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Published: July 21st 2011
Impressive rock formations in the cliffs
10th June 2.55 pm Newport
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 one day in Wales. That said, I am definitely going to lather up more often from here on in and invest in a hat tomorrow. Three; the phrase ‘physically challenging’ is sort of right, but doesn’t really do justice to the sheer level of exertion required to complete the walk with a pack as heavy as mine. At well over 20km it would
Not Bad Eh?
Impressive views of the rocky coastline
have been difficult enough, but add to that equation many steep hills and my low level of fitness, and ‘challenging’ becomes ‘really, really fucking hard’. After around eight hours walking I finally stumbled in to Newport. My straps were cutting in to my shoulders, my feet were sore and legs achey and very, very heavy. I can honestly say that it is possibly the most physically exhausted I have even been in my life. I swear even my finger and toe nails were in pain.
Now however tired and fed up I was by the end it all, it’s not to say that the day wasn’t worth it and very enjoyable. The scenery combine with the fantastic weather were nothing short of breath-taking. The vast majority of the route went right along the edge of high, sheer cliffs that dropped straight down into a perfectly clear and blue Irish Sea. Walking between the cliff top and the emerald patchwork of fields it was possible to look back at the cliffs and observe their impressive rock formations; layer upon layer compressed by ancient tectonic forces into a wavy pattern that was like a diagram in a geological textbook brought to
Beware of Cliff
A warning against either falling to one's death or the Cliff Richard clones that lurk in the fields just off the path.
life. In addition to the great scenery I also met a lovely older Canadian couple and we chatted and walked together for a while and then sat down and shared lunch before I said goodbye and pushed on ahead.
After a short while I came across a small bay with a beautiful, flat stone bridge crossing a stream that led into the ocean. There were a few people about including a group of people dressed in brown hooded robes accompanied by a camera crew. They were obviously filming something something to do with ancient monks (turns out it was a BBC docco on the history of Wales). It was a little unexpected, which must have shown on my face as while I was walking past one of the robed men turned to me and said I looked a little ‘mystified’. “Yeah,” I replied, “I didn’t think there were many Jedi left around this part of Wales these days.” Needless to say my quip flew right over their heads and I was promptly informed that they were dressed as monks, not Jedi. Honestly, genius humour like mine is totally wasted on such peasants, sometimes I really don’t know why I
Bridge Over Trouble-free Water
Rock bridge over a little stream
bother. The incident did however get me thinking of the humorous notion of what a Welsh Jedi would be like. The lines “Use the force, Daffyd,” and “I’m the only Sith in the village,” came to mind. This in itself reminded me of two things; a) I’m fucking hilarious and should really try my hand at comedy writing, and b) I can be quite nerdy at times.
The rest of the walk was scenically uneventful, save for a few very cute mother and foals grazing close by in fields, and I stumbled in to town around 6.30pm. For the last several torturous hours of walking I had been motivating myself with the promise of a nice, cold, foaming pint of beer, so as soon as I could I found someone to ask for directions to the closest pub and campsite. Necessary information acquired, I set off uphill (like I needed another bloody hill in my life at this stage) and fell into the nearest pub. I have to say that it was a little stuffy and not at all the warm Welsh welcome (if you’ll excuse the alliteration) that this weary traveller was expecting, but I was too knackered
The Long and Winding Path
"This is a remote, rugged and challenging stretch of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path". I can't say I wasn't warned.
to really care that much so downed a pint of Guinness and a packet of dry-roasted peanuts and set off for the campsite.
I found it easily enough and set up the tent much more quickly and efficiently this time around. Got myself sorted and could have easily passed out there and then but forced myself to get up and at least have a shower before going to sleep. It’s a good thing that I did as on the way to the toilet/shower block I got talking to a feller that had just arrived with his mate and was setting up camp for the night. Turns out they were doing the whole coast walk too, so after my shower I headed over to where they were putting up their tent. They ended up being really sound Yorkshire boys and after a short walk along the shore while they got organised I joined them for a drink.
After some dinner and few beers at the campsite, we headed off to take in the local sights and sounds (re: headed straight for the closest pub). We found one with a much nicer atmosphere that the previous one that I had
visited and spent the rest of the evening merrily chatting away to the hilarious woman from the local loony bin (I’m actually not joking here), an unintelligible Glaswegian lad (“aye, ken, y’know wha’ I’m sayin”) and the exceedingly cute Welsh lass working behind the bar. In addition to her high levels of cuteness, she was also gracious enough to keep the place open an extra hour for us. Cute, Welsh and open to illegally extending drinking hours; I think I might be in love! After a couple of pints of delicious Double Dragon ale (writing this has just reminded me of the early 90’s arcade game of the same name. I wonder what the street-fighting brothers’ choice of tipple would have been? Given their propensity for extreme violence, I’m guessing cheap whiskey and methamphetamine), I stumbled home with a nice buzz on and promptly fell asleep.
Today, being a rest day, I slept in, got up and made brekky (scrambled eggs and cherry tomatoes on toast, not bad for camp cooking) and then spend a few hours doing some washing and other domestics. That done, I took a stroll through town and bought a few bits and pieces including some cocoa butter for my poor sunburned shoulders and a small bottle of single malt whiskey produced at the only distillery in Wales. As for plans for tonight, I was told last night about a really old pub run by an equally old woman called Bessie that only serves one kind of beer at a time that she pours straight from the barrel into a job and then into your glass. Sounds brilliant so will wait for the Yorkshire lads to get back from their hike and see if they’re keen. Also, my future Welsh wife finishes work at the pub restaurant at ten, so may have to make an appearance there, but we’ll see how we go…
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