Wales Coast Path: day 42: Whitesands to Portgain

July 16, 2013 0 Comments


Friday is hotter still.  There’s almost no breeze.  We decide to head south-north for a change, starting from Whitesands Bay and repeating a little of our mini-walk in May.  It’s so oppressive that Ca. turns back at St David’s Head to join us later.

The rest of us sweat onwards, through the rough gorse and heather north of the Head.  Fierce heat radiates from the ground as well as the sun, and we’re at a distance from any faint sea breeze.  The path climbs steeply up the flank of Carn Penberry.  It seems a shame to bypass the summit, so I ascend alone to the top, though the views from there are hazy.  A single yacht out at sea makes no progress.


Beyond the foot of Penberry the fields resume.  In the intense heat Abereiddy, though its beach is in sight, never seems to get any closer.  The vision of an ice-cream van on the beach appears to C.: once planted in our minds the thought of cold drinks and frozen foods becomes an obsession.  Around us the cliffs become black dark and shaley and gloomy.

At last, Abereiddy.  The ice-cream van is no mirage and we take a stop, at the end of ‘The Street’, now in ruins but once the homes of quarry workers, driven away in the end, we’re told, by typhoid and floods.  Then up the hill to where they worked, the giant quarry deliberately flooded when it was abandoned to form the ‘Blue Lagoon’.  This would be an eerie place but for the dozens of helmeted coasteerers jumping into the water from high on the slate quays.

On again, past two ‘Iron Age’ (but who knows?) promontory forts, partially eroded by the sea: Castell Coch and the huge multivallate Caerau: only trained ‘project managers’ and highly organised societies could have constructed them.  Neither site has been excavated, ‘hillforts’ being perennially unfashionable among archaeologists.

The final stretch to Porthgain is shorter and easier, and we’re comforted by the thought that the Sloop is no mirage.  Ca. is waiting for us there.

So finishes our walk along the whole of the north Pembrokeshire coast path.  Where next in the grand plan to conquer the Wales Coastal Path?  Logic suggests either South Pembrokeshire (east and south from Solva) or Ceredigion (north from Cardigan).   But that is for another day.


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