December 12, 2018

Trip Report by BestHike editor Rick McCharles

I made coffee in the vestibule of my tent in the dark. Packed up and was on my feet by 8am. BIG day ahead. The toughest and most physically demanding of any on the Coast Path.

It was about 2 miles to town. Another 14 miles more (at least) to finish.

I finally saw rabbits on one farm. (SLUGS are much more plentiful.)

Giant mushrooms.

I detoured to Newport town to pick up provisions. There was some chance I’d need to wild camp again. I had no reservation for the hostel. And it was Saturday.

Scones and fruit cake are high calorie. Easy to eat.

For the first time in my hiking career an official trail crossed a golf course. That’s cool.

In the parking lot Duke of Edinburgh hikers were unloading. These are students who had to plan and execute an expedition of at least 2 days and 1 night. They looked woefully unprepared to me.

The steep, sheer, non-stop cliffs begin. The highest 575ft (175m). There’s only one emergency exit all day.

Narrow trails. Far less used than those in the south.

Yes. Muddy.

Most of the coves are inaccessible except from sea.

Stunning scenery. The weather improved over the day.

October in Pembrokeshire. You know what that means?  It’s Atlantic grey seal breeding time!

I did see dozens of seals. (And 5 distant dolphins.)

But I saw only one pup. The baby (white) looked nearly as big as Mom.

Pups can’t swim yet. And they are very uncoordinated on land. Helpless as a human baby.

Click PLAY or watch a similar baby on YouTube.

Mom was in the perfect protected spot, however. A collapsed sea cave called Witch’s Calderon.

Weather was great. Aside from the wind.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

I was quite happy to round the corner and see that cliffs had ended. I’d been walking for nearly 8 hours.

On a weekend, I feared Poppit Sands hostel would be full. I’d need to wild camp again.

Happily there was space at the inn. I spent about 25 minutes in the hot shower! Welsh hostels are excellent.

It was a fun night chatting with an entertaining, informative Irishman. (Are there any other kind?) He was just finishing up a 3 month cycling holiday.

Before dinner I walked Poppit beach. My Coast Path would be ending first thing in the morning.

____

After coffee in the morning I had 2 miles left to trail end in St Dogmaels.

I visited the ancient Abby. And church built 1847 from Abby stones.

Here’s the finish.

Over 4 days I’d walked the first 20 miles. And the last 25 miles. About a quarter of the Coast Path. It was enough.

Then I walked another 2 miles along the Wales Coast Path, an 870-mile (1,400 km) route around the whole coast of Wales, to the bus stop at Cardigan. From there I planned to catch a bus to the train station.

What! What?

In October there are no longer ANY buses to anywhere on a Sunday. Bus service has been shrinking for years for rural towns in Wales.

The closest train station was 50£ by cab. I hate taxis. So checked into a lovely hotel instead for 45£. A holiday from my hiking vacation.

Pembrokeshire Coast Path is definitely one of the top 10 coastal hikes in the world.

 

Africa , Europe