Things did not start particularly well. First, I discovered that I’ve also mislaid my pedometer in the house move. I bought a cheap substitute, but it is not very accurate. Then, before I left home I managed to put a weight on my water tube, soaking my rucksack and the floor, finally, when I was 2 or 3 miles from home I realised I had forgotten to bring any face masks. I couldn’t really carry on without, as the taxi driver I had booked might not have been willing to take me maskless, then the traffic was surprisingly heavy. All the way to Newgate, I don’t think there was a single moment when I was alone on the road. Consequently I was late arriving at my AirBandB, which is where I had arranged for a taxi to collect me and take me to the start. I was so late that the driver had gone and had to come back. But the sun was shining and I set out from St Brides brides at 11.35, a good half an hour later than planned, but it wasn’t a problem.
The day was glorious. Hot, bright sunshine, with enough breeze to prevent me overheating. Compared with the weather when we finished at St Brides in January 2020, it could not have been more different. It was wonderful to be on the path again.
The coast here is superb, and I could see across St Bride’s Bay to my destination, which I always like. The going was fairly easy, the path is well tended and there were not many ups and downs, the path mainly sticking to the cliff top. Frequent signs and closed off remnants of paths suggest regular landslides. The place was thick with wildflowers foxgloves, thrift, rock roses, vetch, and some sort of scabious.
At one place on the cliff top there was a curious rock, with what looked like a man-made hole through it. I’ve absolutely no idea why anyone would perch it there, but it framed the tanker in the bay very nicely when I peered through.
The day was uneventful and I made good progress. The most interesting relic I saw was a derelict circular stone building, close to the shore. I was puzzled as to what it might have been, it didn’t seem an obvious place for a fortress, but as I climbed out of the valley, the clue appeared in the valley’s name – Mill Haven.
For much of the day, I could see the long beach at Newgale. The first path down to it was closed off, as was the second, which was steepish and scrambly. Not taking it meant a stiff climb back to the top of the cliff, along a bit, and then down again. I contemplated the path. I could probably have made it, and had I not been on my own, or if it had been at the start of the day, I might have done it, but it seemed too risky after a full day’s walk, when I was tiring. So I crawled up the steep cliff. Eventually there was a route to the beach, the last 15 feet needed a bit of sitting down and scrabbling, and a couple of ladies sitting underneath the cliff offered to help. I felt a bit embarrassed – they both looked rather less fit than me, but clearly, I was not impressive. It was fabulous to be on the sand, I took off my boots and walked the whole length of the beach, paddling, which I think is the first time I’ve actually had my feet in the water since Rhossili beach. The downside of Newgale, is that a sea wall has been constructed of large cobbles that it is necessary to scrabble over, which also means that you cannot see the water once you are on the street side. My accommodation is over the pub, but not related to it. It’s a bit noisy…
Distance – 13 miles
Definitely a gold day.