As predicted I did not gain any sleep that night, the kindly chap did snore as promised and so did 4 other people in the dorm, it became a bit of a competition between the. One would start quickly followed by the crapest choir in the world and in a shameful harmony befitting of an X-factor audition they would join together.
At 5 am I finally got up, bored with listening to the noise, I clambered down from the bunk and gathered my gear and sat outside the room, with a wander down to try and find the kitchen I made a cup of tea and some porridge and sat looking outside, the world beyond the window was pretty dire with the wind howling and forcing the rain at a side-wards angle. I ummed and ahhed as I tried to figure out what I was going to do, Today’s route would see some 30 miles into Milford Haven and to meet up with Kerry for a few days break. Checking the Met office, there was no predicted let up from today’s torrential down pour, I was to early for a bus and defiantly was not going to venture onto the exposed and often narrow path of the coastal route.
A quick OS map check could see me head straight along the A roads and drop into Milford Haven without to much fuss, text were sent to my partner and end point was confirmed with a rough time, waterproofs secured and off I set into the weather. My route took me firstly onto the seafront where the wind battered my body and made walking difficult and tiring, a slight hill took me towards Walton West and then along towards Rosepool. The high hedge line providing some brief respites from the wind but alas not from the rain, it almost at times seemed to taunt me, with quick heavy downpours followed by brief interludes of sunnier and calmer weather daring me to take off my waterproof, the previous 10 parks had taught me well, do not trust the weather, if in doubt leave the gear on and that I did.
Once past Rosepool I could make out the magnificent shape of Walwyns Castle across the expanse of fields, towards Capestones I made use of the chicken farms smoke hut and made a call to Kerry to inform her of my ETA which would be a lot earlier than planed, I was able to join the path again around Herbrandston and then down onto the coast again eating blackberries as I went.
I hit the coast at Sandy Haven and boy was it windy, thankfully much of the previous rain had stopped to be replaced with a more intense wind which at times almost knocked me off my feet, I looked down onto the beach to see one lone and hardy walker who appeared to be wearing a swimming cosy, rather them than me. The coastal path from here was wider than what I had previously walked and the gorse and blackberry hedging gave me a nice and welcome break from the buffeting wind.
The path threaded alongside a large water treatment works whilst out to sea I was treated to a rather impressive fort and large complex of metal from the nearby oil pipelines. Stack Rock stood out impressively and provided a rather frightening feature in the sea. The grade 2 listed building was built in 1850, from my view point it would of fit very well in a Victorian horror novel, I cant imagine having been stationed out there in the midst of a terrific storm.
There is not one but three fort along this area, one hemmed in by the large oil refinery (South Hook fort) and the one as you come into Milford Haven (for Hubberstone) all built as an inner line of defence. I would of loved to have explored any one of these fine and creepy looking buildings but all were either fenced off or blocked by large wooden blockades. Still another time and I mite to get to have a look inside.
I ran the short distance past fancy and expensive looking houses, with some being made even fancier, onto Gelliswick Bay and ending at Milford Haven rugby club. I made the call to say I had arrived before Kerry was soon coming down the road to see me dancing a celebratory jig much to the confusion of others wandering around. The route today was just a minor 7 miles, but 7 miles in the weather I had was more than enough. Today was not the end but near enough.