Thursday 14 April 2016
Tenby to Pendine
Amroth Castle Holiday Village
It rained on and off during the night, which hadn’t been forecasted. I packed my tent away wet and got going just after 9 am.
The path wound up and down through lots of woodland on the way to Saundersfoot. I enjoyed the song of all the small birds. I passed Monkstone Point and knew I’d arrived in Saundersfoot as I found myself navigating around some large houses.
Considering how posh the houses were I was surprised that the town did not seem more upmarket. It does have a nice sandy beach though. I stopped at a greasy spoon cafe for a coffee and a bacon and egg baguette. It was just what I needed.
The path to Wiseman’s Bridge mostly follows a disused rail line and goes through 3 tunnels. It must have been a nice train ride.
It was only a short hop to Amroth and, although it was only lunchtime, I was able to check in to Amroth Castle (not as glamorous as it sounds) and dump most of my kit. (I was very glad of this later.)
Amroth marked the end of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, only 186 miles to St Dogmaels! Although not even 5 miles to Pendine it was very hilly. I met some people who told me it was classified a grade A walk (I’ve no idea what that means but I assume ‘hard’). It took me 2 very sweaty hours to get there.
The sun was hot today and I had a beautiful, but slightly hazy, view right across Carmarthen Bay and back to Tenby.
It was a lovely, if tiring, walk through lots of gorse. I saw 5 buzzards gliding over the cliffs, fulmars, pipits, and a kestrel.
I zigzagged across the cliff above Marros Sands and eventually dropped down into the small cove of Morfa Bychan, which had lots of ugly, damaged concrete blocks just behind the shingle beach. I later found out this was where the D-Day landings were practised.
Another big climb and Pendine Sands came into view. It looked stunning, providing the edge to a plain that was created at the end of the Ice Age.
I was prepared for the 7-mile walk along the beach and around the corner that leads up the River Taf to Laugharne. Unfortunately the beach and the dunes on the plain belong to the MOD and the red flag was flying. (I could walk inland but I had been warned it was a boring walk next to the road.)
I descended into Pendine and immediately had an ice cream as I thought I’d deserved one. I walked along the beach to speak to the man in the tractor that was parked on the sand as part of a barrier preventing the public walking further along the beach (apparently many ignore the signs and flags). He explained that the Royal- and French- Marines were ‘playing’ here all week so public access would only be after 4 pm every day. I wasn’t too upset as buses back to Amroth from Laugharne don’t exist so it solved my problem not to walk that far. Anyway, I’ve been to Pendine Sands before; I’ve landed on the beach in a C-130 Hercules, stood on the sand while an engine-running refuel was undertaken, and then taken off again. That was fun!
After chatting to the nice ex-army, QinetiQ employee I walked off the beach and visited the Museum of Speed. It was free and had a couple of very old motorcycles in it. Pendine’s beach has long been used for motorcycle racing and was also where J G Parry Thomas and Malcolm Campbell traded World Land Speed Records 1924-27. Parry Thomas lost his life here driving Babs and Campbell still holds the British Land Speed Record, set in Bluebird on this beach, both occurred in 1927.
Pendine beach was also the take off point for Amy Johnson and her husband, Jim Mollison, when they became the first married couple to fly across the Atlantic in 1933.
This beach really has seen some speed, although it seems to operate at a more sedate pace now and has a holiday village right behind it. (They do still have races in the winter.) I sat in one of the many cafes and enjoyed a cream tea while I waited for my bus back to Amroth.