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WALES  DIARY 2   2016   

Map + Plan
            Diary 1 2 3

From the southern part of Wales, I now start on the western part.

3/6  It is yet another perfect morning, and the countryside look fantastic. I do several stops to enjoy it on my way to Tenby. I actually went fifteen kilometres backwards last evening, and now I have to do them a third time, but they are still lovely, and I enjoy them more with the sun in my back.
Yesterday, I found out here were no camps for fifteen kilometres, but when I reach "new" road, I actually passes fifteen camps in 45 kilometres!

Tenby should be a "postcard" town, and it is pretty. It is a rather large, old town, and the harbour and old city wall have not changed much. It is a popular place for the locals, using the perfect beach. An old fortress on a tiny island in front of the harbour make a great motive, although against the sun. I do several tours around the old part of town, the cliffs overseeing the harbour and some back alleys.
For once, I get a glimpse of the lifeboat in the high shed with the steep ramp, and it is rather big. The lines of old houses, facing the water look like hotels with shops underneath. Here are still dragonblood trees, palms and other subtropical plants, and it must be rather mild year round.
I find dinner and a souvenir, and get a fast pot of tea and cake: I have a fear for meter-men by now.

Next on my list is Carew Castle and town. The castle is a ruin, and does not look that big. When I start exploring it, it turns out to be way bigger than expected. Like so many other castles around here, it is located next to a river, and build by the "Normans", which were Danes, I believe, in the 11th century.
Here are many towers, halls, rooms and pathways, and I have it pretty much to my self. Bats and owls are nesting in one tower, which have been closed to visitors. A few rooms have been decorated sparsely with medieval objects.
The old sandstone window frames are still left in some windows, other have been recycled in the area along with some stones. I still enjoy exploring these castles, especially in such good weather.
A bit down stream is the 300 year old Tidal Mill, based on the nine meter tidal water in the area. A huge up-stream pond provides water enough for a half day. I walk down to it, and have a look inside. A gathering of the original machinery is remaining, and extensive explanations provided. Well, except from how it get its water, it is a normal watermill, although big.
Downstream is a muddy basin with blaster-algae and a few seagulls. I sit and enjoy a mug of tea in the sun, watching the tidal being slag - I think it is called, when it don't move. Nothing more relaxing, I can think of. On the way out, I pass the tall Carew Cross from 1035. Pretty hard to get a decent photo of. It is either against the light and with a white plastic tent as background, or way up, behind a railing. And the sun disappears, while I try.

As usual, the GPS are aloud to lead out on the minor roads, through fantastic nature, winding trails and farms. Here keep being quite some forest, which still are light green and lush. Just before I reach St Govan's, a National Trust sign show off to Lily Pond. Why not?
It is a waste area, where the first part is a 150 year old artificial pond. It is covered in water lilies and surrounded by forest. Nice area, but I want to see the cliffs at St. Govan's.
The first I meet is Green Winged Orchids; Orchis morio, which are a bit tiny but plentiful. The cliffs are magnificent this clear, sunny day. I do a long walk, but are looking forward the Green Bridge, a bit further out the coast.

A huge military area is blocking my way, and I walk a long detour without accomplishing much. Then I try the other way around, and I finally make out to the cliffs again.
The first I meet here, are several colonies of Racerbills, nesting on the pinnacles named Stack Rocks. They feel quite safe, despite I am only 30 metres away. Then again, I got 50 metres down to the water, and 50 metres up to them again, both ways vertical.
To the other side, I can see Green Bridge, which is a natural arch, formed in limestone. As I see it, it is actually at least three in a row, but one is especially large. It is a great experience; the rocks, the sea, the birds and the plants. I walk quite some here, and try to see it all.
It is getting rather late, and I still have to see, if I can avoid going back hometo work, a bit longer. That means internet. The next sight is Pembroke and its castle, and I start with the town. On the way, I finally see a 3D fox. I have seen quite some badgers, foxes, squirrels and rabbits in 2D, and now, I only misses the badger in 3D.

It is fare from as interesting as I thought, and it seems like all the cafes and alike closes at four. I finally find a pub that just opens, and have a bare cup of tea along with a lot of internet. Then I head over to the Pembroke Castle, which is massive. The base of the Tudors, and pretty much intact, it seems from outside. I do the long walk around, but can't find the energy and enthusiasm to explore the inside by now.
On the way around, I see a sign from Pembroke Racing Pigeon Society. I actually saw a van the other day, warning about its load being Racing Pigeons. Guess they are cheaper to bread than horses.
As lately, the wall along the road, advertising for campsites, vanish in the afternoons. One is only campers, one seems to have vanished. Just before I reach my next site, one finally turns up, and it even have a laundry. At first, the washing sound expensive. While using it, it turns real expensive, and I give up drying it after one hour of tumbling. On top of that, I now have a lot of greyish cloths without elastic. I guess 40C is way hotter here, than at home.

The days photos are divided into several slideshows, and the photos from the tour in general get a new slideshow.
Below is Penbroke Castle, which I only saw from the outside: too big!

4/6 I get an early start due to the sun, and head for Dale by the coast. It is a little, old town with what could be the remains of a monastery. Besides from that, it is fare from as interesting, as I had expected, and I head on.
The road almost meet the sea, and I go for a stroll in the huge dune of rolling stones. Despite the early promises, the sun have gone, and a light mist covers the coast.
Another little harbour look more interesting, and despite they don't like strangers accordingly to their signs, I try. The sea runs into a narrow sound, and here are still a bit of water under the boats. The slate rocks are covered in ferns, mosses and succulents. As the sea have started redrawing, algae are exposed further down the cliffs.

What look like a peninsular on the map, is more like a hand with fingers. Sounds are cutting in, and the sights are quite further apart than it appeared. The next is St. Davids, which have a cathedral. The parking lot is a bit outside town, in some real nice natural surroundings. A small river, and ancient bridge, huge oaks and plenty of mosses and ferns make up a nice combination. A small path leads directly to the cathedral, pass a ruin. Cows are relaxing on the meadow in front of it, and I try to capture it all in one frame.
Where the roads leads into the river, a triangular sign say "Ford". Ford is known for making some bad cars, but a road sign?! The cathedral look fine from the outside, and that is enough for today.
The trail into town is marked with knitting. Benches, lampposts and alike are dressed in colourful knitting. It is yet another old town which have found out how to make a bit on tourists. Which by the way, seems to be made up by 99% Brits or more, everywhere I've been.
I do a small stroll up and down town, but fails to find any interesting. Well, a pot of tea and internet, that is all.

As the road continues towards Preseli Hills, I finally find the Wales I had expected to see (which might be because I thinking of Ireland?). A green hill with bedrock sticking up, and a house way up near the top. I try desperately to get a photo, but the lack of light and the mist make that difficult, to say it least.
It is a hilly area, but many of the hills are covered in forest. When I meet a large clearing with a few trees and sheep on, I calls for a tea-brake. Further in to the woods, a small church is found way out in nowhere.
I cross many rivers and a lot of time, the road is following the ridge. That offers a fantastic view 20-50 kilometres to each side. But that can not be captured in my camera.
The higher arias over 3-400 metres is grass land - and covered in mist. A few walks reveals some sphagnum moss and hidden wells. I had planned to do some long walks, but in this weather, it does not really look that attracting.
As the road descents, is serpentine, and runs around a limestone wall, nearly marble. Here are a few plants I'm not familiar with, and the entire landscape is amassing. As the road meets the button of the gorge, it goes through a river. Wild Rhododendrons are still flowering around here, along with other colourful bushes.

The narrow back-roads (and my trusty GPS) have led me to Gastell Henllys Fort. It is a reconstructed Iron Age fort, and sits on a hilltop. The path leading up to it, passes some real nice nature. Old trees, a river, a field with cows and a meadow, filled with flowers. A few different looking cheep and a pair of happy pigs are kept in modern enclosures. The five huts with stray roof are within the grass rampant. Inside each, a bit of the everyday household are found - from 2400 years ago. This winter, I saw people living quite like that in southern Africa. A small herb-garden and a path with wild flowers make up, what they call the garden.
Quite honestly, I had expected more! The best was the walk to the fort.

The National Trust have a castle called Cilgerran nearby, but I can see sufficient from outside the ticket office. A pair of small houses on the way back to the car look better.
The costal road bring me through small villages, huge, green hills with numerous sheep and a few glimpses of the sea.
When the road get real close to the sea, I do a walk on the steep grass field. Around a corner, another fishing town turns up, but I head on.

As I turn inland, I accidentally find the awesome Pisgha Valley. To me, it look like central Europe: A fertile and rather vide valley with lakes, hedges and a few farms. If just the sun was here! It make the border of Hay-on Wye and Mid Wales.
The huge valley continues all the way to Devil's Bridge or Tree Bridges. I park right in front of the old and big Hafod Hotel, looking kind of Alpine.
The bridge is still in use, but a recent steel construction. Underneath, two older stone bridges are in the same place. I try to make photos of the deeps of the gorge, but the trees are covering the narrow gab. A ticked office to one side, and old automat to the other. I start with the northern side. 600 steps leads down to the - under the bridges - 3 meter vide and 4-50 meter deep crack.  To both sides, what seems like endless forests covers the steep walls of the gorge. Old oaks, flowering Rhododendrons, Pines and all other trees are covered in mosses. Some moss-cousins are half a meter vide and 30 centimetres high. Ferns are epiphytic, and so are other un-identified plants.
It is a great walk down the rough slate steps, and each corner reveals another fantastic view. I recon here are a total of at least 100 meters waterfalls. Sometimes, the trees open a bit, and the deep gorge can be seen.
I have never seen the Alps, but this is what I imagine they will look like. Nothing like anything else, I have seen in England and Wales at all! I can only dream about how it would look with sun on... Never the less, I make a lot of photos, showing absolutely nothing.
Small paths are leading horizontal  into the forest, and it is a real nice area with loads of epiphytes on the low stems. Sphagnum moss are everywhere, and it sure look like it ought to be way more wet here. No rain for a week, and that is unusual. The falls are narrow too, I'm told. I am seriously considering to do the entire walk the other way.
I kind of do that, because I also do the southern walk. It is right next to the narrow crack. I try to stitch it together, camera on "high", but it takes nine photos! This was really an unexpected treat!

I treat my self with a pot of tea at Hafod Hotel, because I have seen a camp-site sign round the corner. A bit expensive camp, and with a lot of kids, but I will feel stupid, if I don't find one on the rather long way to next sight. Tomorrow, I just feel stupid when I pass numerous sign, but that is better.
I do my usual work, then the long walk to the office to connect with the world. And I'm not alone. About a million tiny flies are having a banquet on me. 

From this west-coast adventure, I now head around the corner to the north-coast.


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