Day 086: Brook to Manorbier

Distance: 19.45 miles

Ascent: 5893 feet

Weather: Rain SOmetimes Heavy Morning, Sunny Spells Afternoon

Accommodation: Manorbier YHA


It rained throughout the night but fortunately had stopped for a while to allow me to depitch in the dry. I had wondered where my bag of long life pain au chocolates was, and finally found them completely flattened under my inflatable mattress, how they got there I do not know. I carried my bag over to the little services room at Brook Farm campsite, finished packing and then ate my flattened croissants. The forecast was for a lot of rain today but was currently dry and didn’t look too bad outside so decided to put waterproof cover on backpack but set of in dry attire on myself, feeling a little weary

As I left and followed the road the showers began, and the sky began to look very ominous, so only about a mile after starting I ducked into a bus shelter and put on the waterproofs, and packed my camera into the bag. This frustrated me a little as I like to get a good distance under my belt first thing and I had only walked for 20 minutes and probably had to stop for close on 20 minutes. But I had definitely chosen the right point to get waterproofed as by the time I left the shelter it was absolutely tipping it down.

I followed the road along to Pendine and it was clear my body was not in the mood and just wanted to stop. This hasn’t happened many times on the walk but is normally due to having left it to long without food or water, but as I had eaten food and drunk plenty of water less than an hour earlier it was just one of those one or two moments where for no reason my body just was having none of it and felt lethargic. The couple of previous times this has happened, my body springs into life after a couple of hours so it was just a case of making myself plod along however slowly until my body acted normally again.

Pendine sands was the location of the first land speed records not done on roads, as it became clear that tarmacked services were not viable due to the length’s required to get up to the speeds and then brake after, which takes in excess of 5 miles. Between 1924 and 1927 Campbell (in Bluebird I/II)) & Parry-Thomas (in Babs), boke the record 3 times of Pendine Sands raising the previous speed by over 30mph to 174mph. Unfortunately Parry-Thomas died in his second attempt after a massive crash and his car was buried in the dunes, though in 1969 a lecturer from Bangor Technical College was given permission to excavate Babs and spent over 15 years restoring the car which now sits in the museum of speed at Pendine.

With the rain still lashing down and my body still very lethargic, I had the steep climb up from the flatlands at Pendine onto the cliffs. This was tough but after another climb I was above the remote but massive beach of Marros Sands and the rain had finally stopped and unexpectly looked as though blue skies might appear. The coast path takes a hilly route behind this beach, but as it was low tide within 30 minutes I wondered if I may be able to use the beach. After a quick google apparently I could walk along beach and around to Amroth at full low tide, and if not there was a little river outlet/waterfall that created natural steps to allow me to rejoin coast path. During the couple of miles along the beach my body started to recover and then the sun even started to appear, but it became abundantly clear that I would not be able to walk around the headland to Amroth as the water was still reaching the cliffs if only just. But I found the little river outlet and indeed the stone ledges formed by the sort of waterfall indeed did allow you to easily get up the very low cliff and I was soon back on the coast path.

Only a couple of miles later I made it to Amroth, which had a castle that appeared to still be lived in, though not as impressive as the ones I had seen the previous day. It was spoilt even more by the fact that the owner had obviously decided the best way to make money was to surround the building with static caravans so it was surrounded completely by a moat of static caravans. I stopped at a little café to have some food and a drink as though my body was starting to feel better thought it a good idea to have a half an hour break and properly fuel up.

On leaving Amroth there was a substantial amount of blue in the skies, my body felt pretty much normal and the scenery was getting more and more picturesque. There was even a first (by memory) for the walk so far a tunnel cut through the cliff face just short of Saundersfoot, which was very eerie, low lit and being tall had to be careful not to whack my head on some of the lower parts of the rock.

I passed Sandersfoot, a quite pretty town definitely set up for the tourist trade, and the path quickly climbed back up onto the cliffs. This part was stunning, even with the many ups downs, with views of Monks Rock before as the path nears Waterwynch Bay you get your first glimpse of the picture perfect, postcard ready Tenby. I have never been to Tenby but it was so picturesque with its many different coloured houses, two lifeboat launch ramps/buildings (one of these is actually now a house which was shown on Grand Designs), lovely harbour and wedged between two nice beaches. It was though a little shock to the system the amount of people, with the town being completely rammed on this Wednesday. I bought some supplies for the evening and tomorrows lunch and carried on.

The path took me along the sand beach to the west of Tenby, and as the military range was not active I was able to climb up and around Giltar Point, from where the views of Caldey Island were spectacular. The path undulated up and down from here before reaching a large static caravan park at Lydstep Haven, as people who have read the diary previously will know I am not the biggest fan of the aesthetics of these parks, but this one was by far the most scenic location with views that were just incredible.

I had two final short climbs before reaching the youth hostel at Manorbier, where I was staying for the night.

So a day that is slightly hard to summarise, as I type it feels like a great day with lovely scenery, lovely towns and having cooked/eaten a nice dinner, but I know this morning in the rain and my body feeling incredibly lethargic it felt different.

charles compton