Although I miss New Zealand for a whole bunch of reasons, I can’t complain about the lack of natural beauty in my immediate surroundings. As it turns out, my husband was raised within the boundaries of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park and, well, it’s bloody gorgeous out here! I always knew I had married a landscape snob but it’s only recently that I’ve truly come to understand why he has such a strong attachment to this part of Wales.
Let me share a few of my favourite places with you, if only to encourage visitors ASAP!! We’ll start with Cwm-yr-Eglwys (pardon the Welsh!), a nice little beach about a mile’s walk from our house. You can see Morgan and me by the only bit of the church remaining after a storm washed away the rest in the early 1850s.
Something we really missed when we were in New Zealand were old buildings. I don’t know why we love weathered stone so much but we do. So we’re visiting plenty of castles and other historical buildings. This one is called Cilgerran Castle which was inhabited in the 13th century or thereabouts. We loved wandering around the grounds which are just tucked away in a tiny village outside of Cardigan.
If you’re not into castles, there’s an Iron Age fort down the road called Castell Henllys (don’t be fooled by this apparently innocuous spelling — the double ‘ll’ in Welsh is actually a “chlah” type noise made by curving the tongue up towards the roof of the mouth while simultaneously breathing and spitting in the back of your throat… yummy!). Check out these round houses… one can’t help but wonder how on earth humanity survived through the cold winters in these sorts of dwellings. I definitely would have frozen to death.
We had a great day out in December in St. Davids, where you can see one of my favourite cathedrals of all time. Why? Because it feels like a mini-cathedral to me. It’s got all the stained glass windows and the high ceilings of your normal gigantic cathedrals but it still retains a cozy, intimate feel inside somehow. Not too big and not too small if you catch my drift.
Now onto the natural beauty … to the Coast Path everyone!
The Pembrokeshire Coast Path is about 186 miles long and offers spectacular coastal views. Plenty of rugged cliffs and pristine water. If you’re lucky you can spot some seals or maybe even some dolphins, and there’s plenty of bird life as well. We’re yet to visit some of the offshore islands, most of which are nature reserves like the ones in New Zealand. Aled took us to the Lifeboat (RNLI) Station at St. Justinians which is also where you can catch a boat to Ramsey Island.
I haven’t yet been to a stretch of the Coast Path that I didn’t like, but there are some extra special views, such as here at Aber Mawr…
…which also happens to be Aled’s favourite surf beach of all time. Yes, my husband was surfing in March. Don’t worry, thanks to the Gulf Stream the water was still a balmy 10C!!
You may be wondering how on earth we’ve taken all these pictures with such blue skies in the background. We are supposedly in one of the rainiest countries ever (right before Scotland). Don’t get me wrong, there have been rainy and cloudy days here in Wales… but there have also been plenty of sunny ones so we’ve just done our best to get out on the nice ones. For us a big difference compared with Wellington is the lack of consistent, strong wind here. Look how still it was on Easter day…
That’s me and Morgy on the Dinas Head walk. It was so pleasantly calm. And warm. This is what Dinas Head (or Dinas Island as it’s also known… even though it’s not an island… but never mind!) looks like from on top of Dinas Mountain:
Again this blogging is exhausting me and there are so many beautiful spots in North Pembs that I just can’t fit them all in this post. I will end with a warm and fuzzy photo from the springtime in Wales.
Aren’t they just delicious!??! Whoops I meant gorgeous!