Sunday 12th June
Solva circuit (furthest point on the coast path Porthymynawyd)
Total Steps: 14,753 – 8403 steps on the trail 6,350 off the trail
Total: 6.3 miles 3.4 on the trail, 2.9 miles off
Running Total: 11.5 miles – 6 miles on the trail, 5.5 miles off
No bus options as it was Sunday, so did a circular walk from Solva and the opposite side to where I walked yesterday. I drove to the car park, and was all ready to go before 9:40am, meeting some of my neighbours from base camp before I got my boots on. I touched the touching point by the bridge. The initial outward path quickly deviated from the coast path, so I decided to count the steps when I get to the furthest point on the coast path and then walk back! Anyway the path took me up on to the Gribin – the view was great but it was a bit edgy and rather rocky! The path down to continue the walk was rocky, eroded and steep, and I took my time. I was conscious I was going to have to repeat this part of the walk going back up the path I had not enjoyed descending, and this rather weighed on my mind.
Anyway the inland outbound route, slowly climbed up the hill, to St Elvis’ farm. I had some doubts about this at the time, but I have been reassured there was a 6th century St Elvis! I enjoyed a path right next to a very impressive bull, whilst the Elvis ear worms were prolific! Later on this walk I also saw my first Pembrokeshire ponies too.
After the initial track, there was a long section on field paths and then a long stretch on an overgrown ‘green lane’. I briefly passed through the hamlet of Lochvane, and another stretch of ‘green lane’ followed. I had a coffee break in a field at the end sitting on the first style of this trip!. I descended down to the coast path at this point near Porthmynawyd (establishing a touching point) and people became much more numerous. The conditions were terrific, bright blue skies, sunshine and a good temperature for walking.
There was a stiff ascent to start with, and then a very pleasing section of undulating cliffs, starting with another fort site (no archaelogists) at Dinas Fach. I met at different points my neighbours again (and the ladies had even been in for a dip in the sea!). I got to a second long promontory (Dinas Fawr). I didn’t take the optional path on and off as it looked even more edgy then the Gribin had been.
A particularly attractive stage of the coast path undulating down to Gwadn bay where I had initially turned off followed. I stopped for a second break to fortify myself for the climb back up the Gribin. It was steep but easier to get a grip going up. It was a relief to have negotiated it successfully. I was annoyed with myself that it had worried me! I wound back down to the village, which was very busy. I touched the touching point again, and indulged in a rum and raison ice cream. Yum!!!
Monday 13th June – Porth Clais to base camp (Upper Solva)
Total Steps: 16,812 – 12422 steps on the trail, 4390 off the trail
Total: 7.6 miles – 5.6 on the trail, 2 miles off
Running Total: 19.1 miles – 11.6 miles on the trail, 7.5 miles off
Some homework with the different bus companies paid dividends, I got the T11 at 9:41 from the bus stop about 10 minutes walk from the base camp to St David’s, and then the Celtic Coaster on to Porth Clais for the start of today’s walk. (The latter is not run by Richard Brothers who have the driver shortage). It was cooler and significantly cloudier but by 10:20am I was ready to go having availed myself of the National Trust facilities at Porth Clais. I used the Porth Clais bus stop as the touching point and off I went.
I wasn’t paying attention and started on the wrong path! After a straying into a caravan site and getting further away from the coast, I realised my mistake. Fortunately, I found a connecting path and was soon enjoying the delights of slightly lower cliffs than the last couple of days. I saw 2 lots of cliff climbers (the second lot being from Birmingham University) and a large group of ‘coasteerers’ initially on the rocks and then in canoes. I did think about doing such dangerous sports! I shan’t be trying them! There was again lots of people on the path. Interestingly several Americans, and four of my fellow travellers on the bus had been German.
I stopped for coffee just round the bay from St Non’s retreat centre, and was delighted (and surprised) to see a solitary gannet. So much more majestic than ordinary gulls, and it did a characteristic vertical dive into the sea right in front of me. So that can be wildlife of the day.
The route was rocky in places, and undulating but generally it kept height pretty well. I had to descend down at Caer Bwdy, and lost some height near Trelerw. There was a steep final descent into Porth y Rhaw (not as steep as the Gribbin), but this afforded more excellent views of the Archaelogical dig I saw on Saturday (no digging today), and how this point had been a fort back in the day. Here I had set up a touching point on Saturday’s walk – which I duly touched. I had my lunch overlooking the inlet, and eventually spotted some stone sculptures.
After lunch I walked back up to the holiday let, seeing more ponies and the archaeologist’s portaloo amongst various farm machinery long unused.