B and B Golden Lion,coastal footpath. Gale,freezing,Pembroke,wind,sunshine,rain,clouds,Wales,estuary,Dutchman’s trousers,soaked,Newport
Going for a walk
I cast the heavy bow howser out over the widening gap between the departing boat and the quay, so-to-speak and wave goodbye as my wife Lynne drives away in our car waving furiously, her eyes not on the road but in the rear view mirror until turning a corner and disappearing from my view. I heard no sound of collision!
Im aware I stand alone in a strange place, white cottages tumble down to huddle along the shore of an snaking estuary; muddy banks bared at low tide.
I hitch up the unaccustomed weight of my rucksack to get comfortable. Gone are the lazy, hot sunny days of the past few weeks; here on the coast the wind whips people brave enough to venture, just now licking the back of my knees; perhaps I shouldn’t have chosen to wear shorts. Patches of blue in the sky came and went. My grandmother would have said ‘ there’s enough blue up there to patch a Dutchman’s trousers’. Without the wind it would be a fine day to begin a long walk along the coast of West Wales. But first i need to find my bed for the night.
I feel like John Bunyan’s Pilgrim about to embark on a journey into the unknown. In my backpack the bare essentials for protection against the elements and a few nut bars and a bottle of water to quell the munches. I realise I have with me items from every room in our house: windup torch from the garage, my Swiss Army knife note book and pencils from my work work room, from the bathroom electric tooth brush and razor, even from the toilet, a few sheets, and all the rest. I strode purposely into the unknown, carrying my house on my back.
Looming sinister rain-bearing clouds begin to gather as I find an easy rhythm climbing gently up the gradient away from St Dogmaels to follow a lane carved out by a babbling brook, upward and onward. People unloading shopping, trimming hedges and walking dogs welcomed me with a cheerful hellos. Two ruff looking handlers of Engish bull terriers looked like they might bar my way so I tipped my hat and bid them,
‘Ello, Bon jour.’ I thought a spot of French might dissuade them from roughing me up and pinching my penknife.
The shaded dingle dell, over which trees, displaying the first vigorous growth of spring, spread across the lane throwing shadow patterns and allowing floating glimpses of blue sky, mercifully providing shelter from the increasingly strong westerlies.
Out in the open upland I stop to lean on a gate to take in the scenery; wind swept pastures and coppices nestling in the folds of vigorous rolling landscape. I knew then I had got away, i was reduced, subservient to a greater whole, one small part of many. I began to look forward to tomorrow.
B&B at a farmhouse tucked into high bank, a beech stand holding on for dear life in the gale took me into its cosy embrace; provided every creature comfort.The outdoor pool however continued to wear an overcoat. Tomorrow after breakfast my walk will begin in earnest.
I’m woken by bright sunshine at 5 am but by 7 the sky begins to grumble and by the time I’m waving goodby to my hosts the lashing begins and doesnt let up for 6 hours. The cliff-top walk was no fun in the driving rain, mist obscured much of the dramatic views; there were no birds and i was in no mood to take photographs; i just wanted to get to my destination. By the time I finally reached Newport, Pembrokeshire i was freezing, my teeth chattered, everything including my underpants where soaked; only the pilot light of optimism remained alight.
I’m now in room at the Golden Lion in Newport. My wet stuff snuggles up to the radiators and heated towel rail. I read for an hour or so this afternoon while nature continued to take its revenge upon west Wales….then suddenly the clouds disappeared, to be replaced by blue skies and a warm buffeting wind. Been out to see where I came from out of the mist and gales just hours ago. I’ve given up the idea of getting the bus to Fishguard tomorrow for now. I get the feeling I’m being given a lesson…
At least the forecast for Friday looks more positive.