Day 249 A Round Trip to St Ann’s Head

Thursday 7 April 2016

Marloes to Dale

13 miles

Albion House B&B, Marloes

The wind howled all night and I was very glad I wasn’t camping. I was the only guest and Joan, the lovely old lady who runs the B&B, cooked me a wonderful breakfast and phoned the Skomer boat company to check the boat was sailing. Bad news, the sea was too rough to land on Skomer. Joan said it must be bad because normally they just delay the sailing rather than cancel first thing in the morning. I always knew it was risky planning this trip to Skomer, hence they don’t give full refunds. Oh well, a new plan was required. 

After a few phone calls and a rethink I decided to try again tomorrow as the winds might ease by then. In the meantime, Joan would accommodate for another night and I would walk the next section, around St Ann’s Head, to Dale, which is only a couple of road miles from Marloes. Sorted. 

I set off along the road to Martin’s Haven, the South end of St Bride’s Bay, opposite Skomer Island. It was incredibly windy but nice and sunny. To keep warm in the biting wind I was wearing my windproof and my waterproof plus hat and gloves. I was also wearing shorts, sunglasses and suncream; a very odd mixture.  

skomer Island
 The National Trust and the Wildlife Trust have huts at Martin’s Haven and I spent an hour chatting to the different people working there. Gary and Chrissie were from Staffordshire and now worked the summer months for the Wildlife Trust, dealing with tourist trips to Skomer. There were some CCTV monitors showing the island and Chrissie was telling me it was full of puffins yesterday but they were all hiding from the wind today. Last year they watched ‘Mary’ the Manx Shearwater hatch from her egg live on tv. Gary was relatively hopeful for my sailing tomorrow.  

Albion Sands and Skokholm Island
 I left Martin’s Haven and headed across to the other side of the promontary. Here there were great views of Skomer, Skokholm and Grassholm Islands. 

It was definitely easier to manage walking the cliff top in the wind without a big pack on my back (I only had a light one today).  

it was windy on the coast!
 Marloes Sands was apparently named second-best beach in Britain by Countryfile and it was particularly beautiful in the sunshine.  

Marloes Sands – the 2nd best beach in Britain
 The NT ladies also told me that this stretch of coast is popular with geology students as there are lots of different rock formations (Pembrokeshire came 2nd to Hawaii in this world category).  

Marloes Sands
 I was told to look out for the bedded sequence of Silurian rocks on Marloes Sands.  

looking down on Marloes Sands
 I passed a disused airfield and then, as I rounded the corner to approach Westdale Bay, the wonderful, low-lying ‘neck’ joining St Ann’s Head to the rest of the mainland came into view.  

Westdale Bay, right at the ‘neck’ of St Ann’s Head
 I could see right across it into Milford Haven (the Aber Daugleddyf estuary) and the Pembroke oil refinery. The village of Dale was on the other side of the ‘neck’, about 5 minutes away (or 2 hours if you walk around the coast path).  

looking from one coast across to the other – Dale and the Milford Haven
 At the end of St Ann’s Head I was surprised to find 2 rows of cottages as well as a lighthouse and an old lookout (now a private residence). Quite a little community out on the exposed head.  

Approaching St Ann’s Head
 More amazing rock formations at Cobblers Hole as well.  

look at those strata!
 The wind eased off as I rounded the head into the relative shelter of Milford Haven. West Blockhouse Fort guards the estuary entrance (now a holiday residence).  

West Blockhouse Fort, protecting the entrance to Milford Haven
 The sea looked noticeably greener in the sheltered estuary. The sun had gone and the sky was very grey so although I could see lots (Pembroke, Milford Haven jetties, across to Angle Bay and even further around to Freshwater West) the drop in visibility wasn’t good for photos.  

I could see miles of coastline around Milford Haven
Looking across Milford Haven to Angle Bay and Pembroke oil refinery
 Just around the head is Mill Bay, where Henry Tudor landed on 7 August 1485 (his ships and troops landed around the corner at Dale) on his way to defeat Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth 2 weeks later.  

Mill Bay, landing spot of Henry Tudor
 I arrived at Dale and stopped at a cafe (run by Brummies, naturally) for coffee and a cake. Chatting to the staff paid dividends because no sooner had I set off to walk back to Marloes than two of them drove past and offered me a lift. It saved walking the roads back.  

strange artwork in Dale
 Another evening meal in The Lobster Pot pub. Fingers crossed for a calm sea tomorrow.  


3 thoughts on “Day 249 A Round Trip to St Ann’s Head

  1. Chris Frazer April 8, 2016 / 8:15 am

    Juice…awesome piccy of the hair…… it! Beautiful day, awesome scenery and coffee conversing with fellow YamYois…….a fab end to great day me thinks, and 13 miles in the bag to boot!


  2. Rohan April 10, 2016 / 9:57 am

    You are taking me back 45 years to when I spent a week a Dale Fort Field Centre where my sister was working. I was filling in time until my O level results came out and I remember hot sun and wonderful coastal scenery. You are an inspiration and I must return and walk some more of the coast.


  3. Donna Munday April 11, 2016 / 12:25 am

    Loving the hair Luc, you look like an electrified goth!


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