PEMBROKESHIRE COAST PATH 2010-2014
Nolton Haven to Solva [7.3 miles]
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!)