Billy Connelly maintains that there is no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes.Weeeeelll…………………..
The forecast is disheartening but as I set off from Saundersfoot in a light drizzle I manage to convince myself that I will get through the day. I am walking anti- clockwise today for reasons too dreary to mention, so for once the sea is on my right hand side.
Climbing up from the beach I am directed up and through two short tunnels under the cliffs – one of them is illuminated with low level red lights. As I emerge blinking from the second one I meet a man and his dog: “Back to normal then” he says – it takes me a full 2 seconds to realise he’s talking about the weather.
I soon reach a seaside spot called Wiseman’s Bridge and from here a wide concrete path makes for easy walking in to Amroth. My map has a castle marked so I follow the signs under a stone arch past a huge caravan site to see what turns about to be a large grey turret ed mansion. It is getting more and more difficult to take photos in the persistent rain but I manage to whip out my iPhone to take a few.
From Amroth I follow signs up onto the cliff where the wind picks up, I tighten my hood.
Down below me massive slabs of granite pave the beach, everything is grey and wet and the only saving grace are the yellow gorse flowers set against the rich brown/red colour of winter ferns.
Towards the end of Marron Sands I come across the sodden carcass of a dead lamb which has something wrapped around its hind legs – could it be after birth? Is this a still birth? Anyway, I scurry past.
By now I am very very wet and I have a sneaking suspicion that my waterproof trousers and jacket are leaking in places. My next hope of shelter is Pendine which I think is about a mile away. The path now dips steeply down and up again and I realise I have reached Gilman Point. Descending slowly down the narrow stony path I spy a strange metallic structure off to the right which turns out to be nothing more interesting than a pumping station. Disappointingly there is no shelter in the cove although I do hide from the wind for a while behind the ruins of a rectangular stone structure. I have no idea what it is but even in my despondent state I manage to appreciate the energy in the iron bars struggling to escape the stone and mortar.
Realising that I am now soaked through, I leave my shelter and come across a sign which points up the hill to Pendine – it says 0.7.kms. Up I go until almost at the top, where there is a confusing divergence of the path. Off to the right, in the right direction, is a very narrow path which suddenly gets very narrow and turns a corner. All I can see is a steep slope downwards and a lot of loose rocks. This can’t be the way I think and retrace my steps to follow the path leading off to the left (in the wrong direction). This takes me across a trampled barbed wire fence into a field. I stumble across to where I think the path may be and lo and behold there it is – but on the other side of a high untrampled barbed wire fence. Desperate measures are needed so throwing caution to the wind I lift one leg over the fence and promptly get stuck. A horrible tearing noise tells me that the fence spike has ripped a hole in my trousers and I can even feel it sneaking into my underpants. Very carefully I manage to lift myself off the fence and completely demoralised, make my way back down the hill where I know there is a minor road that will take me to Pendine. All these shenanigans have now added a couple of miles to my walk.
It is with huge relief that I swing open the door of the Point Cafe in Pendine and squelch my way to a table. There is only one other customer so I have plenty of space to peel off my wet clothes. The young boy serving approaches me: What can I get you? he says, unfazed by all the puffing and panting and the sight of my dripping clothes. “A towel” I reply with a grin – he does not smile. Nevertheless, when he brings me my teacake and tea he also hands me a towel. It is also him who offers me a lift to Laugharne as he will be going that way soon. I accept, Pendine to Laugharne will have to be another day.
Distance: 8 miles