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" West Wales - 2019 - Abercastle "


Date & start time:    Tuesday 15th October 2019.

Stayed at :                Doves Cottage, Abercastle, Pembrokeshire, UK.   ( SM 852 338 )

Location of Start :   Car park at Strumble Head, Pembrokeshire, UK.   ( SM 895 413 )

Places visited :        Strumble Lighthouse, Porthsychan Bay and Garn Fawr.

Walk details :           A coastal walk of 2.5 miles and a hill walk of a mile or so.

With :                         Ann and our dogs, Dylan and Dougal.

Weather :                  Fine weather but two heavy showers midday.

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


It is another lovely morning in Abercastle and the sun shines on our little cottage that looks over the inlet.

We plan to drive to Strumble Head for a walk today but there's no rush . . . we're on holiday !

Sadly the water was nowhere near as warm as the sunshine so I passed on even the thought of a swim.

There was plenty to entertain and delay us after breakfast.

This delightful house sparrow (amongst others) was perched on the hedge alongside the patio.

Down below we had another visitor.

The tide was in and the seal came right up to the water's edge just a few yards below where we sat.

Perhaps he enjoyed seeing us just as much as we enjoyed seeing him.

But then perhaps he came over to have a good scratch on the seaweed covered rocks.

Here's looking at you !


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The seal seemed to enjoy playing with the mooring rope

that led out to a buoy in the harbour.



He was there about five minutes,

swimming over and under the rope

and bobbing up to touch it.



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Then with the swish of a flipper he moved on.

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Late morning we set off for the short 8 mile drive up the coast to Strumble Head.

With the bright sunshine there was a slight haze on the distant views

and this outline of tractor and trees presented itself as we drive the minor roads near Mathry.

One of the summits of Garn Fawr that we would walk later . . . that looks a nice cottage if you like mountain views.

The bright sunshine continued as we headed over the rise and saw our first close up view of Strumble Lighthouse.

Parking at the end of the road with the lighthouse just a short distance away.

Despite the bright sunshine the light is still illuminated

as the flash sequence of four flashes every fifteen seconds would confirm the identity of the headland to mariners offshore.

The Strumble Head light was built in 1908 and electrified in 1965.

Nobody now lives on the island as a result of automation in the 1980's.

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The light has been built on an offshore island

and is connected by a bridge from the mainland.

It is securely locked to discourage visitors !

Apparently all the building materials for the light

were winched across the intervening gap

by an aerial cable way to avoid building a harbour or slipway.

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The headland also had a wartime lookout which has now been adopted as a viewing shelter.

As the headland sticks out into Cardigan Bay and the Irish Sea, the birds and sea creatures often pass close inshore.

Nowadays the shelter is popular for whale watching, spotting dolphins and observing migrating seabirds.

With the fine weather a group of half or dozen or more spotters are standing or are seated outside with their equipment.

We stopped for a few minutes, could that be a porpoise or dolphin ?
The top bird was definitely a gannet from the size and colouring.

We'll leave them to their motor-drive cameras and head on round the coast path for a while.

This is the view north past Fishguard, Dinas Head and on around Cardigan Bay towards Newquay, Aberaeron and even Aberystwyth.

The Rosslare Ferry on its daily journey once again.

Interestingly this gate posts is map referenced for safety.

If there was an emergency, the caller could positively identify where they were on the coast path just from the local gate post plaque.

Time to change to my larger lens to catch the passing ferry.

The cliffs around the coast here are rugged and steep.

Here we looked down almost vertically on two seal pups on the beach below.

A close up on the resting youngsters on the stony beach.
Three more are resting on the rockier side of the bay.

We are walking the path around to Porthsychan Bay past some late season gorse bushes.

The high ground seen above is inland of the Strumble Head peninsula.

Despite the lateness of the season some clover is still in flower.
Maybe a Hawkweed or similar.
A small red campion in the hedgerow.
Most likely a yellow celandine.

Most likely a rain shower . . . to get us wet !

We sheltered behind a stone wall for a few moments as the shower passed us by, the coast north beyond Fishguard has been lost in the rain.

Dry once again as we approach Porthsychan Bay.

I push through the dead bracken to check out the beach below for seals.

There was a grassy bank above the bay which allowed easier and closer observation.

One tired seal pup . . . who moved his flipper once or twice as he slept high on the beach.

A slightly older pup with less white fur was up and mobile.
He was heading for the water as we stood back and watched.

Out in the bay were a couple of adult seals, probably their mums.

It is also possible that the seal on the left was actually a male as mating time follows very soon after the pups are born.

Gestation for a seal pup is about eleven months and the mum will most likely return here for the birth of her next offspring.

A commotion in a rock pool at the edge of the bay . . .

Two seals are apparently fighting . . . either two competing males or perhaps a female that feels hemmed in by the closeness of the rocks.

With the weather being a little uncertain we decide to turn and return to the car which we left parked near the lighthouse.

In fact the weather cleared as we headed back along the coast path.

Offshore a powerful inshore fishing boat motors past the entrance of the next bay.

We're nearly back at the road and the lighthouse appears over the road-side gate ahead.

Hold your cursor over the picture to check out the zoomed in picture of the flashing light.

The dogs prefer to be taken through the "horse drawn vehicles and animal" gate.

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With the weather clearing once again we drive back up the road and stop near the highest part of the road.

A car park near the cottage seen earlier, gives access to the hill. Here we're looking back slightly to Garn Fechan (Welsh for smaller rock)

from the approach to Garn Fawr (the larger rock or summit)

The highest of the summit has a trig point so an obvious place to head towards.

Time for a photo-shoot on the summit . . . even though the dogs insist on looking the other way !

The views up here are superb now that the rain has gone.

Click here or on the photo above for a Loweswatercam 360 degree annotated panorama

The wartime brickwork seen in the panorama holds two inscriptions.
One to the station commander and another to the builders.

During an idle wartime moment I presume the service personnel inscribed this compass rose on a slab of summit rock.

Good though the trig point is, the better western viewpoint is from the adjacent summit of this group.

Ann looking down on Pwll Deri, the Youth Hostel and a small holiday complex below.

The headland of Pwll Deri is famous for a ditch and dyke fortification

protecting an ancient British settlement on the high ground beyond.

The cove of Porth Maenmellyn and Pen Brush island beyond

Another old brick lookout survives on the cliffs at the back of the bay.

The eye is drawn to Strumble Light once again.

The stone wall below was part of another ancient hill fortification that surrounds this summit.

Dylan seems to have settled himself into a comfortable if rather rocky seat.

Heading back to the car, the dogs climbed onto a large rock alongside the hill fort.

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Just to see the famous view . . . we drove round to the Pwll Deri Youth Hostel before returning once more to Abercastle.

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Technical note: Pictures taken with either Ann's Panasonic Lumix Tz60 Compact, or my Panasonic Gx8 mid-range System Camera.

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

This site best viewed with . . . close up of the seals and the new season pups.

Go to Top . . . © RmH . . . Email me here

5. Abercastle with Gill

Previous walk - 14th October - West Wales - Carn Llidi

A previous time in the area - 13th May 2005 A visit to Swansea and Pembrokeshire.

Next walk15th October - West Wales - Abercastle with Gill


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