Thursday, April 14, 2016

The start of the Pembrookeshire Coastal Path

Our first up close look at the beginning of our the Whitesands Beach and Bay.

The path marker as we left on the trail...

The Coastal Path is a Natural Treasure in Wales.  It is about 186 miles long and very rustic.  Very few services are available along the way - very different from the Camino where we had services every few kilometers.  Makes it challenging to find food.  We had all of our accommodations booked before we came so that is a big help.  Now it is just keeping up with the changes in food availability each day.

We made it as far as Abereiddi today.  The path is narrow, rocky, and muddy.  The progress is a lot slower than on the Camino.  For most it takes 7 hours to make 9-10 miles...according to hostel hosts.

The sun was shineing and the skies were blue as we started.  It was about 50 degrees which is nice for hiking.  We were excited, ready to start...looking forward to the challenge!

Around every bend was a new view.  Amazing!

Most of the rock in this section is slate.

This path is nice and wide, away from the cliffs.  Many times the path is at the edge of a cliff.  If you stumbled and tumbled and your backpack carried you very far, you could plunge over the side.  There are constant reminders to be careful!

That is Ramsey Island off in the distance.  You can take a boat ride around the island or visit the island to hike around.  Wildlife abounds.  Birders love it.

We made a side trip to St Davids Head - a destination for many day trips.  It was very pretty overlooking the bay, the island and the lighthouse off in the distance.

The weather was nice, we were excited and ready for our first day of hiking.

This is gorse...a flowery, thorny shrub in abundance along the path.

Many farms are along the path on our right.  We are seeing lots of sheep and some horses.
There are many old stone fences to keep them contained.

Here's Clark!  Setting the pace...

We go through many of these gates used to contain the animals and keep the, safe.

Beautiful vistas around every turn.

See how far you would fall if you aren't cafeful!

I stayed back at a safe distance.  

This little yellow arrow brought back memories of the Camino where the path was often marked by a yellow arrow.  The Coastal Path isn't marked quite as well, but so far we have only gotten lost one time - and we found our way back without too much back tracking.

See how close you are to the edge???

Not a fun way to die!

Lots of spring flowers in bloom along the path - many much like plants in the States.

Beautiful blue water - sometimes green water, sometimes muddy murky water.

Markers to cities off the path - most not real convenient or without services.  It's tricky!

By about 1:00 the clouds started rolling in.  It turned dark...and started to rain and hail (very small pea size).  Not fun to get soaking wet.  We did have rain gear but it's still not much fun.  Clark was feeling tired and his legs were really tired and hurting.  Carrying the backpack was a bit of a stretch.

Then our new French friend, Andy, happened along.  He offered to accompany Clark down to the next town.  He was an angel, carrying Clark's pack and encouraging him along the way.

This is a guest house that has been in Andy's in laws family for generations.  His wife has been going there all her life.  Now lot hers can enjoys it as his mother in law rents it out.  

Andy took all of us into a little town nearby to have a very late lunch/early supper.  It was very fun and refreshing after a trying afternoon.

Here,s the owner of The Sloop enjoying the company and serving the beer!

After lunch, Andy took us to the hostel where we planned to spend the night.  What a godsend he was to be so kind and helpful.  He was an interesting guy to talk with and we all enjoyed his company and hospitality - above and beyond!

We stayed at the Old School Hostel in another small town. It is on a property that also has a church and an apartment for the pastor, which the hosts use as their home now.  The church only hosts services four times a year.  Pretty sad.

These are some amazing handmade chairs in the dining room of the hostel - replicas of some old chairs in a castle (not remembering where).

At the end of the first day - already my shoes are broken in and quite dirty!
We all slept well again and were ready for another day on the Path!

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