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" West Wales - 1 - Abercastle "

Date & start time: 23rd - 30th April 2016.

Location of Start : Abercastle, North West Pembrokeshire, Wales, Uk ( SM 853 335 )

Stayed at : Doves Cottage, Abercastle, North Pembrokeshire.

Places visited : Abercastle beach and cliff walks.

Walk details :    Local walks of an hour or so each.

Highest point : Sea Views and a visit from friends.

Walked with : Sandra and Jackie, Ann and our dogs, Rofus, Harry and Dylan.

Weather : Sunshine, blue skies, fair weather clouds but a cool northerly breeze at times.

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It is the end of April and the weather has improved to the point where it has been reliably sunny for a few weeks.

The lambing season is well under way, even for those farms here at home that delay their start till later.

The weather is fine, the nights not too cold, but the lack of rain is not allowing the grass to grow so it is not a great start to the lambing year

for the farmers.  The sheep have little milk and need supplementary feed to allow them to rear their lambs properly.

- - - o o o - - -

Just as we left for our spring holiday in Wales we looked over the wall opposite and found a new born lamb, just minutes old.

Hopefully in ten days time, when we return, he will be running around the field with his siblings.

Now that's a new born !

- - - o o o - - -

A full day's travel finds us near the western tip of West Wales, at Abercastle

after a delightful drive down through Bala, Aberystwyth, Cardigan and along the Irish Sea coast road.

Late in the afternoon, or was it early evening, we reached the sleepy village of Abercastle.

We have booked a week's stay at Dove's Cottage . . . that small building half way out along the headland.

We picked up the key and let ourselves in.
The cottage has a rear patio and steps to the sea
. . . but we don't want Dylan wet just yet !

Over supper, cooked on a lovely warm Rayburn stove, we relax and enjoy a view of the westerly Abercastle sunset.

- - - o o o - - -

Next morning it is fine but not exactly warm

due to the breeze blowing down the coast.


Rather than let the dogs out into the garden

I opt to take them on a short walk along the coast path.


The Pembrokeshire Coast is blessed with 

a purpose made long distance coast path

that extends some 186 miles

from Amroth in the south to St Dogmels Bay

near Cardigan in the north of the county.


I'll just do a mile or so before breakfast !

On the northern side of the harbour the protective headland is in fact an island called Ynys y Castell (Castle Island),

with a fifty yard gap that the sea flows through at high tide.

The path follows the edge of the headland as closely as possible.

Over the years it has become too close in places and a new path is created, set back to allow a margin of safety in the event of further erosion.

The path north out of the village allows me a distant view all the way up the coast to Strumble Head in the distance.

Turning for home (and breakfast) I follow the field edges back to the harbour.

The ruined building across the field from Dylan is an old granary, from the days when the farmers here grew more cereals

and stored them prior to shipping them out by boat to the distant markets of the Bristol Channel or Liverpool.

There's no access to the ruined building.

Perhaps that's a good idea because it is not in the best state of repair.

Back at the cottage and it seems the local fishermen are up and about too.

They check out the bigger boat . . . before taking the dory over to a larger dinghy moored opposite.

A short trip out to the mouth of the harbour and they return, towing what looks like a large box of some sort.

It seemed hard work as the item was not exactly streamlined for towing.

All became clear as they beached their craft.

It was a storage box for crabs which had been caught in the last few days and kept alive in the sea water of the harbour.

The two sets of lower wheels and the tow rope allowed it to be pulled up onto dry land where they could off-load and sort their catch.

- - - o o o - - -

Sunday morning and friends of ours had made an early start from their home in Swansea.

A cup of coffee was the order of the day when they arrived.

We have known Sandra and Jackie for many years since they were near neighbours of ours when we used to live in Swansea. 

We were looking forward to meeting up again and chatting face to face, rather than just talking long distance on the phone.

There's no reason why we can't chat and walk at the same time

and they were looking forward to walking some of the coast path too.

We set off south west this time, across the head of the small harbour and along the path on the opposite side of the inlet.

Above the slipway one of the fish boxes had been upended for a few small running repairs.

Brief photo-stop at the gate . . . Jackie, Sandra and Ann . . . plus Rofus, Harry and Dylan.

Two marks if you can spot two pieces of antiquity in the photo !

The post is an old French cannon from a local shipwreck and the wall is the top of an old lime kiln alongside the track.

A wider panorama on this sunny morning.

The cottage we were staying in was an old tap room (public house) at one time, though it has been extensively rebuild and modernised.

Where the path crosses various rock gullies

several substantial concrete slabs have been constructed in order to help the fishermen and of course, the walkers.

The tide is falling now

and the causeway to the island is being exposed.

Through the gap we can see a view of Strumble Head once again.


- - - o o o - - -


The steps take us up from the small beach

directly up onto the top of the headland.


- - - o o o - - -


Part of the agony (or ecstasy) of the coast path

is the number of times it ascends and descends

on its way around the coast.


The cumulative ascent is said to be more than

that of climbing Mount Everest, a total of 35,000 feet !

Looking back at the harbour as we climb the steps.

Once you are up the walking is easy !

Don't be fooled by the sunshine, Sandra's coat was much appreciated for keeping her warm.

Lambs ahead . . . they stop just long enough to watch us go by.

They are much more grown than the little Cumbrian creature we saw born yesterday.

A stocky bunch of youngsters who raced around the field as only young lambs can do.

Two . . . with a background of the sea rather than high fells.

Their mums look on from the top of the field.

Around the corner from Ynys Deullyn headland is a rather nice rock arch.

Such are the beauties of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path.

We reach the point where we can look down on Pwll Llong,

the rock cove just down from Longhouse Farm off to the left (out of picture).

Lovely coastal rock scenery around every turn.

The next headland is that of Porthgain.

One of the outer white harbour markers can be seen on the headland in the distance.

The other is just off to the left . . . and the deceptive harbour entrance is in between.

Growing on the cliff at our feet is a fine patch of white campion (Silene latifolia).

They are really at their prime at this time of year.

Further down the coast are the smaller hills of Carnedd Lleithr and Carn Llidi.

Britain's smallest city, St Davids, is a short distant beyond.

The cliffs are fine places for watching the seabirds soaring.

This one is possibly a lesser black backed gull.

More settle on the rocks below.
Some perch on the most inaccessible ledges.

This one flies past with lunch in its beak . . . a tasty morsel inside a sea-shell.

Time to be heading back to Abercastle . . . past that arch and a fine earth-filled Pembrokeshire field wall.

On the way back I divert to see the ancient cromlech known as Careg Sampson.

This has a massive headstone lifted high on five pillars of rock.

It was thought to be a burial chamber or tomb of some important Neolithic Man (45000 to 4300 years BC)

Dylan adds scale to this ancient monument.

The name Samson's Stone comes from the legend that St. Samson put the capstone in place himself, using just one finger . . . yeah !

All traces of earth covering and secondary stones have long gone

but it is certainly an impressive structure.  More info at the 'Stone Circles' website here

One last shot before we leave.

Back down those steps to try and catch the others up.

They hadn't gone far . . . they were down on the beach.

The tide is low now and the boat lies quietly on the sand.

The steps from our cottage behind lead down to a dry beach rather than disappear into the water.

Harry takes a dip in the fresher water stream behind the small harbour wall.

Ann leads the way back home . . . preceded by the dogs of course.

Did anyone spot the more unusual beach user in the last photo ?

A loaf of Loweswater bread and plates on the table . . . it must be lunchtime.

After lunch I cross the causeway to reach the island of Ynys Castell.

The view looking back to the harbour . . . and a selection of wild flowers on the island.

Birds foot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus) with an extra visitor today.
Pink thrift (Armeria maritima) a common plant on the sea cliffs.
The view across the outer harbour entrance . . .
. . . and up the coast to Strumble Head.

Crossing back across the exposed causeway . . . the tide can crash through here in a northerly gale.

Later on everyone enjoyed the same walk above the cottage that I had taken earlier in the morning.

A few extra pictures of the flowers . . . which are a delight in a Pembrokeshire spring time.

Some colourful violets (Viola riviniana) at the side of the path.
Equally pretty bluebells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta)
Primroses (Primula vulgaris) were in abundance along the path.
However it is too early for this Foxglove ( Digitalis purpurea).

Sandra and I look down the steep-sided cliff . . . no time to walk much further round the cliff path.

Rufus and Dylan enjoy each others company but it was time for Sandra and Jackie to depart for home.

We were to meet up again at the end next weekend in Swansea.

- - - o o o - - -


Technical note: Pictures taken with either Ann's Canon Sureshot SX220, or my Canon 1100D Digital SLR.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

This site best viewed with . . . a cottage by the sea.

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Previous walk - 16th-21st April 2016 - Local walks and Grange Tea

A previous time up here - 13th to 21st May 2005 A visit to Swansea and Pembrokeshire

Next walk - 25th April 2016 - 2. Porthgain