When my friend Alice announced she was continuing her passion for long distance footpath walking with a week in Pembrokeshire I immediately wanted in on the adventure. However after my initial enthusiasm I soon realised that a whole week wasn’t going to happen. I wasn’t deterred though and soon a plan was hatched for a two day coastal expedition.
First stop was Pwll Deri youth hostel. An easy drive on a Friday night from Bristol although note do not try and navigate the last few miles with a dodgy road map that probably cost 50p in the mid 80’s. An OS map is rarely needed for navigating in a car but in this case was definitely the right map for the job, using it earlier may have negated the need for a rally style driving experience to try and get to the hostel before the 10.30pm curfew!
Saturday morning revealed possibly the UK’s most stunningly located youth hostel. To breakfast overlooking the coast path that would provide the days adventures was magical.
We were buffeted by high winds, warmed by sun and constantly entertained by the wracking of brains for the names of the plethora of wild flowers that carpeted the sides of the path. By mid morning we had definitely identified and named some new species!
Wild rugged coastline gave way to more sheltered bays and harbours such as Porthgain and Abereiddy. A monumental ice cream at Porthgain was the perfect accompaniment to a quick historical tour around the old brick factory. We also enjoyed the opportunity to photobomb some wedding pictures.
Odd social opportunities continued to be the theme of the weekend as we turned up at our campsite only to find that a festival was in full swing. I’m not sure any of us had quite pictured the scenes that were in front of us forming any part of the weekend. However tired feet meant that we stopped anyway. We pitched as inconspicuously as possible in the corner of the field and cooked up a camp feast, there was some jealousy in the group of my double garnished noodles. A rouge pair of ear plugs were a welcome find and I had a lovely sleep. It had clearly been a pretty amazing party as when we set off again on the Sunday morning there were clearly a few folk who hadn’t yet been to bed enjoying the beautiful early morning views out over the sea.
A yomp off over the fields and before long we were coming into Whitesands Bay. I was excited to be back as the last time I had been was on a family holiday when I was 9. I remembered the beach as a seaside paradise full of rock pools bathed in sunshine. Like all things from childhood it was smaller than I remember but still just as beautiful. In the 20 or so years that had passed it hadn’t changed much but has now benefited from addition of a café serving the second fabulous ice cream of the trip.
A nip into St David’s on the local shuttle bus and a taxi (buses are available if you manage to wait in the right place for them… Although only three a day) back to the car and before I knew it I was back in Bristol again.
Britain’s long distance footpaths are an absolute delight. They provide inspiration to all those who use them. Don’t ever discount them on the basis that they should be walked in one go. Even a short section can take you to some of the UKs most beautiful and spectacular landscapes and makes for the perfect weekend getaway.
I encourage you all to walk a short section of a long path soon. I look forward to hearing about it!