Fishguard to Strumble Head

Last Thursday morning a friend stopped by my house and picked me up on her way to Wales. We have mutual friends in Pembrokeshire and I had been thinking about a visit so it was too good an opportunity to pass up. On the Friday night we stayed with a friend in Goodwick, which is basically a suburb of Fishguard, and on Saturday morning I set off on my own to walk to Strumble Head along the Wales Coast Path. I didn’t have a map so I just started walking from the harbour and assumed it would be obvious where to go.

Church and boat at Llanwnda

As I left Harbour Village I was distracted by a footpath signposted to a burial chamber and decided to follow that, which took me somewhat inland of the official coast path. Just as I was thinking how much nicer it would be to be closer to the sea I came across some small cottages at Llanwnda. There was nobody around but one of the doors was open and there was a sign inviting people to go inside and make themselves a cup of tea or coffee. I stayed for a while and read some of the interesting literature on display but nobody else turned up so I signed the guest book and continued my walk with the idea of visiting again on my way back.

Strumble Head Lighthouse

About 10 minutes later I came to the the coast path proper and turned left. After a grey start to the day it was nice when the sun broke finally broke through and after such a long wet spell of weather I felt incredibly lucky to have picked this day for a walk. The path only dropped down to the sea once, where I lay in the sun for a while on a pebbly beach listening to sound of the waves. Shortly after setting off again I rounded a corner and got my first view of the lighthouse at Strumble Head. I carried on till I reached a WW2 coastal lookout post which was opened as a bird observation point in 1988 (apparently it is also well known for monitoring cetaceans and Sea Trust uses it to carry out shore based porpoise surveys).

View from observation point

I could have caught a bus back to Fishguard but I had plenty of time and preferred to walk, even though I would be retracing my steps. On the way I met a couple carrying binoculars who told me they had just seen an adder basking in the sun about twelve feet from the path. They tried to describe where it was but I failed to spot it. When I got back to Llanwnda there was still nobody about but I went back into the cottage and made myself a cup of tea. I sat reading a book and after a while I heard someone walking past with a dog who said she would send her husband down to see me. He turned out to be an interesting chap called Buzz Knapp-Fisher and we ended up chatting for a couple of hours about all sorts of things mainly related to renewable energy and green transport. He has a website called Us Energy.

Cottages at Llanwnda

By the time I said goodbye to Buzz it was getting fairly late but rather than heading straight for Goodwick I hurried back down the way I had come to rejoin the coast path and walked the bit I had missed in the morning. As the harbour came into view I phoned the guy I was staying with to see what his plans were and since he hadn’t eaten yet I walked into town to pick up some supplies before heading back up the hill to his place where he cooked a late dinner while I had a shower. I spent three nights in Wales and did a lot of other stuff but I had been looking forward to a long coastal walk and this was just what the doctor ordered.

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