Justin Blackford

The Wombat Diaries

Justin Blackford

He travels here, he travels there; for the Wombat is a roaming creature, constantly moving from place to place, foraging for adventure on the forest floor of life. Feeding on the finer things in life, he is forever seeking out interesting places, fascinating people and extraordinary experiences. Those of you looking to encounter him are most likely to find him at places that offer quality food, wine and coffee (as he is rather obsessed with these), and failing that he can always be lured out of his burrow by the promise of good conversation, quality music, boisterous revelry or any combination of the above. Always willing to impart his knowledge to anyone who will listen, those of you wishing to follow the Way of the Wombat need only to read the pearls of wisdom contained in these pages and then head out in to the world, safe in the knowledge that you have the backing of that most mystical of marsupials.



Europe » United Kingdom » Wales » Pembrokeshire » St Davids July 26th 2011

17th June 5.15pm St Davids Day 10 I am trapped. It has been raining all day, and I mean ALL FUCKING DAY! It’s been chucking it down from when the wind and rain battered me awake in the morning until now at just after 5pm. Speaking of my rather rude awakening in such foul weather, as if it wasn’t unpleasant enough in itself I immediately had to deal with another pressing issue; a quite urgent need to urinate. Now I certainly wasn’t going to dash out in my underwear in such conditions, and the wind and rain were such that even the old open-both-tent-flaps-and-kneel-out-the-side trick was looking dicey at best. Not being in possession of a bottle I was willing to dispose of afterwards and quickly running out of time to come up with a solution, ... read more

Europe » United Kingdom » Wales » Pembrokeshire July 21st 2011

16th June 8.30pm Farmer’s Arms, St Davids Day 9 Ah, excellent, another tepid cup of terrible English coffee. Just what I felt like! I tell you what, these people are damn luck that coffee is an essential part of my writing process or they’d never see a penny of my money for such swill. By rights they should be paying me for having to suffer through it. I know that Nietzsche said that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, but he was German and they normally do coffee pretty well, so in this instance I’m going to go out on a limb and say that he doesn’t have a clue what he’s on about. The luke-warm dish water that I have just consumed certainly hasn’t made me any stronger. Rich, fragrant Italian espresso or a ... read more
A Monumental Coastline
A Monumental Sunset
Sun and Sea, Wales Style

Europe » United Kingdom » Wales » Pembrokeshire July 21st 2011

13th June 1.30pm The Sloop Inn, Porthgain Day 6 Right. Have been a bit neglectful of the old diary over the past few days due to a combination of business and exhaustion in the evening, so will take some time now to set the record straight and recount the last couple of days. After finishing my last entry sat in a café in Newport I sauntered back to the campsite to find that someone had set up camp right next to me. My new neighbour said hello and invited me over for a cuppa. He turned out to be a lovely lad from Wales who was also doing the whole coast path with a pack like myself (although being a bit more experienced in these matters, he hadn’t packed everything including the kitchen sink and was ... read more
A River Runs Through It
Dead Centre of Town
RIP Henry Oliver

Europe » United Kingdom » Wales » Pembrokeshire July 21st 2011

10th June 2.55 pm Newport Day 3 Well, I have just re-read yesterday’s entry and it turns out I was right on three accounts. One; it did turn out to be a fantastic day’s walk. The sun was out all day and there was a nice breeze so it all made for perfect walking conditions. Two; I was getting sunburned, and even though I put one some SPF 50 at the start of the day I still got a bit of a roasting, especially on my arms and shoulders. Now I have to say that as a proud Australian, it is more than a little embarrassing to get so horrible scorched by the feeble British sun. I mean, we don’t even have an ozone layer for Christ’s sake and here I am getting fried after just ... read more
Not Bad Eh?
Beware of Cliff
Bridge Over Trouble-free Water

Europe » United Kingdom » Wales » Pembrokeshire June 29th 2011

29th June 9.15pm Neyland Day 22 Am finally back on the coast path after a quite lengthy, but very pleasant detour inland. It has been good to get away from the coast for a bit and to spend and extended period of time sleeping indoors on a bed. In fact, I have become quite accustomed to crisp cotton sheets, thick mattresses and fluffy duvets over the past week or so, so might find the trusty ground mat and sleeping bag a bit of a shock after so long in pampered luxury. Now while it was great to spend a few nights in an actual bed, it was not quite as fun as I was hoping for. This is down to the actions, or rather in inaction as it were, of a certain English lass. Now I ... read more
Royal Digs
Caving In
Brian Ferry

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Herefordshire » Hereford June 23rd 2011

23rd June 4pm Hereford Day 16 Now anyone reading this that has an aptitude for geography will note that Hereford is not in Wales. This is because I have decided to take a few days off from my coastal trek, mainly at the behest of a certain young English lady who decided to take a few days off work and requested the pleasure of my company while doing so. So far be it from me to deny a lady her wishes, and always being willing to see more of the great British countryside, I boarded a train at Milford Haven this morning and made my way back on to English soil. After all, I figured I’ve earned a bit of R&R after the last few days (not that I really have to justify myself to anyone, ... read more
Drowned Rat
Hard a' Starboard
Milford Misbehaven

Europe » United Kingdom » Wales » Pembrokeshire June 20th 2011

20th June 8.10pm Newgale Day 13 Another gloomy Welsh evening, another several cups of terrible, over-priced coffee. Business as usual really. Forgive me for sounding a little tired and grumpy, I’m a little worn out from today’s walk but otherwise have no real reason to be out of sorts in any way. The past few days in St Davids have been very enjoyable, so much so that I ended up staying at total for five nights, which was three more than I had anticipated. This extended stay can be generally put down to a combination for bad weather, good people and alcohol abuse, all of which I shall now elaborate on. As evidenced by my last entry, walking on that day wasn’t really an option, or at least not one that I was willing to entertain ... read more
Right Back At Ya
The Thinker
Welsh Women

Europe » United Kingdom » Wales » Pembrokeshire June 9th 2011

9th June 7.45 am Poppit Sands Day 2 Have just woken up in the tent for the first time. It’s amazing to go the sleep and wake up with the sound of the ocean in your ears. Had a pretty good night’s sleep, though the ground was a little rough an uncomfortable. Still managed to get more rest than anywhere else over the past week or so, funnily enough. Am camped on a sloping field overlooking a rather picturesque river inlet called Poppit Sands just outside of Cardigan. To quote the cliché, the sun is shining and the birds are singing, so I have a feeling that it’s going to be a great day’s walking. Apparently the next stretch of the trail is the most physically challenging, very long with lots of hills involved, thus am ... read more
More Poppit

Europe » United Kingdom » Wales » Pembrokeshire June 8th 2011

8th June 10.05pm Poppit Sands Day 1 So, here I am, a little tired and worse for wear but finally on the Welsh coast at last. This trip has been a long time in planning, and while I’ve been really looking forward to it, I don’t really think I’ve grasped the enormity of the task I’ve set myself. I first got the idea of doing this walk from reading a Lonely Planet guide on a cold, dreary winter’s day while living Manchester. The more I looked in to it the more it appealed to me, long bracing walks by the sea in the beautiful Welsh sunshine, camping out, getting back to my rustic, country boy roots and all that. Until now everything has just been names of unfamiliar towns marked on ordinance survey maps and essentially ... read more
So it begins...
The view from the afternoon
Poppit Sands




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