Friday, October 05, 2012

The Pembrokeshire Coastal Path.

© Les Singleton
August 22, 1993

Whitesands sunset.

This is the diary I wrote for my third LDP (long distance path). I was still new to long walks, having only done Offa's Dyke and the Coast to Coast, (on which I had ALL my stuff stolen - thanks to the pack carrier 'service'), but I was learning!
I had a few boot problems on this walk, but I loved it so much, I went back a few years later and walked it again - in the opposite direction! I am told that there is more ascent on the PCP than if you were to climb Everest! I can tell you, some days you KNOW that fact is true! I have had many holidays in Pembrokeshire, walking and otherwise, since I first walked the path. It's a truly lovely place, and the SUNSETS!!!!! WOW!! To sit on St Davids headland or outside Pwll Deri youth hostel on a clear night is just SO atmospheric - you should try it sometime.
These pictures are scanned 35mm film, so not as crisp as digital. Some of them were taken on later trips when I gained access to the firing ranges at Bosherston.

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On the 19 May 1993, I began the long journey across to Pembrokeshire to start to walk my third long distance path -- The Pembrokeshire Coastal Path. This is the daily diary I kept whilst doing it.

Wednesday, 19th May -- The Journey Down.

7.30 pm. Arrived here about half an hour ago. Ian, a friend of mine, kindly offered to bring me in his car when I started having difficulties in arranging transport to get to St.Dogmaels, near Cardigan. We had a good journey down, stopping at an hotel on the way. The landlady, Angharad (good Welsh name, that), is a friendly, happy, chatty person and we whiled away a pleasant hour or so in her company. She told us that lately the weather had been very unkind and today was the best it had been for a while. I inwardly hoped it would stay that way.
We arrived in St.Dogmaels at about 5.45pm. The air was still and warm and the sea like a mill pond. God was in his heaven, and I in mine. After Ian had taken a couple of photo's of me on the slipway, which was the unofficial start of the path, we parted. He with my thanks, and me with his good luck wishes. My B&B is only 200 yards from the start of the path. I am a bit worried, as I was glad to get my sack off my back after the short walk!!
I was welcomed by Peter Antwis and his daughter Laura. Laura then proceeded to give me the ‘Grand Tour’ of the garden, described by Mum Rosemary as ‘a bit of a jungle’. It is more like a secret garden, with four ascending levels, each a bit wild and a bit cultivated in just the right mix. After the tour, I had a rest and a cup of tea (I had done 200 yards you know) before venturing out. Today St. Dogmaels... tomorrow the world! (well... Pembrokeshire at least.)

Thursday 20th May -- St. Dogmaels to Pwllgwaelod

Last night I had a walk to the ‘Ferry Inn’. A really delightful and deceptively large pub. It looks sort of Cornish and tiny from without, but very comfortable and large within. It also holds the doubtful accolade of selling the most expensive pint I've ever bought. Burton bitter £1.68 a pint!!! Normally this costs about £1.30. Still, it was nice. I felt at ease with the barman too, as he sounded just like a mate of mine, with a lovely Dorset lilt to his voice. I went back to Nant Y Pele (the Antwis abode) at about 10.30pm, had a cup of tea and a bite to eat and retired.
This morning I woke up early about 5.00am. I thought it a bit early to be up and about, so I just opened the curtains to look at the river. It was nowhere to be seen, as it was pea-souper foggy out there! I got back into bed and lay there wondering how I would go on, ‘walking blind’ so to speak. When I decided to get up and make a coffee, it had cleared sufficiently to see the river. I got up quietly, as no-one else was about yet, and walked down the road to investigate a path I had seen going between the houses. It turned out to be a delightful riverside path lined with trees. It ran all the way up to the village of St. Dogmaels, which incidentally is the largest village in Wales, and I spent a very pleasant half hour following it. I made my way back to Nant Y Pele. No one was about yet, so I had a bath, made a cup of tea and waited.
When Peter got up, he started my breakfast. We talked as he did so. It was one of the better breakfast I've had, and three sausages!! After eating, I went and packed my things and said my good-byes to Peter, Laura and Rosemary.
I started walking about 8.30a.m. The early mist had completely cleared now. I passed the landing stage start of the path and continued on up the road. The bird song was loud and varied, lots I hadn't heard before. The verges were being trimmed, so the air was pungent and heavy with the smell of newly cut grass. The higher I climbed, the better the views were becoming. The wide estuary was calm and quiet except for the odd call of a bird. I passed the Webley Hotel and Poppit Sands, (photo' of plaque), before climbing up the road. It was getting steadily warmer so the fleece was consigned to the sack. Up and on I pushed as I passed what looked like a nice Youth Hostel. I then reached Allt Y Goed farm, where I promptly got lost! I climbed a stile (number 378) and the path just seemed to disappear. I went right, into a field, as there was the semblance of a path through it. It petered out so I turned back, noticing that the fabric boots I was wearing, and had so lovingly treated with waterproofing, were leaking already! Back at stile 378 I went left this time, with the same result. The only way left was straight on, but this seemed to head into a dead end barnyard. As I opened the gate, I saw the stile in the right hand corner... success! I climbed the stile and pressed on. The sun was even warmer now, but the constant breeze cooled me. I had applied sun tan lotion this morning, but I didn't think the sun would warrant it -- how wrong I turned out to be.
As I walked, I gained more height and the views were getting better and better. I took lots of photo's and was very happy. Although mostly past their best, the Bluebells were still profuse in places. I walked along headlands carpeted with them, their scent strong and heavy in the air. Also, the gorse formed many corridors which were a delight to walk through, the yellow of their flowers so bright it almost hurt my eyes.

The wild flowers were so many and varied that I can't begin to describe them. Suffice to say I didn't know where to look next. The butterflies that were feeding on them were also numerous. Orange wings with black spots seemed to be the favourite rig-out. I saw lots of this type, but lepidoptery is not my strong point, so I couldn't put a name to them.
My nephew Philip, who is studying geology, would have a field day here. Anticlines, monoclines, synclines, submarine rolls, I was seeing it all. The rock strata was folded so drastically in places that it didn't look real. It was a fantastic show of bygone upheavals. I took a few photo's but could have used a whole roll of film.
The main thing that had struck me this morning was that, being a coastal walk, you could see right around the coast to distant objectives. This is a little disconcerting, as when you are just setting out for the day, you can see where you've got to get to. It looks a long way too. Although I've been walking for a number of years, it still never fails to amaze me when I can see how far I've walked, or unsettle me when I can see how far I've got to!! It looks a long way today, but with scenery like this... who cares? In the far distance the furthest point I could see (and see quite clearly) was Strumble Head Light house. This was to be passed on the second day, but it spent all day today winking it's light at me seductively.
The path climbed above Cemaes Head and I gulped as it came within six feet of the 400 foot drop sheer cliffs. It didn't do this a lot, but when it did my pace slowed respectfully. It slowed even more as descent then climb followed one another. The guide describes today as ‘taxing’. By the end of the day I felt like a car... taxed for a year! Altogether I climbed well over 3,000 feet today, but as the old saying goes; ‘no pain - no gain’.
The sun was a bit wishy-washy behind the clouds and previous days rains had made the going very muddy. Sometimes I was quite warm, grateful for the cooling breeze, at other times I was stifled in the becalmed air. It was how I would imagine it to be in a hot air balloon on a hot day. One or two times it just slipped on the uncomfortable side of cool, but only for about 15 minutes, then the sun returned and I was reaching for the towel again.
I was travelling South now, still marveling at how far I could see and how clear it all was. I looked out to sea and down to the inaccessible pebbly beaches to see if I could spot any seals, but no luck. I passed the highest point of the trail, 575 feet, but if I thought it was all down hill from here, I was badly mistaken. The wet grass was really penetrating the fabric boots now, so I stopped and donned my leather ones. I was a bit apprehensive of them, as they had blistered my feet in the Lake District, but I had no choice. Instantly I could feel the extra support in my ankles, which were feeling a bit sore. In a lot of places the path is rocky and undulating and so works the ankles a lot.
I followed the muddy path down to Ceibwr Bay. Apart from ‘cliffs kill -- keep to path’ the next stile had an extra sign... ‘Beware - Adders’. My imagination went into overdrive as usual, and I had visions of treading on one of the damn things. As it was, they were all still tucked up under their stones, or wherever it is Adders go. Now I wished I had seen one to take a photo'.
At Traeth Bach I saw, and took a photo' of, what was to be one of the many natural arches I would see on this walk. This one was privileged to be the first, as within a short while any arch had to satisfy a sort of ‘criteria of excellence’ before I'd take a picture of it. I next came across the ‘Witches Cauldron’, a huge amphitheatre where a cave that used to exist had collapsed into the sea leaving a gaping chasm. All along this coast there are portions of slippage, or signs of instability. It all serves to make me a bit edgy (no pun intended) when the path is exposed or runs close to the cliff edge. I keep saying to myself ‘I must lose some weight’ and breathing in, as if that would make me lighter.
The beauty of the first day of any long walk is that your body will take anything you throw at it, and any punishment dished out, and I was still strong and well. The first day holds a lot of other firsts too. Another one was the first orchid I saw. I wondered at it's rarity, and took a photo' of it. I soon realised that I could open a market stall selling them, there were that many along the path.
I could still see the coast crystal clear in both directions and as I rounded the headland below Foel Fach hill, I saw the sands of Newport. The sea is a powerful shade of aquamarine blue and today, with the sun on it, looked beautiful. Most of the little coves have pebbly beaches, but here was something very different, a great expanse of sand! It looked even better as the tide was out. Good... I could walk across the sand and wade the Afon (river) Nyfer, as per the instructions. When I came to this raging torrent, I estimated it's depth to about one mile!! (well - above my knees anyway). My memory harked back to when myself and a tall, crazy friend forded a ‘stream’ in the Peak District. It was a bit like that joke where the water ‘only comes halfway up the ducks’. I decided discretion was the better part of valour, and started to move upstream. Now if you look at the map, you will see that the course of the Nyfer comes down the far North side of the beach before, halfway to the sea, going South to the other side of the beach and then resuming its Westward direction to it's termination at the sea. WHY????? All this serves to do is make a weary walker travel three times as far. Why don't the council come with a JCB and alter its course? (JOKE). When I realised what the river was doing, and I was criss-crossing the sands like some demented Robinson Crusoe, I gritted my teeth, took off my boots and socks, hitched up my sack and towel, shrugged off my fertile imagination (I was BOUND to step on a stone fish, or a great big crab with even bigger claws), and I waded forth. Now, at one point the water came above mid-thigh level, and I admit to swearing out loud. This tack seemed to work and the depth started to decrease. On the other side it was more squidgy mud than sand (I was bound to get sucked under!), but I managed to pick my way to a rock where I cleaned my feet and re-booted them, before pressing on (pausing for a two-fingered salute at the Afon Nyfer).
After some more common or garden stunning cliff scenery, I reached Fforest ( an 'Ff 'ing nice place! ). I met and chatted with a couple who were walking their dog. These were the first people I had seen all day. We chatted for a while and it became obvious that they were lovers of the area. I could see why. I could easily spend a week in this cove. Safe bathing, beautifully clear water, caves, rock pools and yet more natural arches. Just give me a boat, a barbecue and a beach mat, and I'd be a happy man. The guy, I didn't get his name, sent his wife and dog back the easy way to where their car was, and decided to accompany me back the way he had come. We followed the muddy path towards Cwm-Yr-Eglwys, which is described as one of Pembrokeshire's favourite beauty spots, swapping tales. Cwm-Yr-Eglwys is OK, but I think it's full of rich men's ‘bolt holes’. There is no accommodation and, being mid-week, it had a sort of ghost town air about it. At this point my guide went west (literally) as he took the short route towards his car, which was parked at Pwllgwaelod. Although I too was headed there, my route ran around Dinas Head.
When I reached the highest point, Pen-Y-Fan, I took a well earned break. I relaxed, minus my sack, ate and drank and looked out to sea for the still elusive seals. No luck still, but once again the views more than compensated. I headed down to Pwllgwaelod and those magic letters on the map ‘P.H.’. The Sailors Safety is sitting on the fence between gaudy and quaint. I had a drink and, after realising that this was the only habitation, asked if I could use the 'phone. I was told the nearest public 'phone was up the hill in Dinas Cross. (It's always 'up the hill' ) So, after a further fruitless inquiry as to where Mr & Mrs Lewis lived, I set off -- ‘up the hill’. ( N.B. Sailors safety has since closed). Incidentally, Dinas Cross is the longest village in Wales- almost two miles long. It also felt like the highest. This was my plan. Make for the middle of the village, (where there was another P.H.) and ask again. I called at the ‘Ship Aground’, and I was headed in the right direction, but hadn't gone far enough. I think had I realised how far it was, I probably wouldn't have booked it. Having now met Graham and Dorothy Lewis, I would gladly have travelled further to stay there. WHAT a welcome! The first thing Graham did was to take the weight of my sack. As any walker will know, this is a great relief (now if only I can persuade him to take the weight for the rest of the walk). Then I got the guided tour with him talking in that lovely (lovely, lovely) Welsh lilt. Oh, I could sit and listen to him all night. Nothing was to much trouble, why he had even mowed the lawn especially for me, (least, this is what he told me... it was my initiation into Graham's dry sense of humour). Later I went out for a meal. I was back in ‘Tresinwen’ early and, after being invited into their lounge, sat talking to Graham and Dorothy 'till late. They told me all about the farm where they used to live, and how and why they had moved here (Tresinwen was the name of the place they farmed). Their house is of unusual construction, being a frame affair that was put up in only two days, but looks the same as any other house. I went to bed feeling at home. The next morning Dorothy kindly did me a 7.00a.m. breakfast... and WHAT a breakfast. Everything grilled (except the egg) and FRIED potatoes... MMMmmmmm!! A nice change from normal fry-up. She gave me loads too, and I felt a bit guilty as one of the subjects last night had been appetite, and I had said I had got a large one (OOO-er), hence the guilt trip. To completely spoil me, Graham got the car out and took me down to Pwllgwaelod beach. We said our good-byes, and as I started up the first hill of the day, HE took a picture of ME!!!

Friday 21st May -- Pwllgwaelod to Pwll Deri Youth Hostel
7.45a.m. and I was climbing my first hill. The path on this section is overgrown and muddy, so I was glad I had persevered with the idea of the leather boots. To try and ease things on the blister that had appeared, I applied a plaster and, although still a little footsore, I felt a little better. I was wearing my shorts and several times the dreaded nettles got me. I dare say that, given a couple of weeks, this section of the path will become painfully impassable to a walker wearing shorts. The alternative open to me was trousers -- but then they would be drenched with the dew and who would want to wear waterproofs on a lovely morning like this... not I. I suppose I could have tried gaiters, but the small problem that arose here was that I hadn't brought any!
I continued on, through the most delightful lane, flanked by flaming yellow gorse and guiltily wading through the masses of flowers encroaching onto the path. I just stood for a while and sucked in the air. What a pleasure. Again the views prompted prolific use of the camera. I was like a junkie with his fix. The walk barely two days old, and I'm up to two rolls of film a day. How long before I overdose? Just when I thought it was safe to put the camera away, up pops Hescym Cove. Now THIS is where I want to live. The azure blue water looked so inviting, and with the cove cut so far inland, it was well protected and calm. Its sides were made up of rock walls, with interesting caves and natural arches that looked worth exploring. I was now taking photo's at such regular intervals that I dare say when I have them developed, if I hold them in my hand and flick them, I will get a sort of ‘what the butler saw’ type movie... a bit flickery, but with not much missing!! Just after Hescwm I came upon the most impressive natural arch so far. It far exceeded the criteria, so I took a photo'! The guide says the best way to view it is to ‘scramble down the slope below the path’. When you have seen the sign ‘cliffs kill... keep to path’ several thousand times on all the stiles, ‘scrambling down the slope’ doesn't seem like the greatest of ideas. But ever the intrepid photographer, I descended. My heart was in my mouth. Not because of the danger, it wasn't dangerous, but because of the APPARENT danger, plus that old fruitful imagination of mine again. (My extra weight was bound to make the cliff collapse). I must admit though, I got some brilliant shots of the arch and Needle Rock, after which I scurried back to the safety of the path.
As I made my way towards Fishguard, I realised that I was paying for yesterday’s exertions. The second to fourth days of a walk usually throw up all the aches, pains and problems. I had a painful blister on my right foot, and a black toenail on my right. Also the rucksack was digging into my back, causing two sore spots. This could be temporarily relieved by placing my hands between the sack and my back, but as soon as I let go again, the pain returned. I assured and assuaged my conscience that all this would disappear by the fourth and fifth day.

Fishguard bay.

 After calling at the tourist office in Fishguard, I took on provisions, as my next two nights were to be self-catering in Y.H.A.s. Just what I needed... extra weight for the sack!! Ah well, one door shuts and another one opens. The door that opened took the form of the ‘Marine Walk’ above Fishguard. I could have missed this bit out, (an easy option when you're tired and/or footsore), but I'm not one to shirk and I'm glad I didn't. I don't remember ever having heard more birds in one place all singing at once. Coupled with the strong sunlight, it was perfection. I climbed out of Fishguard, pausing to watch the ferry coming in, and on to Carnfathach. Again words fail me to describe the beauty and majesty of this coastline. Everything around me was either blooming, buzzing or singing, and some of the places they chose to do it defied gravity. As I was walking round to Aber Felin cove, I noticed a colony of birds perched on a cliff face. One in particular took my attention. It stood sort of tall, and I cursed at not having any binoculars. I wondered if it was a Guillemot or something similar. Curiosity got the better of me (no, I didn't ‘descend the slope’) and I clapped my hands. What happened next stunned me! It was a Peregrine Falcon, and it soared, twisted and dived in a display of aeronautics I had never before witnessed, all the time it emitting its screaming cry to add to the excitement. It was like a jet plane among biplanes as it masterfully threaded through the flock of gulls. I watched for ages before moving on.

I rounded the cliffs and dropped sharply into a wooded glade called Cym Felin. A right little garden of Eden, this is. I stood the camera on a tree and set the self-timer so I could be included in paradise. I followed the rising path out of the valley and up to Carregwasted Point. 1,200 Frenchmen landed here in 1797, in what was to become known as ‘the last invasion of Great Britain’. They landed here because they had seen an Englishman standing on the point, but it was a trap... there were two more in the bushes!!!!
I continued on along the coast and when I reached Penrhyn, saw the most romantic, solitary cottage nestling into the niche at the top of the cove. A well-kept, whitewashed little gem, it is. I envied its owners and returned to my goal. On my way to Strumble Head, I rounded an inaccessible cove with high cliffs surrounding it called ‘Porthsych’. A woman stopped me and pointed out a seal basking lazily on the rock below. At last I had seen one! Then, just like buses, another three or four appeared at once! I watched them for a while, feeling smug that I had at last seen them, before pushing on to Strumble Head. At this point the weather changed... just like that. Clouds rolled in, and I could see the prospect of one of Pwll Deri's famous sunsets sinking without trace (no pun intended). The couple of miles to the hostel were spent watching visibility decrease and the weather close in. As more and more coastline was swallowed up, I knew the rain was coming. The question was, would I beat it? The first spots prompted a spurt from me and I just reached the Hostel as it came. I walked in at about 4.30pm, and it hasn't stopped since! I hope it clears for tomorrow, as I'm making for St. David's over twenty miles away... Oh, my poor feet!!
Saturday 22nd May -- Pwll Deri to Whitesands (LLAETHDY) Youth Hostel.

Pwll Deri bay.

I spent an enjoyable evening in the hostel, talking to a couple of French girls. Their English was not too good. Their Welsh was even worse and they thought that ‘Pwll Deri’ meant ‘Paint brush’. I told them to tell the slightly eccentric warden Rick, but he was engrossed in the T.V. Coronation Street). Rick had amused me earlier, as when it began raining, the roof of the conservatory (which served as the Common Room) started leaking. I told Rick, and he whipped out several large plastic ice cream pots and placed them strategically around the floor. One by one, as the rain got harder, Rick proved how well he knew his hostel. The drops hit dead centre of the pots, and not one hosteler got wet!!!!
After a restless night, for no reason as I was quite warm and comfortable, I awoke at about 6.00 a.m. I arose quietly and made my breakfast. I had porridge, three scrambled eggs with mushrooms, and three slices of toast. The rain was still coming down -- not so hard, but there all the time. I decided to cock a snook at it, and put on my shorts. I put three layers on top, tee shirt, sweat shirt and Gore-tex coat. I managed to get away at about 8.15 a.m. The wind was gusty and strong at times but the rain was spit-spotty and never actually managed to soak me through. I think coastal rain is generally like that, as opposed to mountain rain. I suppose that could be called ‘rain with attitude’. There is the story of the Cumbrian farmer who went out in the morning and drove 50 fence posts into the ground. He went home for his lunch, during which time it rained, and when he got back out the rain had driven the posts a further six inches into the ground!!! I digress. My feet felt pretty good today, and I decided I was through the ‘pain barrier’. I walked along, taking a few photo's back towards Pwll Deri and its lonely situation, and I was very happy. I was grinning away inanely as I walked and thought; ‘I can take walking in this weather’. It's bracing... even stimulating.
As I rounded Carn Ogof, which is a fine viewpoint, I noticed the path drop downwards again towards Pwllcrochan, Aber Mawr and Aber Bach. On this stretch I encountered several of the most user-friendly stiles I've ever seen. The top bar is hinged, and has the word 'codwch' (lift) on it, and you just lift it and, Hey Presto! An easily negotiable low stile... BRILLIANT!! Simple things are so often the most impressive.
At 9.35 the sun decided to say ‘hello’. I quickly discarded my sweatshirt and coat, slipping my fleece over the T-shirt underneath. The fleece didn't last fifteen minutes `till I was back to tee shirt and shorts. The wind was quite strong but warm. A cheerful wind trying to make the most of the day. Clarity and distance vision improved quite a lot at this stage and I was able to take some long-shot photo's of distant headlands. If I had been concerned about the paths nearness to the edge yesterday, today had it beat by miles!! Coupled with the gusty offshore wind, it had me worried a few times. There are also a few landslips on this section and I took a photo' of one where the path had just dropped away. I was joined on my left by a stone wall. It went a good distance alongside the path, and must have taken some building. The guy who had done the cementing had etched into it: ‘The Great Wall of China’ -- honest!!. I didn't see it as great, it just served to unsettle me more than usual because I couldn't help feeling that the land on my side was in imminent danger of slipping into the sea far below, leaving the wall but taking me with it! Irrational, I know, but that's how it felt.
It was 11.15am and so far I hadn't seen a living soul all day. I dropped into Abercastle and saw the proverbial; ‘one man and his dog’ and that was the only life I came across there. The path again wound upwards towards an impressive peninsula called Pen Castel Coch, which drew me so well that I neglected to leave the path to inspect the Carreg Samson Stone, which I meant to do.

Carreg Sampson cromlech

 I was well past it before I realised and reluctantly carried on. The stone wall which joined me on my left had been colonised by the most abundant display of sea pinks I had ever seen (photo'). There were so many that they almost totally obliterated the wall. More of the previous frights followed now, as the path again came precariously close to the spectacular drops. When the path again headed down, it was towards Trefin. I inspected the beach and soon decided to tackle the short climb to the magic letters on the map (P.H.). Within minutes I was in the Ship Inn, enjoying a pint and a very passable curry.
A short while later I passed through a very pretty area called ‘Pwllcrochan’. Pembrokeshire seems to hold dozens of these ‘secret’ places. They seem so pretty and undisturbed that you always imagine that you are one of the few who know about it. I next came to a sleepy little harbour called Porth Gain. There was a pub here, noteworthy if only for the fact that I managed to pass it!! There was much derelict evidence of when the place was involved in Pembrokeshire's somewhat stunted industrial revolution. I followed an old quarry road and ended up -- guess where? Yep! in an old quarry. I had to backtrack a short way, as the sides were steep... too steep to scramble up, anyway. I passed through Abereiddy and back up to the cliffs where I met eleven people -- that's a record. I'm not surprised this coast is rife with smugglers, as you never see anybody!!! I met a foursome having a rest and a bite to eat.

The guy I first spoke to (Ron, on the left) told me he used to be an electrician at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, but had decided to ‘drop out’. Nice work, if you can get it! I was going to quiz him on the intricacies of such a venture, until he told me that he had sold a 500-year-old cottage (complete with inglenook fireplace) to finance the venture. Oh well, work on Monday!
After a while I decided to press on, as my feet were getting very sore. I said cheerio and pushed on, turning occasionally to watch them climbing up towards Penberry Hill. The path proper skirts around the lower slopes of Penberry, hugging the coast. As you round Penberry you imagine you can see St. David’s Head -- you can, but not all of it! This bit of the path is visually as stunning, if not more so, than the rest of the path, but I found it very cruel. False summit followed false summit and when I did eventually reach the cairn at the top, my feet were giving me hell. This definitely detracted from my enjoyment of an otherwise idyllic place. I sat right on the end of the headland and ate and drank whilst staring out to sea, trying to catch sight of the Dolphins or Porpoises that the author of my guide said I may be lucky enough to spot. I think I'll become the author of a guide... you seem to see all the best things when you're ‘official’. The sun on the sea was beautiful and I could see why it inspired so many to wax lyrical.
3,000 year old stone circle on St Davids head.

 I enjoyed it for about half an hour before packing my sack and standing up (OUCH) to descend to Whitesands Bay. Did my feet really feel good this morning? At this moment I was wishing they were someone else's! I reached the bay at six o'clock. First job -- ring the hostel and book an evening meal, as there was no way I was venturing out again tonight! That job done, I set off to tackle the three quarters of mile or so to the hostel. I arrived hobbling on very painful feet and wasted no time in getting my boots off and having a shower. I just got to the dining room as my watch pipped 7 o'clock. I dined alone. There was one other guest booked in, but he was out (if you get my meaning). The food was typical Y.H.A. fare, homely and filling. I love this type of cooking. The soup was full of grated carrot and other fresh veg’, accompanied by a lump of my favourite brown bread. Chilli and rice with cabbage (a deadly combination) was the main course and the sweet was apple pie and custard, followed by a cup of tea... all for less than £4 -- lovely!!! Later, as I was doing my washing, the other chap came in. We chatted about the path and both our plans before repairing to the common room where I am now sitting. There is a real air of tranquillity here. I've got bare feet, which feel a BIT better, and it's 9.40pm, but as soon as I've done this diary and written a few postcards, I'm off to bed. I'm planning to have pasta and porridge for breakfast (it's an experiment).

Sunday 23rd May -- Whitesands to Newgale Beach.

Another ‘fitful’ night spent in the Youth Hostel. This time I have something to blame -- the rain. It has been lashing down all night, waking me several times. I got up at 6.00am dashed across the yard to the members kitchen and made my breakfast, which consisted of a lovely bowl of sweet steaming porridge and the remaining three eggs, scrambled on four toast.. (You didn't REALLY think I would have pasta and porridge did you???) The rain seemed to have abated a little, so I went to the dorm' and packed up my stuff. I said goodbye to the only other resident and set off at about 8.05a.m. Now I had offered up a prayer: ‘Please God, if we're going to have rain - let it be at night’. I didn't realise He would take me so seriously. Before I had reached the end of the track from the Youth Hostel to the road, hot sunshine had made me remove my fleece. By the time I had reached the bay, my ‘bar towel on a rope’ was coming into play. Just to side-track for a minute, this is one of my better ideas. Steve Adams, a mate who runs a pub, had given me this to mop my fevered brow in 1991 when I did the Offa's Dyke path. The towel has now done that, plus the Coast to Coast and, if all goes according to plan, will do the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path. The idea of dangling it on a bit of string is that it is always easily to hand, plus it dries in the breeze as you walk. Every hiker should have one. (Try and get a ‘real ale’ one , as it is much more ‘au fait’).
I turned left and followed the road above the beach, as the tide was in. I looked back across the bay and saw the most wonderful thing... a rainbow had formed and as I looked, it went from the left headland in a full arc, falling just short of St. David Head. The perfect start to a day.
I rose up a sandy track, surprising a very young rabbit, which ran left, then right before heading right at me. It shot past me less than a foot from my leg. If I'd a mind I think I could have grabbed it, but I didn't try. My feet were already causing some concern as they felt as bad now as they had the night before. This in itself didn't worry me too much, but what did worry me was that they were feeling worse by the minute. By now I was walking on flat, open paths so in desperation I changed to the fabric boots I had in my sack. The relief was instant and all day they improved. All I must hope for now is dry weather or I will be forced to wear the leather boots and, although they are a year old and nearly worn out, it's obvious they just do not suit my feet. I decided I must get some new ones when I get back home.
With a new spring in my step, I pressed on, negotiating numerous stiles bearing the now familiar and most welcome ‘CODWCH’ sign. This means ‘lift’ in the local lingo, and other park authorities would do well to copy these stiles. Without a doubt it is the best design I have every seen. I rounded the point of St. John and immediately noticed that the sea was very turbulent just offshore. The last time I saw anything like this was off Portland Bill lighthouse in Dorset. As I approached St Justinians Bay, I noticed a load of divers with a truckload of the paraphernalia attached to their particular sport. It is a very steep drop to the ‘beach’ under the lifeboat house, so I was intrigued as to how they were going to get the tackle down there. It was just then that I noticed the ingenious device next to them. It was a metal tub on rails. An engine in a little shed was started up, and proceeded to lower all the stuff effortlessly to the bottom... no problem! As I continued on, looking out for Castle Heinif, I saw the most unusual thing, a Wren sitting on top of a gorse bush, singing it's head off. Usually these little birds are very secretive and hide themselves away in the undergrowth, but this one really must have had something to sing about, and was letting the world know. A rare treat indeed. I also disturbed an Oyster Catcher, which flew away screaming it's call, which I like a lot as it is so much like my favourite bird, the Curlew.
I reached Pen Dal-Aderyn and saw the cause of the turbulence I had noticed earlier. Ramsey Sound was racing like a river. Obviously, when the tide is running, this is a dangerous place. The water was visibly racing left to right, and boiling and swirling at the edges. I took another picture of a portion of the path that looked in imminent danger of slipping into the maelstrom below. Also, some exceptional views of the Southern cliffs of Ramsey Island were committed to film, along with ‘the bitches’, a collection of rocks at, and just above, the surface of the water. I can imagine how they got their name, as they must be perilous to the unsuspecting mariner.
The day was becoming increasingly warm, but the previous nights rains were causing a distant haze, which negated any long distance photography. A shame really, for as far as I could tell, the views must be terrific when it's clear. I walked down into Porth Lysga, where edible sea Kale grows, but decided to wait until I got to Solva for some fish and chips instead! I took a picture of the old Augusta lifeboat house (circa. 1869) and set off upwards once again. It was 10.40 and I saw my fist walkers of the day. The next loss of height was due to Porth Clais where I watched the antics of a couple of learner canoeists trying manoeuvres.
As I approached St. Nons church and well, I considered dipping my feet in it, as it is famed as a healing well, but by now my feet were feeling a lot better so I continued.
St Nons church.

 After Caer Bwdy (a real war-like Welsh name, that), I came across four bodies sprawled out among the flowers just off the path. On closer inspection, they turned out to be alive (just!). It was the ‘fearsome foursome’ I had encountered yesterday at St Davids. We chatted and joked for a while (a good excuse for me to have a rest and a drink). I promised to send them a copy of this diary and they gave me their address. As I resumed my walk, I looked back at them... they looked like four students of Yoga, in an advanced state of relaxation.
The next couple of miles were spent dreaming of fish and chips in Solva and marvelling at even more superb examples of geology, natural arches (yawn) and slippage. I saw the remains of a tug Ron had told me to look out for, but didn't take a picture as there was so little of it left. I approached Solva and decided to make for the upper part of town, a mistake as there were no shops, no chip shop, and only one pub, which was closed up and for sale. I would recommend you to drop straight down to the quay side as there is a pub, the Ship, that does a very good chilli. I settled for this when I realised it was Sunday and the chippy, if there was one, wasn't going to be open and I would have to perpetuate my fish and chip dream for at least another day.
Solva harbour.

(N.B. No chip shop at Solva, and pub in upper Solva has since re-opened). As Solva fell behind me, I dropped into Gwadn and it's picturesque sewage farm! After this, I wished I had a felt tip pen with me. Plenty of footpath arrows here (in all directions), but not a ‘Coast path’ one among them, so I became temporarily deviated (not a pretty sight). All it would take is ‘PCP’ on the right signs to remedy things. It's such a shame this bit of neglect is apparent, as on the whole the rest of the path so far is faultlessly marked. I passed the peninsulas of Pen Dinas and Dinas Fach before catching my first glimpse of the glittering golden expanse of Newgale Sands. I was supposed to leave the path at Penycym Bay to 'phone my B&B host for the night, but the best laid plans of mice and men, etc. My sore feet were being drawn inexorably towards that cool, refreshing and restorative surf foot spa in front of me. As a sort of ‘admission charge’ there were a couple of stiff climbs to negotiate, the one out of Penycym being the hardest. I climbed up the hillside, via those annoying steps that always seem to be one and half paces apart, skirted around Pwll March, and dropped to the sands with not a moment to spare.
I took off my boots and socks and walked, albeit a little painfully as the sand was hard, towards the inviting waves. AHH... sweet bliss. Just close your eyes for a minute and imagine the satisfaction I got from that moment. I was a child again, splashing and jumping in the waves, and it was Soooo cool! I walked very leisurely Southeast along the beach. I chatted with a couple of local sea anglers who told me that the beach changed it's characteristics at regular intervals. Sandy, stony, rocky, peaty and sea-weedy after certain weather conditions. As Ken Cross, my B&B host, so eloquently put it; -- ‘The most wonderful moving picture I have ever seen’. I had reached Newgale a lot quicker than I had estimated, due to a mileage miscalculation, but this was no bad thing as it turned out, because I enjoyed an hours paddling in the sunshine, after which I sat and wrote a few postcards. When I was ready, I rang the Cross residence as I was being spoiled and picked up. Ken duly arrived and we set off to ‘The White House’. He is opening a Youth Hostel in mid 1993, and showed me around the nearly-completed structure. It will be one of the nicest hostels I've ever seen. Everything well planned and executed. He well deserves to succeed, and my hopes and best wishes are with him to do so. He then showed me into the house... WOW!!! That's the only word I can think of to describe my first impression of the place. Ken and Pat are well-travelled people and this is reflected in the furnishings and decoration. A truly fascinating house with an interesting and/or unusual object wherever you look. Evening meal was at 7pm so I went upstairs to shower and change. My room was in keeping with the rest of the house, and I felt I was dirtying the place by just being there. When I went downstairs, another couple, Leonard and Helen, were present. Apparently, tonight was a bridge dinner party night, and to my astonishment I was included. This was typical of the welcome so far. We all sat together at the large dining table with Ken at the head, and a most convivial evening was had by all. I was treated to a sumptuous meal accompanied by a couple of glasses of good red wine. After dinner, I sat to write the diary whilst Ken and Pat bowed to a couple of rubbers of bridge. God once again heard my prayer, and spent the night issuing thunderbolts, lightning flashes and torrents of water.
This morning looks a bit changeable, but the wind is warm. After a really smashing breakfast (which Ken was denied by ‘weightwatchers’ A.K.A. Pat) I decided that I must have hit on some sort of ‘buy two -- get one free’ promotion by Pat and Ken, as either one was worth what I had paid, but all three??? This is value for money gone mad. Allied with the very warm welcome, this is one B&B I'll never forget and I can wholly recommend you try it (but watch out for Ken's 'beanfeasts' if staying in the hostel). Oh dear... I think it's just started to rain again. ( N.B. Hostel has since opened, plus second hostel building, and is doing a roaring trade).
Monday 24th May -- Newgale to St. Brides Haven

I was dropped back at Newgale Sands by Ken and, after discussing the impending weather, we shook hands and parted. I set off, ever the optimist, wearing shorts and tee shirt and fleece. Ten minutes later on went the coat. I was wearing the leather boots and my feet were already feeling touchy, so I stopped and applied plasters to all the sore spots. This gave a degree of comfort and I carried on. The sky was becoming more and more cloudy. Cumulus clouds formed heavily in the South, heaped up like huge wool packs in picturesque disorder, (that sounds lovely, but the truth is I stole that bit from a record - (Journey to the centre of the Earth.) Anyway, the rain started to clatter on my coat, so I donned the full Gore-tex suit. At this point I saw my first ‘full path’ walker. An Australian he was, and as we chatted, the thunder started to roll, accompanied by the odd flash of lightning. This seemed to disconcert him a lot, so he scurried off down towards the safety of Newgale. I pressed on around Rickets head and, just as I passed this point, the heavens opened and I became involved in one of the most spectacular and frightening storms of my life. Spectacular for the ferocity of the rain... it pounded the Gore-tex into complete submission, drenching me in warm rain in the process. Also the light show would have rivalled any rock concert. The headlands around me were being struck at regular intervals and I was frightened that if I was hit, I would be a goner, as I was wet through. The air was so charged with static that my hair felt like it was standing on end. The thunder made the ground quake and I learned later that a record amount of rain had fallen in that short space of time. When it finally abated, I was relieved, but also glad to have been a part of it (now it was over). My arms were smarting where the rain had stung them but I wasn't cold. I skirted Nolton Haven and steadily re-gained height. The rain was slowing up now and the sun was trying to break through. I began to get uncomfortably muggy so, as I re-joined the path near Druidstone, I took off my wet things. I followed the path South, past the best examples so far of erosion. Great big portions of the land were currently slipping, or had slipped, into the ocean. I thanked my lucky stars that I hadn't been on this section during the storm. I think the storm was partly caused by my dismissal yesterday of coastal rain as gentle, I mentally took back all I had said to try and appease the Gods of coastal rain.
The path is very overgrown in places, and this next bit is one of those places. I had to decide whether to get wet feet, as the grass caressed my legs with it's wet fingers, or whether to don my waterproof trousers. It was the Devil and the deep blue sea syndrome; both were uncomfortable in different ways. As I was walking along trying to make up my mind, another walker hove into view. “You're gonna get very wet legs” was his opening gambit. When I asked how far the path was overgrown for, he told me and I immediately ferreted in my sack for my over trousers. He carried on talking to me, and talk about one foot in the grave!!! “These cliffs aren't as steep/spectacular as Cornwall, the path was too muddy and the weather was awful”. His ‘companion’ (who was just catching up with him) ‘was too slow, and insisted on packing too much stuff in her sack’. He said they'd got enough first aid stuff to perform a lobotomy. It wasn't me who wanted a lobotomy, I thought. As she (the ‘companion’) drew up, I noticed the poor woman’s expression. He then proceeded to go through the ‘I try to tell her, but will she listen’ routine, whilst all the time she just looked around with that resigned hang-dog expression. I made my excuses and we parted company. When I looked back, he was striding out and she was plodding along, already about thirty yards behind -- some ‘companion’.
At Broad Haven I could see my fish and chips fantasy making a resurgence. I popped into the tourist info' office, had my walk card stamped, and asked if I could get fish and chips anywhere. I was told I had a choice. They were good at the local cafe and at the local pub. Did the cafe serve beer I wondered? I wondered for about two seconds, before setting off for the pub. I noticed that the tide was ebbing, and deduced that by the time I had fulfilled my dream (and my belly), I would be able to walk across the sands to Little Haven. The fish and chips were a dream come true. The batter was crispy, accompanied by nice, crispy chips served with a flourish of ‘enjoy’ by the chef. I gobbled them up with gusto, and set off into the improving weather. The following section of the walk was very welcome. Woodland and lots of bird song. I was now able to identify some of the familiar songs I was hearing. I met up with a couple who were on holiday in the area. More like a normal couple, I slowed the pace to continue the chat with them. It was their first time in Pembrokeshire too, and they were as enthusiastic about it as I was. When we reached Borough Head, we parted company. The coast resumed its wild, rugged appearance, and the path snuggled up close to it. I passed three little inlets -- Brandy Bay, Dutch Gin and Foxes Holes. I took photo's of a rock outcrop just off the coast named Stack Rocks, which incidentally is the name of a locally owned race horse, before I came upon what looked like the impression of a Tudor cross in red stone, cemented to a white rock. Was this part of the sculpture by Alan Ayres, the artist I thought? I looked at it, then looked at the coastal cliffs, and soon decided that, when it comes to sculpture, nature won hands down.
I came upon the peaceful and pretty haven of St. Brides, named after the Irish Saint, Bridget. I had a look around the quaint and well kept churchyard before going in to the church itself. It is very serene and calm in there, and there are some very interesting tombstones ( of which I took photo's). I left the church and walked the short way to the 'phone box. Surprisingly for this part of the world, the `phone box had been vandalised and was full of litter. However, the `phone was working and I rang Merv' Hopkins and, five minutes later, was picked up by Sue, who was driving a ‘proper’ land rover - all muddy!. Merv' was the farm manager here at Lower Broadmoor Farm, and later that evening, after I'd been to Little Haven for a meal, we sat and chatted and he told me the story of how he'd got into farming. You should get him to tell it to you, if you're ever that way anytime. Its enough to make you chase your own dreams. At about 11.30 we went to bed (?). I woke up at about 5am and did a bit of writing. It's now 7.15am and I'm ready for breakfast.
Tuesday 25th May -- St. Brides Haven to Dale
I came downstairs early this morning and sat chatting with Merv' for awhile, mainly about village life and what they get up to when ‘us tourists’ have gone. A little later Sue came down and cooked breakfast, which included some lovely smoked bacon and, for a nice change, scrambled eggs. I commented on the unpasteurised milk (which I like), but was told that soon things would change. I had heard the same sort of story all along the path. Someone else told me that in future all butter, marmalade, jam etc would have to be served in those little individual pots. Now I am all for some sort of ‘body’ looking out for the punters, but it seems that ‘they’ (whoever ‘they’ may be) are turning the screws a little too much. I had seen litter in the form of those individual pots dropped on the path. I believe that another thing B&B's will have to do is have two kitchens so they can cook guests meals and their own separate from one another. I'm glad I'm doing this walk now, as with all this beaurocracy, there won't be anywhere to stay soon! Right, I'll step down from the pulpit now. Sue told me one final story, from when they lived and farmed in Guernsey. Sue was the head teacher of the school (six kids -- two of them hers). and Merv' farmed. Sue tried to give the kids as much of an interesting and exciting time as she could, as there wasn't the diversity of activity there was on the mainland.
I said goodbye to Merv', and Sue drove me back to St Brides Haven, where she pointed out some very old stone coffins that had been exposed by the erosion. We said our good-byes, and I set off... `up `ards!'
Weather wise, this was not a very good walking day. It was hot and close, and visibility was very low. Just after Nab Head I saw my first Buzzard. It flew away quietly, not calling, as I walked towards the rock face it had been sitting on. A big brown and black bird it was, very graceful in flight. It flew further up the coast, and I didn't see it again.
I reached Martins Haven, where boat trips to the offshore islands go from, but I didn't stop to use the service. This had been one attraction I had been really looking forward to, but the visibility was so poor that it would have been a total waste of money. There was still a small queue of people more optimistic than me though. I explored the deer park and cursed the weather once again, as the views from here must be extensive when it's clear. I re-joined the national trail and headed South East, passing yet more examples of serious erosion, before coming to Deadmans Bay. Nothing really that interesting (no dead men, etc.) so I pushed on.
Marloes sands.

I reached Marloes Sands, supposedly one of the most beautiful in Pembrokeshire. Today it looked very drab in the mist and fine rain. There were a few hardy souls down there ‘sunbathing’ in their sou'westers and wellies. The rain, which got steadily harder, decided me to don the over trousers. Again, the path was heavily overgrown here, and my leather boots found the combination of the current downpour and the kiss of the wet grass too much, and they too began to leak. By the time I reached Westdale Bay it was bucketing down. I was a bit hungry and wet, so I decided to cut Eastwards and explore Dale. I crossed the stile, after watching three lads surfing for a while, and followed the trail across the fields to Dale. I walked past a long row of what looked like council houses before reaching a stone commemorating Henry Tudors landing and subsequent victory at Bosworth Field. Shortly after, I reached the beach. After noting the shop was closed for lunch, I walked round to the pub with the rain now bouncing off me. A prominent notice on the door said ‘No wet suits -- wet or dry’. I tentatively poked my head around the door and asked if I constituted a ‘wet suit’? No I didn't, and was bade enter and make myself comfortable by the landlady and bar staff.
I had something to eat and drink and, as it was still ‘stair rods’ outside, sat down in a comfy chair to do some serious postcard writing. I chatted and joked with the staff for a while and when, at 4pm, the rain finally stopped, I took my sack to my B&B (which was next door but one) and set off to explore Dale point and St. Anns Head. ‘The book’ said it would take about three hours to get all the way round, but without my sack, the pace was effortless. ‘Consummate’ and ‘ease’ are the words which spring to mind. Going uphill felt as easy as downhill and I revelled in my own power. Although my legs were again being drenched by the undergrowth, I felt very happy. There's something about the way rain purifies the air that makes it so good to walk in afterwards and fill your lungs with the heady stuff. St Ann’s is a lovely little peninsula, with some unexpected sandy beaches and beauty spots. Mind you, Mill Bay isn't one of them. A Black, foul smelling ‘stream’ was running into the sea here. The stench was awful, and I wondered what it must smell like when the weather was warm. I pushed on quickly. I passed St Anns Head and paused at a small sign pointing to ‘The Vomit (only)’. Intrigued, I followed it. I was glad I did because, after all the outstanding rock formations I have seen so far, this is far and away the most impressive. I took the inevitable photo' and set off back towards Dale.
The Western side of St Ann’s is straight from pre-history. I marvelled at it as I walked along. Again the path is close to the edge in places, so care is needed. Someone had been on this part of the path with a strimmer, and it was nice to follow a wide swathe through the undergrowth. Soon I came to the same stile I had crossed earlier (I did St Ann’s ‘backwards’), I re-crossed it and re-entered Dale village. The B&B I'm staying at tonight is a bit strange. The sitting room downstairs is like something out of Victorian times, and I half expected to hear a large clock giving off a slow TICK-TOCK-TICK-TOCK.
The bedroom itself is a depressing place, old, and the sort of paint job used in penal establishments. No shower in the bathroom, but a HUGE bath, with scratches in so deep they left a pattern on my bum!! Loads of hot water though, so I performed my ablutions and got changed into my ‘evening gear’. It's never a problem, knowing what to wear on these walks. If it's warm tee-shirt and track suit bottoms. If it's a bit cool, then it's the sweatshirt and same tracksuit bottoms. The only other alternative is anything that doesn't smell too badly yet!
Another friendly welcome awaited me at the Griffin Inn, and I spent the night talking to Sarah, the Landlords daughter, and a local chap who sat at the bar. I love talking to the locals as you can find out so much about the place and you feel more at ease. The main thing I've noticed is the overall friendliness all along the Pembrokeshire path . It really makes you feel welcome when people immediately talk to you. There is limited B&B in Dale, but it might be worth giving the Griffin a ring, as there are several farmhouses that have started doing B&B in the area. I retired to my drab abode for the night, and soon sank into slumber. Breakfast the next morning was quite passable and after eating, I shouldered my sack and set off.

Wednesday 26th May -- Dale to Pembroke Dock.
WHEW! It might be a long way to Tipperary, but it's a bloody long way to Pembroke Dock from Dale as well!! My luck ran out with the tides today. I noticed as soon as I set off that the sea was lapping at the walls on the front. I had to take two long inland detours, firstly to get around ‘The Gann’, and then to get to the other side of Sandy Haven. I reckon I've done at least 25 miles today. Still, I'm here now, washed shaved and fed, and I feel a lot better. When I set out for Pembroke Dock this morning, it was the first time I had worn tracksuit bottoms to walk in. I am usually more comfortable with shorts, but there was a cool Southwesterly blowing, so I thought it prudent. Before long though, I changed the arrangement to shorts and waterproof bottoms, as the grass was really wet. I followed the detour to Mullock, then down to the deserted Slate Hill Farm. I found and took the Southern footpath, although I wondered at first if it was a path as it had been ploughed and set right up to the edge of the field. When I reached the bottom of the field, finger posts told me I was right, and something should be said to that farmer!
I re-joined the path at Musselwick and carried on to Monk Haven. In amongst the trees, I heard a bird singing that was far from common. I had heard it one or two times before on this walk. It was a very melodious song, a bit like a cross between a Sparrow and a Canary. At Watch House Point I took two of the few photo's I've taken today. A Victorian ‘folly’ stands on the headland, and I thought it worth a snap. I also captured a lane lined with Foxgloves. The breeze was still strong now, but pleasant and welcome. The tall crops to my left were sculpted into some lovely patterns by it. The rain decided to turn up the juice, and I was forced to sheet up against it with the full suit. By the time I got to Sandy Haven it was coming even harder. I laughingly checked the tide situation and turned up the road to head for Herbrandstone. As I was walking through an avenue of trees, the sound of the rain was amplified and sounded quite loud and heavy. On my left I saw a covered brick shelter with the legend, ‘livestock weighing machine’ written on a board above it. I though this was a good place to ‘weight’ for the rain to steady off, so I stood under it and had a bite to eat and a drink. I looked at my watch... 11.45am already. I made a decision. ‘If it hasn't stopped by 12 o'clock, I thought, ‘I'm going’. ‘PIP-PIP’, went my watch at 12 o'clock, and as if to order... it stopped!! (the rain, not the watch). Off I set, plod, plod, plod, up the old tarmac strip. I admit I put my thumb out at several cars, but I didn't get the offer of a lift, so my conscience is clear. As I re-joined the trail at the other side of Sandy Haven, I noticed to my great chagrin that the tide was now sufficiently ebbed to afford a crossing. If I lived in Sandy Haven, I would open a cafe and explain to walkers like myself that they could sit and have a nice cup of tea and a scone whilst the tide receded, or walk on roads for about 3½ miles to pass the time instead. I would make a fortune.
The Esso refinery is closed and, although it looks horrendous on the map, you see little of it while walking. The old gun emplacements are worth looking at though. The guns they held must have been monstrous, judging by the mounts. I entered the suburbs of Milford Haven and, after crossing the bridge, went into the tourist info' office. The lady told me what I needed to know and I set about getting some cash, buying a few new supplies, and sorting my appetite out. I had a meal in a cafe just down the road, and I must have presented a pathetic sight, sitting there dripping on the floor. I was wet right through but again, not really cold. As I left the cafe, I was pleasantly surprised to find it had stopped raining but I kept my wet clothes on to let the wind ‘blow-dry’ them. As the rain had again penetrated the ‘state of the art’ Gore-Tex, I resigned myself to the fact that they still hadn't perfected the waterproof/breathable idea... not when it's used ‘out in the field’ anyway.
After crossing Black Bridge, (which was, err, black) I walked up the road and then headed South down the track to Venn. National Parks Authorities please go to the next paragraph, as you're not going to like this! At the end of the track, the path goes S/E through a field. The path line is completely non-existent here. When you get to the finger post at the other side, a very slippery simple wooden bridge has to be crossed; I would even class it as dangerous in wet weather. A little chicken wire wouldn't go amiss here. After the bridge, you have to negotiate a short upward section through what can only be described as a bog. It is so wet and glutinous, and ankle deep in places, but the worst part is that there is no escaping it, as the track is lined with cruel prickly bushes (I finished up with hands full of thorns). Surely a few stones or some lime chippings, anything would be better than the impassable state it is in now. Just twenty or so paving slabs would do the trick. I'd even volunteer to lay them. After this extremely disagreeable section, you bear right to skirt around another oil refinery. The surface underfoot is shale until it goes into the fields again. There is no real path line but it isn't a problem, as you follow the wire fence on the left. Hazelbeach is not a bad place, Llanstadwell too with it's lovely church. If you keep your eyes peeled, there is a quaint Victorian post-box (said in ‘the book’ to be the only one left in Wales). It's just behind a lamppost before you drop down to the right to go to Brunel Quay. I followed Westfield Pill until I reached the Pill Bridge. A muscle-tearing climb up a track gained me access to the Bridge. I crossed it and followed the road to the impressive Cleddau Bridge. The road sign ‘Pembroke Dock -- 2½ miles’ hurts a bit, especially when your feet are sore (I'd been walking for about 9 hours now, and still one to go). At west Llanion I passed (well, nearly) the Welshman's Arms pub. I called in for a swift one, and the landlord asked me where I was staying. I told him ‘Roxana Guest House’ and he asked me how much they charged. When I told him £13, he told me his was £12.50. I'd already booked and paid a deposit, so there was no way I was altering my plans. I'm glad that it never crossed my mind, as Roxana is a very comfortable, cheery place. When I arrived at it, I was greeted by the daughter, whom I had spoken to earlier on the phone, accompanied by their dog (I hadn't spoken to the dog on the phone).
While I explained who I was, and the usual exchanges of what time breakfast was, etc, the collie was putting its nose in every embarrassing place he could! I tried to placate it with a friendly pat or two, which quickly developed into pushing it's probing nose away from my groin... then it went round the back of me!! No matter what the daughter or I did, this dog was determined to sniff every inch of me. I don't know who was the more embarrassed... me or the daughter! She offered a lame excuse about ‘having the dog done soon’, meanwhile Rover sank to even lower levels... he must have liked what he smelt, as he started ‘having at go’ at my leg!!!! In total disgrace he was dragged through a door and dispatched downstairs (I'm sure he gave me a wink as he went). The door was closed on him, much to my and the daughters relief! She finally showed me my room and I unpacked and did a bit of washing. Later I had a bath (loads of hot water) and the daughter dried some washing for me in the tumble drier. There was lots of tea/coffee making stuff, and even the first telly I'd seen since starting the walk. (There were others, but I didn't watch them). Along with a very fair price, I put Roxana right up there with the ‘nice places’ I've stayed in. I'm staying in tonight -- I'm ready for a rest. I'm off to Angle tomorrow which is only about 15 miles away.
My bed feels really comfortable, the room is nice and warm so I'm off to bed, its 10.30 zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Thursday 27th May -- Pembroke Dock to Angle Village.

6.00a.m. - bright and sunny. 7.00 a.m. - getting cloudy. ‘Here we go’ I thought, ‘another soaking on the way’. By the time I had been served a sumptuous breakfast, by a very congenial Mr. Etherington, it all looked promising again. He told me that he had spent many nights in bed and breakfasts and, let me tell you, it shows. He certainly knows how to treat guests. He told me all about the Cleddau Bridge and, when I was ready to leave, he came outside to see me off (I'm sure I saw Rover waving too from a downstairs window!!)
I attracted some strange looks as I walked along in just tee shirt and shorts. It wasn't really warm yet, but it was showing promise. As I passed a row of cottages and set off into the first field, I met a farmer coming the other way. We stopped and whiled away a good half-hour. I got a potted history of the place, as his Father and Grandfather before him had farmed there. When I eventually got to Pembroke, I was really taken by the place. It's the sort of town I could have spent all day in. I went to the tourist office, had my card stamped and bought a couple of tee shirts for my children. The lady in there and myself had a laugh trying to communicate with a Czech' lad who was on a walking holiday. Between us we got across what he wanted to know, and I went on my way. I took pictures of the castle and some of the quaint old buildings before following the road outwards. The day was now extremely warm and the sun strong. I had my shadow for company as I headed west into the ‘Valley of Power’ where there are numerous large pylons in the fields around you. Just after Whim Cottage I attempted to cross a stile to further my progress. The stile was wet, it was slippery and for the first time on this walk, I completely lost control and crashed to the ground in a heap. No harm done, just a bad case of bruised pride. I picked myself up, cursed the stile, and continued along the most beautiful tree-lined avenue. When I reached a large lime kiln, I turned N/W and started to walk up what was described as the worst section of the coast path. Well, I take my hat off to the guides author, this really was muddy. The big difference though, between this section and the aforementioned section, is that on this bit you can escape! If you walk in the fields on your left, you can walk parallel to the track until the part where there is a stile. Re-join the track, and cross the stile. There is little mud here, as the farmer’s beasts can't get to this section. Where there is a ‘hairpin bend’ in the path, it crosses some water via a sleeper bridge. Here, a tree had fallen across the track, completely blocking the way. It took me a good while to get through and I realised that I was the first person to do so since the tree fell. When I got past the obstacle, further evidence was the overgrown state of the path beyond. No crushed grass and no boot marks in the mud... nothing. How had other walkers gone on? I made a mental note to ring the path wardens about it.
On the outskirts of Pwllcrochan I saw my first Orange Tip butterfly. I had read that there were many on the path, but this was the first time that I had seen one. I sat on a stile and watched it flitting from flower to flower. I had elevenses and continued. Just to the North of the Texaco refinery I went through a field, that contained an enormous bull! I was very nervous as he stared at me. There WERE heifers in the field with him, but as I was crossing the middle of the field (so there was no escape if he turned nasty) I was sweating and extremely edgy as I passed by him.
I next reached Bullwell Bay (apt name) and I noticed that the small beach was covered with thousands of seashells. As my daughter had asked me to bring her some shells back, I stopped for a while and collected a bag full and, I must say, I enjoyed this beach-combing interlude immensely.
After the bay (and for a while before it) the path runs through what would be a very tranquil wood, if it wasn't for the constant hum of the oil terminal ‘goings on’. What with the power station AND the refinery, unnatural noises were ever present on this section. As I was following the tarmac road around Popton Fort, day dreaming a bit, I was startled by the sound of an animals claws clattering on the road behind me. I spun round to see a large Labrador bearing down on me. I went into my best ‘good boy’ routine and, after circling me a couple of times; it turned away and left without so much as a bark.
After a few more steps I got my first view of Angle across the bay. I estimated about 1 - 1½ hours to get there. I walked at a medium pace, revelling in the cries of the many Oyster Catchers, enjoying the sunshine and what was described an ‘uncomfortable’ walk. If you pick your way it's not too bad. I left the beach and followed the estate path towards the village. I reached Angle church in exactly one hour. I sat on a bench and changed into my fabric boots. I had a meal in the local cafe and they kindly agreed to look after my sack while I walked around Angle Point. This will take about 1 - 1¼ hours, if walking briskly. I walked back down the road I had come up a short way, before swinging left to cross the inlet. I took a photo' of the Old Point House Pub, where the fire is reputed to have been burning for over 300 years without being let out. It was closed at the moment, but I may 'investigate' it later on. I next passed the new lifeboat station and gave a thought to the heroes who crew it before going on. I came past Thorn Island (bit of a ‘boozy’ reputation, this place... the talk of the village) and then descended into West Angle Bay. I took a couple of photo's and headed inland to retrieve my sack and find my B&B. I actually walked past it on the way back to the cafe, but didn't manage to identify it for certain. After I'd got my sack, I asked a local if he knew where Mrs Reece lived. He shot me a strange half-smile and said; ‘You can't miss it, just follow the noise of the dogs’. ‘Oh no’ I thought, ‘what have I got myself into this time’. I can now answer my own question with authority. It's a mixture of home and your Mum's house. Talk about falling on your feel!! Sylvia Reece is my kind of Mum! All fuss and look after -- and the home made cake...MMMMMM!!!! I don't think Chris, (Mr Reece) was too pleased, as what I had, he didn't! I can't say I blame him. Shortly after I arrived there was a knock on the door. It turned out to be a chap called Robert, the 2nd ‘full path’ walker I had met. He was tired, but had not booked ahead, and as accommodation in Angle is sparse, was struggling to find somewhere. Sylvia's mother instinct surfaced, and she just couldn't turn him away. She offered to let him sleep in her bed (stop it!) and she would have slept on the sofa I suppose. Anyway, as there were two singles in my room, I said he could have one of those and the situation was resolved. (I hope he doesn't snore). We went up to our room accompanied by yet more cake (scowls from Chris) and tea, and chatted. Sylvia kept us company for a while, before leaving us to get cleaned up and changed before going for a warm at the fire in the Old Point House Inn,
When we got there, there were about seven or eight men sitting around the fire, talking and laughing. A very nice and welcoming atmosphere. We ordered a couple of drinks and got chatting to a chap who was sitting at the bar. I'd noticed that there were a lot of pictures and artifacts in the pub that concerned lifeboats and so I asked if the life-boatmen ever came in for a drink. Little did I know I was in the company of the very heroes I had revered earlier. We stayed much longer than planned. They were so matter of fact about the job they do. I really enjoyed the patter with them. What with all this, and Sylvia, I could easily spend a lot more time in Angle. We called at the other pub on the way back, just to ‘check it out’ and for a game of pool. Once again we were made to feel like locals.
We had to be up early for breakfast, as Sylvia was going to Aqua-aerobics and wanted to get away. I didn't mind, as I like an early start, and Robert had to go around Dale Point as he had been too busy finding accommodation to do it last night. Breakfast again was fit for a king. New laid eggs and HOT toast, another dream fulfilled by the simplest method... bread and a toaster on the table! We both agreed, as we worked our way through breakfast, that these toast racks were invented to cool toast, not to serve it! Two very satisfied customers rose from THAT table, and we collected the clothes that Sylvia had kindly dried for us overnight, and went to pack. We got ready to leave. Robert set off to do the headland, whilst I sat to write this diary. I'm off to Stackpole today, and the famous lily ponds at Bosherston. I must say I'm sad to turn my back on Angle. If you go yourself, book early, as I suspect Sylvia and Chris are another very popular choice for folk to stay.

Friday 28th May -- Angle to Stackpole (Bosherston).

Well!!!! Where do I begin, to tell the story of how great today has been would take as long as it took to walk it. The day started late, about 9 o’clock, as I was busy writing this diary, having neglected it the previous evening. I walked up to West Angle Bay in cloudy, cool but not uncomfortable conditions. I took one or two photo's of the bay and the huge canon pointing out into it. I guessed Robert was still somewhere on the point so I walked at a steady pace knowing he would catch up with me. This happened quickly. Just before you get to the headland, having passed a sign telling you in no uncertain terms that you are on M.O.D. land, you come upon an unused M O.D. building. Now I've heard of doing things in triplicate, but this building is a joke! I think the M.O.D. must employ someone solely to put up signs, and here was evidence of him trying to justify his existence. Every single wall had a sign on it. Moments later Robert arrived and we stood laughing at it. The temperature was already rising and the sun getting stronger so I took off my fleece. The path again teetered on the edge of the cliffs. This section is very up and down, but Sylvia's breakfast was doing its job and we pressed effortlessly on. The cliffs seemed to be made from several types of rock. One minute it's solid, then it's crumbly, then it's red -- and the formation and strata waves stopped you dead in your tracks.
At East Pickard Bay, you are confronted by some prehistoric looking formations as you round the corner. It could be treacherous here, as your eyes are drawn to the signs in front of you, but the ground underfoot is uneven so a stumble is likely. We now saw Freshwater West. A breathtaking sight it was too, with the surf running and the sun glistening on the water. Our pace quickened and, at the first opportunity, we dropped to the beach. Off came the boots and it was paddle and photo' time again. I got caught by the ‘seventh wave’ (big one) and got a good soaking. I wasn't bothered though -- it was quite refreshing really. We walked the whole length of the beach, marvelling at the sand dunes. It wasn't until we got re-shod and left the beach that we saw the signs that told the sad story of Freshwater West -- bathing and surfing are unsafe due to strong undertows, and there are quick sands at the Northern end of the beach at low tide. This was where we had paddled but luckily the tide was high, so no problem. We inspected the last surviving seaweed drying hut, restored by the National Trust, and took to the tarmac again, as the M.O.D. ‘own’ the coast from here on for a few miles. (I have since found out that they are not averse to walkers crossing it, if supervised by an accredited leader. Write to the range officer for details). At Castlemartin we decided it was time for lunch.
We stopped at the only pub, a pretty and quaint pub inside, called the Blue Bird (or blue something) I think, but we opted to sit in the garden and eat the packed lunches that Sylvia had done for us. We sat in a little sun trap at the back of the pub, sipped our pints and ate the Tuna mayonnaise sandwiches, followed by a generous lump of that home made cake (Chris will be furious). We both toasted Sylvia and what must be the best value in Pembrokeshire, Bed breakfast and a packed lunch. £13.!!! You'll never be rich Sylvia, but you'll always be popular. We now tackled the long footsore slog along the tarmac to rejoin the coast. The map in the guide now switched to 1:50.000 scale, and it threw me totally. As my mind was attuned to 1:24.000 it took a lot longer than I thought it would. Bosherston range wasn't firing today, so we could go to the Green bridge of Wales, a famous natural arch.

The green bridge of Wales.

 Just before turning South towards it, the most wonderful thing happened. I spotted Buzzard perched on a fence post not 60 feet from us. It stopped us dead in our tracks. We studied it, and it us, before a car came and put it up. What a magnificent sight it was. Wings fully unfurled, I did get a photo' of it, but it can't possibly tell the true story (can photo's ever?). It landed and took off again a couple of times, before going on to M.O.D. property.
At Flimston we decided to inspect the restored church, but it wasn't really worth it. It was very tacky and unsympathetically done, and I wouldn't suggest you bother to go. From the moment we reached the coast, everything was just so perfect that words fail me (well, nearly). The Green Bridge, supposedly Wales most photographed natural feature, is superb. I took photo's of it from all angles, and if the weather hadn't have been a little too blustery, I would have risked going on to it. The Elegug Stacks also supplied some dramatic pictures. This section really does defy superlatives. It simply MUST be walked to be appreciated. One wonder followed another.

At a later stage, I managed to gain access to the Bosherston ranges, and got some amazing pictures, but it HAS to be experienced really.

Bullslaughter Bay was really wild looking with the white horsed waves rushing to spend themselves on its stony beach. There was more flotsam and jetsam here than I had seen the whole way, and when we discovered a difficult path down to the beach, had no hesitation in going. We ‘combed’ for a while, but there was nothing of value. However, there was a lot of interesting stuff. We decided that this would be one of the first places the Coastguard would look for any unfortunate lost at sea. ‘The Castle’ and Huntsman's Leap came next. The Huntsman would need a hell of a lot of nerve to jump THAT gap!
By now we estimated we had done easily 20 miles, if not more, as we had done a lot of ‘off route’ investigating. The next detour was to St Govans Chapel, a little place snuggling into a niche in the rocks. I wondered why worship had to be so spartan and uncomfortable. We next crossed the impressively clean Broad Haven. This beach must be perfect for bathing, as it's got everything. Dunes, nice sand and a very gradual change in depth as it goes out. We turned off the beach and made for our B&B, Home Farm, along the famous lily ponds of Bosherton. We reached the farm -- BINGO! Another good choice. Linda James was most welcoming and showed us to our rooms. We showered, got ready, and made our way to the village of Bosherton, which was about 1.5 miles away. It was about 8.30pm and the journey was alongside, or across (via footbridges) the ponds. The birds were singing their hearts out, and the cacophony of different songs was a joy to listen to. We even heard the rhythmic tap-tap-tap of a woodpecker. We soon reached the village and went into the pub. I can't remember the name, but you turn left at the village, and it's just up the road. It's a touristy place, but the menu is good, so is the beer. I had the Cumberland sausage (with French mustard) and it's one of the best I've ever had. At about 11.30pm we rang Linda, as she had kindly offered to pick us up, and sank into comfortable beds for the night. This morning the breakfast, along with everything else, was PERFECT. The weather looks set fair Robert is setting off early to try and push for the end today. My lift isn't due to arrive `til Sunday, so I'm having two leisurely days to get there. I think I'll investigate the ponds again, see if that big Pike is still where we saw it last night. I must put some sun tan lotion on - yesterday the sun really caught me out.

Saturday 29th May -- Bosherton to Penally.
It was the kiss of death to put that sun tan lotion on! The day started well enough with a stroll along the lily ponds in the warm sunshine, (the Pike had gone) before following the range road to St. Govan's Chapel. I had already walked this bit, but had not actually visited the Head and as the guide said it was too good to miss, I felt it would be a mistake not to go. The climbers were like flies on a wall, obviously enjoying the challenge. The scenery lived up to all expectations and I took a few photo's. The wind was freshening now, so I donned my fleece, also I could feel the odd spit of rain in it. I again dropped down to the delightful Broad Haven where I got quite a shock. The lovely expanse of sand, which the night before had been so clean and pristine, was now strewn with the remains of a barbecue. There must have been at least 40 beer tins just thrown around, along with various other bits of rubbish that is the morons trade mark. In just one night the thoughtless fools had ruined the initial impact of the beach. I will never understand the mentality of that sort.
I headed away from ‘civilisation’ and skirted Stackpole Warren dunes. There is a massive hole in the ground here. I have seen plenty of those, but the difference with this one is that there is a path down into it. I looked down into it, but decided against further investigation. I checked my watch and estimated I would arrive at Penally at about 5.30ish. The rain came a little harder and the wind got noticeably stronger so on went the ‘waterproof’ jacket. I am always loath to put on the over-trousers, as they make you feel so ungainly and restricted. I decided that this rain wasn't quite bad enough to warrant the trousers yet. This was a mistake, as the rain was the insidious sort that slowly soaks you through. I took a photo' of the natural arch that is large enough to sail a ship through and pressed on towards Barafundle Bay. (I think it sounds a bit Australian that, ‘Barafundle’). The weather was far from Australian though as the wind became more brisk and blustery. There were just four hardy youngsters on the beach throwing a frisbee about, but they soon disappeared as one of them inevitably threw it into the sea and they lost it. After Stackpole Quay, the cliffs changed colour. The red Sandstone was in stark contrast to the White Limestone I had been used to seeing, and I wished the weather was nicer for photography.
From here on, the path is a bit roller coaster-ish. I climbed and dropped steeply, almost losing my footing a couple of times. I rounded Greenala Point and Trewent Point before dropping again down into Freshwater East. The guide dismisses Freshwater East in a couple of sentences. I suggest you don't just ‘pass Freshwater East’, but call in, especially if you need refreshment or communication. There are three phone boxes, a general store and a pub. ‘The Miracle Inn’. I went in and, although it looks a bit ‘Heath Robinson’, and it's a ‘miracle’ it's standing, as the rain was thrashing down, I sought shelter. I found the food and drink both good and reasonably priced. I talked with three lads from the West Midlands who were going to try to get as far as Castlemartin. This would be a hell of a push in good weather, but TODAY!!! Rather them than me.
I felt sorry for them that it was such a bad day, as they would be passing arguably the best scenery on the path. They shouldered their sacks with enthusiasm and went. I looked out of the window at the even worse weather, sighed and shouldered mine. I got a little lost, taking a path upwards too soon. There are loads of paths here, but again no signs. I suggest you just walk along the beach, not through the dunes, and right at the far end you will find the path. I took seldom few photo's from here, and the weather just kept deteriorating even more. The rain was driven into stinging needles by a strong South Westerly wind. The water had got through my leather boots, but worse still had begun to penetrate the map case. Of all the things I wanted to stay dry, the map case was the most important. I could see the pages of the guide going soggy. From here to Lydstep Haven there is some nice scenery, but for me it was head down and push on time. For most of the time I was staggering into the teeth of the gale, turning my head against the stinging rain, and it was slowing my pace dramatically. Consulting my watch confirmed that It would be much later than I had first thought before I would be ‘home and dry’. I passed what I can only describe as the Eyesore of Lydstep Haven caravan site. I have not been used to many signs of habitation -- the odd tent here and there -- but this place was like Skegness! As many vans as possible crammed into the land bordering the shore, and for why? This was an awful beach. The view out to sea looked good, but the ‘beach’ was steep and stony. I was glad to leave that portion of the walk behind me. I reached the path from the Army range to Penally and gratefully descended. I looked at my watch, it was 7.10pm. It had taken 10 hours to get here. I wondered how Robert had fared and was glad I hadn't undertaken the same journey.
When I found my B&B, they converted it into a drying room. My things were hanging everywhere. I had a shower, went out and got something to eat and returned early at 9.30pm to carry out ‘sock turning’ duty. It was about 11.30pm when I finally turned in.

Sunday 30th May -- Penally to Amroth.
Gale Force winds greeted my waking this morning. I am not really looking forward to the ten miles to Amroth, but I'm going down now for breakfast before facing the storm yet again. At least it's not raining (yet!).
It was raining steadily as I left my B&B in Penally. Learning from yesterday, I donned the full gear before setting out, resigned to another day of bad weather.
I had started late, so called at the village shop on my way out. I left Penally via the footpath across the golf course, and joined the Coast Path again. Quite soon I came across the South beach of Tenby. The tide was coming in in large waves that made Catherine Island look very dramatic as they smashed up against it. I went up the steps from the beach, around Castle Hill, and dropped past the new lifeboat station into the dry harbour where the forlorn boats waited for the tide to bob them back into life again.
Tenby harbour.

By this time, I had removed my waterproofs, as it had stopped raining at last. It was quite warm and I regretted wearing a sweatshirt today. I crossed North beach and climbed some steps to gain the road. I lost time here, as because I was hurrying, I inevitably got lost. My compass saved the day as a quick glance told me I was headed in the wrong direction. I had turned West instead of continuing up a road into a car park. (A sign, a sign, my Kingdom for a sign). I backtracked and, after asking, found the steps to re-join the path.
The path to Waterwynch Bay is quite muddy at first, but then it suddenly becomes one of those patterned concrete affairs one associates with reservoir parks. After convincing myself that this was too good for the coast path, I asked some people passing by. It was the coast path and a finger post at the bottom confirmed this. ‘The climb out of the valley is very steep’ say the instructions... BELIEVE IT!!!! Probably the steepest climb of the whole path followed. Luckily, it had stopped raining (again) and I continued my disguise as a mobile tailors dummy by removing my waterproofs and sweatshirt, and putting on a tee shirt. After an extremely pleasant interlude between Monkstone and Saundersfoot, through woodlands, I emerged onto the beach and had my photo' took before the tailors dummy went into action again... Captain Gore-Tex!! I went through the road tunnels, as the tide prevented the alternative of walking along the beach, before dropping through the woods to be suddenly confronted with Amroth. Wind and stinging rain greeted me and I again had to suit up. I baulked at doing this, as I was so near the end, but do it I had to. It seems cruel that the trail ends along a mile or so of tarmac. I pushed on anyway, with the waves crashing on the stones, before stopping to have my photo' taken at the end of trail marker plaque. The weather was in total contrast to when I started, and there was no way I was going to try to dip my feet in the boiling cauldron that was the sea. However, I did walk to the stream that separated Pembrokeshire from Carmarthenshire where I took my last photo'!

Sunday 31st May -- Epilogue
Although I had quite a bit of bad weather, in fact the worst I have had on any of the long distance walks I've done, the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path has left a long, lasting impression with me. It's stunning beauty really does belittle my vocabulary. Of the paths I have walked, I think this one is the best so far. Not just for the scenery, but for the people and the infinite variety of things.
On the minus side? Well, not much but I wish they would build a bridge from St Ishmaels to Angle (into the Reeces back garden). If the military gave back all the land it would be better as well.
I would gladly live in Pembrokeshire today, even in preference to the Lake District which I love so much, because it has so many ‘secret’ places, unspoilt spots, friendly people, surprises around every corner that, for me, make it a winner.

© Les J. Singleton

31st May 1993