Wednesday 6th April 2011 A beautiful spring day. Walked 22 miles. Left Tenby and set off towards Bosherton. Some beautiful bays, particularly Barafundle Bay. Around Stackpole Head were some incredible features of coastal erosion – deep pits rather like old mines and two arches. Amazing! Saw fulmars, ravens, choughs, peregrine falcons and grey seals. Then past Broad Haven along a vast expanse of deep lily ponds to “St Govan’s County Inn” in Bosherton to the sounds of explosions from the local firing range.
Thursday 7th April 2011 Bosherton to Angle. Distance 18 miles. Weather was sunny and warm. The windows started rattling around 9.00 am when the bombs started going off. I gather from a couple of guests staying at the pub that it is a particularly busy time with the next regiment preparing for its imminent deployment to Afghanistan. Indeed, the morning was spent on local roads as I was diverted away from the coast path by the firing in progress. But the powerful thuds and explosions were felt as I walked along. I tried a short cut but was turned away by MOD guards! Had my lunch on the cliffs overlooking “Freshwater Bay”. The afternoon was spent on some steep and remote sections of path punctuated with stunning bays and coves. Then round into the entrance of Milford Haven. Watched in amazement as six tugs towed, cradled and gently rested like caring mothers a huge ship carrying LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) alongside one of the harbour’s long jetties. Experts at work. For such a large and important deep water harbour, it isn’t half pretty! Staying at “The Old Point House” right next to the sheltered creek at Angle. What an incredible and historical place. Over a pint I watched the flares illuminating the night sky across the water at one of the refineries.
Friday 8th April 2011 Another clear and hot day. Angle to Neyland – 18.7 miles. Rob Noble who runs the 500 year old Point House has booked me into a B&B in Neyland. He is a great host and very helpful. Started the day along a beautiful wooded section of path by the water. Then out and round the edges of the water past refineries. Got very hot. No hat so… knotted handkerchief time! I simply had not expected this weather at this time of the year. I could smell the refineries which was not particularly pleasant. I stopped off for lunch downwind of a flare and decided I would move on to another spot because of the smell. Found an abandoned and recycled chair left strategically in a shady spot for my lunch. Very comfortable. Spent the afternoon winding my way round promontories. In the evening I crossed the A477 toll bridge and into my digs at Neyland Court B&B run by Geoff & Sarah Browning. A beautiful room and luxurious ensuite! Bliss! Dinner at the yacht club.
Saturday 9th April 2011 Neyland to Dale. 17.6 miles. Weather mainly sunny with cloud later. Went through Milford Haven and then headed out towards the entrance of the harbour. I needed to cross a set of stepping stones at Sandy Haven at the right state of the tide and managed to do so, and then a tidal footbridge at Pickleridge. Managed that too. A wave of panic had swept over me to cross the final tidal test resulting in me covering 5 ½ miles in just over an hour – evidently for no reason as the tide was still well away from covering the bridge! Anyway, I collapsed on a grass bank and polished off my tea and biscuits as a reward! Then to Spinnaker’s Rest B&B in Dale and dinner at “The Griffin Pub”.
Sunday 10th April 2011 Dale to Broad Haven via St Anne’s Head. 20 miles. Sunny weather and a long hard day. Felt run down and pretty tired as my body continued its adjustment from desk to path! Beautiful weather and lovely scenery. Just feeling really drained. Stayed at “Atlantic View” B&B.
Monday 11th April 2011 Despite rain being forecast, it had blown over by the time I started walking to Solva, about 13 miles away. I ended up walking in glorious sunshine and a stiff breeze. To avoid the need for another knotted handkerchief moment I popped into a Londis store and bought a cap… which I lost somewhere on the coast path at the end of the day! As I loitered round a bench stripping off layers of clothing I didn’t need to wear, a succession of walkers stopped for a chat and before I knew it I must have collected over £30 in the tin! In the evening I rounded the headland at the entrance to Solva Harbour and found my bed for the night at “Felingog” B&B located above “ThirtyFive” (café) in the village. I was grateful to have the opportunity of washing my clothes.
Tuesday 12th April 2011 Solva to Whitesands Bay. 13 miles. Although lovely and sunny, I was feeling really under the weather. At the end of the day I reached the beautiful arc of Whitesands Bay and turned inland to find the hotel which had been booked for me. I was going to collapse for 24 hours to give my body a chance to recharge it. I was running a temperature and realised that this was the reason I was feeling drained of energy! A van pulled up and offered me a lift up which I gladly accepted. I spent the night and all of the next day in a beautiful room at “Warpool Court Hotel” which has some of the finest views of the Pembrokeshire Coast.
Wednesday 13th April 2011 (Outside my bedroom window a gale blew accompanied by torrential rain! Perfect timing!) Breakfast… sleep…dinner…sleep! Just what was needed.
Thursday 14th April 2011 I left the hotel feeling a bit fresher, and the rain had stopped! Had a look round the cathedral in St David’s and then took a circuitous route back down to Whitesands Bay where I rejoined the coast path towards Trefin, 14 miles away. A few ups and downs which drew on my limited energy reserves! Stayed at “Brygarw Guesthouse” in Trefin and had dinner at “The Ship Inn”. Decided to use the excellent luggage transfer services provided by “walkalongway.com” run by Colin Porter from now until the end of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path.
Friday 15th April 2011 Walked from Trefan to Goodwick (Fishguard) via Strumble Head (18 miles). Much easier without the rucksack… enjoy the facility whilst I can! Still feeling drained. Booked all remaining accommodation for this leg of the walk and luggage transfers. Bliss! Weather was cloudy but no rain. Great scenery and wildlife including more grey seals. Stayed at “Fern Villa” B&B.
Saturday 16th April 2011 Goodwick to Newport (Parrog). 13 miles. Misty and cloudy at first and sunny later. Walked along the well laid path around Fishguard Harbour and watched a ferry arrive from Ireland. Went up and round Dinas Head which was impressive and covered in cloud which cleared away to reveal the sun. Then round some steep, sheer and overhanging cliffs. Very impressive. Then into Newport (Parrog) where I stayed at The Bryn B&B.
Sunday 17th April 2011 My last day on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path. Glorious weather and a knotted handkerchief day! The most beautiful stretch of path from Newport to St Dogmaels. Lots of ups and downs and remoteness and signs warning me as such! Met a chap called Simon Hickey who is walking all 15 National Trails for charity. Good luck to you too sir! Saw around 30 seals lying on a beach near Cemaes Head. Lots of birds. Arrived in beautiful St Dogmaels in the early evening and posed next to the Start/Finish marker. Stayed the night in “Argo Villa”. This section of the walk complete! Now back to London until 3rd May 2011.