PEMBROKESHIRE COAST PATH 2015-
the heather covered cliff top wasThe Maps
After yesterday's rather strenuous exertions, we decide to make today a shorter than planned walk. We left our self catering flat in St Davids and walked to the city centre bright and early.
St Davids early morning
We were soon walking along the footpath to Porth Clais, sitting peacefully in the warm early morning sunshine.
Porth Clais harbour
We climbed up along the familiar path to the cliffs and headed towards Porthllisky and Porthlysgi Bay passing the islands of Carreg Frân an Carred yr Esgob.
The dramatic cliffs on the approach to Porth Clais
On the way we came across a yellow flower which looked really attractive and at the back of our minds we were sure we'd seen it before. It was only when we got home that research proved it to be the Porth Clais - an old friend.
We left Porthlysgi Bay and headed towards Ramsay Sound, stopping quite soon for a coffee. Soon after restarting we came across the first choughs of this visit, one of which posed obligingly on a fence post as we approached.
As we rounded Pen Dal-aderyn the colour and scent of the heather covered clifftop was quite special.
We turned north and Ransay Sound showed that the tide was almost on the full, showing to great effect the strong currents around the Bitches near Ramsay Island.
In the distance our first view of ... new lifeboat station
In the distance our first view of the now almost completed new lifeboat station. As we got closer it was obvious that a lot of work was going on restoring the cliff top to its former condition, with diggers and dump trucks moving earth around. We passed behind the two lifeboat stations and found ourselves a good spot for out lunch break.
It was time to move on to Whitesands Bay and the promise of an ice cream (again). As we moved away from Ramsay Sound I tried out a new facility on my map application, and discovered that it was a really interesting feature enabling me to identify mysterious islands offshore.
This I shall have to play with a bit more!
Whitesands Bay came into view and the sun, which had taken a short break came out again.
A great walk and just enough time to have an ice cream before the Celtic Coaster bus arrived to take us back to St Davids.
I was quite surprised when Geri asked to do this walk again. My recollection was that it was quite a strenuous 7+ miles. But, you know what they say "The customer is always right".
We parked the car at Solva and caught the Puffin Shuttle to Nolton Haven in bright sunshine. After a quick spray with the factor 50 and a comfort break we headed off up the hill to the cliffs.
3 miles to Newgale
What then followed was a series of steep ups ( and downs of course) which took our breath away and stalled any chance of conversation. It was hot and the sea a deep blue as we rounded Rickets Head and made our way to Black Cliff - which to be honest didn't look at all black but its name no doubt derived from the coal that was mined during the nineteenth and early twentieth century at two sites - Nolton Colliery and at the Black Cliff.
Further on is the site of Trefrane Cliff colliery - the biggest pit in the vicinity, and its ruined buildings and tall brick stack make prominent features beside the footpath to this day. This mine was worked from 1850 to 1905 with a 300-foot deep shaft slanting under the sea, and a steep tramway up which the coal was winched to the top of the cliff near the coast road.
As we approached Newgale Sands we began to think kindly of our coffee breaks and we paused to sit on a grassy bank near to the car parks and toilets. Once we got going again we walked along the pavement to the end of the sands where we again made our way up. The sign here misleadingly informs us that it was 5½ miles to Solva, but according to my previous track it is only 4.3 miles.
The old Trefrane Ciff colliery chimney
Looking back to Rickets Head
Newgale Sands ahead
Back up on the cliffs again we headed towards Dinas Fawr via more ups and downs to spend some time contemplating the scenery and peace and quiet whilst we had our lunch.
The tide is in - leaving circular patterns at the high water mark
Looking back towards Newgale
use + or - key to zoom
Soon we were descending to the small beach at Gwadn then crossed over the wooden footbridge and up one final time before the long shady descent to Solva and a well deserved ice cream.
The ups & downs of our day