Distance: 9.07 miles
Max Altitude: 75 m
Min Altitude: 9 m
Height Gain: 163 m
Height Loss: 158 m
After passing out last night from exhaustion, I’d had solid night’s sleep. Boy had I needed it. Truthfully, by now, I feel like I need days worth of sleep in order to recover properly. It won’t be long before that’s possible though.
I was lucky to have yet another day of sunshine and a blue sky. Just what I needed to accompany me on my walk. I started underneath Manorbier Castle once more.
I took a final look back at the village before rounding the headland.
I really should have taken more notice of this sign. At this point in my hike, I wasn’t to know how useful this information would be.
Surely this must be one of the most spectacular locations in Britain for such a burial chamber?
I could see Air Defence Range Manorbier in the distance but thought nothing of it. Suddenly though, I heard a buzzing. There was nothing in the sea or in the air…. or was there? I shielded my eyes and looked up at the sky, scanning for aircraft. Nothing. Then it twigged. I was hearing a drone. I couldn’t see it but I could certainly hear it buzzing over the water. After about five minutes, the buzzing stopped. Daydreaming, I continued walking. Then…..BOOM! A huge explosion rattled me out of my musings and took my breath away. See, I really should have paid attention to that earlier sign.
I carried on, still fairly alarmed. The footing was loose and I lost my balance falling into a gorse bush. Gah!
I continued hiking, while trying to pick dozens of tiny needles from my hand, arm, leg and backside. What a sight I would have looked if anybody had seen me.
The path cut inland to avoid the range. My book promised a cafe up ahead at the Youth Hostel Association so I made a beeline for that. I was gasping for a nice cup of tea. Just my luck though, it was closed.
I doubled back on myself in order to get a good look at the bits I’d missed whilst on my quest for tea. I knew that there were some amazing sights on this stretch and it would have been a crime to miss them.
Sure enough, near Skrinkle Haven, was the phenomenon known as the Church Doors, named because because two high arched caves in the cliffs resemble the doorways of a church. I had to descend a set of very steep steps in order to get down to this bit. But this sight was worth every single one. I sat a while and just stared. How magnificent.
I sighed as I left this magical spot, and kept looking back until the doors were out of sight. Back at the youth hostel again further down the path, I heard the familiar buzzing sound again. Another drone. In no time, there was another explosion (which I was ready for this time). And then the most extraordinary sight. Flying right across my line of vision was the Banshee drone (yes, I’ve looked it up). It travelled a couple of hundred metres maybe before a large red parachute popped out of it and down it floated to earth. It’s not every day you see that sort of thing.
Honestly, between one thing and another, the Wales Coast Path has more variety that most other trails on earth. I’d be keen to see one with more, frankly.
Lydstep was my next port of call. And a wonderful view of Ynys Bŷr (Caldey Island). A small group of Cistercian monks inhabit the island, and to my shame, I have never visited despite the hundreds of times I’ve been to Pembrokeshire. I must remedy that before long.
I got to Dinbych-y-Pysgod (Tenby) early evening. South Beach was looking as stunning as ever.
To my horror I saw my first Christmas tree of the season in the window of the Belgrave Hotel. Come on guys, it’s not even Halloween yet!
Most notably, Ynys Catrin (St Catherine’s Island) came into view. At low tide you can walk over to it from Castle Beach, not that I ever have. It’s always fascinated me though. There’s a little cafe on Castle Beach that overlooks it and I’ve sat there countless times with a cup of tea staring at it. I had been intending to visit the island and the fort that’s built on it on this walk. It’s another Palmerston fort, and I’ve now walked past several since Milford Haven and Pembroke Dock.
The fort on the island was open to the public. However, I learnt a few weeks ago that it was shutting due to ongoing planning problems with the Tenby Town Council, Pembrokeshire County Council and the National Park. For shame, is all I can say. Icons like this should be protected and encouraged not left to go to rack and ruin. I feel very bad for the people who tried to get this project off the ground in the face of such myopic opposition. I hope for a positive outcome for St Catherine’s Fort but I’m not holding my breath. Rant over.
I wonder how many hundreds of thousands of people have taken this exact photograph…. It’s practically mandatory when you’re in Tenby.
After a plate of chips (it had to be done) I re-examined my poorly phone. I’d have to do something about it if it wasn’t sorted by the morning.