I have a plan to run from Prestatyn to the waterfall at Dyserth - places I've only ever driven past before. I also want to watch the sunrise over Talacre beach (due at 7:12 am) - I think that would be amazing. With high hopes, I check the weather; it's not looking too good, but I decide to go anyway. As I approach Talacre, home of the Point of Ayr Lighthouse, it's pouring with rain. I park - plenty of space as it's just me there. I splash across the wet, deserted beach and see the lighthouse in the distance. It's very atmospheric, but no sign of the sunrise I'd hoped for. Trying to keep my spirits up, I walk back to my car and set off for Prestatyn, a bit further along the coast. I had thought of starting my run from Talacre but wasn't confident enough to add on the extra 6 miles.
I arrive at Prestatyn's Barkby beach car park (£3 for 4 hours). The rain has stopped and I walk down to the beach. The clouds have lifted and I'm rewarded with the end of a beautiful sunrise - it was worth taking a chance on the weather. I admire the views and psych myself up for my run. I ditch my coat and get my map; it's time to go.
I run along promenade towards the Nova centre and the start of Offa's Dyke path, marked with an impressive silver obelisk, reflecting the early morning sun.
I turn left, up residential streets towards the station following small, bronze Offa's Dyke markers set into the pavement. This is easy so far. I run along the pretty high street, too early for the shops to be open, and up Fforddlas, the incline getting steeper. I arrive at Hillside Gardens, with stunning views out over Prestatyn, and follow what appears to be the obvious path.
I run uphill, cross a road and continue up an extremely steep hill to arrive at a car park. This is not on my route. I check my map and find that I'm in Gwaenysgor Car park - I've gone up the wrong hill! On the plus side; there are great views, a beautiful Celtic cross, and I can see where I need to go next. I run back down to rejoin Offa's Dyke path, well signposted once again, and I'm soon running along an undulating track with views out to sea. It's very muddy in places and I struggle to stay upright on the downhill sections. My efforts are rewarded with a rainbow.
I keep going, following Offa's Dyke path across fields to reach a road. I'm confused here, turning left and then right; finally settling for right and hopefully following the road to Dyserth. The road goes steeply downhill and I pass under a bridge and then though a small industrial area. I'm very confused now, I've gone wrong somehow. I head back up the hill to the bridge, with tired legs; this still doesn't look right. I investigate the bridge, there's a footpath across the top which is probably the North Wales Path, a disused railway, and the route I eventually want to take back to Prestatyn. This is not the way to the waterfall though, and I go back down the hill - I still can't work out the right way and have to resort to google maps. This does the trick and I find Dyserth by following the main road - I don't want to get lost again. I reach the village, find the church and then see signs for Rhaeadr Dyserth Waterfall, I'm relieved! The waterfall is impressive and there is an interesting, low roofed, cave next to it. I go in, crouched down, thinking it could take me behind the waterfall, but find myself ankle deep in cold water. I reconsider and go back to the path, up steps, through woods and up around the top. I'm on Dyserth's tiny high street now, looking out for the Doctors to turn left and find my next destination - Graig Fawr. I'm still using google maps as I can't manage to orientate myself in this place.
I run along country roads and see a national trust sign that marks the edge of Graig Fawr, a hill top nature reserve overlooking the sea. I run along stony tracks, through heather and spot the trig point (153m); a last effort to get there and I find that it's covered in graffiti - nice! The views are stunning, though, and it's a beautiful, peaceful place.
I run down through the nature reserve, looking for my path back. It's steep and muddy in places, and I find my way blocked by brambles a few times. Eventually finding a way through, I reach the North Wales Path, checking my bearings to make sure I'm going the right way. I just need to keep the sea on my left. It's downhill all the way and I can run faster, this is easier going but less scenic as there are trees on either side of the path.
Arriving at Prestatyn station, I turn left to go back towards the sea. I enjoy a final push along the promenade, exhilarated to run by the coast, and finish my run with a paddle in the freezing sea. Ten miles run; adventure complete.