The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Sunday, 25 September 2016

WCP: Sandy Haven to Pwllcrochan

Sunday 25 September

Distance: 22.2 miles

Weather: Sunny intervals, one short shower

That wasn’t an interesting or particularly enjoyable day, featuring far too many roads (many through residential streets and housing estates), quite a lot of drab woodland (of the sort where you could imagine people going to dispose of a body…), and too many fields, without much nice coast at all. That said, I did take lots of photos which illustrate the day nicely, which makes it a shame that I haven’t got wifi tonight so can't make this a photo-heavy post.

There was a little bit of rugged coast at the beginning, where I crossed the tidal inlet at Sandy Haven (the walkway which had been under feet of water yesterday was fully exposed this morning, and I was surprised at how narrow the running channel was), and even walking around the first oil refinery, west of Milford Haven, wasn’t offensive to the senses.

Milford Haven isn't short of oil refinery infrastructure

I didn’t know what I would make of Milford Haven. On previous walks I’ve found myself surprised at how much I’ve enjoyed walking through industrial areas, particularly those with old, decaying industry. Milford Haven, it turned out, neither surprised nor disappointed me. It was exactly as I had envisaged it to be.

My first break today came early, as Mick was loitering in Tesco’s car park, waiting for the shops to open so that he could resolve our grocery shortage, and as I was walking past I popped by for a substantial second breakfast and to make arrangements to meet again just over the large toll bridge which connects Neyland to Pembroke Dock.

The route to get there was very much not to my liking. This was typical:

And there were three bridges, of which this is one:

Note the mesh walking surface and the steps mid-bridge

I didn’t much like that bridge, but it was the third which filled me with terror.

Fortunately, I have no problem with road bridges running over water, or I would have been a gibbering wreck by the time I reached Mick on the other side.

Alas, the car park where we had intended to meet had a height barrier, but I'm sure that, with it being Sunday, the National Park Authority won’t have minded us using the car park in front of their offices.

More weaving through housing estates, with some unnecessarily circuitous routing (sometimes not clearly waymarked) and more nasty woodland (including one bit so liberally littered with crisp packets and chocolate wrappings that I began to wonder if a local resident has a secret binge habit and that woodland is their location of choice) made me wish I’d just followed the main road, rather than the coast path, through Pembroke Dock. The highlight of the day appeared soon after, when I came upon the large and impressive-looking Pembroke Castle. Spookily, just as the very place featured in my audiobook!

Yet more fields ensued, where Mick was seen coming towards me, indicating that I didn’t have too far left to go.

I’m not sure how I managed to count my mile markers on the map inaccurately twice, as I only expected today to be 20 miles. When we reached Colin the GPS told me that it had been 22.2 miles.

I have high hopes that tomorrow will be a much better day in terms of my surroundings and I can't really complain about today. Considering the length of the Wales Coast Path it has to be expected that there will be a dull bit every now and again. I've not got much of the Path unwalked now, and there has only been a minuscule percentage of it that hasn't met with my approval.

Seen parked up opposite houses in a residential street


  1. Here is my take on Milford Haven from my journal, I was quite pleased with this little paragraph from the writing standpoint as well as my appreciation of the environment.:

    "Interesting walking today with the petro-chemical import industry slapped onto an area of outstanding beauty, within the huge natural harbour of Milford Haven. I crossed, on strange metal bridges, series of huge pipes running in elegant lines leading from tankers moored at jetties. The pipes lead to huge cylindrical storage tanks. As a failed plumber, having respect for anybody who can make pipes go where they want, there is a symmetry to all this which I appreciate, but others may not."

    1. I was brave enough to stop on one of the bridges to take a photo of the impressive pipework, but much of that section looked like it had recently been bulldozed, which, combined with the bridges-from-hell (in my warped view of bridges), didn't result in good feelings for the area.

  2. Nice one - keep going! Will you be in Pitlochry later?

  3. It's still lovely up there - you'd have had a great week bagging.