Walking Pembrokeshire (Part 2)
Updated: Nov 19, 2019
Oh my, one of the most spectacular walks of the entire trip. Far away from the crowds but offering all that you could ask for. These wild paths pass Dale, Marloe Sands, Skomer Island (with puffins and seals), Newgale, Solva and finally St Davids. Amazing!
What a fantastic start to the day, I had to wait patiently as the tide dropped and a bridge appeared from the water’s depths. Watching the coloured sail boats bob and the sea birds swoop by, it was a magical moment and I treasured it greatly.
I made my way to St Anne’s Head, a stunning part of Wales, the turquoise waters are so inviting. Although my backpack is around 18 kilos and can sometimes dampen the experience. I have to keep reminding myself to stop when it’s getting too much, take off the bag for a while, I’m in no particular rush.
I met a man earlier that morning, as I was packing away my tent, who had walked the entire coast of Wales. He quite rightly bragged that his pack was half the weight of mine due to his stringent attitude to ‘non-necessities’. But his non-necessities included soap, more than one change of clothing and cooking equipment. Yes I moan during the day and need more rest time but to balance out the hard day’s walk and camping chores, I also like to eat porridge in the morning and smell relatively pleasant. There is a balance to travelling light and enjoying yourself in all aspects of long walking journeys.
My day ended spectacularly, after treating myself to a pub meal overlooking the quaint Dale harbour, I found out the campsite I intended to stay at was full. I decided tonight would be the night I attempted to wild camp again. I walked another hour, hoping to find a spot overlooking Marloe Sands, a stunning mile long beach overlooking Stokholm Island. I found the perfect spot, with spongy grass and surrounding shrubbery to protect me from the wind. As I read my book, I watched the sunset drop over the calm Welsh water, lighting the Pembrokeshire cliffs with an warm orange glow. When it comes to wild camping, I don’t think it comes better than this.
Waking up at my perfect wild camping spot, it was strange to be so isolated (if you don’t count the sheep).
The weather was perfect, slightly overcast, which keeps the temperature down whilst you sweat it out going up and down the Pembrokeshire cliffs. I met other hikers along the way, all friendly and eager to share their enthusiasm for the local area. Everyone I have met in the past few days have all said that something in this part of the world, whether it be the local community spirit or the surrounding Welsh landscape, makes you appreciative of life’s simple blessings.
The views over Skomer Island were beautiful, it is home of the illustrious Manx, Puffins and many seals. Fortunately many of these seals raise their pups on the peninsula that overlooks this little island. I found adult seals casually floating in the water either like a surfaced submarine or bobbing vertically with only their head poking out (see if you can spot them in the photo). Then at a closer inspection, amongst the large white pebbles that lined the shore there were several white seal pups. All fast asleep, one which was flat on his or her back, occasionally waving it’s flipper as though it was dreaming. I sat there for a while and watched them in this peaceful setting, it was a precious moment that must be one of the highlights of this walk so far.
The rest of the day was following the several miles of beaches the stretched up to Newgale, a stone’s throw from St David’s. Thank you to Newgale campsite for hosting Tegwen and I, as lovely as it is I hope the evening and night to pass quickly as the following day I am to be visited by my family for a brief weekend of relaxation.
A blue skied morning welcomed me for my final walking day of week 2. It really helps to start the day with a positive attitude and also makes morning camping chores less arduous.
I was joined by my family, all eager to discover one of Wales’s most beautiful areas of which none of us were acquainted with. A shorter walking day than normal, we stopped to eat in Solva at the newly owned restaurant ‘35’. Solva is a natural harbour that protects the boats and it’s residents from the often brutal Irish Sea. I tried the traditional Lamb cawl, which comes with bread and a block of cheese. A simple but delicious meal, it was a pleasant break from my daily tuna bap.
Only a few miles on was St Davids, the UK’s smallest city, it was very quaint. With traditional pubs, independent shops and friendly locals, we felt at ease straight away. A stones throw away from the centre, you encounter the Cathedral. Normally apathetic towards churches and similar religious architecture, this building took my breath away. Under the dusk light it had an ethereal aura about it and you couldn’t help but revel in its beauty.
We then checked into our Airbnb farmhouse. I was so happy to have a proper bed to sleep in. Walking day after day, eating the same meals and sleeping on hard ground makes you really appreciate simple comforts. The hard work and gruelling journey was over for another week, rewarding as it may be, nothing beats spending quality time with your loved ones.
Walk it yourself?
Rating - 5*
Why? - Beautiful views and wild walking paths all the way along. Pretty villages, stunning beaches, jaw dropping views and wildlife galore. Pembrokeshire at it’s finest.
Highlights - Sandy Haven, Dale, Marloe Sands, Skomer Island, Newgale Beach, Solva, St Davids
Tom’s Tip - You need a full 3 days to walk from Sandy Haven right round to St Davids and it’s worth it. Every corner held another breathtaking view of turquoise waters and impressive cliffs, it was a total joy and the cherry on top was seeing young seal pups by Skomer Island. I want to go back to visit Skomer Island to see the puffins too. What are you waiting for?! Go!
Accommodation - There are lots of small villages and guesthouses along the way, I met others doing a long weekend walk staying in these places and travelling light.
Travel - A train to Milford Haven then a bus to Sandy Haven to start your walk. After this the trains disappear and it’s narrow roads and local buses back.