PEMBROKESHIRE COAST PATH 2015-
The ticket for the trip to Skomer
Skomer from above
© The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales
First thing it was very thick fog with viz down to about 50 metres. But the forecast was for an improvement during the morning and the wind was light which was good for the boat crossing from Martins Haven.
We arrived in what we thought was good time and found ourselves on the last boat (midday).
Hundreds of puffins near to the landing point
You want to take our picture? OK
After a quick briefing as we arrived we walked to the centre of the island and had our lunch.
Old Farm - visitors centre and a good place to stop for lunch
We then headed north to the Garland Stone where we spied a number of grey seals basking in the warm sunshine. The rock also had numerous guillemots and razorbills as well as gulls on it. Puffins we're everywhere we looked and would pop up alongside the coast path as we walked around.
the Garland Stone
We 'wasted' a huge amount of time on these dear little creatures who appeared out of their buttows some of which were right beside the path. We spotted some gigantic rabbits too. We've no idea what they get fed on but whatever it is it's working very well.
Huge rabbits and quite tame
Looking back at Old Farm from near The TableAs we walked round the island I spotted another strange little but striking looking bird which I subsequently found out to be a sedge warbler. Further on another little bird turned out to be a meadow pipit. And so it went on. Discovery after discovery turned the day into a magical adventure which kept on giving.
The distand Skokholm island from Skomer Head
We eventually arrived at the main puffin colony at The Wick. Literally thousands of puffins crowd the cliff tops arriving in a very comical manner and their takeoffs were hilarious too! The Wick is home to a huge colony of fulmars, kittiwakes, guillemots, razorbills and of course, the comedians - the puffins.
The cliffs at The Wick
home to a huge colony of fulmars, kittiwakes, guillemots and razorbills
Whilst we were there we also spotted a pair of whimbrel making their curlew- like call nearby and as we returned at the end of the day we saw a short eared owl flying over the meadows. Our final treat on the boat ride back to Martin's Haven was solitary gannet diving for its dinner.
Heading back to return to the mainland
A last look at puffins, guillemots and razorbills
A most exhausting and memorable day for the four of us and we vowed to do it again next time we have a holiday here .
Time to return to Martin's Haven
We had planned to complete this walk last April but were forced to cancel it due to the Endurancelife competition which appears to be held her every year in April. This was the penultimate section for Sue and Stu to walk to complete (most of) the Pembrokeshire Coat Path. We had decided to omit the sections which ran round the Milford Haven gas terminals, but who knows - maybe we'll have a change of heart and walk this final bit next year.
Four of us (Ginny's husband Brian accompanying us for the first time as Geri had decided to spend a day with her sister) set off from the free parking spot near the Gan just outside of Dale and wllked into the village then headed out to Westdale Bay. Just as we were arriving at the bay we met a distraught lady who had been walking her dog and who had contrived to lose her iPhone! We kept our eyes peeled but never saw a trace of it.
We made the climb up out of Westdale Bay onto the cliffs and we were soon skirting the edge of the former RAF Dale. It's quite remarkable how much of the concrete infrastructure of the airfield is still present, no doubt due to the enormity of digging it all up!
Our walk eventually took us to Marloes Sands - almost deserted apart from the occasional dog walker and looking in pristine condition.
Marloes Sands with the islands of Gateholm in the foreground and Skomer in the far distance
As we reached the far end of Marloes Sands, the footpath descended with a delightful array on wild flowers on either side, and with the prospect of another climb up the other side where we paused for our lunch break.
The wild flowers bordering the coast path at Marloes Sands
Stu and Brian set the world to rights
Looking back at the descent we had just made
Gateholm Island - almost an island with Skokholm in the distance
We carried on, now on the top of the cliffs passing en route Albion Sands, Rainy Rock and Deadman's Bay and a mist covered Skomer island now came into view
We rounded the headland and made for the almost deserted car park at Martin's Haven. A quick trip back to Dale to weet up with Geri and Ginny , then it was time to say farewell to Sue and Stu who were facing the long drive home followed tomorrow with an even longer drive to Switzerland.
First we had to get to St Dogmaels and then find the car park! I decided to let Stu lead in his car today. Strangely, his satnav had a rather different idea of how to get there still, we eventually parked in the car park and jumped aboard my car to get to Moylgrove.
Setting off from Ceibwr Bay
The walk started with a steep climb up onto the cliff top and then we were on our way. The walk was a lot more uppy and downey than I remembered and it's just as well that Geri took a day off as it was a fairly hard walk.
Looking back at Ceibwr Bay
The amazing geology of this wonderful coast path
As we left Ceibwr Bay we say a solitary shellduck, but the day improved with the usual stonechats and wheatears, but a fabulous walk for geological revelations which just kept on coming. I've often thought that had I been fortunate enough to have visited this wonderful coastline I might well have been inspired to study geology in later years! The scenery is just so totally absorbing.
As I sais, the walk was littered with ups and downs of the lnegthy variety. The first one seemd to go on for ever, whilst other looked quite daunting before we even started on them.
A daunting climb ahead
More fabulous rocks to exclaim over
We rounded Cemaes Head and took our fill of Poppit Sands and Cardigan Island.
The walk ended following a rather uninspiring road into St Dogmaels.
The road walk to St Dogmaels
On the way we passed the start/end of The Pembrokeshire coast path where we paused to pose for a group photo before returning to St Davids.
Day 2 of this visit and we're off to walk one of our all time favourite sections of the coast path. This walk has a bit of everything with plenty of ups and downs; great habitat for the inevitable stonechats and wheatears; offshore islands and of course sealife of all kinds, but mostly seals in Ransey Sound. The every present new lifeboat house at St Justinians has proved to be quite a spectacle over the last two years, and on our last visit the house was open to visitors. Sadly on our visit the lifeboat was away towing a broken down fishig vessel back to Fishguard.
We set off from Porth Clais - the tide was in for a change and as we gained the cliff tops and headed towards Porthlysgi Bay the sun came out. It wasn't long before we spotted the St Justinian's lifeboat heading across the bay just beyond the island of Carreg yr Esgob (Bishop's Island).
The St Justinian's lifeboat passing Carreg yr Esgob
Grassholm Island on the horizon
We continued to Porthlysgi Bay where the path takes us right down and onto the beach where we paused to take in the beach art.
The peninsula of Carreg Frân in the foreground
with Carreg yr Esgob beyond and the distant southern tip of Ramsey Island beyond
Beach art at Porthlysgi Bay
We stopped shortly after leaving Porthlysgi Bay for a coffee break, sitting on a convenient wall and watching the lifeboat crew training in the bay.
The St Justiian's lifeboat crew ttraining in Porthlysgi Bay
We were soon rounding the headland and got our first view of Ramsey Sound and the island
As we walked northwards we saw numerous Barrel Jellyfish (Rhizostoma Octopus) close to shore, lazily wafting their way towards the near shore.
Barrel Jellyfish in Ransey Sound
A little further on, the now completed lifeboat station came into view. The old slipway is now used by local sightseeing boats to board passengers.
The old and the new lfeboat stations
>The large red sandstone natural arch near to Castel Heniff
We were now looking for somewhere to stop for lunch. Although the weather was fine, there was a chilly wind blowing from the north west and so after we'd passed St Justinians, the search was on. We eventually found a pleasnt and sheltered spot which we took ownership of, much to the dismay of a large party of walkers who pitched up about 10 minutes after our arrival.
The final part of our walk took us along the cliff tops to Whitesands Bay.
A week of walking lay ahead for Geri and me, and as Sue and Stu were having to leave us on Monday, we decided to get an early start from Bucknell and 'fill in' a fow missing sections on the coast path for them. So today we arrived at Solva for the short(ish) hike to Porth Clais.
The first and most important thing was to get some food down our necks after the three hour drive. We found an ideal bench just along the coast path beside the harbour and took in the view. Once we were fully satisfied, off we went and climbed up onto the cliff top.
Solva harbour from the cliff top
It was a truly glorious day, with blue sky and a bit of a gently brezze which carried us along the path. Very soon we were spotting old friends like the inevitable stonechats and surprisingly we spotted a linnet - not that we knew what it was at the time, but the book later confirmed our earlier sighting.We puzzled over anoth couple of birds before I remembered Mike sage words of advice "....if it's got a white throat and it's a little brown bird, then it's likely as not to be a whitethroat..."!
We had plenty of time to stop and admire the birdlife as well as the scenery, and we were surprised by the number of other walkers we encountered as we headed towards St Non's chapel.
Approaching St Non's chapel
Looking back fron St Non's
A little further on we rounded a headland and our destination and Porth Clais (and more importantly - ice creans) came into view. A great walk to start our 2017 visit to Pembrokeshire.
Especially for Stu - an arch as we approach Porth Clais
Porth Clais harbour