Saturday, 14 January 2017

Further on into Wales

Sunday 8th January 2017

This morning we left Clement's End near Bream and headed for one of the very few sites that are open in Pembrokeshire - a small certified location near Saundersfoot called Bush Farm which is right on the A477. Our intention was to stay for a week, but after 48 hours we were more than ready to vacate our wet, muddy and very noisy location (the traffic seemed almost continuous all night)!  Really, we'd only chosen the site because there wasn't much else available in the area, and John  had thought we'd be ok there because after checking it out on the map  it was only a matter of about 300 yards before we could get off the main road and onto what looked like much quieter country lanes.

We'd arrived about 3ish and then came the performance of parking up and filling up!  Even though the pitches were hard standing we found that as we tried to get onto our levelling ramps T4rdis2's front wheels where digging deep 'dings' into the shale surface and it took several attempts to rise up the several inches we needed to prevent our dinner from sliding off the table.  Additionally, the only fresh water tap that was working was half way across a large strip of very wet and muddy grass so poor John had to lug about 100 litres of water before our tank registered full!  Oh well, I guess that provided his exercise for the day - but to make matters worse, while he was doing it the๐ŸŒง rain ๐ŸŒงwas 'joyfully' bouncing into the already full murky puddles!  So once all the chores were completed we were more than ready to shut up shop and take it easy for the rest of the day.

Monday 9th January 2017

So today was to be our first day out from this site - and what an experience that turned out to be!  The quiet country lanes were anything but - in fact it seemed as if we were on a race circuit that the locals used to get from A to B at a very rapid rate,  and during our walk down to Saundersfoot we were forced to jump into the overgrown and dirty hedgerows on more than one occasion to avoid being flattened by the speed freaks who rounded corners at alarming rates ๐Ÿ!

Therefore, we very quickly decided we wouldn't be walking or cycling that way again, and unfortunately that resulted in us having very little to do in the area unless we moved the van every time we wanted to go somewhere!  So, I think by now you can probably tell we were a little disgruntled with our choice of site, so to cheer me up John treated me to lunch out when we arrived in Saundersfoot Harbour!  We visited the 'Marina Restaurant' where we purchased 2 bags of chips which we ate while overlooking the beach and craggy cliffs to our right - there's really nothing quite like it - pipping hot chips cooked in beef dripping with lots of salt and vinegar!

But after that 'treat' it was another dice with death as we made our way back to T4rdis2, and as you might guess we hadn't been home long  before we were searching for another sleeping spot.  Eventually, we discovered another certified location in the village of Manorbier that looked as if it would suit us because it was right near the coastal path.  But when I rang to enquire the lady owner said the pitches were very wet because of all the recent rain - so having been STUCK IN THE MUD with T4rdis2 before we thought we'd better think again.  However, before I could ring off she quickly said that rather than going into the field we could park at the top where there is a hard standing pull in just adjacent to the porta cabin 'facilities'  This seemed ideal, but what she hadn't mentioned were the very narrow lanes that T4rdis2 would have to traverse to get there!

Tuesday 10th January 2017

Well, to cut a long story short, we eventually made it to the site at Manorbier with hardly a scrape!  And once there, we decided we would be staying put for a few days because the site was in a lovely spot and even though we were all alone we had everything we needed - even a very draughty (but scrupulously clean) loo and shower - the latter however required a 10 metre 'streak' because there was hardly any 'dry' space to hang your belongings within it's confines!  And the only other thing we didn't have was internet - but we managed quite well without it for a few days!

Our spot at Manorbier
Once we were settled we had a quick late lunch, and then as the day waned we pottered down past the towering Manorbier Castle to the village's sandy cove where there were quite a few people taking advantage of the watery winter sunshine - I even got blown a kiss by a little chap who must have been all of 18 months old.

From the beach we could easily identify the coastal path in both directions so we thought that would be at least 2 days of our stay taken care of, but we also knew our outings would be weather dependent because a wintery four letter word that starts with S and ends in W ❄⛄❄ had been forecast, so we weren't sure how well we would do!

Eventually, we tore ourselves away from the pretty little cove and turned tail to dawdle our way back through the village where we found a very well stocked shop - it even had our favourite cider, so even though we're supposed to be 'being good' we were weak willed and indulged.

Wednesday 11th January 2017

Overnight we were well and truly rocked - but maybe not to sleep๐Ÿ’ค!  The gale force winds ๐Ÿƒswayed and shook our little home until we were almost sea sick, but we hung on grimly and survived a very rough night  (was that the wind or the cider!)

Manorbier Beach
And in the morning, even though it remained very blustery, the ๐ŸŒžsun was shining in a clear blue sky and we soon found ourselves up on the coastal path and heading for Freshwater East.  Our walk was to be a 'there and back' of about 8 miles over tough coastal path that led us up steep and sometimes muddy climbs with equally challenging descents.  However, the views were breathtaking - craggy cliffs, that depending on how the light caught them, either shone with many different hues, or almost appeared as silhouettes cast against the very blue and almost cloudless sky.

It took us about an hour and a half to get to the Magical Freshwater beach - I say magical because when you check out the pictures below - John seems to have disappeared!

T4rdis2 to Enterprise - 'One to beam down'!

Happily, I found him again quite quickly, and we also managed to find a sheltered spot right on the sands, so as we sat and munched our sarnies we had the pleasure of watching the tide turn and start to crash up the beach.  However, with winter's short days, all to soon it was time to start making our way home, but on the way we did stop off to finish our coffee and gobble Aldi's best Stollon Bites in Swanlake Bay.

Thursday 12th January 2017

Happy Birthday Sarah ๐ŸŽ‚๐ŸŽˆ๐Ÿ•ฏ๐ŸŽ Hope your day was full of lovely surprises ๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿ˜™๐Ÿ˜˜

Today was a bit of a wash out with heavy rain and very strong winds throughout - but no snow so we're not complaining.  However, it certainly wasn't fit to go up onto the coastal path, so instead we opted to have a duvet day! John read a book and a half, and I watched 4 episodes of 'The Missing' - and very good it was too.

Then, as darkness fell the winds picked up even more, and if we thought we'd had a rough night on Tuesday - this was worse.  At times the roar of the wind and the motion it inflicted on T4rdis2 made it feel as if we were in a giant tumble dryer, and we were very glad we wern't parked under any large trees!

Friday 13th January 2017

We really have been quite lucky, because although the morning dawned cold and windy, we were once again treated to another dose of lovely ๐ŸŒž that lasted for almost the whole day, and with frequent sightings of flowers ๐ŸŒทpushing there way up we felt that Spring may have already Sprang!  And we certainly weren't going to waste such a lovely day, so as we'd turned right onto the coastal path on Wednesday, today we turned left!  This resulted in more spectacular vistas, but looking at them required frequent stops because the path was once again quite muddy, and after yesterdays rain it was sometimes quite treacherous underfoot. And therefore, we felt it was probably a good job we'd more or less got the path almost entirely to ourselves because sometimes it required a good bit of undignified pushing or pulling to conquer the slopes, and John even commented he would have to walk behind me in case he needed to assist my 'bottom' gear with a shove!

However, at one point he did get away in front - and then it looked as if he was going to walk right off the edge of Wales as the path vanished over the cliff edge!  But no - it just disappeared into infinity down some steep steps and then continued on hugging the cliff side until we entered an area where wild 'Merlod Ponies' roamed - we could tell they'd been there by their hoof prints and other things that horses leave behind, but we'd almost given up hope of seeing the actual beasts until we rounded a corner and spotted a couple grazing high up above us.

Further on still we came to Old Castle Head where the Military bases are still in evidence.  Here we learnt that 44 acres of the area had been used a a School of Anti Aircraft Artillery from 1937 until 1970, and that soldiers would practise firing over the Bristol Channel at targets towed by aircraft.  Even today The Ministry of Defence still use the area for soldiers to train in firing high velocity missiles over the sea at remotely controlled Banshee aerial targets.

However, our day remained quite and peaceful because no practising is  done in January, so we were able to continue our walk to Skrinkle Head where we paused for lunch while overlooking the magnificent pinnacles of rock that adorn the coast and isolated beaches in this area.  From our lunch spot we also had views across to Caldey Island, and we could just make out the outline of the Devon coast.  As we watched the powerful waves crashing up onto the cliffs and beach it wasn't difficult to see how the caves, fissures and natural arches had been formed over time, and we felt very lucky to be able to admire this indescribably beautiful view - but sadly we couldn't stay for too long because without the warmth generated by walking we were soon feeling chilled and ready to start our homeward journey.

The view from our lunch spot
And it was on this leg that we cheated a bit by taking a short cut that cropped about a mile from our trek. This allowed us to miss some of the worst slippery slopes, and bearing in mind that it had been Friday 13th, maybe it was a good job we did!

Saturday 14th January 2017

Much as we'd loved being at Manorbier we'd decided to move today - partly because we'd already covered as much of the coastal path as we could from our base, and partly because our cupboards were nearly bear! So after a hearty cooked breakfast we headed for Aldi in Carmarthen but only to find it's car park chocka block full!  This resulted in me having to run round and do the shopping on my own while John lurked down the road with the van - but it also allowed me to add extra goodies that I might not otherwise been allowed to have.๐Ÿ˜

Our New sleeping spot - I wonder if
there's a pot of gold at it's end
Then we managed to get the valve in our new spare wheel fixed before continuing on to Llanelli where we've parked at Caemawr Farm which will be our home for the next week. When we arrived I did wonder if we'd made another mistake because we had to squeeze up a narrow muddy lane and then follow a track that was only just wide enough to keep T4rdis's tyres within it's confines, but this led to a parking spot with far reaching views over the town of Llanelli, and more distantly over the estuary to River Loughor. We've picked this spot because it's  very close to the Millennium Coastal Path and the Gower Peninsula, both of which should provide cycling and walking, so fingers crossed, if the weather continues to be kind, we should have plenty to do.

Anyway, that's all for now!
Take care๐Ÿ˜—

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