Gentleman Cyclist

July 1, 2018

Pembrokeshire – Take Two-and-a-bit

Filed under: beach,Wales — admin @ 9:11 pm

Posted on 30 June 2018

The sun continues to shine and we keep doing holiday stuff. We brought the electric tandem with us but it looks as though it is going to stay in the car. I have swum twice at Caerfai, twice at Newgale and once at Abereiddy, but we also took a couple of boat trips, firstly around Ramsey Island, where, amongst other things, we saw Manx shearwaters flying in, ready to visit their burrows on Skomer Island.

It’s worth spending a bit of time mentioning Manx shearwaters. Apparently 360000 breeding pairs, something like 90% of the world’s population, return to Skomer every spring where each pair raises a solitary chick. The adults spend all day, once the chick is hatched, flying out over the Atlantic to gather food and each bird covers about 200 miles per day. They return under the cover of darkness in order to avoid the predators, feed the chick, and before first light, off they go again.The RSPB ring a lot of the young, and it seems that the oldest Manx shearwater recorded was 58 years old. The warden reckoned that bird flew over 5,000,000 miles in its lifetime.

Once the chicks are sufficiently developed, the adults just abandon them, leave them in their burrows and fly to the South Atlantic. The chicks flap their wings a bit for a few days and once they feel up to it their first flight is a non-stop trip, also to the south Atlantic. An amazing species.

Apart from boats, nature and swimming (Jan hasn’t swum. She prefers to remain fully dressed whilst either painting a picture or doing things with wool) we have done a few more holidayish things. We visited a woollen mill on the river Solfach, spent an hour or two in St. David’s Cathedral and eaten some very fine food.

Today I had three swims, two at Nolton Haven and one at Druidston. Given what a marvellous beach it is, I rather regret never having been to the Druidston beach before. The cliffs are superb, with a variety of rock types, the sand is fine and golden, there are plenty of rock pools and there is no nearby car park, so there are few people who use it. We were told by a young couple who had been there all day that there was some drama during the morning as there had been a fairly significant rock fall and another couple were that close that they were fortunate not to be injured. So it seems like quite a good idea not to sit immediately under the cliffs.

This impressive phenomenon is the tidal surge between Ramsey Island and the mainland at a reef of rocks known as The Bitches, possibly so named because they have presented such a danger to shipping over the years. They act as a barrage, creating a very impressive tidal weir, which of course changes direction at every slack water. The water drops about a metre at peak tidal flow.

The “Blue Lagoon”, Porthgain

June 28, 2018

Pembrokeshire – Take Two

Filed under: beach,Wales — admin @ 9:05 pm

Posted on 28 June 2018

My calf muscle continued to give me twinges for a few days so returning to continue my walk was out of the question – for the time being at least. However, I kept an eye on the weather forecast and when it looked as though there was a week of fine weather coming up, Jan and I used Pensioners’ Privilege and decided to try to find a B & B from Monday to Sunday. The Duke of Edinburgh in Newgale had one to offer, so I booked it, albeit at a higher price than I expected.

The journey wasn’t a great advert for the Nissan Leaf or the charging infrastructure. Repeated rapid charges raise the battery’s temperature and when the air temperature is getting close to 30°C the battery gets close to its operating limits. Add to that the fact that one of the charging points was out of action and it was a trying day. However, we arrived eventually and we plugged the car into a caravan hookup, the first time we have tried this. It worked beautifully and the following morning we had a fully charged, cool battery once again.

What I hadn’t spotted until I had committed the money to this venture was that we weren’t at a B &B, but just a B, there being no breakfast included in the price. For that privilege we had to walk along the road to the Sands café and buy our own and a week’s worth of bought breakfasts adds about another £100 to the total, which I felt was not good value for money. However, we were just across the road from a beautiful sandy Atlantic storm beach slap bang in some of the finest coastline that the UK has to offer, so there was plenty of compensation.

So far we have visited Caerfai, Newgale and Abereiddy beaches and I have swum at each. I don’t recall the water ever being so cold in Pembrokeshire and today’s swim at Abereiddy was quite painful to the feet as they became numb. However, the water was beautifully clear and at one point I could see an impressively large spider crab, whose carapace must have been as wide as my hand’s span. I was wallowing about chest deep at the time. Shortly afterwards I had to get out of the water because it was just too cold, and then, when I walked on the dark brown sand, it was too hot for comfort. Presumably a few more of these hot days will warm the water up a bit.

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