Date walked 2nd September 2013
Distance: 11.1 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
The last time I had stayed in a Youth Hostel was at the beginning of the Coast to Coast path a few years ago where Neil (who had joined me last night) and I had stayed at the Black Sail hostel – the most isolated of places, in a stunning location it provided us with a three course candle-lit dinner with wine. Although Pwll Deri does have a great location sitting on top of the cliffs, its quite modern interior lacked atmosphere and it was self catering. We had paid £85 for a family room and although this gave us proper bedding we still had to make our own beds. Neil, having his car, drove us the pub at Mathri (good beer, indifferent food).
Neil had brought us everything we would need for breakfast and lunch the next day and an impressive bar which I visited when we got back from the pub,so the next morning I felt a little worse for wear.
No matter, it was a nice day and as we were about to leave our bags in an outbuilding for the very friendly Luggage Transfers Ltd people to pick up, when their car arrived thus settling our minds in an instant about whether it would work according to plan. After yesterdays exertions I was glad to only be carrying my Deuter Speedlite 20 pack and that we only had about 10 miles to do.
We’d only gone a few hundred yards when we noticed a most unusual split in the cliff face that looked unnatural. It took a scramble down to reach it, but when we did it was clear that this was man-made and appeared to have been intended to descend to the cove. Our courage was only sufficient for us to reach a degraded narrow shelf (and even there I was reluctant to part company with the chasms’ walls).
Beneath us, on the secluded beach were a couple of seals and the white, still, body of a pup.
Here’s the view going back up. Quite why someone had made such an effort to get down to this cove remains a mystery.
The path skirts around a headland carpeted in gorse and heather and then drops down though a damp valley where a colony of reeds provided more debate.
From the 300 or so miles that I had seen so far of the Welsh coast it was really unusual to find this kind of moisture loving vegetation so close to the edge of the cliff. I thought this might once have been a pond and again I was not sure if man had had a hand in it.
Man had certainly made this small hole in this and several other rocks we passed nearby. The neatly drilled holes were just a couple of inches deep but we did not even come up with a theory as to why they had been done in what appeared to be a random fashion. Geological samples?
We were still speculating when we had our first view of the lighthouse on Strumble Head, flashing even in the bright morning.
The path took us quite close by and we played and failed the game of trying to get a picture of it at the moment it revealed its beam of light. Neil suggested that I photoshop one in.
The next couple of miles felt like a continuation of yesterday scenery as we edged around steep cliffs and crossed several coves.
As the sky brightened so the blue-green hue of the sea below us intensified.
At Carreg Wastad Point we made the small obligatory detour to see the monument erected to commemorate what is said to be the last invasion of Britain when in 1797 the 1400 occupants of four French ships took over the coast around Strumble Head for two days before being seen off by the locals.
For the next couple of miles every cove seemed to be occupied by seals. They don’t do a lot, seals, but it was nevertheless quite captivating to just see them lolling about on beach or rock.
The only trouble was that they were a long way away as my pictures reveal; I wished for once that I had packed my binoculars, though at the same time asking myself just what this snooping on wildlife is all about? I mean I would get a much better view of them if I just watched a documentary. But somehow when you are looking at something wild yourself its as if they are yours for that moment. Or at least special to you.
So here’s one more seal pic and then I’ll stop.
Somewhere between Aber Felin and Pen Anglas we passed this sign which would normally have encouraged me to explore were it not for the fact that it doesn’t say how far away it is and also that despite only having walked about 8 miles, I was really feeling quite tired and was looking forward to an afternoon snooze in the comfort of a bed and Neil felt likewise, so we pressed on.
So we pressed on, Neil boldly leading the way, safe in the knowledge that because I had had the double bed last night he would have the best room tonight.
As we rounded Crincoed Point, a ferry was making its way out of Fishguard harbour heading for Rosslare.
The path joins a minor road and then zig-zagged down am asphalt path before reaching Goodwick where we stopped at a large shop/cafe and had two disappointing milk shakes that did not have nearly enough ice-cream in them. Neil provided me with the recipe for the best milk shakes (which is actually pure ice-cream whizzed up with sugar). Goodwick failed to impress except for the size of its breakwater.
After walking by the A40 for half a mile, the final part of the day took us around the edge of Fishguard along the asphalt -surfaced Marine walk which gave us a fine finale of Lower Fishguard’s genuine harbour.
We were staying at the rather upmarket Manor Town House Guest House which is on Main Street. We were greeted by the very friendly owners and offered tea presently. Neil’s room at the back was positively palatial with a bath and a superb sea-view. Mine at the front was more modest in size but both had such a nice feel to them and the beds were so comfy that we both forwent the tea in favour of a bath and a lie-down. Bliss.