Date walked 3rd September 2013
Distance: 17 miles
Map required: OL 35 -North Pembrokeshire
Suggested walking guide-book: Pembrokeshire Coast Path by Jim Manthorpe
The Pembrokeshire Coast Path Officer is Dave MacLachlan. His email is DaveMac@pembrokeshirecoast.org.uk
The Pembrokeshire Coast is also a National Park which is responsible for planning decisions.
Neil and I had stayed the night in Fishguard at The Manor Town House Guest House. It was a very comfortable place and the owners are very friendly. But my room was above the main street and was quite noisy. I imagine the building is listed and so they might not be allowed to fit double glazing. We were very happy with our cooked breakfast but both decided to pass on the seaweed option (known as laverbread but it has nothing to do with bread). After settling up, Neil realised half way down the hill to the harbour that he had forgotton to leave his key and when he caught up I realised that I had left my camera! We clearly wanted to return.
The path follows the road down to Lower Fishguard’s attractive harbour and climbs the hill the other side before leaving the road and passing Castle Point. Near the ferry terminal was a 5 masted sailing cruiser that we estimated to be as long if not longer than the car ferry.
After passing the old fort we were once again passing spectacular cliffs and little coves. In a spirit of great derring-do, Neil decided he wanted to scale this lumpy bit (possibly known as Penrhyn Erw-goch).
Here he is near the top.
The curved beach and setting of Pwll Gwylog, a half a mile further on was near perfection.
A little further ahead we had our first good view of the peninsular of Dinas Island……
……but before we reached it we stopped for a (non-alcoholic) drink (I had an ice-cream, of course) at the Old Sailors at Pwllgwaelod which was right by the beach.
It was a steady climb up to Dinas Head and as we climbed so the views opened up to the blue sea below.
The view from the Trig Point at the top was a real “wow” with fabulous views to Newport Bay to the east of us and Fishguard Bay to the west, but the view that I liked the best was straight out to the sea.
One of the nice things about walking with a companion is that they can take pictures of you, so here is one of me at the top.
As we rounded the corner of the peninsular the views continued to impress.
Far below us, a group of canoeists were exploring the coast.
On the corner of the “island” is the charming little settlement of Cwm- yr-Eglwys, the remains of its churchyard situated improbably close to the beach.
Neil was tiring now and hatched a cunning plan of getting a taxi to pick him up from there to take him back to his car at Pwll Deri. I was feeling a bit intimidated by the need for me to get to Cardigan in time for an afternoon bus the next day so I thought that I might walk beyond Newport (where we had a Bed and Breakast booked). Neil offered to come and pick me up near the path so I thought this a great plan.
Newport was about three miles further on and in this section I passed several more beautiful and near-deserted inlets .
And also a really unusual cliff that I think must have been quarried…
…….and some offshore formations that I would have loved someone to have explained how and why they came about.
I was till feeling reasonably energetic as I approached the spit of sand that marked the end of Newport Sands and the beginning of Newport’s settlement.
I hadn’t really taken in, though, that there was no crossing point to the bay. An easy and level mile took me to the bridge where the river Nyfer enters the bay and where a large flock of Canada Geese were mooching around.
It was less than a mile to get to the car park at the point where Newport Sands joins the mainland and was an equally easy stroll. I passed a flock of crows in a field that demanded a picture.
I’d come about 14 miles by this time and would have been happy to have stopped but I hadn’t made much inroad into my next days walk so I carried on. In his book Manthorpe describes the stretch from Newport to the end of the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path at St Dogmaels the toughest of all of its 186 miles. Judging by the next few miles, I was inclined to agree with him.
There were some very steep descents to near to the sea followed by some very long and steep climbs.
The views from the tops of these hills on such a fine evening were wonderful but I was flagging and found myself wishing that over the next brow it might flatten out somewhat. But it never did.
When I passed a sign across the path warning that over the next 8 miles there was no “escape route” I was not surprised (I had worked out where I intended to make an illicit crossing of the fields for my rendezvous with Neil) but I did feel a little intimidated. The early evening light shimmering on the sea and the sheer beauty of the bracken-covered cliffs were a distraction from my increasing tiredness.
I came across a spider’s web straddling the path which almost certainly meant that no one had walked this section for several hours, perhaps all day, which somewhat emphasised my comparative isolation.
I’d said to Neil that I would meet him around 6.30pm but it looked as if I was going to be late. I kept checking my GPS and the point where I intended to head inland seemed to be approaching very slowly.
I’d lost my phone signal so couldn’t warn him and then the phone rang and it was Anne ringing for a chat! So I tried to make a quick call to Neil but lost the signal almost as soon as it had connected. So I made the decision to leave the path where I was and head for the minor road that should have been less than half a mile away. Thankfully I picked up a signal again and was able to describe to Neil where I was. As we talked I could see his car driving along the road. I’d done what I intended to do but I felt quite exhausted and never gladder to get into a car.
We stayed that night at the excellent restaurant with rooms called Cnapan where I had a well-earned bath before we strolled down the street for a decent pub meal at The Golden Lion where Neil was very distracted by one of the waitresses.