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We walk back down the valley to the cliff path and on to Solva in search of food! Solva is a very pretty village. We phone home and visit the village store. It is a tiny shop but very well stocked. The proprietor is very helpful, quickly grasping the fact that we need provisions that are both light to carry and can be cooked in one pot on a camping stove. We walk through the village and down to the harbour. We sit by the stream that runs out to sea and eat our chelsea buns in the sunshine. Heaven! There are a whole stack of limekilns on the far side of Solva harbour. Limekilns have been quite a feature on the walk so far but I have never seen so many all together.
Up onto the cliffs again. We are now very used to this pattern. Climb down to the sea - climb up on the cliffs. We see a bird of prey - very pale and could be a hen harrier.
We are headed for Newgale. It has a very long stretch of sand, totally different from the wild coves and small bays we have seen so far but it still looks a long way off! We stop for a brew at St.Elvis Rock (there is an obvious pun here but I shan't pursue it).
The sands at Newgale stretch for 2.5 miles. Pity we haven't got our buckets and spades.
We round the bay and just before the sands of Newgale we come to Pencwm Beach. There are the remains of a small, old brickworks here. The cottage was the manager's and there was a tramway up the valley.
We walk along the promenade at Newgale and partake of their excellent fish ‘n chips, plus two mugs of tea……
…….then once more, up onto the cliffs where we pass the remains of the Trefane Cliff Colliery which was worked from 1850-1905. We are feeling rather sluggish. Probably something to do with the fish ‘n chips! We decide to look for somewhere to camp for the night.
We arrive at Rickets Rock. This will do nicely. We have bread and cheese for supper. I seem to have lost the vegetable knife. I must have left it at Nine Wells.
There is a beautiful sunset. A gale force wind blows up. We have to turn the radio up to block out the roar and the sound of the tent flapping. A guy blows out. Charlie secures it with three tent pegs.
Despite the noise, we have no trouble falling asleep. It must be all the sea air!
The walk up to Borough Head is very pleasant, through deciduous woodland, which adds some variety. When we reach the top of the climb, we stop for lunch. - We have not got the pasty! - I have to share my baguette. Thankfully, it is very large and very scrummy.
Once on the cliff top the terrain is relatively easy and the views are excellent. Around Ticlas Point there are many seals. We reach Mill Haven, which once again is a small bay, accessible only on foot and completely deserted. We sit here and eat our danish pastries. We watch a red boat and discuss the fact that it has been with us for days.
From Mill Haven we walk to Brides Haven and follow the Kensington Estate Boundary Wall. This wall seems to go on for ever! After reaching Marloes Sands we turn inland to the village of Marloes. We have difficulty finding the campsite but after various enquiries find it tucked away at the edge of the village. It is well worth it. It is very well equipped. We can even buy a few beers from the couple running it! Once again it is a small world. We begin talking to the couple and it transpires the wife was born at the Royal Hospital School and then used to live in Holbrook Mill which are both in an adjacent village to ours in Suffolk!
We soon cover the two miles to Martin’s Haven where a crew are packing a small craft for what looks like a very long expedition! Apparently, this is the departure point for Skomer. Skomer is 1.5 miles off the mainland. The island is a National Nature Reserve. There are some 30 bird species on the island, the most famous being the Manx Shearwater. Above the haven is a Celtic Ring Cross carved on a large stone mounted in a wall. It is over 1,000 years old.
We approach the village of Dale. It looks like a model made out of cardboard that has been carefully placed by some giant hand. We can also see the Texaco oil refinery in the distance. We walk along Pickleridge. On the left are flooded gravel pits and on the right the intertidal Gann Flats. We reach the crossing over The Gann in time. The tide is coming in fast and is rushing through and starting to cover the middle of the very substantial stepping stones. These stones lead to a gravely strip and then to duckboards. Safely across, we can sit, have our lunch and watch the tide come in! Mostly, I watch the birds on the mud flats. We can now see the Texaco Oil Refinery clearly and, hey, there's that red boat again! We now come to Monk’s Haven which is a very strange place. A wooded valley runs down to the sea and a castellated wall runs across the valley at the high tide line. It was probably built in the 1700s. We see a ruined watch tower near the point. Although, it looks pretty impressive it is, in fact a Victorian folly. Further on at Watch House Point there is an assortment of lookout and artillery positions dating from the First World War.
At Lindsway Bay, we turn inland to the campsite at St. Ishmaels. We can find no trace of a campsite although there is a little blue tent on the map. We ask some girls on bicycles who helpfully tell us that “some people camp on the sports field”. We do find the pub and after making enquiries find that it is indeed true. We have to walk all the way back up the hill to the sport's ground! Ah well, the sun’s shining. Let’s have another beer first!
We have another tidal creek to cross in the form of Sandy Haven Pill. There is a four hour window when it is possible to cross and we time it just right.
We are now walking alongside the waters of Milford Haven. We can see Stack Rock Fort, which was part of the Victorian defence of the waterway. Further along we have to walk under the oil pipelines which cross The Haven, not a pleasant experience for me as I have a "thing" about large pipes.
We walk into the centre of Milford Haven and after various attempts to find the correct bus, give up, and take a taxi to Pembroke Castle. The urban stretch from Milford Haven to Pembroke is not actually part of the official path, so we do not feel guilty about taking a ride. We sit by the castle for a while and then make for the campsite, which is all uphill and along a trunk road. Not very pleasant but the campsite is a joy on a working farm.