I walked the length of the Pembrokeshire coast path as far as Fishguard in two sections. From Tenby to Pembroke Dock in December 2014, and Pembroke Dock to Fishguard in January 2015 (other sections I had completed in more summery months). It was a very wet winter, but fortunately even in winter there were enough places offering a bed for the night to make the walk fairly comfortable, given a set of good waterproofs.
Pembrokeshire Coast Path, Royaume-Uni
- Quand Décembre 2015 jusqu'à Janvier 2016
Tenby to Pembroke Dock
Tenby is a convenient place to start as it can easily be reached by train from Cardiff. Town walls, cute shops and lovely beaches also makes it worth the visit, although in December there were only dog walkers on the beach as I headed off to Manorbier. Rugged coast and rain followed, however I reached Manorbier in the early afternoon, and although the Castle was closed carol singers in the street outside the hotel provided seasonal entertainment.
Next days walk to Bosherton was very wet indeed and I was glad I was staying at the country inn rather than in a tent. Although not late it was already dark due to overcast skies as I passed the beach of Broad Haven and the Bosherton lily ponds (lilies were somewhat underwater though!)
A fine day followed for the walk to Angle, a good stretch of 20 miles, with some excellent crashing waves, salty sea spray and windswept beaches (one with a welcome cafe open).
The walk around Milford Haven, the following day, is considered less attractive by many, they miss my admiration of the giant tankers and jetties and refineries, lit up like Xmas trees at night. Sadly only one refinery is left working, but the area now imports much of the UKs Liquified Natural Gas (LNG), which is needed to keep us warm on cold winter nights. The LNG tankers have arabic names showing where it comes from. Pembroke Castle provided an ancient contrast to the modern vessels and a scenic spot for lunch. Pembroke Dock had the christmas lights on for me as I walked down to the railway station to end this section of the walk.
Pembroke Dock to Fishguard
In the first section I was finding that I could have walked longer distances each day, so for this section I was more ambitious, which had consequences. Arriving by train back at Pembroke Dock I headed off across its soaring bridge and along the north side of Milford Haven and through the town of Milford Haven itself. The path crosses the pipelines to the loading and offloading jetties passing between the LNG storage tanks and the jetties. The LNG pipelines were protected by fencing and tunnels, very wise as damage to LNG lines could result in massive conflagrations. Unfortunately I missed the low tide at Sandy Haven which added 4 miles to my route as the stepping stones were covered. In consequence the last few miles were in the dark using my head torch to follow the path, not easy with the rain making it difficult to see through my glasses. Fortunately I had excellent accommodation booked at Monk Haven Manor (once I had found the front door).
The following day I walk to Broad Haven, leaving behind the industry of Milford Haven. This time I caught the tide low enough to cross the estuary at Musselwick on a footbridge just above the water. It was again raining as I passed many peninsulas and coves, and again I was caught by the advancing darkness before I reached my destination, although fortunately the last kilometre or so was by road. By now I was very wet so the highlight of my visit to the Youth Hostel at Broad Haven was the excellent drying room where I hung up all my wet clothes (possibly embarrassing a girl openning the door while I was in my underpants changing into dry things). Even better was the cooked meal at the hostel which avoided going back out in the rain.
Next day was shorter as I crossed more gentle scenery, with Newgale beach being of particular note. I arrived at The Grove hotel early enough to visit St David's Cathedral for choral evensong, worth it just to hear the choir singing.
More rugged cliffs, hidden bays and crashing waves followed as I trekked around the peninsula of St David's, passed the life boat station at St Justinian's (I can see why its needed) and the old slate quarry at Aberreidy. I stayed the night at a hostel a mile and a half from Porthgain. The walk back to Portgain for a meal and pint at the cosy Sloop Inn was well worth it (and half price in January)!
Weather is inevitably an issue in winter and 50 mph winds were forecast for my walk to Fishguard. The winds were very variable, gusting and also concentrated to much higher speeds by the geography at certain points. After struggling against it for several miles I reached a headland at which it was difficult to walk against the wind. Fearful of loosing my glasses and possibly myself over the cliff edge I returned to Abercastle and followed National Cycle Trail 4 inland to Fishguard, and the end of my trip.