I apologise to my reader for the slight hiatus whilst publishing this Episode. Operator Error? This is now the complete edition of Episode 116
Progress Map by courtesy of Ordnance Survey
Where the Celtic Sea meets the Bristol Channel, this latest walk extends the Crimson Worm in South West Wales as far as Pembroke Dockyard Railway Station. I performed this walk over one full day and two half days, in an initial Day Half scouting mission around Pembroke docks and two further curious circuits to take in all the Wales Coast Path coastline. The final car journey/lift/rescue did not count as it was not on the Coast Path and was my reward for shepherding.
Dear Rosie, Lauren, Stan, Jake, Rowan and Maisie,
Last week I took a gamble on the weather and spent Wednesday and Thursday nights camping at Newton Farm Campsite, near Angle Bay, Pembrokeshire, thanks to Proprietor Roland Lewis. Although closed for winter, He opened up his site for me to use as basecamp while I did a 26 mile circuit of the local coastline, making the grand total 3,932 miles in 320 days actual walking, since I started this hairbrain venture roundabout November 2013.
Serendipity reigns ok! Yet again, like the campsite, I was also lucky with the weather, the night time temperatures came close but never got below zero! Neither did it rain and the wind seemed to be with me which ever direction I walked.
Start of the main circuit from Freshwater West.
I left Zud parked in the middle of nowhere – above – middle distance, slightly left!
Angle Lifeboat Station below looking out over Milford Haven with Paul on duty
Unusual events included damaging a hand rescuing a weary sheep stuck in brambles and I had a personal conducted tour of Angle Lifeboat Station courtesy of Lifeboatman Mechanic Paul. Thank you for letting me inspect your Taymar Class Lifeboat including going on board and into the cockpit. These boats are fantastic, and you can say the same about the crews, mostly volunteers, but some full time like Paul. I will always sing your praise and patronise your gift shops, but hope I will never need your brave services.
Even on the final day when I was completing a circuitous route back to the campsite things fell into place despite a potentially daunting walk back to ZUD, left guarding Pembroke Castle . I had completed the Wales Coast Path walking task and was now running on empty ready to go home. Some six miles separated me from my transport. I hopefully stuck out a thumb and within minutes an older couple stopped and gave me a lift all the way back to the car. I was too tired to think about a photo and can only thank them through this medium. Perhaps it was pay back for rescuing the sheep. Or more serendipity?
The sheep episode began with my parting the woolly beasts as The Wales Coast Path took me through the middle of a huge flock. They seemed reluctant to disperse as they normally flee from human contact. I then heard an isolated bleating and came across a sheep well embedded in gorse, thorns and brambles. My nearness caused it to panic and instead of backing out it just enmeshed itself further. I’d left my ferrule tipped sticks behind, having a day off. I don’t carry secateurs which would have similarly solved the problem at a stroke; nor a knife for legal reasons. Instead I found two stones and proceeded to hack my way through the various brambles , the sheep thought I meant harm and struggled ; or grew too weary and kept falling on me. All making the task longer and harder. It wasn’t the lightest nor the most fragrant.
Eventually, when we both pulled in the same direction, the sheep freed itself and still with half the brambles intact headed off to rejoin its watchful flockmates.
The main walk began in the sand dunes at Freshwater West, where I finished last time out. There were several miles of strenuous walking climbing up and down and very muddy underfoot. Reaching Angle Bay I saw a few people – certainly more than I’d passed all day. The walk turned into Milford Haven and countryside changed to industrial mode with the used and disused Power Stations and the fuel tankers lined up alongside the oil jetties, and ferries to and from Ireland . That day I was there I never noticed the reported oil spillage.
The Wales Coast Path then disappears into more urban surroundings either side of the Pembroke River, where I presume most of the power industry and dockyard employees live.
I was now looking for a suitable Rendezvous point to complete my walk and chose The Pembroke Docks Railway Station. And bus interchange. Leaving all my options open for resuming next time out. Just here? Or there?
As I headed away from Pembroke going home to normal housing and proper communications I was rapidly dumped into commonplace reality of world politics. What had happened in my absence? Had Brexit boiled over? Had Trump finally Trumped? Had Putin put the bootin? Had Spurs scored seven goals?
There coming towards me probably heading for Castlemartin ranges were convoy after convoy of tanks on tank transporters. I lost count. I was now leaving with regret.
I would love to have hung around and watch the Military training these tanks to fetch and carry, and sit up and beg. I wondered if I would have been so keen to disobey the red flags marking the danger zones, now knowing what awesome firepower was descending on the area. The Tank Range at Castle Martin is a huge flagged off area of the Pembrokeshire Coast devoid of civilians, where the tanks can play war games to their hearts’ content. It’s all a bit bleeding obvious so I don’t think I’m giving away state secrets and hopefully won’t get my collar felt?
Like all the best photos this one never got taken, I always thought the next convoy would be the last and not worth stopping – so no record of my explosive hallucination!
I do wonder occasionally if , sooner or later, the Authorities are going to catch up with me, because my familiar scruffy walking figure must keep popping up around Britain’s coastline on all manner of video security devices. I must be a unique source/sauce of security knowledge being able to point out all the weaknesses in Britain’s coastal defences. Still makes a change from visiting Salisbury Cathedral, that Mecca for all Russian Tourists….
My bucket list has acquired a new number one. In rare occurrences of TV Watching at home I have come across a programme title forgotten – possibly “Hunted”, where fugitives flee the authorities, aiming to lie low until they are given a Coastal departure point after a few weeks, which if they make it uncaptured, they win. The authorities seem to have a full range of up to date recognition devices and social media at their disposal. I admit I have been subconsciously planning my technique in the hope I might get chosen……… this is as about as likely as being asked to play for England at football – I always used to take my kit to England matches just in case they were one short…….