Sunday 10 April 2016
Pembroke to Angle
Chapel Hill Fort
I left Pembroke via The Awkward Hill past the old Norman Abbey.
The sky was a dull grey but it wasn’t raining; however, the wind picked up to gale force and was a bit of a challenge at times.
From the banks of The Haven I had a reasonable view across to Milford Haven before I rounded Popton Point into Angle Bay.
This large muddy and sandy bay should be quite sheltered, but not from today’s Easterly wind!
I got to Angle and found the campsite. There were several caravans (and a couple of boats) parked in the farm field but none looked inhabited. I walked around trying to find somewhere sheltered from the wind as I wasn’t confident I could pitch my tent and it would stay upright. Also, I couldn’t get hold of the owners. After 10 minutes I decided that, as it was only 2.15 pm, I would head off to see a bit more of this spit of land at the mouth of The Haven and come back later in the hope that the wind would die down a bit. (I noted with dismay that Angle’s best-rated pub was closed for refurbishment.)
I stopped at the local shop, which was open on a Sunday, and they mentioned that the local fort was open. Having passed lots of these forts around Milford Haven I was intrigued to know a bit more so walked to Chapel Hill. A kind man gave me a lift up the long drive to the fort.
I learned that there are 14 Victorian forts around The Haven, protecting a large deep-water channel once used by the Royal Navy. Chapel Hill Fort is the only one open to the public. It is owned by George and Emma, who live in a house they built on the site 20 years ago. With the help of some volunteers, George and Emma continue to restore the fort and fill it with an expanding collection of guns, cannons, bombs, small tanks and other such memorabilia.
After my tour of the museum I got chatting to George and, bearing in mind the gale that was continuing to blow, he kindly offered me a camp bed for the night in the Master-Gunner’s house. This was perfect. They were renovating the house so it was empty and a bit of a building site, but it did have heating, a shower and toilet, and a camp bed in one room. This was a much better option than camping.
I had a tour of George and Emma’s house with its amazing library full of military books and documents. Then they invited me to join them for a trip to the pub for dinner. We ended up back at the King’s Arms in Pembroke, where they treated me to another delicious meal.
I felt very lucky as I curled up in my sleeping bag listening to the howling wind.