134. Broadhaven – Maenorbŷr (Manorbier)

134. Broadhaven – Maenorbŷr (Manorbier)

Distance: 9.19 miles

Max Altitude: 85 m

Min Altitude: 8 m

Height Gain: 408 m

Height Loss: 425 m

Two days ago I attempted to do today’s walk but ended up giving in after a few metres due to my enormous and painful ankle. I was disappointed in myself. There was to be consolation, however.

Terry and his friend John had driven down to see me and to have a walk. Terry had forgotten that Castlemartin would be closed for firing though, meaning no walking on that section. So instead, we shot the breeze and just enjoyed the downtime in Tenby. What a tonic to talk to someone who has undertaken a similar  challenge and experienced the same things.

The next day was another day off. I considered going to A&E for my ankle but instead spent the day with my foot elevated and on ice. I also had the pleasure of meeting Frans (my host at St Ann’s Head) for a cup of tea. The most wonderful things about this challenge has been the people that I have been fortunate enough to meet along the way. So many still keep in touch with me via text and social media. And meeting up is a extra treat. I feel very lucky.

Back to the trail then…

I started from Broadhaven on the National Trust’s Stockpole Estate. There were barely any people about and I had the entire beach to myself.

Even the rock pools looked perfect.

It was a wonderful October’s day, which felt more like summer than summer. The only clue that it wasn’t was the nip in the air.

I soon reached Barafundle, one of Pembrokeshire’s best kept non-secrets. There’s no parking for at least half a mile meaning that people who come here have made the special effort to arrive on foot. It’s often completely deserted and consistently gets voted one of the world’s best beaches. You can see why.

I sat on the beach and ate a snack. There were a few people milling about but not too many. I made the climb up the beach stairs.

Barafundle = incredible.

Walking around the headland I got to Stackpole, where I had a cup of tea in the cafe and charged my phone. This is the tiny harbour there. It seemed that there was a slice of perfection around every turn.

After tea I continued. The layers in the cliffs were unbelievable.

I spotted this red tractor.

My next port of call was Freshwater East.

I had to negotiate my way through dunes so I was very grateful for the Wales Coast Path waymarks.

I think I should probably have stopped for some proper food at Freshwater East but I decided to push on in order to get to Manorbier faster.

It wasn’t long before I started to flag. Fatigue started setting in. There seemed to be re-entrant after re-entrant, each one sapping my energy more than the last.

By the time I rounded the headland to get to Manorbier, I had started laughing like a hyena, but not from amusement. The stunning vistas were scant consolation.

Relieved, I finished my walk underneath Manorbier Castle. It was built in the 12th century by a Norman knight. This is also where Gerallt Gymro, or Geraldus Cambrensis, or Gerald of Wales was born. He declared it the most pleasant place in Wales. This is firmly on my return list.

I was relieved to have gotten through the day. It had been hard and I was shattered. I would sleep well if nothing else.

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