Portmeirion and Pembrokeshire December 2010

Selected photographs of Portmeirion are here and Pembroke here.

Sunday, 5 December

Arrived at Portmeirion just after 5pm and caught it in a magical light. Took some photographs and then settled in to our accommodation. Walked down to the hotel dining room and had an excellent meal. The walk back to our suite afterwards was magical because of the lights and coloured shapes.


Views of Port Meirion.

Monday, 06 December 2010
7.00ish woke and made tea. Off to breakfast in the hotel. An excellent breakfast in the same room – conservatory – we had dinner in last night. Walked along the water’s edge beyond the tower. Took photos of a Robin that followed us along the path. More people about when we walked back down to return our key and pay. Would very much like to come here again and stay a little longer. Visited the shops, B bought some cards and some presents and I bought the book about Portmeirion.

12.00 Left there and set off on the coast road southwards. It was cold and sunny and the temperature varied between -5 and +5 depending on whether you were on the sunlit side of the valley or the shady side. Driving conditions were quite dangerous at times. Went through Harlech, Barmouth, Tywyn, Machynlleth, and stopped at Aberystwyth for B to go to Boots to buy various essentials and I went to Jessops to buy a new battery for the Canon Eos 300 D. When I told the assistant that I had had the battery for six years she said that was good and that they usually last only two to three years. So we found everything we wanted, including filling up with petrol. Set off for Cardigan – not sure what the time was but it seemed to take a very long time to get to Newport. We arrived at the hotel – the only car in the car park – at 5.00. Dinner at The Golden Lion

Tuesday, 07 December 2010
A good night’s sleep. It doesn’t get light here until after 8.00.
10.15 Left for Tenby via Haverfordwest, Canaston Bridge, Cross Hands, Templeton, Begelly. Had a long wander around the town. Had coffee in a restaurant and bought some Cds in charity shops. There was music playing from an inn and from a couple of the shops, some of it tasteful, some not. But, it did add to the pre-Christmas atmosphere. B bought some celebratory earrings because the ones she was wearing, which I thought I had carefully repaired had dropped off. It was a really enjoyable saunter around a very distinguished town. Lots of beautiful Georgian buildings.
About 1.45 Left Tenby and drove through Penally looking for a viewpoint to stop for lunch. Discovered Skrinkle Head which had a car park with stunning views. See photo.



From there we went on to Pembroke where we called in at the TIC to ask advice about where to walk. Met a young man who was walking the coast path and was camping! It has been well in to minus centigrade over night. He said he was thinking of a bed and breakfast for tonight. From there to Haverfordwest and then on the A487 towards St David’s. Stopped at Newgate. Took some photos here – one of a man just packing up surfing. It was bloody freezing cold standing on the beach fully clothed! This looked like a really nice place to walk another day. From there on to St David’s which we shall definitely go back to. From St David’s back to the hotel took about half an hour.

Wednesday, 08 December 2010
Had a chat with one of the golfers whilst packing the car. He recommended a place to visit. He got the name wrong but that didn’t matter. He said it was an attractive cove with a quarry and painted houses mostly owned by the National Trust.
10.40 Left to go to St David’s where we first looked around the cathedral. It looks small from the outside because it sits in a dell, but once inside you realise how big it is. (details from the web in here) Had a good look round and a long chat to a guide. There is a difference in height of the floor of 12 feet from one end of the cathedral to the other. The Cloisters are big as well. The local population is just 1800 folk. How does the church sustain such a place? Then, we went in to the refectory. Newly and lavishly refurbished in 1996, five staff for about as many customers. It did not seem to make economic sense.
Left there and had a wander round the town, which is tiny. Posted cards and shopped in the National Trust Shop. Enquired about the cove and found out it was Porth Gain which was on our route back from where we were going to walk. Spotted some chocolate truffles in a small shop that sold them and ice cream. Went in and bought 16 truffles and were offered a Christmas Pudding truffle as a free gift. Very enjoyable.
13.30 Drove to Whitesands Bay, parked and walked in the bitterly cold, strong wind along the coast path to St David’s Head. Both nice and warm though because, well wrapped up. I had on a fleece lined shirt, a Rohan fleece and my Rab duvet jacket. Brilliant walk with some amazing views as the clouds moved across the strong sunshine. See photos.
Walked for an hour and three quarters which was long enough in the cold wind. Moved the car to face the sea and sat and ate lunch at 15.15 – just caught the Bach Cantata on Radio 3. Then moved on to Porth Gain, an ugly but fascinating place.

Thursday, 09 December 2010
10.30 Left. Made our way on the A roads to Newgale, where we parked in the huge car park.
12.10 Set off for our walk in the direction of Solva. It was demanding terrain and we walked out for and hour and a quarter and back for an hour and a quarter. The path had ice on it and the angle of the sun made it really difficult to make progress in safety. See photos.


4.30 Back to the hotel room – the earliest yet. So there would have been no point in walking further than we did except maybe by about ten minutes.

Friday, 10 December 2010
8.45 Off for breakfast. Chatted lots to people.
10.09 Set off for Cwm Gwaun. Walked near Cilgwyn for nearly two hours. Saw: blue tits, chaffinches, Jays, Lapwings, Crows, Blackbirds, Robins, Wrens, Buzzards, and Nut Hatches. Drove back over the top of the moor to Newport. Back to the hotel for lunch at 1.50
2.10 Left for Fishguard. Called in on Parrog on the way out, and there was much more to see than we had realised. Certainly the was a huge variety of properties that we had no idea were there. Called in at Cwm-yr-Eglwys, pretty little place with the ruined church that we visited last time we came, on the way back. Didn’t really have time to get out and walk so stayed in the car, turned round and came out of the village again.
3.00ish Left from the hotel room to walk around the estuary. Walked nearly all the way to Parrog, turned round and came back leaving the coast path just after the white house to come back along the lane.

Views of Pembrokeshire.

Saturday, 11 December 2010
9.00 Breakfast. Chatted with various people. Packed the car.
10.05 Paid the bill which was much less than I thought it would be.
10.15 Left the hotel. Travelled the A487 northwards to Dolgellau and then towards Bala. Stopped for lunch at the end of the Bala lake, and home by 4.15


The lake at Bala.