Newgale to Caerfai
We had a specific goal today in that we thought we had about 9 miles to do on the path and it wasn't going to be as easy as the last few days and we had a bus to catch at St. Davids at 16.45 leaving around 5 and a hour hours to complete and stop and have lunch half way there as well. Woke up in the morning and the temperature had plummeted the sun had disappeared and it was quite a cold wind as well, so dressed up warm and set off for the bus about 10.30. By the time we had arrived at Newgale the sun was starting to make its presence known and we were soon too hot. To start with there were a lot of ups and downs on the path, our lunch destination was Solva which is supposed to be 5.6 miles from Newgale and the path was quite hard going for the first 2 thirds of the way to Solva and then it seemed to get better until within the last mile when the path went down to a pebbled beach and then went straight back up again and then there was a gentle slope into Solva harbour. Unfortunately I must have tripped the distance calculator so we didn't get any accurate distance of Newgale to Solva. We met a surprising number of people on the path including about 30 squad-dies being route marched along the path. Solva is beautiful it is a very sheltered inlet that is not straight in from the sea there is a definite twist in the inlet and the harbour is a long way set back from the sea. We stopped at the Thirty Five café for lunch which was really good but it also looked as though there were a number of really good eating places (when we drove past in the bus later). We tried not to stay too long as we had a bus to catch. The weather got sunnier throughout the day an although the wind was coolish it was actually very pleasant walking weather.
The walk from Solva to Caerfai was about 4 miles and only 2 down and ups so we finished the walk with an hour to spare for the bus. There were two things along the path to note. The first was an old fort which you don't really see until you look back and you can see the built up embankments and the other was the wild ponies who are put on the coastal path land by the national trust to keep down the vegetation and what a great job they do! They tend to be in small groups of 2 to 8 and can straddle the path but they don't even acknowledge you as you walk though the group! We have past many such a group since Manorbier, you are asked not to feed them but we have witnessed that as well at Martin Haven (although give the ponies their due they didn't seem to be tempted and much preferred the grass). We only came across one foal on the path when we came out of Broad haven but we didn't manage to get a photo of it. It saw us from a distance and then went to it's mum and next time we looked it had disappeared (presumably lain down in the long grass) we walked past and kept looking back but couldn't spot it then when we were quite a significant distance away the mare looked up and walked towards what was probably the foal and nudged it as if to say – 'You can get up now - they've gone'.
On this section of the path we seemed to see far more herds of cattle. Just before getting to Caerfai we saw in the distance what looked like another herd of cattle but in reality when we walked along the side of the field they were ponies and many of them in-foal or with foal. Can't help but think they may be the ones that are being bred to keep the vegetation on the path at bay!
At Caerfai as we had enough time before the bus we managed to go to the campsite there and book ourselves on for the following four nights – we were even given a choice of pitches we chose the one with the best view of course! Then we walked up the road to catch the bus at St. Davids. The bus stop was opposite the Tourist Information Centre so we called in there as well – what a beautiful building.
We caught the bus back and happened to have the two ladies on the seats behind us as we had had in the morning on the way to Newgale. They never took breath between sentences of inane chatter – Pete was a bit 'blown- away' to say the least!
Didn't particularly enjoy this part of the path as I always felt as though we had a time constraint for finishing. It probably is quite beautiful and although slightly more challenging then some of the previous sections it wasn't that strenuous. If I knew in advance that there wouldn't be a problem with catching the bus then I would have enjoyed it much better. The highlight of the day though was probably lunch at Solva – It is a really magical place and the food was excellent as good value for money as well.