Sunday, 9 October 2011


We're back, it's Sunday evening and emails, letters and phone calls regarding work have all been dealt with.....phew!

I was going to spread the stuff about our week away over a couple of posts, because quite frankly there is loads to tell. Instead, I think that I shall condense it down a bit to give an idea of why this place is such an important one to us both ( and not to send you all to sleep too quickly!)

We arrived fairly late last Saturday, found our cottage nestled into the hillside just below a rocky tor. The lady owner showed us in and explained where everything was, and when she had left we just grabbed each other and jumped up in the air....what a place! A small hall leads past a lovely little bathroom and then into the main room consisting of a really old and funky bed, tiny kitchen, two armchairs and a wood burning stove. We immediately set a fire going, made some tea and settled down for the evening with our respective books of the moment, with the intention of starting afresh in the morning.

We walked a lot while away, the pembrokshire coast path being some of the most wild and beautiful in the UK. Every now and then dropping down into one of the many accessible coves.

It was wonderful to be back here again, as it's one of the very few places where I can really forget any work problems and leave it all behind completely.

The camera went everywhere with us, and we took thousands of pictures. Plants, waves, scenery, animals, insects, strangers and each other, nothing escaped! Although a lot isn't shown in this post, I will be showing the wildflower photos at a later date, as I have a seperate drum to bang regarding that topic.

Common Blue Butterfly

We spent an entire day walking another section of the path, particularly as it was the time of year to  see seal pups. This whole area is very wild indeed, and the seas are usually lashing the coast horrendously, and the seals gather wherever they can. Not being tame in any way thank goodness, one has to perch precariously on the cliff top and watch them from above.

This little cove on the north coast had about thirteen pups and seven adults. The latter half of the week saw gales hitting the area, and the waves of the Irish Sea lashing this part of the coast, and so no doubt some pups were lost, but I guess that's nature.

Obviously very strenuous putting on so much fat so quickly, and so a nap is needed often.

There were always some adults swimming nearby and keeping watch. The adults often come up to you to check you out if you happen to be swimming or surfing in some of the accessible bays, quite a strange and humbling experience.

Another little bay surrounded by steep verticle cliffs, and a few more seals.

The end of the day was drawing to a close, and sea mist began to close in. There were three or four miles to go before we got back to the cottage, and so we said goodbye to the seals and reluctantly left them to themselves.

One of the many plants we came across was Hedera arborea. Although very common indeed, the strange thing about this ivy is that it starts out as Hedera helix when young, and as the plants becomes old, it completely changes it's structure leaf and stem wise, and flowers as well. The stems become woddy and brittle, leaves go from having three lobes to become arrow shaped, and the flowers, well, judge for yourself......but I think they are incredible!

By the following day, gales had begun to hit the whole area. Whitesands Bay below, is one of the best places in the UK for surfing, and waves can get huge AND numerous. In the past we've spent many a weeks holiday sleeping in the back of our van, alongside others, on the edge of the car park you can see. Nothing quite like opening up the back doors of a morning to a sea view as close as that, and a fresh brew in your hands.

Before things became too mad as regards the wind, we both decided to do some 'us' shots. I am naturally very shy and hesitant when it comes to letting go and relaxing in front of the camera.

My gorgeous wife however has no such reservations. Whilst my maddest moment had me holding my arms in the air, Amanda decided to show me how it's done.

You can tell she's the shy and retiring type can't you?

I took this last one from afar without her knowing, a little later, with the telephoto lens. I wondered what she was thinking about so deeply. 

The wind and rain moved in. We got back into the van to come away as it was starting to get dark anyway, but in true surfer fashion, this guy was just heading out with his family in tow. When the surf is up, I guess you have to grab it. These guys go until it is quite literally dark.

There was kayaking and fishing as well, but not to be outdone by the others in the water, I braved the gales and headed into the water to get the adreniline going.

Surf was really rough, wind was howling, and as the tide was just starting to come in, there was a strong rip current about ten metres in.

It was fan-blooming-tastic! Wave upon wave came, and just as you jumped over one, another would be there to crash into you.

It's a very strange experience feeling the rip current grab your legs as you get a little closer to shore. Ignore this and stay in too long, and people have been washed out to sea, and here is perhaps one of THE most treacherous areas for that.

Exhilerating it was, but also very, very tiring, and so I made the decision to play it safe and come ashore. Having always lived very near to the sea, it's always played an important part in my life, and as I said before, this place is very special indeed.

The rain came with the wind big time, and so we hunkered down in the cottage. A fire was lit, I made a plum and apricot crumble and custard for tea (who needs a main course when you make one of these big enough?). We ahd spent several nights reading and so decided to go completely mad and attempt our cocktail night thingy. We stuck 'A Roman Holiday' with Audrey Hepburn & Gregory Peck on the laptop, swapped the posh cocktail for a saucepan of hot mulled wine, plonked 'Travel Ted' on his own seat, and settled down to a very nice and relaxing evening indeed. We don't do the television thing at all, except to watch the occasional good classic film, and so didn't really feel too guilty.

All good things have to come to an end of course, but not before, very predictably, we visited the tiny plant nursery in St.Davids inself. The guy who runs this keeps it like you see, and grows pretty much everything from seeds and cuttings of his own stock. We bought four really dark blue Caryopteris, three Echiums to replace those which had died in our own garden, and a rather nice purple Heuchera........

......and then returned to Whitesands Bay for the last night, and yet more sunset pictures. It was cold, and much to Amandas annoyance I found it very funny indeed to liken her appearence to an afghan refugee.

The seas were still the stuff of nightmares, appearing to boil.

The evening was drawing to a close, and along with the others parked up, we formed the sunset paparazzi, waiting for the magical end to the day.

 A perfect end to a perfect day, to a perfect week, and a perfect holiday.

We shall both miss this place so much until we once again return.
Thanks for taking the time to drop by and take a look.


  1. What a treat to see these photos of your trip. Love the seals. That alone would do it for me. How interesting about hedera arborea. That is changes so. The flowers are incredible. You both do look just happy to be there. And, I find out you're a surfer too! Too land locked here to have any idea what that is like.

  2. Hi sherlock,
    Now i am just about to leave for my first day back at work and it seems a million miles away now. Thanks for your kind comments and if you ever come to the UK, look us up and we will go to the beach here for a day.