Today we resume at Goodwick in the company of MH, who joins us from Ceredigion. MH is an athlete, but is generous in holding back his natural instinct to sprint to our destination. He’s also an ornithologist – he comes with the binoculars C. and I both forgot at the start – and helps us to ‘see’ new birds: rock and meadow pipits, sand martins, stonechats, fulmars, choughs, kestrels and oystercatchers.
The hospitable deeps of Goodwick soon give way to impenetrable cliffs, including those at Carregwastad, a dull-witted choice for General Tate to land his French troops in 1797. We meet a couple who give thanks for their defeat, though they’d never heard before of the last invasion of Britain: we met these ‘Francophobes’ several times during the day – they too are making for Aber Mawr. The cliffs are split by Cwm Felin, a wooded valley about which our constant guide ‘Dr John’ is uncharacteristically lyrical in his description (he’s normally enraptured only by extreme geological features).
Sandwiches at Strumble Head, with its views back to Cardigan Island, where we started out so long ago, and its squat, handsome lighthouse. Then the cliffs gain in grandeur. The sea is bright turquoise, almost Mediterranean, in the sun. Far below four seals lie, each on its separate low rock, like bored Roman nobles reclining on their couches, as a fifth loops in the water nearby. When we’ve passed them their barks, loud and grave, echo round the cove: little wonder it was once thought seals concealed lost human identities.
At Pwll Deri, the finest of the coves on this stretch, a severe climb leads to a youth hostel with surely the best views in Britain, and the Dewi Emrys monument. Inland is a ridge punctuated by the rocky explosions of Garn Fawr and Garn Fach, but southwards the land flattens towards the St David’s peninsula. The storm beaches of Aber Bach and Aber Mawr mark the end of today’s (only moderately severe) walk.