Dale Circular

The weather really closed in this morning with an amalgam of rain so fine it was fog. I had already decided to have a day off and visit Haverfordwest so I hung around in the Taberna awaiting the 10.48 bus. It was a bit late, but delivered me to Haverfordwest at about 11.30.

A quarter of my genes come from Pembrokeshire. My paternal grandmother was born in Manorbier in 1882. Her father, John James was, so my father told me, a freeman of Haverfordwest and his father, William, owned a shoe makers in Dark Street. I wanted to visit the records office to see if I could find any documentation relating to either of these gentlemen.

My first port if call was an estate agent named Lucas. According to the internet, so it must be true, the proprietors were leading lights in the Haverfordwest Gild of Freemen. But they weren’t there and the woman in charge gave me the very strong impression that the records they held were in a chaotic state and she wouldn’t know where to start looking. Then there was the Pembrokeshire Records Office which was some way out of the town centre. I phoned them and was told that they weren’t open to the public on a Tuesday but the woman who answered the phone took my email address and agreed to pass on anything she had. These two transactions didn’t take much time so, since the weather had improved a fair bit, I decided to return to Herbrandston, collect my boots, sticks and pack and get the bus to Dale. From there I would walk around the peninsula via St. Ann’s Head and then back to Herbrandston, taking advantage of the receding tide to shorten the walk by at least 6 miles, but still a healthy total of at least 11 miles.

I had a very good value lunch of plaice and chips at the Dale cafĂ© and set off at about 2.30. The fog was still so thick that it was quite difficult from the clifftops to see the breakers whose ever-present roar was evidence enough that I was still on the coastal path. Despite the very poor visibility, there were quite a few people on the path. There were a few ravines to traverse so there was a fair bit of effort, but also quite a bit of easy flat walking. I saw a number of choughs and noticed from their silhouettes how slender are their beaks, more like a wading bird’s that the other corvids.

A short while after leaving St. Ann’s Head I noticed some discomfort in my right calf. I’m a bit paranoid about calf pain, having cut short a cycle tour and a lot of 2014 when I tore my left gastrocnemius. That was a sudden occurrence, but meant that I was laid up for 3 months whilst it healed. As I progressed along the east side of the headland so my calf became tighter and tighter, and a party I had passed earlier on when they dallied on a misty beach had no difficult overtaking me – prior to that I was just about keeping pace with them. Ascents and descents became tortuous and even on the flat I was suffering with each pace. I felt pretty sure my walk was over and limped back into Dale for a visit to the Griffin for some anaesthetic before the bus arrived at 6.25. The low tide sections, consisting of at least another 4 miles, would have to wait.

The bus stopped right outside the B & B so I ordered some anaesthetic in the form of a pint of Cwrw Teifi and told Peter the Landlord that I would be leaving the following day. Brenda the Landlady prepared me an excellent meal of rump steak etc. and Peter and I nattered away for the rest of the evening about life, the universe and choral singing.