Posted by: natsevs | April 1, 2010

Angle to Solva

Camping in Angle, we were woken up by the sheep being let back into the field at 7am, which was probably less of a wake up to everyone else in their caravans. At first they were all gathered at the top of the field, but quite quickly they started getting curious. One, in particular, was determined to get at our stuff, so I ended up chasing it away with a stick. That worked for about five minutes before it came back again.

I’d bought a pasty for breakfast, but realised that it was a rubbish cheese and leek one, so opted for a whole bar of chocolate, welshcake and dry fruit and fibre cereal. We set off via the shop to get a few snacks and then along to the little harbour. Soon we were walking around the edge of the oil refinery there and were stuck next to it for quite some time. The path was very up and down along here and we had a break sat next to a load of pipes.

It was fairly boring walking so we played games to pass the time, unfortunately that also meant that I didn’t notice that my coat had fallen off my bag. Until it started raining. I ran back along the path looking for it – unsuccessfully – and returned to my bag very wet indeed. The rain didn’t last too long and I eventually dried out slightly. Along the way, the path had been filled with cows, they were crammed in so there was physically no room for us and we had to crawl under and electric fence instead. Fun as always.

When we got to Pembroke, I found a shop to get a new coat, then we hit somerfield for some food. It was then through Pembroke Dock and over the bridge towards Neyland. We stopped on the other side where Andy then headed back towards the train station to go back to Tenby, then home (Andy was a very pleasent walking companion, thanks Andy!). I headed to Burton to stop in a B&B for the night to avoid the due rain.

The next morning I didn’t set off until around 10am out of laziness, but the rain had stopped by that point thankfully. I got to Neyland and the path took me through the woods to the sea front, by which time the rain was going for it again. The only other person about was the postman for the second time of the walk so far. I was soon back in refinery territory, taking lots of cage bridges over pipes and stuff.

When I reached Milford Haven around lunchtime, I managed to get a bit waylaid in the marina before heading to the local supermarket for supplies, notably a Malteaster bunny after Andy told me about them. A local journalist met me there and had a quick interview and photos by the marina, before setting off again to another refinery.

I was soon finally away from industry again and making my way over stepping stones at Sandy Haven. I took the wrong path here, leaving too early and ended up climbing up a muddy bank and then over the familiar barbed wire fence. It ended up being a shortcut so I was pretty happy.

I got to Dale at about 4.50pm but the local shop, which had sign saying it was open until 5pm, was already closed. Luckily, the toilet block had a drinking water tap so could at least top up my bottle. The rain had stopped when I was in Milford Haven and it had turned into a nice evening by now as I headed out towards St Anne’s Head. There were loads of people on the beach in one of the coves enjoying the sunshine. St Anne’s Head was too built up to camp, something I hadn’t expected, so I had to keep going. Around the corner the wind was suddenly blowing a gale and phone signal disappeared. Eventually camped down at quarter to seven hidden from the wind behind a mound. The sunset over Skokholm was seriously impressive.

I actually slept well despite the weather conditions and was setting off by 8am  feeling fairly refreshed, although the day was not a nice one. The walking was fairly easy to start with, as it was along the side of an old airfield. My legs got fairly tired quite early on but I figured it was mostly due to the lack of decent food for breakfast. There were a few nice coves along the way, particularly st Brides. At 2pmish inarrived in Littlehaven then took the road over to Broadhaven at which point the rain that had been threatening  in a big way. I went into a cafe and got myself egg and chips (cheapest thing on the menu obviously).

I had to decide whether to stop in Broadhaven or go another 12 miles to Solva. I ended up opting for Solva and set off again around 2.30pm in pouring rain.

It was not too hard going to start with, despite a few dips. At Newgale, the book (The Pembrokeshire Coast Path guide) said you could walk along the beach, but the path down had been part of mudslide. I thought I could still get down, but ended up bumsliding down in the shale and mud in the rain. There was some good shells there though.

A few seconds later I slipped over quite spectacularly on the rocks of the beach as well. This was the point where I started thinking going on may have been a bad idea and realised I was actually quite knackered. The climb out of Newgale was a serious one and from then on it was tough walking. I started talking to myself a little bit and probably wasn’t in a completely stable state mentally.

When I saw Solva I was unbelievably chuffed, especially as I reached it by 6pm even with going up the wrong path to start with when I reached there. I stayed in a self-service B&B called Fel Ingog and was the only one staying there. The owner was a really nice bloke and drove me up the hill to the shop to buy some food for tea and generally went out of his way to make sure I was happy. I arrived there absolutely soaked through and my bag was also soaked, so everything ended up spread around my room in the hope it would dry out by morning. My boots were also wet through and walking with wet feet is definitely not fun. Was knackered, but proud of the fact I’d managed to do 28 difficult miles in one day.

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