26 Apr A Beach Life…
A Beach Life
Ah, the holiday road. I could totally spend the rest of my days happily living a beach life. Some years back I went to California and did the Highway 1 road trip. After an eventful and hilarious adventure and reading and being inspired by Bill Bryson’s, Walk in the Woods, I wrote Holiday Road. Although it was a memoir of the trip it read much like a Bridget Jones flick. Apart from subsequent California trips, which have all been up there in the holiday hall of fame, nothing ever really comes close. That is until we visited Pembrokeshire…
Last year, my older brother invited us to join him and my sister in law on their holiday to Pembrokeshire. Apart from it being in the vicinity of Wales, which I had last visited in my early twenties (a very long time ago!) I had not a clue where it really was or what to expect. Due to their trip being at the end of the October half term we literally just had the weekend. I put the postcode into the sat nav and was somewhat bewildered by the fact that it was telling me it would take us 4 hours and 30 minutes to get there! I didn’t know you could drive that far west without falling into the sea! Seriously! Well, apparently, you can and we did.
In 36 Hours…
Our trip there actually took 5 hours because we had a couple of dog stops. It was fantastic and nothing like I had ever experienced before. Not that I have really experienced a lot of England, Ireland, Scotland or Wales for that matter. We loved it so much that we vowed to return for a full week. We then drove the 5 hours home the next day exhausted but exhilarated. Even if it was only a 36 hour trip, 10 of which were spent driving and 7 sleeping we loved it!
We booked soon after to return and chose an enormous cottage overlooking the sea just outside St. Davids. This time (maybe we weren’t as far north) it took us about 4 and a half hours to get there. The trip just seemed easier. Maybe the promise of being able to stay the week made it seem far less of a distance to drive. We also had our new pup, Lenny. However, once settled he took to snoozing on the back seat, occasionally trying to eat my son’s snacks.
St. Davids is actually the smallest city in England in size and population. To be honest most of the places around Pembrokeshire are really small and the roads even smaller! Apart from the odd ‘A’ road, most of the roads struggle to be wide enough even for one car. Seriously scary when you are hurtling through them trying to keep up with following your brother in front!
I also had quite a mishap while jogging along one such roads one day. Above the music I was listening to, I could hear a low rumbling. Thinking it was a car about to pass I didn’t turn around. The rumbling continued but got louder and louder, until finally I looked back only to see a gigantic wheel coming towards me. I literally flung myself back into the hedge with great gusto. My arms flailed either side of me like some female Jesus on a cross (well it was Easter) and I got tangled in the bramble bush. I caught the farmer chuckling as he waved and continued on.
The Holiday Road
The best holidays are always a beach life for us. Like many of the best trips, our holiday had trips within a trip, where we travelled to a different destination each day. One couldn’t be better than another, each having it’s own highlights. Although I think my kids would say jumping off the cliff into the Blue Lagoon in Abereiddy, where the annual Red Bull diving competition takes place, would be their favourite. Every day involved some kind of hiking or trekking to varying degrees. All of which was challenging, exhausting but so good.
Our quest to find the secret beach in Llangrannog was memorable. Apart from the white knuckle drive (again trying to keep up with my brother in front) through what seemed like a labyrinth of tiny winding roads to the beach, the climb down to the beach was hairy. Thinking about it the climb back up was probably far scarier. Lenny also did a stellar job of keeping up and navigating his way over huge rocks and cliffs, fortunately without falling off anything too sinister.
The Witches Cauldron
I loved the Witches Cauldron, a collapsed cave caused by the sea destroying the soft earth along a fault. Apparently when the sea is rough it surges through like a boiling mass bubbling away in a gigantic witches cauldron…hence the name.
On the way home we stopped off at Treath Beach, a sprawling sandy beach which we walked along. I realised on our way back that you could actually take your car onto the beach and so having never done that before, decided to give it a try. I have a 4×4 which I am actually replacing this month, so it seemed a quite apt to take it for a sand blast, quite literally. We (well me driving but the kids and Lenny in the car) spun around the beach like a race car, spinning donut circles and throwing the car back and forth into the surf. I was having so much fun that I didn’t notice the man, arms flailing, running towards us. I could see that we were going to be in for an earful for driving far too recklessly on the beach, although in my defence there were no people, cars or animals in harms way and you only live once right, so I did the only thing I could, veered the car in another direction and proceeded to zig zag back to the exit while he continued to run toward me changing course every time I did.
There were few people to disturb us and for most of the trip, although we encountered people on beaches, they were few and far between and certainly nothing like you find on the east or south coasts. Pembrokeshire could truly be its own island, for when you are there its as though there is nowhere else on earth.
Sunburnt on Newgale Beach and sunsets a plenty we will definitely be returning once again a beach life adventure…
To view all the images from our ‘a beach life’ Pembrokeshire trip please visit my Facebook page.