Date – 15 April 2017
Walked from – Merrion
Walked to – Pembroke
Distance – 24.6 miles
I stopped walking almost three hours ago, but my feet still feel as if there’s enough heat pouring out of them to power a small town – Pembroke perhaps, as that’s where I’m staying tonight.
I wish I could say, upon first glimpsing the 11th century Pembroke Castle, that I uttered something about it being historically fascinating – location, as it was, of the birth of King Henry VII. I didn’t. I swore – I couldn’t believe how far away it still looked, when I was feeling so very done in (for today, at least. I am very much relying on the restorative powers of sleep right now).
Still, scorching hot soles and tired legs aside, today had lots to keep me entertained – from the curious calves who came over to greet me near Castlemartin, to the snails that littered the paths through the sand dunes at Freshwater West beach. And they weren’t just any old beach and dunes – they were the dunes where ‘that scene’ with a certain house elf was filmed in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Oh Dobby… I cry my heart out every single time…
There were some bumpy bits at West and East Pickard bays, but nothing a SW Coast Path veteran wouldn’t take in their stride, and then it was easy cliff top walking all the way around to West Angle Bay. Had a hot chocolate in the beach cafe there, and then just two miles later the sun came out so I did a little bit of basking in it at the pretty Old Point House pub while having a light lunch. Its harbour location, looking out onto the mudflats, is positively picturesque – as long as you don’t look too far over to your left at the oil refinery!
I could have quite happily finished at the pub yesterday, having walked 12.5 miles already. But no such luck – I had another 12 to go. Around the shoreline at Angle Bay, past the oil refinery and Fort Popton and then it was a trudge through fields and woodland paths until the outskirts of Pembroke. But there was something I’d promised myself in Pembroke that kept me motivated. A trip to the castle? Nope, that’s for tomorrow morning. A long hot soak in a bath? Nah, no bath in the shared B&B bathroom tonight. Something way more important to the soul – a chocolate Easter Egg. Yup, after 40 days of Lenten abstinence from eating the good stuff, I was ready to fall off the Cadburys Wagon. #EasterIsForChocolate
Photos: Me talking to some calves / the road at Freshwater West (a bus goes down there!) / snails / fields near Angle / the mudflats at Angle / oil refinary / woodland flowers on the approach to Pembroke