There’s something about the state-sanctioned gluttony of Christmas Day that makes getting out of the house the next morning for a walk on a beach or a hike through the hills a real necessity.
In the UK, a Boxing Day walk is a fixed tradition whatever the elements might throw down. So last week we bundled the kids into the car and drove half an hour from our home to Ogmore on Sea on Wales’ "Heritage Coastline".
Refreshing, exhilarating exercise was our stated goal but we had a hidden agenda….a rewarding pub lunch at the end of our walk. Indeed, so many Boxing Day sojourners reward their activity with a lunchtime trip to the pub that you might be excused for suspecting it’s the Gastropub lunch and not the fresh air that is the real Boxing Day tradition.
Our Gastro grail was the Pelican in her Piety, a yellow-facaded good food and family-friendly pub that dates back to at least 1741 and commands an impressive view of the ancient and now ruined Ogmore Castle. There, steak and mushroom pie, Welsh lamb Cawl (stew), homemade Lasagne and and local baked ham awaited us.
First though we had the outdoors to "enjoy".
The wind howled and the rain sleeted down as we wound our way through country roads where flocks of sheep huddled in wet, woolly resignation. Miraculously though, by the time we reached the beach the rain had gone and the weak winter sun was peeping through.
As the kids collected stones, made sandcastles and scaled the craggy rock formations I looked across the estuary of the River Ogmore to nearby Merthyr Mawr, an impressive stretch of sand dunes where more adventurous folk than us were riding horses and taking the longer hike back up the valley and towards the Pelican……where we should be I quickly concluded!
Chilled and cheeks flushed we retreated to the warmth of the pub’s open log fire and a fine lunch. With mini-portions of the main dishes to keep the kids happy, and with a glass of wine to take the edge off the elements, we all agreed the Boxing Day walk is a tradition worth preserving.
The Pelican in Her Piety – Ogmore-by-Sea, Bridgend, Vale of Glamorgan CF32 0QP. Telephone 01656 880 049
Ogmore Castle – The ruins are open year round to the public.