Aberporth to Cardigan 14.7.21

The friendly dolphin marks the start of our walk today, around the beach at Aberporth and up on to a very steep minor road which leads to the military base just outside the town.

A little research reveals that MOD Aberporth is used for the testing of air launched weapons and Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS). We will be hearing from them later in the day.

There is a blue sky above us and the temperature is rising. It is with relief that we find the right turn that takes us down a dusty track and into a patch of woodland.

Soon we reach the coast at Traeth (beach in Welsh) Gwyrddon and turn left along the cliffs. The path now plunges up and down into small steep valleys with the inevitable haul up the other side. It is very hot – this is the beginning of a five day heatwave which will make the following days walking a little difficult. At one point I stop to catch my breath and take a photo of this strange grassy pyramid in the distance.

On we go along the narrow path, lost in our own thoughts when suddenly a high pitched whine followed by a loud boom makes us look up to see a sleek bullet-shaped projectile thundering across the sky in the direction of Ireland. We stand in shock for a minute or two until the air around me stops reverberating. What on earth was that? The direction it came from is of course the Ministry of Defence at Aberporth and that must have been some sort of weapon testing event.

We are now getting closer to the grassy mound which turns out to be a steep conical hill marked on the map as Foel y Mynt. At the foot of the hill is a pretty white church, built in the 14th century as a place of rest for sailors. It would be a lovely cool place for us to shelter from the scorching heat but it is unfortunately locked.

On the other side of the hill (no we didn’t have the energy to climb it) is a beautiful little beach – people are swimming and sitting enjoying the sunshine. It looks so tempting but we have some miles to cover still (when I write this I’m thinking we could of course stopped for a dip but neither of us had a towel or bathers – damp underwear and sand in your boots is not ideal)

Up onto the cliffs again we walk with the occasional peer down onto the rocks to see if we can catch sight of dolphins – no luck. A little later we meet a woman walking the other way who tells us that she has just been on a dolphin trip and that they came right up close to the boat to play. One day………………just like the puffins………we’ll come back next year.

The coast path now branches off inland due to the objections of a local landowner who runs a tourist attraction on the spit of land facing Cardigan Island. Cardigan Island Farm Park offers farm animals experiences and trailer rides to enjoy the sea views and wildlife. The owner’s objection is that if walkers were allowed to follow the coastline across his land it would undermine his business because they then could enjoy the views for free – maybe but we have not exactly encountered hundreds of ramblers on this stretch. The dispute continues.

Meanwhile we walk through fields of bright yellow daisies…………..

………….until we reach a tarmac path bizarrely named Coronation Drive which follows the estuary for a little while heading up to Cardigan. There are wonderful views over Poppit Sands.

We still have a way to go now, following the river, through patches of woodland and open fields, through a boat building site, past a sewerage works …………………………….

…………and finally to Cardigan Castle. I notice the quay has been rebuilt and smartened up using money from the EU – wonder what we’ll do now?

We lay our bags down and relish the taste of a cold lager in the pub overlooking the river. It has been a hot but lovely day.

Distance: 11 miles

Ceibwr Bay to Cardigan 13.7.21

We are dropped off at Ceibwr Bay again and start walking north this time. There are a few walkers about but they all seem to be going the other way (what do they know)? The sky is overcast and it’s a bit muggy.

Down on the pebbly beach a few people are walking slowly along the shoreline, heads down -perhaps looking for something I know not what.

From here we can see the path following the edge of the cliff and then a sharp steep right up to the top.

After a while we arrive at a spot marked Pwllygranant on the map where large slabs of stone form a bridge to take us over a pretty stream.

From the banks of the stream, flights of swallows soar and dive – it is an amazing sight – impossible to photograph as they fly so quickly. It puts me in mind of Nomadland, a film I saw recently in Copenhagen, where one of the travellers, an elderly woman with a cancer diagnosis uses the time she has left to revisit a swallow haunt on the banks of a river in Colorado.

This is what she says:

“I’m gonna be 75 this year. I think I’ve lived a pretty good life. I’ve seen some really neat things kayaking all of those places. And… You know, like a moose in the wild. A moose family on the river in Idaho and big white pelicans landed just six feet over my kayak on a lake in Colorado. Or… Come around a bend, was a cliff and find hundreds and hundreds of swallow nests on the wall of the cliff. And the swallows flying all around and reflecting in the water. So it looks like I’m flying with the swallows and they’re under me, and over me, and all around me. And little babies are hatching out, and eggshells are falling out of the nest, landing on the water and floating on the water. These little white shells. That was like, it’s just so awesome. I felt like I’ve done enough. My life was complete. If I died right then, at that moment, would be perfectly fine”

From here we head for the first real headland called Pen Yr Afr. Below us the sheer cliffs twist down in to small rocky coves – I keep well away from the edge.

Further along we reach Cemaes Head which is the most northerly point of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path. The path will soon morph into the Ceredigion Way – that is for tomorrow.

The path now moves away from the cliffs and flattens out which is good as we are both getting a bit tired .

…………and then we get our first glimpse of Poppit Sands, a favourite location for a caravan holiday in the Richards family.

…..but before we get any nearer we are led through a chaotic farmyard full of rusting machinery, wrecked cars and horse boxes. A couple of men with wild hair are hanging around the house- they do not look up as we pass.

…..and down the road a goat shares its pond and pastures with an ancient caravan.

The path now turns into a narrow road which seems to go and on forever. We catch occasional glimpses of the sands below.

Eventually the road opens up to a row of cottages where I am later told is a stone which marks the end of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path. The marker is not far from this maiden but we must have been so tired and thirsty that we missed it!

From here the map shows nothing but road walking and it is now getting very hot. We plod slowly up the side of the estuary, ignoring the Webley Hotel where people are sitting at tables in the sunshine drinking cold lager.

it does get better however when we reach St. Dogmaels where the path takes us down behind the road into welcome green shade.

…….and a little later through some playing fields (and another pub)! down to the quay at Cardigan.

Just before we reach the bridge over the river Teifi to Cardigan Castle I spot a Hancocks brewery sign that I have not seen since my childhood. They are now part of the Brains beer empire and when I looked up the Castle Inn I found this interesting snippet:

1905
“Food and Drugs Act. Deputy Chief Constable Williams charged Griffith James, landlord of the Castle Inn, Bridgend, with selling adulterated gin to the extent of 11 1/4 per cent, of water. Defendant pleaded guilty and stated that his wife had inadvertently added water to what had been already reduced. Fined 10s. and 7s. 6d. costs, together with analyst’s fee of 10s. 6d” CN 9 June 1905

Inadvertently??!! Mon oeil…………….

So……..over the bridge we go where we decide to stop and partake of whatever is on offer in the pub overlooking the quay.

Distance: 8 miles

Ceibwr Bay to Newport (Pembrokeshire) 12.7.21

The sky is overcast when we are dropped off at Cweibr Bay and turn our faces southwards towards Newport – but it is warm. We have chosen a short walk today because Damian’s knee has been playing up and we are both nervous about setting off on a walk that he may not be able to complete – and what do we do then? Nightmare scenarios of helicopter rescue come to mind as there is no road access between here and our destination – I cross my fingers and pray. We walk very slowly up the path, hoping that once we settle into the rhythm of walking the knee may loosen up. Of course he won’t take the Ibuprofen I offer and continues to limp and moan for the next mile. Finally, he capitulates and 30 mins later the pain has eased and i can breathe again.

……..and the appearance of this herd of pretty Welsh ponies cheers us up.

At one point in the walk the path becomes extremely overgrown – I have to push my way through ferns and brambles just hoping I don’t tread on an adder or twist my ankle in a hole I cannot see.

………………….but a little while later we meet a couple of walkers who tells us that there is a man with a strimmer ahead, clearing the path for us. And round a corner we meet him taking a break from what looks like very hard work.

Yet again I find myself thinking how wonderful it is that there are people employed to keep these national trails open and welcoming. Likewise, in the next dip, are a row of stepping stones, to keep our feet from sinking in a patch of boggy ground.

By now a sea mist has crept up behind us, somewhat obscuring the views of the cliffs and caves below.

We decide to stop for lunch – here is Damian à l’aise…………………..

Refreshed we continue down the path, we can almost see Newport Sands in the distance.

and closer……….

Closer still Damian discovers a way down on to the beach which I am initially reluctant to try but with a little bit of persuasion and careful scrambling – I’m down!

There are a few people walking along the beach, investigating the dark caves in the chalky cliffs.

……….and Damian busies himself with a message in the sand.

Across the estuary is Newport Sands where we finished our last walk. This time we’re walking along the other side of the estuary to the bridge where we can cross and walk up to the village of Newport.

Not a lot of Welsh accents in Newport and every house has been renovated and smartened up by “newcomers” who must have shares in Farrow and Ball. This has happened all over Wales but Plaid Cymru no longer burn houses down thank goodness. Talking to the taxi drivers it seems there are mixed feelings about the English invasion as they do bring money into the area but at the same time make it impossible for local grown Welsh people to buy any property. Same thing happens in Cornwall.

Anyway, this has been a lovely walk which we celebrate in the usual manner.

Distance: 8 miles

Cwm yr Eglwys to Newport 26.7.20

This walk was oh so long ago during the tentative re-opening after the first wave of COVID. We all thought that was it but how wrong we were.

Anyway, finally got round to writing this in the hope that I may be able to head west to the Welsh coast soooooooon.

Heading out east from a sleepy Cwm yr Eglwys we arrive at a pretty little beach where a family are busy preparing to set out in kayaks.

And as I can’t remember much from this walk (it was 10 months ago), all I can say is that we follow the cliff up high and then dip down twice to two inlets Aber Forest and Aber Rhigian.

Damian poses for a pic on a wooden bridge at the first inlet …….

And as we get closer to a village called Parrog we walk across another – quite unusual bridge.

Just before walking down into Newport Sands we walk past a series of jagged rocks which a gang of young people are enthusiastically using as diving/jumping rocks. It looks a bit dangerous but one would have to assume they know the terrain and what lurks where under the surface of the water. Damian indulges in a bit of mansplaining.

Down we go, following the path alongside the estuary……………………………………………..

Walking into Newport Sands I hear the sound of sobbing coming from a young boy who is being led out of the water. I have no idea what was happening before this but all the children look pretty cold.

This has been a short walk because we are due to drive back to London today. Little did we know that it would be a VERY LONG TIME before we could even think of coming back.

Distance: 3 miles

https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/1/embed?mid=1JbBo_SKH40X4AJMJy0myalrIeJxuYjD1

Cwm-yr-Eglwys to Goodwick 25.7.20

Our taxi drops us off in the small hamlet of Cwm-yr-Eglwys (it helps if you say it quickly) – the ruins of the little chapel provide a photo opportunity.

Behind the church is quite a substantial boatyard, it’s obviously a popular place to sail from. A man and his son are cleaning their boat, the father enthusiastically but the son looks like he’d rather be somewhere else.

Anyway, up onto the cliffs we go, stopping momentarily to watch a couple in wetsuits and snorkelling gear circling around a spot at the foot of the cliffs. I wonder what they are looking for. The huge flippers they are using along with the rest of the paraphernalia make them look like creatures from another world.

The first part of this walk today involves circling a promontory named Dinas Head and after passing Needle Rock the path splits into higher and lower – we take the lower as it is closer to the sea and a short while later reach the cairn on the tip of the headland. 

IMG_0057

Time for some more photos…………………………

Is this a masculine urge to conquer I wonder?IMG_2921

On we go, spurred on by the possibility of tea and cake in a cafe/bar a few miles away at Pwlligwælod. Soon we are looking down on the very place where cars are parked and there are tables outside the pub and it’s open! But we have only covered a third of the distance to our destination so we do not dally.

………………and here’s a picture of a snail that slowly crosses our path. I have recently been exposed to quite a few snails courtesy of my granddaughter, who is fascinated by them. Usually it’s the pretty shells she loves but this one would probably be a reject – it looks like it’s been bleached.

The next inlet we walk down into is another Aber Bach – the beach is deserted apart from a small boat which lies upturned on the shingle.

Climbing from the inlet the path leads us up onto a tarmac lane which provides car access for anyone coming from the nearest village – Dinas Cross. At the top of the lane is a gate and standing by it is quite a striking woman in a bright red skirt. She is holding a bottle of water and looks like she’s waiting for someone. It turns out that her son is a marathon runner and is running today from Newport to Goodwick (and back again) – a distance of roughly 20 miles! The water is for her son.

From here the path gets narrower, winding up and down through tightly packed ferns. At one point I cannot see my feet anymore which is not ideal as it is so easy to twist an ankle.

…..and then it starts to get a bit muddy in places.

Walking along, lost in my own thoughts, I jump when I suddenly hear panting behind me. I look round to find an athletic looking young man in extremely tight running gear and bright trainers slowing up behind me. We say hello and then it strikes me that this must be the SON – so we stop to chat. It turns out he not only runs marathons in the UK but is also involved in organising them all over the world. He walks for a while with us but after we have walked for 10 minutes he’s off.

This is Damian and the SON walking through a camping site a couple of miles outside Fishguard. Apart from the usual caravans and tents, the site also offers stays in these lovely chalets with a wonderful view out to sea.

Soon Fishguard comes into view so we stop a while and watch a group of boys learning how to paddle a canoe. The trainer is encouraging them to stand up on their canoes and then sit down again without losing their balance. Most of them manage with a bit of wobbling but there is one boy who flatly refuses to do it.

Slowly we descend into Fishguard harbour, the tide is out so it doesn’t look very attractive and the high street has its fair share of boarded up shops and run down pubs. There have though been attempts to brighten it up and we did walk past a few art and craft shops.

Slowly we climb the steep hill leading to the upper town and the continuation of the path leading round the coast and then down to The Shack, the only open pub in Goodwick. It hasn’t been a very long walk but I am still on auto pilot, head down, watching my feet when the path opens up onto the busy main road that links Goodwick to Fishguard.

Damian starts to cross the road and like a faithful dog I follow without looking right left and right again. Suddenly a feel a rush of wind followed by a very loud, angry male voice shouting abuse at me as he misses me by a hair’s breadth on his super fast racing bicycle. Shocked I stand and stare into space, my heart pounding as he runs towards me apologising for shouting at me – I mumble something incomprehensible including the word “fault” but all I want is to sit down. He runs off and Damian gets me a beer. I have a feeling that for all the people sitting watching my dramatic escape, this was probably the highpoint of the afternoon.

Distance: 8 miles

Tregwynt to Porthgain 24.7.20

We arrive at the woollen mill in pouring rain but the forecast does say it will clear up later – we decide to wait in the cafe. To ensure social distancing each table has to be booked while ordering which means less room for customers but a couple already seated on a large table invite us to share it. It turns out they are walkers so we chat for a while about walking in Scotland, Wales, Cornwall and Corsica, somewhere I would really like to visit. The rain eases off so we say goodbye and head down to the coast. The path runs past a pretty little holiday cottage, standing alone with only a 5 minute walk down to the beach.

………and here is the beach, deserted, unlike yesterday and where we turned right yesterday we now turn left and hobble over the pebble beach. IMG_0048

Soon we are up on the cliffs, with the sky clearing – this beautiful peacock butterfly is a morning treat.IMG_2896

We walk past another beach, a twin sister to the one we started from this morning. That one is called Aber Bach and this one Aber Mawr. And here’s a Welsh lesson , “mawr” means large and “bach” means small. I remember my Welsh grandmother used to use “bach” as an endearment when we were children.

The path is quite flat here and we make good progress, which is encouraging as my body is still smarting from the long walk yesterday. I look back occasionally to take photos of the cliffs, caves and small islands.

Eventually we reach Abercastle, a long thin inlet, busy with small boats, kayaks and paddle boards. Although Damian is keen to try paddle boarding it certainly doesn’t float my boat. First of all it looks like hard work and I also find the movements ungainly and not nearly as graceful as those needed to send a kayak whistling through the water. 

We walk on, round a promontory – yet another Castell Coch (there are so many of these in Wales) – “coch” means red but there’s nothing red around here. Later the path takes us through a series of “pwlls” – small inlets ringed with steep cliffs and inaccessible beaches – or so we think.

Looking down from the narrow path above one of the the steep drops we spy a human being lying stark naked on the beach. Almost as if he could sense our presence the man stands up, puts his hands on his hips and stares directly up at us. There is some defiance in his stance which is curious as we are so far up we cannot see his face nor any bits and bobs he may have been wanting to protect from our gaze. How did he get down there? We scan the cliffs and gradually the pattern of a possible way down begins to emerge over to the right but it looks like a dangerous scramble. Seems like a lot of effort just to have a beach to yourself.

By now we are nearing the inlet that leads up to the village of Trefin. The path leads us to a stream running down to a stony beach. On the other side of the stream are the ruins of a water mill, the old grinding stone still intact. We rest for a while…

We are now not far from our destination but the sky looks dangerous. I really hope it doesn’t rain as I’m looking forward to a pint at the Sloop Inn and as Wales is on partial lockdown they will only be serving outside.

Above Porthgain are two navigation markers, the furthest away is a bit worse for weather but the one closest to us has definitely had a facelift. These would have marked the entrance to what once was a busy industrial harbour exporting slate from local quarries. The slate was cut into slabs by water powered mills and the waste was used to make bricks and road stone. Large brick “hoppers” dominate the harbour – these hoppers were used to store crushed road stone before shipment and are now a Scheduled Ancient Monument. I remember the first time I visited Porthgain almost twelve years ago that I thought these ruins may have been a prison which cast a shadow over my fish and chips. Now I know better.

 

Just as we reach the village it starts to rain – heavily. We summon our remaining reserves of energy to dash up to the Sloop Inn to bag us a table outside. We have two umbrellas with us and all our rain gear on so it’s not so bad. The rain dripping on the umbrella and the cold beer reminds me of camping which I used to do many years ago – it is almost cosy. 

Distance: 7 miles

Tregwynt to Goodwick 23.7.20

Having found a lovely BnB in Goodwick, we get a ride south to Tregwynt Woollen Mill – the plan being to walk back to Goodwick. The mill is in COVID mode, which means there are no tours of the buildings that house the looms but the door is open for a peek inside. You can also hear the chitter chatter of the machines busily weaving the most gorgeous blankets, clothes and cushions.

There is also a one way system through the shop to the cafe and the marked standing positions for queues make me smile.IMG_0026

After a cup of tea we head down a narrow tarmac lane and then turn off down a footpath through the woods to reach the sweet little beach named Aber Bach. There are a few people out sitting on the pebbles enjoying the morning sun. We turn right heading north on the cliff path. By the time we reach the cliffs at Pwllcrochan (a mile or so), the clouds are massing and it starts to look like rain.

IMG_0028

IMG_0029

…….but as is so often the case, as soon as I put my wet wear on it clears up. This is so infuriating as it is a struggle to dig into my rucksack, retrieve the waterproofs and then stand on one leg and wobble trying to get the trousers on. Anyway, there are greater challenges in life……

Sometime later the path seems to disappear into a steep pile of rocks but Damian insists he can see a way up, so scrambling it is.

IMG_0030

At the top is a cairn and I add a stone, relieved to rest after my exertions up the rocky slope.

IMG_2857

From here we get to walk on a wide flat grassy path through gorse and bracken – here’s a photo of me looking quite serious and hungry.

IMG_2863

Looking at the map we realise that we still have a long way to go with limited provisions and that the path from now on is not going to provide any tea stops or food shops. Despite this we both need fuel so when the path leads up onto a tarmac road we take advantage of a bench with a view and eke out the sandwiches. On the other side of the road is a memorial stone to a well known (well not to me) local bard who wrote mainly in Welsh. A wiki tells me he won the crown at the National Eisteddfod of Wales in 1926 and in 1929 he won the chair at the National – the first of an unequalled four wins. I remember exciting school trips to the Eisteddfod in Llangollen, particularly the colourful traditional dress worn by some of the dancers and singers.

IMG_0032We walk on……

Round about Trefasser the cliff and rock formations are really spectacular and even the small scattered “islands” all have names  Ynys Melin, Ynys y Ddinas, Ynys Ddu, Carreg Ddu. I later look up what “ynys” means in Welsh and guess what – it means island. IMG_2864IMG_2865

The path now is still quite rocky and in places quite steep – another scramble.

IMG_0031

And again effort is rewarded by another cairn topped with a dancer/shaman……………………..

IMG_0033

We are now getting very tired so it is with relief we start to see the Stumble Head lighthouse in the distance. This is where we turn a corner and start the to head east back to Goodwick.

IMG_2868

IMG_2881

But from here it is still four or five miles back to our Bnb and it’s very hot…………………….

From here on I don’t really have any extra energy to look around me. All my strength and concentration is geared towards putting one foot in front of the other and not think about how thirsty I am. With one exception when we see a seal ………………..but even this is not enough to raise my spirits.

IMG_2886

Eventually we can see Fishguard, Goodwick’s twin town, in the distance, so not far to go now.

IMG_2889

……..and the unmistakable 910 metre long breakwater, made from 1.6. million tonnes of rock blasted out of the hillside.

IMG_0037

Finally we meet the residential outskirts of Goodwick and hobble down the streets into the town.

As Wales is on partial lockdown the only place serving cold draught beer in Goodwick is “The Shack”, a wooden hut with outside space, on the other side of town and located on a busy main road. Do we care? Do we have the energy to walk there? Hell yes.

Distance: 13 miles

Nolton Haven to Little Haven 22.7.2020

Last time we were here it was a very different day, heavy rain pouring from a slate grey sky. Today the sun is shining and the sky is a deep blue. 

The first thing to catch our attention is the manoeuvring of a huge static caravan. We stand and stare for a few minutes. Now it may look like this video is upside down but if you click on it order will be restored. I need to also say that most of the photos here were mistakenly taken on the video setting (I have a new phone).

And then up onto the cliffs to start walking. Down below are a string of “havens” – pretty little coves and after a mile to two we reach Druidston Haven where this earth house built into the cliff greets us. A jogger who overtakes us tells us that the house has been named the Teletubbies house. It has a beautiful view over the sea and space to sit outside and eat. From the back it is very discreet.

There is now a  short stretch on a tarmac road which leads past a gate and a path leading to a  beautiful little roundhouse with a conical roof. The information board in front of the gate tells us that this is an eco cottage for short and long stays with no electricity apart from wind/solar and water heated SLOWLY by a Finnish fire (whatever that is).

The path now runs through a series of green fields and Damian gets a chance to chat to the locals.

And a mile on we are looking down on the long sandy beach of Broadhaven where holidaymakers are making the most of it with windbreaks and other beach paraphernalia – trying to ignore the grey clouds gathering ahead.

Unfortunately for us the tide is coming in so instead of walking along the beach to Little Haven we are forced to tramp up the steep hill on the road and then down into the village where our car is parked. The reward is a freshly caught lobster brioche which we eat on the seafront. This has been a short walk to close the remaining gap in this area. Tomorrow we are off further north to join a few more dots. 

Distance: 5 miles

Little Haven to St. Martens Haven 21.7.20

It’s another deep blue sky day as we set off from Little Haven, a village which definitely lives up to its name. Damian spots a little shop selling fresh lobster brioche but that will be tomorrow’s lunch – we have just had a hearty breakfast.

IMG_2825

The path follows the road for a while up a steep hill and then branches off to the right, up onto the cliff top. We walk and walk and at some point this stone arrangement appears – what does it mean? There is a bare path in the grass in front of it and I wonder whether this was where the stone with the hole used to lie. Anyway, we stop to catch our breath and drink some water – that’s the trouble with cooked English breakfasts, they are very salty.

IMG_2826

We now follow the coast path over the cliffs, beautiful wild flowers on both sides, red campion, fox gloves, heather and in places ox daises – this flower catches my eye, no idea what it’s called but I love the delicate threads of the bud it has sprung from.

IMG_0018

Our next breather is St.Brides, a small village presided over by its castle, which you can just about see on the skyline. It was built in 1833 and is apparently a well preserved  example of Scottish baronial architecture. It is set in 99 acres of parkland and the coast path runs parallel to the stone walls which mark its boundaries. From the internet I discover that the building has been renovated to an extremely high standard “providing the discerning holiday maker with a choice of stylish and comfortable apartments and cottages” .

IMG_2827

Leaving the village behind we climb once more up onto the cliffs where we come across these beauties. Edible? I don’t think so somehow.

IMG_2829

IMG_2830

The day seems to be getting hotter and hotter and once more I berate myself for not researching some summer walking shoes. It really is too sticky for heavy leather boots.

Another beautiful beach then appears – the bright blue water so inviting.

IMG_2832

Around the next corner we find an unorthodox way of getting onto the beach as there doesn’t seem to be any alternative. I make my way trepidatiously down what the OS map calls the Black Cliff – the steps carved into the rock make it easier but it is a bit of a scramble half way down

IMG_2834

The water is gloriously cold and refreshing and there is plenty of time for a spot of sunbathing. Or so we think…………….

Lifting an eyelid I suddenly notice that the tide seems to be coming in quite quickly but when I mention this to Damian he tells me to stop worrying. Ten minutes later I believe i have reason to be worried so I head off left to the other end of the beach where the water is further out and plenty of people are still lying on the sand. I then scan the cliffs for another way up but no – we will have to go up the same way we came down. Walking quickly back to base I explain the situation to Damian who still does not seem worried even though the water is now gently lapping his walking boots. Now convinced that we will soon be trapped I grab my things, paddle through the shallow water around the rocks and leap up on to the boulders leading up to the path. Every man for himself!

Reaching the top of the cliffs I look back and see quite a lot of people now hurrying to reach dry land and eventually Damian appears with his boots in his hands. What I can’t understand is that the people on the other part of the beach are making no move to leave – do they intend to stay there until the tide turns? Who knows?

After all that excitement I sit down to wait for Damian and take a picture looking back on the beach – the map tells me this is Musselwick Sands so we don’t have such a long way to go before we are reunited with the car.

IMG_2839

…..and here we are, the beach at Martins Haven again.

IMG_2841

This has been a hot but wonderful walk.

Distance: 10 miles

 

Dale to Marten’s Haven 20.7.20

Thanks to our taxi driver, who has obviously dealt with coast walkers before, we agree on a plan to drive our car to St. Martin’s Haven and meet him there. He would then drive us back to Dale, where we finished yesterday and we would walk back the 12 miles or so to our car.

Climbing up out of the morning stillness of the village, the tarmac lane leads us upwards past a small house with some strange wood carvings stacked up outside – this one recalls some of the nightmare images of Francis Bacon’s work.

IMG_0012

Up through the coolness of the woods we climb, it is already hot, shouldn’t grumble, it’s  a beautiful day.

IMG_0013

Just before Dale Fort Field Centre, the path veers off to the right and when we emerge from the woods we can see what look like more beacons ahead. We are approaching West Blockhouse Point.

IMG_0015

From here we follow the cliff path, past a group of pretty white ponies who are totally disinterested in us and on to St. Ann’s Head. (I have a new iPhone and the setting must have been on video by mistake)

The road here goes past the squat little lighthouse and the row of lighthouse cottages, which I believe are summer lets. They all look empty, which is unsurprising as Wales is still on lockdown and there are very few tourists around.

4406553_032b8767

A short while after St.Anne’s Head I begin to flag and we stop for refreshment – a 2 day old banana has never tasted so good. We continue, past Frenchman’s Bay, then Welshman’s Bay – what no Englishman’s Bay? And to the point, where if we wanted, (but we don’t) we could give up the walk and take the road across the neck of the peninsula back to Dale. I would now like to point out that HERE there should be a photo of Dale Castle, standing back from the coast and surrounded by green fields. This photo should be on Damian’s camera. But I cannot find it – so there you go…..
Here’s a picture of its beautiful little bay instead.

IMG_2819

IMG_2820

The path now follows the cliffs, past signs of a disused airfield off to the right, until we turn the corner at Hooper’s Point and look down on the long stretch of golden sand that is Marloes Sands. Should we swim? I am so hot and sweaty that a dip sounds heavenly but I have no costume with me and do we have the time? After a bit of deliberating we take the plunge (as it were) and walk down the steep narrow path to the beach.

IMG_2822

We find a suitable pile of rocks to call home, rip off our clothes down to our underwear and walk determinedly into the freezing cold water. My screeching attracts the attention of a couple with their two kids frolicking nearby – they look quite shocked. The father laughs and shouts out that after 20 minutes the water will feel almost warm – five minutes is enough for me but it is wonderful!

Energised, we pound along for the rest of the walk until we reach Martins Haven and our car. On the beach below a knot of people are gathered who tell us that, due to Covid restrictions, the boat that normally takes visitors across to Skomer Island to see the puffins is still sailing, but you can’t get off the boat onto the island. We make a mental note to come back next year in June and do the trip.

2035799

Distance: 11 miles