeneration of the area too.
Starting at the Millennium Centre, we'll head for the water turn right onto Mermaid Quay, walking past the restaurants and shops with the water on our left. You pass the large Techniquest building. There are all sorts of different areas and buildings to enjoy.
Round the corner, the Wetlands Reserve supports a wide diversity of wildlife. Across the Bay, Penarth is visible with it's pretty white cottages.
After the Wetlands Reserve, there's spacious grassland of Hamadryad Park and then we have to head through the residential streets for a while to cross the River Taff via the Clarence Bridge. At this point we realise we could have taken a short cut from the Millennium Centre and missed all that out but where's the fun in that! Ha!
On the other side of the river, the trail passes through the International Sports Village which includes an ice rink, international swimming pool and Cardiff International White Water. There's lots of building work going on in this area and the path can be difficult to find but what you are looking for is another bridge over the River Ely.
Now we are back to the interesting bit by the river full of fishing boats, marinas and pretty houses. This is Penarth.
From here you can see the Barrage. One of the locks was opening as a boat was entering the Bay from the Estuary. Can you see the piece of road that has lifted up?
You can also look back to the Millennium Centre.
|Locks from the Estuary side|
|Looking through the harbour walls|
|Looking back to the Bay from the harbour walls|
|Mudflats in the estuary|
When the gates open and the roadway lifts up, as you'd expect alarms are sounded and lights flash, to warn everyone. It's really fascinating watching it all in action.
Over the other side, whilst enjoying the sailing boats, the white sails on land remind us of Cardiff's link with the sea.
There's so much to do, especially for children - parks, watersport activities, skate plaza, history of coal, Dr Who Experience and an enormous crocodile bench from Roald Dahl's books.
There's even a Norwegian church, more on that another time.
Now we're back to the Millennium Centre, definitely ready for a cup of tea.
Of course, you could get a water bus instead of having to do all that walking.