Saturday 9 April 2016
St Ishmael’s to Pembroke
High Noon Guest House
After a cosy night on Skomer I breakfasted well: boiled eggs (provided by Joan) on buttered toast (provided by Carole). There was chance for a bit more bird watching as we waited for the boat to take us back to the mainland.
Carol and Ollie very kindly gave me a lift to St Ishmael’s, next village around the inlet from Dale. This cut out about 5 miles of road walking I would have had to do to get back on track. They dropped me at the end of a track leading down to the coast path where there happened to be a picnic table and toilets. I stopped to eat my leftover cheese sandwiches and cake.
The sun came out and the views across Milford Haven were lovely. It was a very pleasant walk and the primroses were out by the side of the path.
I had the strangest encounter with an old man called David Terasconi. He stopped me and pretty much talked at me for 20 minutes. It was the oddest thing. I don’t think he took a breath in all that time so I couldn’t even interject to close the conversation if I had wanted to. I learned all about his life history (his mum had severe epilepsy, his dad was Italian, fought in Abyssinia and was on a boat that was torpedoed. He was found clinging to debris in the sea 3 days later). David was a bit part actor and name-dropped every celebrity and famous person who is Welsh or has ever been to Wales (he’s met most of them and had connections to The Beatles). He had wanted to drive F1 cars but had driven Formula Ford, been to Silverstone and gets invited to test drive cars and go to events (although you have to pay for the privilege and so he doesn’t go). After meeting some of the Eastenders actors (Martine McCutcheon et al) on the coast path he’s hoping for an acting role in it. David eventually let me go and I confess to feeling completely bewildered for a good few minutes, but I am sure that encounter did actually happen. (He was walking with another man who sensibly left him when he stopped to chat to me.)
It was close enough to low tide for me to cross the Sandyhaven Pill via the little bridge and then I skirted around the edge of South Hook LNG Terminal. I counted 5 forts between St Ann’s Head and Milford Haven, two of them on little islands.
I arrived at Milford Haven, a large town, on a Saturday afternoon and yet it seemed oddly deserted.
Down by the harbour area the bus to Pembroke was ready to leave so I made a snap decision to hop on board and do the next bit around Neyland, across the Aber Daugleddau and around Pembroke Dock the easy way.
It was only 3.30 pm when I arrived at Pembroke so I had a couple of hours to take a look around Pembroke Castle.
It is one of the best I’ve come across and was the birthplace of Henry VII, the founder of the Tudor Dynasty.
The first Pembroke Castle was built by the Normans at the end of the 11th Century and after that it was fought over throughout the Middle Ages, but it was never won by the Welsh.
I spent the evening doing a bit of planning and had an (unexpectedly) really nice meal in the King’s Arms by the castle. It was only unexpected because Pembroke on a Saturday night didn’t look overly inviting and the pubs looked more like drinking dens. I shouldn’t judge the book…