Present: Andrew (organiser), Kate, Keyna, Shaun, Rhoda, Sarah, Bob, Maggie, Simon P

We arrived in Marloes on a clear evening, thankful that the rain which plagued most of August had retreated. However, the campsite was unfortunately suffering the effects of yes, being rained on for most of August. “You see, I bring you to all the best places,” remarked Andrew as we left the cars in the village, squelched across the waterlogged field and managed to find a puddle-free space to put up the tents. Four of the group were joining us on Saturday, and the rest squashed into Rhoda’s porch for a beer or two before bed.

There was, as usual, some debate about the start time for Saturday’s walk. Simon’s request for 9am and Rhoda’s suggestion of 10am made us decree a compromise of 9.30 – although it was nearer 10 by the time we set out from the campsite to walk to the coastal path. We turned left, and made our way around the Marloes peninsula with its views of Skomer Island (and a couple of seals) from the end. The path itself wasn’t as rugged as some coastal stretches and we made good time to cut across to Dale for a visit to the pub and an optional ice cream. The group then split: Rhoda and Kate walked back to the campsite while Andrew, Simon and Sarah went down to the southernmost point of the peninsula at St Ann’s Head, and then back across the disused airfield, making their walk 16 miles in total and in the shape of a rather lopsided figure eight.

Meanwhile, Keyna and Shaun had arrived at the campsite and set off on a bike ride up to St David’s and beyond. It was between St David’s and Fishguard when Keyna’s bike basically fell apart – it was fortunate for her that Rhoda was almost back in Marloes and able to embark on a rescue mission. She eventually located Keyna sheltering in a coal shed.

As the day went on, the weather started to look more ominous, and by the evening the wind had picked up and squalls of rain kept passing over the campsite. Bob and Maggie didn’t look too impressed when they arrived; apparently it had been sunny in Newbury. Despite the conditions, we cooked at the site (Sarah getting her barbecue going through sheer bloody-mindedness) and then retreated to the pub as the rain got worse. It was a relatively quiet evening, and not just because Maggie had lost her voice.

Saturday’s walkers.

Encountered on the coast path…

Bob goes climbing.

Sunday dawned clearer, although the field was now making a bid for full quagmire status. Andrew, Simon, Keyna, Shaun and Sarah drove to Broad Haven and walked back to the campsite from there, a 10-mile stretch of coastal path. Rhoda, Bob and Maggie went on a boat trip walk around Skomer Island, which happened to involve a boat ride to get there. In the evening we ate in the pub, which had a surprising variety of exotic fish (and, bizarrely, frog’s legs) on the menu, and admired some of the accidental sunburn from the weekend – or perhaps it was wind burn. Some people then chose to drive home rather than camp for another night.

Those that remained on Monday morning – Rhoda, Bob, Maggie and Sarah – drove to nearby St Ishmael’s and walked for a couple of hours, discovering a small hidden church and the remnants of old fortifications along the coast. After a picnic in the grounds of the church, trying to finish off the vast amount of food Bob had brought for the weekend, we set off for home. It was noticeable that when we crossed the Severn Bridge, the cloud that we’d been under for most of the weekend gave way to clear blue skies, practically in a straight line following the border. Thanks, Wales!

Sarah Davies

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