Day 093: Whitesands Bay to Strumble Head
Distance: 20.53 miles
Ascent: 14150 feet
Weather: Grey, some Rain & At Times Very Windy
Accommodation: YHA Pwll Deri
Well after the low I got on my rest day, where I ended up not doing a lot of my admin including not packing my bag, I was up about 5am getting my bag packed before trying to do some admin though the wi-fi was not obliging.
It had been great seeing Claude, Emily and Arthur but the walk had to continue, so we headed down to Whitesands Bay and my brother walked the first 15 minutes or so with me before heading back to the car. The path took me out towards St David’s Point before turning 90 degrees and beginning to head East. As per yesterday this part was very reminiscent of the Peak District with its boggy areas and rocky crags. I really enjoyed this stretch, and the weather unlike what was forecast was behaving at this stage with no rain and only light winds. There appeared to be lots of different paths heading through the vegetation and at times it was hard to follow the specific path but they all appeared to converge together in the end.
The path continued in this way for several miles, it was very muddy, steep and craggy which is what makes it stunning but also makes for quite tough walking. After staying up on the clifftop the path drops down to a little quay at Abereiddy, which has very few building but is obviously very popular with coasteering companies as when I walked though I think there were 5 separate companies with minibus/van in the car park, and I passed a couple of groups walking back down the path from there adventures. They are all here for the Blue Lagoon, which is actually an old slate quarry but when it was abandoned the channel connecting it to the sea was blasted allowing sea water to flood in. It is an intriguing site with some of the old quarry buildings still visible and the deep blue coloured ‘lagoon.’
The path climbed back up onto the cliffs and the weather decided to change completely with the rain starting though only gently, but the wind started to rise into an absolute crescendo which was not expected, fortunately from the north so it was blowing me away from the cliffs and onto the land. And blow me it did, battering me from the side and I had to put a lot of energy into just trying to keep going straight. It was not long till I dropped down to Porthgain, which was a nice little village, and the only place with a restaurant/shop that I would actually be passing today, though as I was stocked up and meeting Claude & Emily for a picnic I did not stop.
The path climbed back up onto the cliffs and in parts a very narrow path, and the wind was doing its best to blow me over but I managed to keep my footing. The path passed close to Trefin before after passing another headland it dropped down some steep stairs and onto a little quay at the picturesque Abercastle where Claude, Emily and a fast-asleep Arthur were waiting in the little car park on the quay. Unfortunately with the wind it was not picnic weather but we did the British thing of sitting on the rear of the car under the open boot and out of the wind as we ate all the lovely food that Claude and Emily had made/bought. It was an absolute feast. As we were sitting there the first full pack walker I had seen in a long time, in fact the first I had seen in Wales walked passed and he looked thoroughly battered by the elements and not at all happy. So we chatted to him and offered him some cake, he turned out to be German, not happy by the weather but fortunately not far for him to go today as he was heading to Trefin. He also mentioned a lovely hostel he had come from today, and it triggered me to think this may be a better place to stay than the tent tonight given my down mood yesterday, the wind today and my Brother/Emily wanting me to stay there.
After a lovely lunch I said my proper goodbye to my brother and Emily and fortunately Arthur had woken up so was able to say goodbye to him (he will be so much bigger next time I see him!). And I was off again not 100% sure about my finish location now whether tent or hostel. I was strangely emotional (not down) and weirdly just started crying for the next 15 minutes or so of the walk. But the walk soon got me going again, and after a short distance the path dropped down to Aber Mawr which was a fascinating pebble beach, where the sea had made a natural embankment out of the pebbles making for a stunning little beach. There appeared to be a mad woman with her tent pitched on the beach, how it can be comfy pitching on a pebble beach I do not know.
There was a little improvised bridge of the beach and I started rising up back onto the cliffs. This next section took me completely by surprise due to it’s beauty and I was in complete awe of the landscape. The path winded its way through the lower slopes before becoming a scrabble up to the top of some of the rock crags. The wind had also reduced significantly, and at the top of one of the tallest crags I just stood and took in the surroundings for several minutes. This short section is definitely one of the most impressive I have seen on the entire walk.
Whilst walking this bit I had decided I would ask at hostel if they had space, and it was only a short walk to it. There were lots of cars outside, so I was not hopeful, but fortunately they did have space in a dormitory. But fortunately for me they didn’t have any more keys for the dorm, so kindly upgraded me free of charge to an en-suite room of my own which was a lovely end to the day. I must say this is the most scenic and best hostel I have ever been in, in fact I would challenge anyone to find a better located coastal hostel, hotel, B&B or any form of accommodation. Its views and remoteness make it just so stunning.
So, a day I was apprehensive about due to my low yesterday but turned out to be one of my favourites of the walk so far with stunning scenery, lovely lunch with bro & co and a room with a spectacular view.