Dale – Marloes
Predicted Mileage – 6 miles
Actual Mileage – 7.5 miles
And the knee is back up and running (kinda… Ibuprofen and a beasty knee strap will save the trip)! Jack and Haze have joined us for a few days of damp, windy walking. It’s been fairly easy walking with only around 225m of elevation gain overall. The wind has been relentless all day, with the odd spat of rain every now and then, but at least we are not on the verge of heatstroke!
We have just pulled in to our camp for the night and booked breakfast for the morning. We are lucky enough to have a washing machine and tumble dryer tonight so we can clean EVERYTHING! Tomorrow is a longer day so we shall see how the knee holds up.
POST WALK NOTES: I was now very aware that my updates started becoming ‘Injury watch’ so I think this is about the time I made a note to stop telling everyone how it was holding up and just get on with it. This section of the walk was stunning, and Jamie and I will definitely go back when the weather is a bit less nasty. I remember the 2 mile section of path from Martins Haven to Marloes being shoulder-height overgrown and soaking wet (as were we by the time we got into Marloes). Unfortunately we didn’t have time to stop in Martins Haven and make the boat trip across to Skomer Island (Puffin Heaven!), but that’s another thing we’ve added to our list for when we next return. The campsite at Marloes was gorgeous; a big green field with picnic benches and the offer of a fried breakfast in the morning. Plus, being able to put everything in the wash definitely gave us a bit of a second wind after turning up sopping wet.
Marloes – Druidston
Predicted mileage: 10 miles
Actual mileage : 11.4 miles
Today was the most amazing day so far! The path gradually became wilder, with us sometimes not passing another human for a couple of hours. We had such a huge diversity of ground to cover; from skirting around cliffs that plunged into the ocean, to forests, to the concrete roads of Broad Haven and Little Haven. We ate really well and took our time. We sang with the seagulls and waved back to the sea, we even stopped for a chat with some curious cows. Sometimes, after a coffee or two, we even danced along the path a little. We already can’t wait for tomorrow. For Jamie and I, this is the first time we will be seeing this whole stretch of coastline, and our eyes are ready and willing to listen. Thank you to everyone for your messages of support! They put such a huge smile on our faces!
Love, love, LOVE.
POST WALK NOTES: I set the pace for most of this day and was the first day that the weight of my pack didn’t bother me anymore. This is where we started to see more dramatic stretches of coastline; huge natural arches in the sea cliffs and lots of colonies of nesting sea birds. The rock had also become a deep red colour. All of the cows and horses we met along this stretch of path seemed to want to follow us for the rest of the day, which let to lots of silly voices and belly laughs. By the time we got to Little Haven we were talking utter nonsense and laughing at everything. This kind of attitude didn’t go down so well off the wild path and we got some of the strangest looks. We also had to relearn what language was appropriate in front of the elderly and children (talking about your bowel movements certainly isn’t, apparently). The Path was making us gradually more feral – and it was beautiful.
Druidston – Caerfai Bay
Predicted Mileage : 12 miles
Actual Mileage : 12.9 miles
We began our Sunday with a leisurely 3.5 mile trek to Newgale where we set up in Sands Cafe for a couple of hours, demolished a monster breakfast and nursed our achy feet. It took all of the will power in the world to move again after that. Our walking boots aren’t feeling so comfortable any more.
The trek out of Newgale took us over some monster hills and around some beautiful coves. The path calmed down again after Solva (where we stopped for a pint of lemonade and some salted peanuts), and we were able to make up a good amount of time over those last 4 miles. I can’t really describe how incredible the scenery is round here – every cove, sea bird colony and blowhole takes my breath away! We are pumped for tomorrow already! It’s only an 8.5 mile rest day so we can stroll around St Davids in the morning!
POST WALK NOTES: I’m awarding Sands Café ‘Best Breakfast on The Pembrokeshire Coastal Path’. We actually ate so much that we didn’t move from there for 3 hours. It gave us enough energy to push through the rest of the day though. We only had to eat properly again in the evening after we’d set up base at Caerfai Farm, which had cheaper rates for hikers and a family of swallows nesting in the bathrooms.
Caerfai Bay – Whitesands
Predicted mileage: 8.5 miles
Actual mileage: 10.9 miles (due to a side trip into Dale)
Our Monday started in style – with breakfast, coffee and Ice cream in St Davids where we bid goodbye to Jack and Haze. We didn’t even start walking until gone 1pm which was probably a mistake because all I wanted to do was nap (this made for a very grumpy first couple of hours).
Today, oddly, felt longer than any day so far, but it’s been one of the shortest. My knee injury made the walk slow and, even though there was very little incline throughout the day, the path seemed to drag on. It’s probably due to our feet being sick of our boots and having to pack down the tents in rain over the last couple of mornings.
The path today was very forgiving and very gentle with little incline and lots to entertain the eyes. From Caerfai Bay the path gently wound its way down to Porthclas over two miles and then back up and around to St Justinians, passing around numerous coves and streams. The final stretch was a grassy two mile path to Whitesands where we set up camp in the tiniest campsite I have ever seen. We shared our space with three bikers who were down from the North, exploring all of what Wales had to offer. Our 4 tents took up about a third of the size of the campsite!
The late evening brought rain and rumbles, but we were already fed and snuggled up by the time this came around. Sometimes, when it all feels too much, Wales has a way of reminding you why you are here. Today, we watched a pod of Dolphins hunting around the coast of Ramsey Island, seals and jelly fish swimming together around the coves, some of the clearest ocean water I have ever seen and the most incredible rock formations in the slate sea cliffs. It reminds you that life is bigger; bigger then you and your achy feet.
Just slow down, watch and enjoy the show.
POST WALK INSERT: So this is where the path felt like it got a bit wilder. The villages became fewer, as did the other walkers. It was actually easier for me to wallow in self-pity because for the first time since Day 2, it was just Jamie and I again (sorry honey). I think it was the dolphins that snapped me out of it, we only stopped for a few minutes to watch them but there was sort of a “Oh yeah, that’s why we’re here” realisation. The rest of the walk felt fairly easy in comparison.
Whitesands – Trefin
Predicted Mileage: 11 miles
Actual Mileage: 12.8 miles
This was our first full waterproofs day! The rugged coastline of the St Davids peninsula made this an incredibly tough day and the weather made it even harder! The path hugged very close to the coves and cliffs, and at times we really had to watch our footing. We also had our first proper (150m+) hill climb of the trip which luckily wasn’t too close to the end of the day.
We caught up with Steve just outside of Abereiddy, where we stopped for a cheese sandwich and a coffee that both came out of the back of a tiny truck. From there we pootled another 2 miles to Porthgain where we set up in The Sloop Inn for a couple of hours to eat and tend our walking wounds. After a hearty early dinner we had about an hour’s walk to Trefin where we set up camp for the night. Not long to go now!
POST WALK NOTES: I don’t think I really explained enough about how relieved we were to set up in The Sloop Inn. The food was amazing and the staff were incredibly friendly, they didn’t mind our waterproofs and muddy boots at all. We had originally tried to stop for a late lunch, but being half-past three in a sleepy village, they had already stopped serving food. So we just drank ice cold lemonade and played pool and laughed with each other until we were allowed to eat again. It was a welcome break from the awful weather we’d had all day.
Join me next week for the last section of this adventure!