Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Day 9: Shore leave: St David's to Solva

The Solva coast, best experienced on foot.  (c) National Trust/Joe Cornish
Last night's arrival at Solva was a day early, thanks to the extended voyage on Saturday. As we had a new passenger to pick up tomorrow, this meant that we had a day's shore leave today.  The question was, which bit of the Pembrokeshire coast to walk?  South to Newgale or north to St David's?

This conumdrum was resolved by Tony, Solva's friendly harbourmaster as we were paying him for the mooring.  "Get in the van, boys, I'll run you up to St David's."  It seems that when the tide's out, there's little going on down in the harbour, so Tony does a spot of gardening on the side.

We called in at the NT shop at the city centre and had a chat with Cath, the cheerful manager, who was doing what she usually's doing when I see her: chatting to visitors about things to see and do.  After talking about our trip and the mysterious arrival of a flock of red kites in the area (feeding on puffin chicks?) the conversation moved on to Gregory Peck, a tame seagull that has his own twitter account.  This was the signal we needed to get going on our walk back to Solva.

Experiencing the coast whilst sailing has been a bit like moving along an unrolling scroll.  An endlessly moving view, continually revealing itself ahead of you and retreating behind you.  It may be heresy to suggest it in this blog, but this perspective doesn't always show off our coast at its best. To really appreciate our spectacular coast at its most beatiful, you have to get onto it and walk it.

And the coast between Porth Clais - with its small fleet of fishing boats snuggling behind the protective arm of harbour wall - and Solva, must be amongst the most beatiful anywhere.  A sucession of spectacular wildflower-speckled cliffs and sandy bays of clear waters tinted a turquoise of tropical intensity.
Capercaillie on her mooring at Solva
There was nothing tropical in its temperature when I leapt off the boat back in Solva harbour. A spirited swim around the boat was enough to cool me off after the walk in the warm sunshine.  Writing on the boat, as John went in search of a mobile signal, I listened to the early-evening sounds of the harbour. Little motor boats came and went, children played, youths shouted and the Celtic longboat rowing teams pulled past, chatting cheerfully as they rowed.  The other essential part of harbour life at Solva - the Harbour Inn and (yet another) Ship Inn - beckoned, and we enjoyed a meal and pint to celebrate the end of our shore leave.

Go to Day 10

No comments:

Post a Comment