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We rejoin the path and are now walking along the other side of the Milford Haven waterway. We pass the Texaco oil refinery, but now on this side of the Haven and also the jetty. It has five berths and, apparently, can handle 300,000 ton supertankers.
We soon arrive at East Angle Bay. The full sweep of the bay stretches far into the distance but it is flat. It is very windy and exposed but not cold. It is a long walk/limp around the bay but eventually we reach Angle. Angle is a single street village with a sweet church and fisherman’s chapel built in 1447. At high tide, the bridge is flooded and impassable. Angle also boasts a medieval dovecote. The campsite is on farmland and in the evening the farmer wanders over to collect the money. He has a voice like Anthony Hopkins that seems very incongruous compared with the his looks. I just stare and listen and let Charl do all the talking.
We proceed to West Angle Bay and stop for breakfast. Strange though it may seem, this morning I feel I am at the seaside. I know this is ridiculous because I have been beside the sea for thirteen days but today it feels different. I think it may be the smell. There is an aroma of seaweed that hasn't been present before.
We continue and pass the remains of the Elizabethan East Block House that teeters on the edge of the cliff. We pass Sheep Island. Shaped like a sheep or inhabited by sheep? I can't decide. The cliffs now consist of red sandstone. They remind me of slabs of cake or wafer biscuits or is it just near lunch time.
Oh, here we go again! A long way down and a very long way up the other side. I can just about see two people at the top of the climb. We have to go down yet, though!
We arrive at Freshwater West. It is known for it’s sand dunes known as The Burrows. It is a site of Special Scientific Interest and is owned mainly by The National Trust. The beach stretches for two and a half miles and is very popular with surfers. Not much of a surf here today. Walking through the sand dunes is not permitted but at low tide it is possible to walk the high water mark. We are told there are dangerous rip tides and quicksand at the low water mark at the north end of the beach.
The next stretch of coast is closed, as it is an artillery range. We have to walk inland to Castlemartin. From here the path is open at certain times but unfortunately, the red flag is flying and the tanks are out in force. There is nowhere to camp so we decide to B&B in Castlemartin.... We try one but it is booked.... The next is deserted and although we hang around in the garden for twenty minutes, no-one answers the bell (which is one of those dracula doorbells, a real bell on a pull, and feels quite sinister) although the front door is wide open.
There is no choice, we have carry on along the road to Warren. We are dying for a cup of tea but have no water..... Ah, where there is a church there is …….yes, a tap behind the gate. We sit against the wall and have a tea break. So, on along the road to Merrion Camp. It is not going to be possible to walk any of the MOD land today. We must walk all the way to Bosherton by road. Never mind. We will be able to get a B&B there. I am already looking forward to a hot bath and a soft bed!
We arrive at Bosherton and there, on the edge of the village is a camping field. There goes my B&B! It is nearly dark. I suggest we eat at the pub but we have food in our sacks. I cook while Charlie puts up the tent. I cook on a wonky pic-nic table. The dinner slides off. There is pasta everywhere. Fortunately I have some more and start again. I am not happy.
We decide to walk round the Bosherton lily ponds. These were created in the 18C by the Earl of Cawdor (sounds like a character from Lord of the Rings) to enhance the Stackkpole Estate. We are disappointed to see very little bird life on the pools apart from a pair of swans.
Climbing over the sand dunes to Broad Haven (yes, another Broad Haven) is hard work and it is very warm. It is quite a relief to be up on the cliffs and feel the breeze again. Around Stackpole Head the scenery is stunning with many rock formations, caves and natural arches.
On to Barafundle Bay, another totally unspoilt bay, with no vehicle access. A great place for lunch and a cuppa ...........or three. On the north side of the bay there are steps ascending the cliff with a wall and arch, once gated. This was also built by the Cawdors. The bay has been used for many films and television productions. It is a bit "Jane Austin". We linger too long but finally wrench ourselves away and onto the campsite
at Freshwater East.
We pass Swanlake Bay, another idyllic spot (at the risk of repeating myself, only accessible on foot etc.etc.) and are soon in Manorbier. We pass the castle on the way into the village. We head straight for the pub. We are starving but it is two o’clock and they have just stopped serving food. They make us a sandwich and we chat to the landlord while downing a few pints. He tells us that the BBC are currently using the castle to film an historical drama, and indeed we did notice a great many cables and large caravans in the car park on the way. We return to the pub in the evening as we notice “lamb shanks” on the menu. They are delicious.
Along the cliff top path once more we come across a chasm, marked on the map as Coniger Pit. What it is we do not know. Some form of quarry? We peer inside. There is sea in the bottom. Could it be natural erosion?
We circle the fenced perimeter of Manorbier Camp and onto Lydstep Haven. This is a large sheltered sandy bay but full of caravans from one end to the other. Caravan Sites are very useful for shops though and we find one eventually amongst the city of caravans.
We are soon in Tenby and pitch at a holiday park on the outskirts of town.
We walk into Tenby in search of gas but it is Sunday and the camping shops are shut. Never mind, good excuse for fish ‘n chips. We will have to go back to the shop in the morning though. We explore Tenby. For a large resort, we find it uncommercialised. There are small cafes and bistros and the usual gift shops but no large amusement areas.
We return to the tent, shower, give the camp show a miss and sleep soundly
We continue and Tenby gradually recedes into the distance. We come to a wooded area, Lodge Valley. There is an extremely sharp descent and ascent here. So steep, in fact, that the path has been made up for better grip. Further along the path we arrive at Monkstone Beach. This beach looks very inviting but there is an extremely sharp descent and then, of course, we would have to come all the way up again. Considering we have just completed something similar, we pass by.
My knee has been hurting for the last eighty miles. In the mornings it is very stiff and I limp for about half an hour and gradually it limbers up. Fortunately, it doesn’t seem to get worse as the day goes on. It hurts on the level, especially on very uneven ground. It hurts a great deal going down but, strangely enough, not at all going up! I have never been so grateful for my hiking stick. Because of this knee injury, there have been times when I thought I would not make it, but now, with the finish line in sight, I know I will.
We walk through clifftop woodland and then down to a beach with a stream outlet. Perfect for a lunch break. It is possible to walk around the rocks to Saundersfoot when the tide is low. We eat lunch and wait for the tide. We wait…… and wait. It still doesn’t seem passable.
We take the road to Saundersfoot. This is a good place for a loo stop and we cannot pass the café by. I'm afraid we have chips.
There is a cloudburst! Charlie dives for a cliff overhang. I limp after him over the rocks. I am very slow and get drenched. Charlie laughs from his shelter. I remark how chivalrous he is. He replies that there is no point us both getting wet! By the time I have laboriously clambered over the rocks with my gammy knee, the rain has almost stopped. Whilst performing this feat of endurance a rock falls from above and misses me by inches. It is only the size of a walnut but consequently, I do feel a little unsafe!
Please, do not try this at home! Sitting under the cliffs here is dangerous as they are very prone to rock fall
This is the first time we, no ….. I, have got wet since beginning the coastal path and we are only a mile or so from the end. It did rain at St.David’s but, we decide not to count this as, it was not a walking day.
We pick our way over various rocky outcrops. The weather begins to brighten again and we reach Wiseman's Bridge. Wiseman’s Bridge seems to consist of a pub and not much else. Though, thinking about it, there must be a bridge.
The rock formations and stratas are very interesting. Walking over the large pebbles is making my knee hurt but I don’t care now! We are nearly there. We can see Armroth in the distance. We arrive and head straight to the pub for a congratulatory pint. The barman looks at our sacks and asks if we have "come all the way". We reply in the affirmative. He looks at us.
"What, all the way!"