198 Marloes to Little Haven

The Puffin Shuttle stops in Marloes to wait for the connecting service to arrive from Dale. I take the opportunity to leap off and snap a photograph of the colourful paintings on the side of the bus…

01 Puffin Shuttle, Ruth walking in Pembrokeshire

… before we continue to Martin’s Haven. Last time I was here there was a gale blowing and I felt exhausted. Today is calm and sunny. The weather makes such a difference!

02 Martin's Haven, Ruth's coastal walk in Pembrokeshire

Most of my fellow passengers head straight down towards the shore. But I set off to walk around Marloes Peninsula, which is not officially part of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, but I’m following my rule of sticking as close to the coast as I can.

On the way around the peninsula I see a couple of choughs and manage to catch a photo of one silhouetted against the bright sea. You have to take my word for it: that beak is red!

03 chough, Ruth on Marloes Peninsula, hiking

The sea is ruffled and frothy with strong currents. From the peninsula it seems a short hop to Skomer Island to visit the puffins. I was half-thinking of taking a boat trip over – but I’ve missed the nesting season.

04 Skomer Island, Ruth walking the Pembrokeshire Coast Path

In a cove below me I see a grey shape moving through the water. A seal. It surfaces for a brief second and I catch a blurry image.

05 seal in cove, Ruth hiking Marloes pensinsula

Most people don’t walk around the whole peninsula. They just head for the highest point, where a small crowd has congregated. Beyond is the blue water of St Brides Bay. The land in the far distance must be St David’s Head.

06 crowded rocks, Ruth hiking Marloes, Pembrokeshire

After I’ve completed my tour of the peninsula, I walk down into Martin’s Haven and pick up the coastal path. I don’t get far before I hear a loud buzzing and meet a couple of men who are strimming the grass, somewhat ineffectually it seems.

07 looking after the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, Ruth walking

And then I hear a louder rumbling, and another guy drives along the path riding on a sit-upon lawn mower. He leaves grassy carnage in his wake.

I have mixed feeling about the business of path maintenance. On the one hand, I appreciate walking without the pain of battling through nettles and thorns. On the other hand, the cropped path has a jagged and unpleasant look to it. And the dust gets up my nose and makes me sneeze.

Further along, I meet a few walkers and a couple of joggers. And a snake. It slithers across the path but disappears into the bushes on the side of the path before I have time to swing up my camera. It was large and grey-green in colour. A grass snake. I’m glad it escaped the lawn mower.

Snakes. Hmm. I begin to watch my feet more carefully.

Ahead is Musselwick Sands – a couple of linked coves. Very pretty.

08 Musselwick Sands, Ruth hiking in Wales

After dipping down towards the beach, the path continues along the top of cliffs. The rocks display a range of amazing colours – warm brown, grey, yellow – all set against a backdrop of blue sea and green foliage.

09 coloured rocks, Ruth on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, Wales

Behind a stone wall is agricultural land. Ahead my path is blocked by a group of ponies. A sign warns me not to approach the ponies, and I manage to find an alternative route through gorse bushes in order to avoid them.

10 horses on the path, Ruth hiking in Pembrokeshire, Wales

On the brow of the hill I can see a big building. As I get nearer, this turns out to be St Bride’s Castle, built as a stately home in the 19th century and now used for holiday lets. The stone wall belongs to the house.

I follow the curve of the shoreline around to St Bride’s Haven. The little cove is relatively busy, with children playing on the beach and families setting up picnics on the grass.

St Brides, Ruth walking the coastal path in Pembrokeshire

I stop here for a snack lunch of chocolate and cherries. And am approached by a male walker with a dog. He wants to know how far it is to Martin’s Haven and whether he can catch the bus from there. I give him all the information he needs, including the time of the next (and only) bus from Martin’s Haven. His dog isn’t so keen to continue the walk, and she tries to hide under my bench.

After lunch I continue along the top of the cliffs. It’s a perfect day for walking. Warm and sunny, but with a gentle breeze to keep me cool.

12 St Brides Bay, Ruth's coastal walking in Wales

I pass a field of young cows. They come trotting over to look at me. From the safety of the other side of a fence, I think they look quite sweet.

13 cows love Ruth, Wales

As I continue, they follow me around the periphery of the field. It’s not the first time I’ve acted as pied-piper to a group of cattle. I must be fitted with some sort of inner cow-magnet.

This is a beautiful part of the coast. Dramatic cliffs. Clear water. Rocky coves. I see a group of people in wet suits leaping into the water. Coasteering.

14 coasteering, Ruth walking the Pembrokeshire Coast Path

I injured my back a few days earlier and have been taking anti-inflammatory painkillers. So I was feeling a bit nervous about this walking trip. Would my back hold up? In fact, I feel very comfortable and make good progress.

When I stop to take a self-portrait, I’m amazed by how fit and healthy I look. My goodness. I could be mistaken for a professional walker!

15 self-portrait, Ruth Livingstone in Pembrokeshire

But in reality I am getting tired. The last mile of a walk is always the hardest. I think your unconscious mind begins to wind down, assuming the walk is already over and finished with. So I’m pleased to arrive at Musselwick Bay (another Musselwick!) and see Broad Haven (another Broad Haven!) across the water.

16 Broad Haven ahead, Ruth walking the coast St Bride's Bay

My destination is hidden in one of the narrow coves. Little Haven. It’s a pretty place.

 Little Haven, Ruth walking the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, Wales

I stop at the pub and have an early evening meal. Welsh Caul. It’s a thick soup with meat and vegetables – a stew really – served with bread and cheese. Perfect.


Animals encountered: two choughs, a seal, a snake, several wild ponies, a herd of cows and one reluctant dog.

Miles walked today = 12.5 miles.
Total along Wales Coast Path = 419.5 miles
Total distance around the coast: 2,026.5 miles

Route:

About Ruth Livingstone

Walker, writer, photographer, blogger, Doctor, woman, etc.
This entry was posted in 13 Pembrokeshire and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to 198 Marloes to Little Haven

  1. The clarity and light in your photos compare well with my scenery as I get nearer the Med on my walk down the Canal du Midi, but I suspect it’s a lot warmer here. It is really too hot for comfortable walking, but the ambience, the food, and the pleasure of chatting withe French in their language are all worthwhile compensations. You’ve still got some super Welsh coast to come. I’m looking forward to that.

  2. Hi Conrad. The weather in Wales was superb – clear light and sunshine, but a cool breeze. Been following your Canal du Midi walk with admiration.

  3. Marie Keates says:

    What a lovely day for your walk. There haven’t been too many of those this year. I’d have avoided the ponies too and the snake 🙂

  4. Di iles says:

    Looks a beautiful walk Ruth, I’ll be doing that next week, but always been slightly nervous of this one as it’s got horrific history. Hard to believe such terrible thing happened in such a beautiful place! A married walking couple were murdered on the cliff path back in the 80’s, my own parents were walking there shortly before. Very interesting how they caught him though. Apologies for gruesome history Ruth.

    • An awful crime. I walked this section without knowing about it, but later I read up on it for the book I’m writing about walking the coast. It’s the only murder on a coastal path I could find. Anyway, as I’m sure you know, the murderer is in jail with no prospect of release.

I welcome your views

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s