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]

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

WCP: Strumble Head Lighthouse to Abereiddy

Wednesday 21 Sept

Distance: 16.1 miles on coast, plus 0.8 miles off-route

Weather: Overcast with one short sharp shower


That was a day that started well and ended badly.

The morning’s continuation around Strumble Head from the lighthouse was lovely, marred only by the misty dull weather. It even featured a beach full of seals and their pups (on the full-sized photo, it’s possible to zoom in and see them really clearly; on this reduced size you can easily make out the white of the pups; the adults are more camouflaged):


A couple of hours into the day a pause for second breakfast was had on a convenient rock on a deserted shingle beach, soon after which I met a couple on a very narrow uphill path hemmed in by tall hedges, which really wasn’t designed for people to pass. As we squeezed by each other, we exchanged a few words, and I now wonder if I completely misheard the chap who told me (or so I thought) that “It’s very slippery up the top” followed by “But it’s okay getting up there”, because I didn’t encounter a single slippery thing either there or at any other point.

I think it was in Abercastle that I found a BT wifi hotspot and posted yesterday’s blog, and I was soon pleased to have delayed myself as, when a violent shower suddenly landed upon me without warning, I was only about twenty paces from some public toilets, in which I duly sheltered until it had eased off. This rusty machine was nearby and whilst not looking particularly interesting to me, it’s the only tractor I’ve seen so far that hasn’t been shiny and modern:


A while later I came across a much better example of a relic:


Porthgain, where I was due to meet Mick, was further than I expected (14.1 miles, versus my miscounted 12 miles). I didn’t actually meet Mick there, as he had walked out to meet me, so I had company for the final walk-in:


Porthgain harbour

Another good long lunch break was had, until at 1330 I declared that if I was going to walk another 9 or 10 miles then I needed to get going, so off I went seawards as Mick tootled off to St David’s Head.

Then it all went wrong when I caught my toe on an embedded rock and before I knew it my nose had taken the full brunt of the fall against a rock. There was blood and pain and a couple of very kind passers-by who stayed with me whilst I dug tissues, a first aid kit and a mirror out of my bag to patch myself up.

Traumatised and dripping blood through the steristrips, I didn’t think that finishing my walk was the wisest thing to do, so I tried (and failed) to make a call to Mick before despatching a message asking him to return to pick me up. The problem I had was that I had no idea if he had a phone signal, so I also dropped Louise a message asking her to look up the phone number of the campsite for which he was heading. The spanner in the works was that, having sent those message, and without my having moved, my phone signal disappeared and I couldn’t get it back.

There ensued an hour and three quarters of stress as I repeatedly had to make decisions (in a somewhat befuddled state) as to what to do for the best given that I had no idea if Mick had got either my initial message or the one I’d sent from a phone borrowed from an American tourist. If I sat tight, I could be waiting forever with Mick sitting on a campsite blissfully unaware of what had gone on, but I knew that the danger of moving was that Mick would then arrive in that spot to look for me.

At half past three he found me at a road side where, having found myself a phone signal, I had established that he had arrived at, and left, the campsite and thus was out looking for me. I thus resolved to stay exactly where I was, on the basis that he would eventually drive out from wherever he was to find a phone signal himself – which is exactly how the situation was resolved.

Now, what was it that I said yesterday about the need for me to carry two phones on different networks when doing a Mick-supported coast walk?

(Thanks go to Louise for her assistance, and apologies to Louise, the campsite staff and Mick for all the worry I caused. Vic only escaped the worry-fest by virtue of it being school-run time when I finally found that elusive signal.)


  1. This trip seems to be slightly affected by rivers of milk and blood. I hope Colin recovers from the milkfest and that your nose can be re-attached (can Mick sew?) and hopefully everything will be back to normal tomorrow.
    Have fun!

    1. It took the best part of a week before I could blow my nose again (much gentle dabbing in the meantime) and I came home with a frekle-fest where I couldn't apply suncream, but two and a half weeks after the event, it's now only painful if I touch the bridge.

  2. I sympathise with you having had similar experiences recently and in the more distant past. I am now obsessive at watching the ground ahead to avoid another tumble. I do hope you can continue. Look after yourself.

    1. Often when I stumble it's because I'm busy looking around me rather than at where I'm walking. On this occasion, to the best of my recollection, I was actually paying attention to where I was going, so goodness knows how I managed to go down so quickly and with such force. I just hope it won't be a recurrent theme!

  3. I've gone headlong three times this week. Luckily no serious damage. Considering a walking helmet...
    Take care

    1. Impressively, there was not a scratch, bump or bruise anywhere on my body, except for my nose (a fact remarked on by the American woman whose phone I borrowed later). I'm now picturing me walking the coast wearing an American Football style of helmet, for added nose protection...

  4. Gayle, you are most welcome, I only wished I could have been of more assistance! I thought I had Mick's number, I don't! I thought the campsite might think I was a bit odd, so I dithered. I do hope you heal quickly, although seems likely you've probably broken your poor nose!!
    You know, I'm always here, anytime!

    1. Thank you!

      I was quite sure at the time that I hadn't broken my nose. I'm now of the opinion that I probably did. Still, it could have been worse - I could have been on a cliff-edge when I fell!