Joy, delight, and disaster!

Tuesday 21st June – St Brides to Marloes (plus the beach at Newgale)

Total Steps: 16,351– 8504 steps on the trail , 7807 off the trail

Total: 7.5 miles 3.9 on the trail, 3.6 of the trail

Running Total: 70.1 miles – 44.3 miles on the trail, 25.8 miles off

It was a warm start, and a long drive back to St Brides to start the next part of the trail. I decided to do the inland leg first on this walk, and to try to walk until it got too warm. I ended up on a very wiggly route along the coastal back lanes in the car, and I was ready to go touching the coast path touching point just after 9:30am

The inland stretch of this walk first past a functioning but locked church, and then was across active farm land (fortunately mainly arable). There was one field with bullocks right on the other side thankfully but also lots of active horse flies around fresh dung near the path. It was pretty delightful with different crops, and some sections with good borders awash with wild flowers. It was quiet too, I met 2 couples both of whom I met again on the cliffs doing the same circuit as me). There were kissing gates linking the fields with short link paths, and a couple of styles, one with stone steps up.

I ended up in Marloes, with the path coming out by the facilities, which was very convenient. I initially went the wrong way (though this did mean I saw the clock tower) and then realising my mistake walked through the village and a little beyond to where a path connected to the coast path. I set up a touching point on the coast path sign, and had worked out where to park the car for the next leg of the path. I was soon coming out by the black cliffs and found a perching point for morning coffee in a cove which was completely idyllic. I lingered a little as it was so pretty.

The first section of the cliff path, with clear seas, warm sunshine and redstone cliffs was reasonably straightforward as well as beautiful, once I had climbed up from the cove. I passed a potential marquee reception venue, and then the cliffs rolled along soon joining the wall of the St Bride’s estate. There was one higher section, which was a bit of a stretch in the heat, but then it continued in much the same vein, winding back round the headland.

The second section of the coast path was close to the wall and further away from the edge, allowing a wide expanse of grassy growth to slip away to the cliffs. As I rounded the second corner of the wall, I came across a suitable bench for a lunch stop. It was about then as I sat down, that my leg started to bother me. I ended up using the seat pad, as I thought it was the edge of the bench – but I now realise it was the bite on the back of my thigh I either picked up then or had picked up earlier and not noticed. (The pictures show the extent of St Brides bay I have walked on this trip!)

It was an easy amble back to the car from there, and St Brides was very busy. So I went back to New Gale to try and fill the gap in the trail (2 miles) on the beach. I did manage about a third of that but the tide was too far in. I left a touching point on a stone and thought I would be back. It was lovely to walk on the beach but my thigh was aching a bit! I had a pricy ice cream and came back to base camp.

I investigated my thigh, which was just rather red at that point, and as the evening progressed it got very sore. I tried both bite cream and savlon to soothe it, neither helped. After watching bake off the professionals, I took a much closer look at the back of my thigh (with a mirror and my phone as a torch) – the problem area was now about the size of a milk bottle top, and blistering, sore and warm. I was abit alarmed and rang NHS 111. I dozed and about 11:30, they rang back first and I was more alarmed that the sore area had grown and they instructed me to mark round it. They rang back again at 1:30 and prescribed some antibiotics to pick up in Haverfordwest in the morning and to rest it. I contemplated the NHS website on bites, and also concluded I needed to cover it – and would pick up something to do that with the prescription. I didn’t sleep well.

I can’t see me managing any more of the trail on this visit – so I will have to pick up the trail on another visit from the black cliffs near Marloes. It has been fantastic and I am amazed I have done as much as I have in view of the difficulties with my fitness and the walker bus driver shortages. In the circumstances to have added another 44 miles to my tally on the trail is good (and over 70 miles in total!). I have been very blessed with the weather and God’s good earth in all its beauty!

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