Pristine Pembrokeshire

Hi everyone
Sorry guys, I’m getting a bit behind here. I’ve already been back from
Wales over a week and I’ve only written about a third of it :-( I’ve
actually been getting ready for the next leg of my travels (2 weeks in
France) and working to a deadline for my first online article which
was published on the Pink Pangea website (Check it out here:
www.pinkpangea.com) I guess I have yet to get into a routine of
writing.

Anyway enough about that, let’s talk about Pembrokeshire…
Having been born in Johannesburg, South Africa and growing up in
Durban, I have a special bond with the ocean. The sound, the smell and
the sight of the waves (however big they are) crashing on the shore,
never ceases to give me a feeling of peace and contentment. Our time
in Pembrokeshire (a large coastal area in south west Wales) could not
have been more different from our time in Brecon Beacons (see
http://colleensetchell.blogspot.com/2011/08/abbeys-and-waterfalls-heading-to.html).

We went from lush ferns and fields of sheep to rolling hills swooping
down into the most gorgeous and sometimes REALLY long beaches with
soft warm sand. Often the road followed the coastline and the drive
itself was simply stunning. There were also lots of little coves where
the colourful sails of yachts bobbed around in the tide and you could
stop and enjoy a welsh cream tea (a diet busting selection of fresh
sandwiches, scone with jam and clotted cream, a choice of homemade
cake and a pot of tea).

On our drive from Brecon to St David’s in Pembrokeshire, we stopped at
the picturesque St Govan’s chapel which is a tiny stone chapel perched
on the side of a cliff. It’s roughly 75 steps down to the little
building and there are narrow walkways around it but the highlight for
me was the absolutely gorgeous view out to sea. He was a lucky little
man this St Govan!!! Well I guess he really WAS lucky since tradition
says that pirates from Lundy Island tried to capture him and a cleft
in the rock where the chapel is now, opened up and hid him from his
captors. Luckily (again), it opened once more for him to get out. A
little embarrassed by his cowardice, he decided to remain as a
watchman and protector for the local people. Like I say…lucky.

We found a really lovely camp site situated VERY close to Whitesand’s
Bay called Lleithyr Farm Holiday Park. It had plenty of pitches for
both tents and camper vans and the facilities were numerous and clean.
The site had a little shop where you could buy groceries, fresh bread
and croissants as well as a good cup of coffee or hot chocolate. It
also has a walk through mini farm with cows, donkeys, goats, pigs and
2 of the most gorgeous piglets. Great for kids (well, and adults!)

The first night we headed immediately to the beach hoping to catch
some sunset photos and we certainly weren’t disappointed!!! The sun
set directly over the sea and the sky went through blue, yellow,
orange and finally red with streaks of black wispy cloud. It was
utterly gorgeous. We both spent time with out tripods ‘plugged’ into
the wet sand until all traces of light had disappeared. The
temperature had dropped somewhat so before heading back to the camp
site, we made a quick hot drink in the car to warm up.
SKOMER ISLAND

The next morning we were woken up by the noise of hard driving rain on
our tent. I’ve not camped before so I remember being quite worried we
were going to be drenched, washed down the hill and into the Atlantic,
never to be seen again… Anja calmed my fears but neither of us slept
well that night which made it a BIG challenge when the alarm went off
the next morning reminding us we had a hour drive to a little harbour
to board a small boat to head across to nearby Skomer Island.
The rain seemed to last for hours but eventually we were able to head
off. Armed with my dose of dramamine (an incredibly effective sea
sickness medication as I get REALLY seasick), we got on the boat.

Amazingly, as soon as the boat arrived on Skomer, the clouds
disappeared and we were greeted with blue skies. We spent 5 hours
walking around the island. Normally it is teaming with sea birds with
the most popular attraction being the adorable puffins but we were a
little too late in the season and had to be happy with various breeds
of seagulls. Since they all made the same irritating noise to me, it
made no difference. The island had the most incredible views from all
directions – blue seas, green rolling hills, distant lands, jagged
cliffs, crashing sea…just gorgeous. It was well worth the money (£8
per person for the boat ride and £10 per person landing fee for the
island payable on the boat). There is only one compost toilet on the
island and the last place to buy food or drink is the mainland!!!

There is really so much to do in Pembrokeshire. Sailing, diving, horse
riding, abseiling, surfing, walking, hiking, ice cream eating and much
more. I would love to go back and explore the coastline a little more.
If you would like to see some of the photos I took, check out my
Flickr link on www.Flickr.com/photos/wobblything
Next blog entry coming is about our time in Wales’s other national
park – Snowdonia.

Chat with you soon,
Colleen

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