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" West Wales - 3 - St Justinians "

Date & start time:   26th April 2016, an afternoon walk.

Location of Start : Porthstinian Cove, Pembrokeshire, Wales, Uk ( SM 725 252 )

Stayed at :          Doves Cottage, Abercastle, North Pembrokeshire.

Places visited : St Justinian and a cliff walk to Porthselau Bay and back.

Walk details :    Local (curved) linear walk of two hours there and back.

Highest point : Sea Views and a return to old haunts.

Walked with :   Ann and our dogs, Harry and Dylan.

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

© Crown copyright. All rights reserved. Licence number PU 100034184.


Another day and another sunny sunrise

but that northerly wind is just as strong and pinning the temperatures down a little.

Sitting on the outside table would be a little too cool, but the view was superb.

Abercastle Outer Harbour . . . from Doves Cottage

as the strong wind blows the high tide waves 'through the gap'.

- - - o o o - - -

As the day progressed the wind eased and we headed to the western most tip of Wales . . . to the smallest city in Britain.

St David's Cathedral nestles in the valley below the small town, some say for weather protection, others say it was in order to keep out of sight of marauding and unwelcome visitors. However it was built on the site of David's sixth century monastery "on the site of the monastery he founded in the inhospitable area known as Glyn Rhosyn", probably all the land he could muster during his early life.

St Justinian's Chapel (ruin) is named after a friend and fellow monk of St David's, back in the sixth Century.

However Justinian became disillusioned with the monks at St David's and took himself away the short distance to remote Ramsey Island

to establish a more holy spiritual community.  He was apparently buried here on the mainland after an 'untimely death'.

St Justinian's is more well known today for the Lifeboat House at the end of the road across the peninsular.

We leave the car at the car park and walk down to the coast path, just beyond the booking shed for the Ramsey Island boat trips.

This is the classic view of the RNLI St Davids's Lifeboat House,

built on stilts at the base of the cliffs which now houses a Tyne-class lifeboat 'Garside'

and replaced an earlier, smaller lifeboat that used a difficult slipway launch system.

- - - o o o - - -


But what is this big industrial crane doing in the field next to the car park ?

The answer is that the RNLI is upgrading the location once again.



They are building a new, state-of-the-art boat house

to upgrade facilities and house the new Tamar class ocean-going lifeboat.


- - - o o o - - -

All becomes clear as we walk around on the high level path. 

The brand new St David's Lifeboat House is well on the way to completion.

Zooming in on the workmen fitting the shiny new roof . . .
and the Tamar class “Norah Wortley” moored out awaiting its new home.

Since April 2013 the station is unique in that there are three lifeboats based at St Davids.

The new Tamar class all-weather lifeboat “Norah Wortley” 16-26 which is to be kept on a mooring at St Justinians,

the Tyne class all-weather lifeboat “Garside” 47-026 which is slipway launched and the D-class inshore lifeboat “Myrtle & Trevor Gurr” D-704.

Check out the station's own website here   (right click to open as a new window)

A broader picture of all three lifeboat houses.

Eventually the present one will become redundant . . . want to make an offer ?

- - - o o o - - -

Time to change tack and go for that walk which we promised ourselves.

We head out north from Porthstinian Cove along the Pembrokeshire Coast Path.

The path hugs the cliff top as far as possible.

. . . and here has spectacular views of Ramsey Sound and Ramsey Island.

Zooming in on the reef known as "The Bitches" that juts out into the sound from the island

and beyond it the high ground of Ynys Bery at the far end of Ramsey Island.

We seem to have hit the high point of the flowers this spring, with many of the cliff top flowers in full bloom.

Sea Pinks or Thrift (Armeria maritima) thrives on poor soil and a salty environment.

Blue Squill (Scilla siberica)
Birds foot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus)

A dwarf hawthorn bush with the white "May" flowers

and in the foreground the cheerful Michaelmas Daisy

- - - o o o - - -


Look out . . . health and safety gone mad . . .

We've walked these cliffs so many times before we moved to the Lakes

and enjoyed viewing the badger set next to the path.


It seems now that we've been risking life and limb all along

but all will be well in future . . . they've put a notice . . . Doh !

Sea pinks in a delightful sea setting.

A fine patch of white campion (Silene latifolia) growing on a rock ledge.

Ann wanders closer to the edge, but still a fair height above the sea.

Jagged rocks . . . no place for a boat in trouble.
The cliffs are in a continual state of change.

What's this . . . a new and temporary observation post . . . well tied down against any westerly gale.

A project to harness power from the tide . . .
. . . with environmental monitoring above the water

Point St John on the map . . . we'll go with that.

It is the turning point of the coast path which now starts its journey around Whitesands Bay towards St David's Head.

A fine view of Ramsey island . . . the rocky island to the right is the northern end of the Bishops and Clerks Reef

which has the South Bishop light at the other end, out of sight behind the high ground of the island.

Harry and Dylan enjoy the view of the island . . .

. . . then turn to see where we are going next.

The long sweep of Whitesands Bay

from the rocks of Carreg Gafeiliog round to the high ground of Carn Lledi and on towards St David's Point.

Don't panic, we're not walking that far.

More jagged rock strata below . . .
. . . and with each, a rocky inlet.

The famous beach of Whitesands ahead, but to the right another bay . . . Porthselau.

A good surf as the waves sweep into the bay.

There's nice sand here on Porthselau . . . but not as much as we seem to recall from our times relaxing on the beach years ago with the family.

- - - o o o - - -

We could make the walk into a circular round by walking up the small valley past Pencarnan Farm and back to Rhosson

but the cliffs are so nice we decide to turn and reverse our outward route.

Gliding down below us is a fine gannet . . .
. . . recognisable by its yellow head, black wing tips and large size.

He flies out across the reef and out to sea.

We also saw a flurry of two black birds flying along the cliff, their fast movements exacerbated to by the strong, blustery winds . . .

A black coastal bird with red beak and legs . . .
. . . a second fuzzy picture as he flew by.

This is the rare coastal bird known as the Chough (pronounced 'chuff').

[ We were pretty chuffed to see them today too ]

Its habitat is restricted to the west of the British Isles and the RSPB reckon there's only 250-350 breeding pairs in Great Britain.

Gradually creeping in on the north-westerly breeze was this rather impressive rain cloud.

Hopefully it will miss us . . . as it seems to be crossing the island, so we'll stay dry.

Back along the coast path in buoyant mood once again . . . does he ever stand still ?

Retracing our steps back to St Justinian's.

" Thrift . . . and spend "

All in a good cause.

- - - 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 . . . the unexpected around the next corner . . . occasionally.

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Previous walk - 25th April 2016 - 2. Porthgain Walk

A previous time up here - 28th Sept 2007 Our 2007 Pembrokeshire Holiday

Next walk - 27th May 2016 - 4. Traeth Llefn