Today will be the last full hiking day here in Pembrokeshire, before my ladies return back to Minneapolis.
So hopefully they will enjoy the fact that we have great weather to start the day off, which will certainly show today’s walk in all it’s Welsh glory. We take a transfer to Stackpole Quay, where we will walk in a southerly direction to Manorbier.
However, to begin with we take a slight detour north along the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path, across the Stackpole Estate to Barafundle Bay. This is consistently voted amongst one of the top beaches in the British Isles and in Europe. On one occasion it has also been voted as one of the Top 10 beaches in the World. Once, you see it you can understand why: beautiful clean sand, backed by pristine sand dunes, bordered by dramatic cliffs and gently sloping westwards into the sea. In addition, there is no access by road, so it keeps the crowds down to an extent.
We head back to Stackpole Quay and from there gently climb up on to the cliffs where the views are, as usual, fantastic. The sea is like crystal today shining and shimmering below us, with a solitary fishing boat pulling in its crab & lobster pots. After walking for almost 2 hours, we settle upon the beach and its dunes at Freshwater East as our lunch stop. Now I know I’ve mentioned the flowers a few times but, as they are entering full bloom they just get better and better every day and more and more varied: Bluebells, Red Campion, Sea Campion, Wood Anenomes, Stitchwort, Speedwell, Violets, Celandines, Campanula, Wild Garlic (Ramsoms), Thrift, Cowslips, Primroses, Purple Orchids, Gorse, Ferns and many more I can’t name (yet).
After lunching amongst Freshwater East’s sand dunes, we continue on our way over West Moor Cliff to Swanlake Bay (I still don’t know why it’s called this). As we are walking, we fear that we are going to be rained upon, so we don our waterproofs. With a rain storm ahead of us, I can see the rain dancing across the surface of the sea and the wind has doubled in intensity. To our left inland, there is a ferocious black cloud passing behind us and we encounter the first drops of rain, nothing heavy but all of a sudden there is the clatter of thunder all around us. It’s hailing a little now and cracks of lightning are visible but, somehow we manage to walk between the rainstorm at sea and the thunder-storm inland. Somebody somewhere is getting a thorough drenching! We continue across the cliffs of East Moor and eventually thread our way down to Manorbier Bay, one of my favourite childhood beaches because of the fabulous rock pools exposed at low-tide.
Time for a cup of tea for the ladies and a bottle of Crabbies Ginger Beer over ice for me, before making the short walk to Tudor Lodge Inn in Jameston.
It was quite a long day for the ladies but, it was enjoyed by all.