I lay in my bed, snuggled under my down quilt slowly napping safe inside my tent, but as predicted it was not to be a peaceful nights sleep. Around 9pm the pitter of tiny rain drops began to strike my tent, little drops of rain ran down the newly waterproofed exterior and onto the ground below, I watched in the dimming light as water formed small droplet patterns above my head, I glanced around the tent to make sure that no water ingress was happening and gladly closed my eyes.
1 am came all to quick, the wind had now been bashing my little home for around an hour now, the rain came in short and torrential down pours, when combined made for a very worrying few moments, thunder rumbled across the sky with sudden and hot bright flashes of lightening brightening my tent as if a torch had been shone inside my tent. Wind periodically gathered more muster and bashed the side of my tent forcing it towards my face, rain had also began to ingress slightly at my feet end, forced in by wind small wet patches had began to form on my sleeping matt in turn making my down quilt slightly damp, I shuffled and moved my position to try and avoid any more dampness.
Sleep was definitely not on the cards for the night, I’m not sure what time it all began to die down but I was awake from around 4am, I lay in my bed half awake before deciding to get up. I packed everything I could inside my tent and dry bags and bundled it all towards the wash area, once in a dry area I was able to pack properly and pack away a slightly damp tent, some water and a flapjack and off I set into the damp morning air.
The rain seemed to have rained itself out during the night time and the air was warm and muggy even at 6am, I decided to not head immediately onto the coastal path and trundled down the small quiet country lanes, passing sleeping hamlets and farms, it was nice to travel along the lanes alone, despite my dislike of tarmac at this time in the morning they held a little mystery, at Gwrhyd Mawr, I came off the main road heading towards the Youth Hostel at Llaethdy and onto the burial chambers on Carn Llidi, one in particular caught my eye on route planning, perched on the edge of the coastal path it seemed to offer a more spectacular view point.
The route wound through little lanes and farm tracks before passing the YHA and onto more familiar trail territory, waist high bracken impeded my way but once past this and onto the spit of land it became distinctly more mountainous. You could forget you are by the coast on this section as large rocky and foreboding outcrops surround you on all sides. Wild ponies grouped in a little divot of land paid my little attention to me as i passed, I was less than 5 minutes away from the chamber when the skies suddenly opened up, the wind began to gather pace as if I was not welcomed here today, I donned my waterproof and steeled myself against the weather.
I came upon the burial chamber, similar in shape and size to my last ones and took shelter inside, the wind and rain became a little demonic as it signalled its displeasure at my presence, I opted to make my way into St David’s for some breakfast, once I neared White Sands, the weather became more normal again and afford me a little more relaxed outings, however as per the British weather system, with less than a mile into town the heaven opened and caught me in a torrential downpour. I took the first place that was open, dripping wet I walked into the bar as people in regular dry clothing looked up at me.
With clothing stashed to dry, I ordered a breakfast and tea and looked outside at the rain which was refusing to stop, I wasn’t sure of what to do at this point, camping was becoming less of an option today with the met office predicting yet more high winds and rains, wind gusts of up to 60mph were being predicted and this was not something my little tent could survive. I frantically searched for an option, BnB’s were scarily expensive, there was the option to catch a bus to Milford Haven and end early but at the last minute I manage to secure a bed at a Youth Hostel for the sum of £16, my end destination would be Broad Haven, around 5 miles on from my original planed stop of Newgale.
A break in the weather signalled time to get going, I had a brief chat with the bar staff telling them of my journey and they wished me luck, I took the main road from St David’s, the wind ruling out much of the coastal path for today and on towards Llandruidion, I knew from the mapping that there lay a camp of some form just off the main road and decided to take a wander through the area.
I learnt later that this was a prisoner of war camp linked to the near by airfields, little remained of the camp other than the concrete floors and as usual I came off the path and ended up struggling through overgrown brambles and trees, secretly hoping a gate and passed through an old farm stead which was now being brought back into use.
Solva came into view, the little harbour was once an important place of trade during the medieval period, apparently it was also home to the first butterfly farm in Wales, I do love little factoid. I stopped at the cafe and had a brew and a rather delicious piece of cake, tourist came and went, I do like just sitting and watching the world do its thing. I made my way out of Solva and up a rather steep climb, passing a family coming down. Once at the top, it afforded a rather nice ridge run, requiring a steady footing against the wind, before long i was making my way down past a rather stinky sewage works before climbing again up another steep incline and on to field and open farmland.
For around a mile I pass through numerous gates, one after another in all I made my way through 11 gates, I began humming ‘how many gates must a man walk through, before he gets pissed off’ the answer is 11. Intermingled with this were lots of cows and a bull the size of a small family car, in fact it was bigger than my car. I took a pic whilst making sure that I had an escape route, as well as hiding my red cap inside my coat and gingerly passed by.
I ran past Pointz castle which was nothing more than a mound these days but would of consisted of a motte and bailey style castle, with some bronze coins being found, of more interest here was the Ice cream factory, no I didn’t stop this time, I headed along the busy A487 before coming down into Newgale, it certainly lived up to its name. I was due to camp here, but once I came upon the camp site there were numerous tents at jaunty angles and this was only mid day.
The wind howled straight off the sea over the shingle banking and straight onto the campsite, more a place for sturdy vans than one man tents, there was no shelter for me here, the walk along the sea edge was windy to say the least, many a time I was forced backwards on my feet with my breath being taken from me.
A brief refreshment stop of pop and ice cream before I headed onward again, I headed up the aptly named Welsh road again opting to avoid the coastal path and high winds. A steady climb upwards Druidston with its rather unique and I imagine expensive fancy house, I was able to look through this hobbit style home, right out to sea. The road here was empty of traffic and afforded a decent canter, I wanted to catch another site Harold’s Stone and cut off the road and onto a footpath. Cows flanked my side as I was hemmed in by an electric fence, however once I reached the end of what I thought was the path, I found that I was not able to progress any further due to the same electric fence, i was forced to wander along a farm track and then over another gate and onto the roadway.
Broad Haven came into view as I round the hill, the site of the sea was welcoming, my feet were burning and sore and once on the beach, I shod my stinky trainers and socks and soaked my aching feet in the healing brine, it felt fantastic to say the least. The beach was busy with surfers and tourist enjoying the brief periods of sunshine, I was not able to book into my digs until 5, so with a few hours to spare I popped into the local cafe and ate a healthy portion of fish and chips. The rain came and went a few times before I wandered around the YHA, booked in I made my way to my room and noted that I was forced to take the top bunk.
After showering I lay on my bunk and said hello to fellow wanders, most taking shelter from the coming apocalyptic storm that evening. I chatted with a few walkers and we each told our own stories of our travels, one chap was on his 5th Coastal walk and provided some sound advice on routes and options, another a Canadian fellow was travelling with his wife, he had some journeys under his belt already travelling around Australia and a few other places. He also warned me about needing ear plugs as he snored, one down side of shared dorms, other people. I fondly remember my first one back in March where I was kept awake by snoring.
I pre-packed my gear so as to lessen the noise I would make on my early exit the next day and settled into my bed.