I didn’t sleep very well at the Pleasant View Guest House, and when I wandered down to breakfast to my amazement there were 24 places laid. How many people could this small bungalow accommodate?
As it happened there were only three other guest who had arrived for 8.30 and I quickly identified the chap who finished the walk the previous day. I picked his brains about the hardest bits, the most scenic, and so in, and it immediately became apparent that he was way out of my league. He went north to south and covered the first 40 miles in 2 days. He had a day to spare and was planning to spend it in Pembroke. He got on the same train as I did, but I alighted in Tenby.
I had a little shopping to do (sudocreme, savlon – insurance against chafing) and then decided to take the day very easy indeed. I found a café on the beach, ordered coffee and spent twenty minutes or so people watching. I noticed a woman with three teenage boys, all with rucksacks and walking poles, setting off across the beach at a fair old lick. “I won’t see them again!” I thought, and a short while later I started strolling gently along the beach. The tide was receding and it was much easier walking on the firm sand below high water mark than in the loose dry stuff. At the end of the beach I had my first climb of the day, with plenty more to come.
I had it fixed in my mind that Manorbier, the birthplace of my paternal grandmother, was around half-way. I recall when I plotted the route that it appeared that I had about 9 miles to walk, but my experience is that the reality is at least 10% further than the computer projection. When I rounded a headland and saw a welcoming looking bay appear, I was fully expecting it to be Manorbier and lunch, but it turned out to be Lydstep, whose existence I had totally forgotten in my excitement. I stopped for a cereal bar and some orange juice and then plodded up the hill back to the coastal path.
A little while later, near some military installation, I caught up with the woman I had seen earlier, but she seemed only to have one teenage boy left. Before my speculation concerning how she had disposed of the other two became too wild and far-flung, she engaged me in conversation. It turned out that the other two, who were somewhat older and more adventurous, had descended to some sandy cove or other and they all kept track of one another using some google maps facility. I also found out that her name was Abigail and she came from Wisconsin. She too is planning to walk as much of the coastal path as she can.
We parted company and a little while later I found a very nice café that served beer, bacon baguettes, ice cream and tea, amongst other things, but they were no concern of mine. While I was eating Abigail arrived, this time with a full complement of teenage boys, and the all settled down to eat.
My Lydstep miscalculation had another aspect: Manorbier was only a couple of miles from my B & B so I set off for more Up and Down, arriving at about 6.30, seeing virtually no-one else on the coastal path in the hour or so it took me. Mein Host very kindly gave me a lift to the pub in Jameston, where the rib eye steak etc. were very good. I washed this down with a pint of Hoppy Wan Kanobi followed by a Rev. James. I do like my beer to be associated with Men of the Cloth.
Something like 12 miles for the day, including my walk to Kilgetty station, my amble around Tenby, and the diversion into Manorbier village. That is pretty close to my limit.