PEMBROKESHIRE COAST PATH 2010-2014
Today we're hoping for some decent weather. We set off up the hill out of Porthgain and stand like a load of lemons by the white harbour entrance marker.
The obligatory pose
The white navigation marker at Porthgain
The Island of Ynys-fach - looking towards Trefin
use + or - key to zoom
We spent a few the ruined Melin Trefin, an old corn mill at Trefin which served the community inthe 19th century.
The ruined corn mill at Trefin
We climbed up and away from Trefin and above the bay of Above Aber Draw there are disused mining buildings and a convenient place to stop for a coffee as the sun came our and warmed us up.
Ynys-fach has an arch
Coffee break at the old mine workings
A great view when drinking your coffee
Plenty of work to do on this stretch of the coast
We we were now back on top of the cliffs again as we headed roughly east and north for Abercastle. Pyll Llong is a small bay overlooked by high cliffs. We spotted a number of seals and their pups in Pwll Olfa. One particularly advanced pup was swimming around with its mother which we all found quite enchanting.
Pwll Olfa bay in the foreground
followed by Pwll Llong then Pwll Whiting
A juvenile wheatear danced along the path ahead of us
and posed on this gate
Mother and pup in Pwll Olfa bay
We headed towards Pen Castell-coch, a distinct peninsular connected to the mainland by a narrow neck.
Pen Castell-coch headland
& the ruins of Castell Coch
A natural arch with the island of
Ynys Duellyn in the background
Looking back at Pen Castell-coch headland
Descent into Abercastle
We dropped down to the pretty creek leading to Abercastle. The bay is guarded by the small island of Castle Island (Ynys y Castell). Between the island and the mainland Strumble Head can be clearly seen.
A view of Strumble Head from Abercastle
We were now getting hungry but had a spot of bother finding an odour free location for our lunch - the cliffs at this point are quite protected from the wind and we passed field after field of brassica type crops which whiffed quite a bit. We eventually found a bank beside the path and settle down to eat.
Finally we arrived at the shingle beach at Aber Mawr.
Almost at Aber Mawr looking back the way we came
Looking ahead to Trwyn Llwynog
Aber Mochyn in the foreground with
Porth Glastwr behind
All set at Whitesands Bay
After the superb weather of yesterday, today's was just a little disappointing. We parked at Whitesands Bay, posed for the obligatory mug shot, and then set off along the coast path following the path we took in June (when it rained). Soon we spotted the first seals of this holiday.
Looking back to Whitesands Bay
Ahh...seals n pups
It was pretty blustery round St David's Head and we were soon heading down and away from it and looking forward (and up) to Penberry - an impressive hill that was right in our path.
On the way we found a convenient wall which sheltered us from the strong breeze and had our coffee then set off to climb over Penberry - not quite up to the summit, but a good long pull up the hill. It was with relief that we paused for a moment to re-group as we looked back at St Davids Head.
St David's Head looks a long way back
t's hard not to exclaim over the geology
"There they are" Sue spies more seals
Now we had a good long steady downhill stretch and along the cliff tops, stopping every once in a while for more seals and their pups before we arrive at Abereiddy.
The final descent to Abereiddy
It seems ages since we were last down here and it's good to team up with Sue and Stu for another bit of the coast path. This time we're starting on a piece of path that Geri and I walked 4 years ago on our very first visit.
We first made our way to Stack Rocks - not without incident when Emily, our sat nav threw her toys out of the pram and tried to send us into the Castlemartin Camp!
The Green Bridge of Wales
Before we left Stack Rocks, it was a good opportunity to show Stu & Sue the Green Bridge of Wales.
Then we drove to Stackpole Quay and set off.
We're on our way
looking east along the coast to the red sanstone cliffs
It was a glorious day with sunshine nearly all the way - blue sky enhanced the sea and a gentle breeze kept us cool as we walked along the coast path.
Our first stop was the beautiful Barafundle Bay - almost deserted today with just a handful of people about as we came down the stone steps onto the sands and walked below the dunes to climb back up onto the cliffs.
We stopped for a coffee near to Raming Hole and shortly after comtinued along the path to peer into Sandy Pit on our way to Broad Haven South.
Broad Haven South
The lagoon at the entrance to Bosherston Lily Ponds
As we came down onto the beach we remarked on Church Rock in the Bay itself. At the rear of the beach was the lagoon marking the entrance to Bosherston Lily Ponds which we are gong to visit next spring (all being well).
We crossed the sands and as we did Geri spied a couple of beached jellyfish as we made our way across to the steps leading upwards and on to St Govan's Head.
St Govan's Head
We were ready for lunch by the time we arrived at the steps leading down to the 13th century dimunitive St Govan's Chapel, so we counted down the 75 steps to the chapel floor, then passed through to the rocky cove below where we sat in the sunshire for a break.
St Govan's Chapel
Targets on Castlemartin Range
It was time to the final stretch along the Castlemartin Range to our desination. We passed Huntsman's Leap (still a difficult concept to take on board) then Saddle Head and the Castle headland. Finally, the Green Bridge of Wales came clearly into sight. We were walking near to targets on the range on our right, and exclaiming over cliff geology on our left - quite bizarre. Bullslaughter Bay backed by high limestone cliffs was our next port of call. Strange that no one knows whether the name refers to a happy bull, or a cattle slaughter area.
Moody Nose point in the foreground with Stack Rocks
& the Green Bridge behind
Finally we re-visited the Green Bridge, now looking slightly different to our view of it first thing this morning.
Flushed with the success of our previous 'day trip' we invited Sue and Stu to join us on another away-day. Stu kindly volunteered to do the driving, so it was up with the lark and leaving Bucknell at 5.45am for Solva. It was with a bit of misgiving that we noted the sat nav proudly showing the arrival time as 9.07am - just too late for the 9am Puffin Shuttle. Undaunted, Stu applied pedal to the metal and slowly the arrival time made its way down to a comfortable time. Not content with that it kept on going and we arrived at Solva at 8.32am - far twirley!
Solva - the tide was in
Stu, Sue & Geri get ready
However we did have time to put on boots - visit the usual offices and have a coffee and a bite to eat before catching the Puff-Shutt. As we arrived at Nolton Haven the weather did look a bit on the grim side.
Setting off from Nolton Haven
In fact we were pretty confident we'd soon be putting on our waterproofs in a speedy fashion - well, speedy for 3 of us, I'll not mention the time one member of the group took! We headed up the coast path and almost immediately a shout from Sue alerted us to the presence of black beetles. These beetles seemed to be everywhere and by the time we eventually arrived at Newgale the count had risen to 89. The coast path along the stretch between Nolton Haven and Solva is quite uppy-and-downy - in fact most of the walk was of this nature and we very soon found ourselves getting into our stride as we headed north, pausing every now and then to examine the occasional glut of black beetles.
We passed Ricketts Head - an impressive and distinctive 'dorsal fin' shaped headland and came across evidence of the Pembrokeshire Coal Measures. 26 mine shafts existed in this area in the 1800's - the most obvious remnant being this brick chimney.
Chimney of an abandoned mine shaft
Newgale Sands from our coffee stop
We were now ready for another coffee and a sit down before dropping down to tackle Newgale Sands. It seemed like a good idea to a couple of us the try walking along the sands that were being revealed by the falling tide - however after a few hundred yards we gave up on the idea and regained the road and the Coast Path.
Clambering down onto the beach
Looking back at Newgale
We walked beside the road to the northern end of Newgale Sands and then started the ascent up on to the cliff tops again. The weather had started to improve and we took the opportunity to divest ourselves of waterproofs near the top of the climb. The sun came out - magic! We were now heading for lunch and decided to stop near to Dinas Fach and sat down in the sun to have a break.
Looking ahead towards Dinas Fach
The steps down above Penycwm Beach
Penycwm Beach and Newgale Sands beyond
Dinas Fach in the background and an arch in the forground
Our attention was drawn to a group who emerged from exploring a cave at Dinas Fach.
Cavers emerging at Dinas Fach
We continued along the cliff tops - stopping occasionally to marvel at the amazing rock strata and wondering why schools don't bus all of their pupils down in droves to view and understand geology - so much easier when it's spectacularly displayed like this.
Amazing cliff and rock formation
The team assemble for a quick photo at Gwadn
The beach at Gwadn
We made one final climb out from Gwadn to then look down into Solva. We'd been gone nearly five hours and the tide was well on its way out now.
Solva Harbour from Gribbin
use + or - key to zoom
After getting back to the car park we changed out of our boots and set off for an ice cream. Four very tasty cones were consumed with relish during which the heavens opened and the rain came down. Within a few minutes it had stopped and we got into the car and Stu drove us back to Bucknell. A brilliant day - true we got rained on once, but for the most part we stayed dry and enjoyed our 7.3 miles (Stu is totally convinced it was over 11 miles!)
For our final morning, we just couldn't leave the coast path without one final walk, and so we drove the short distance from our b&b to Porthgain and headed south to Abereiddy.
Up the steps out of Porthgain
We walked along the south side of Porthgain harbour originally built in 1851, alongside the massive brick built hoppers on our left and part of the old brickworks which had its heyday from 1889-1912. At the far end of the harbour we gained the coast path via a series of steps near the old pilot house
The cairn like white painted navigation marker
Looking back to Porth-gain from Penclegyr
We continued on the Coast Path along a section of very dramatic, high cliffs. En route near Penclegyr we explored ruined buildings connected with rock mining which began in 1889 at the coastal cliff quarry set out on two levels with the remains of the incline, the railway cutting and the winding house. The demand for road stone became more common for metalled roads because they resisted wear from the iron-bound tyres on agricultural vehicles. Porthgain stone was marketed as granite, but it is actually dolerite, a finer grained igneous rock.
Final view of the four walkers
Panorama of the stone quarry west of Porthgain
use + or - key to zoom
The coast path continues over open grassland passing Traeth Llyfyn a sandy beach to Abereiddy (Aber Eiddy) and the Blue Lagoon - the remains of the slate quarry - which dominates Aberiddi Bay.
Panorama of the Blue Lagoon at Abereiddy
use + or - key to zoom
Panorama of Abereiddy Bay
use + or - key to zoom
Upon our arrival we had a coffee and enjoyed the spectacle of children being supervised in coasteering before we made our return journey to Porthgain and eventually home to Bucknell.
To summarise what we saw over the last 4 days. Plenty of stonechats and whitethroats, a few wheatears and several choughs. Loads of jackdaws pretending to be choughs and of course skylarks in abundance as well as gulls of all shapes and sizes. We saw a newt on a stile on Monday (well spotted Sue) and of course lots of common spotted orchids, particularly on St David's Head.