Saturday, August 22, 2009

Now Then, About My Welsh Walkabout

I spent a glorious part of my UK time hiking the Pembrokeshire Coast Trail in southern Wales. It is the island's only national park on the coast, which I found surprising. Still, what else could beat this 190-mile trail, overlooking the St. George's and Bristol Channels, to the Celtic Sea, to the Atlantic Ocean?

Sometimes the trail wandered through coastal woods so set in an unknown time, illuminated by another world's light, that Welsh mythology seemed entirely possible.

Most times though, the trail hovered at the edge of the cliffs looking out onto the water.

Whenever there was a set of footholds or stairs leading down a cliff to a beach, the trail signs obligingly pointed it out for an arduous but worthwhile detour. What was so truly amazing about views and visits down to various beaches was the difference between high and low tides. At most beaches I know, the difference was simply several yards more or less of sand.
Not here.

This set of stairs, unusually formal for its setting, simply disappeared at a certain point during the tide. I so longed to sit there like Tiger Lily and let the sea rise to my throat.

This spectacular formation, accessible only at low tide, looked like where the world began, with a dark drill-bit heart and waves of golden rock undulating in a perfect display of centrifugal force, the most fluid, transitional movement caught in the hardest, most ancient substance.

More to come (and with apologies for the layout) . . .


  1. What a great trip. I have long wanted to take one of those British Isles hiking trips. Did you hike all 190 miles? How long did it take? May I have permission to share the rock formation photo with my students?

  2. I wish! But I had only part of a week in Wales, so I couldn't hike the whole thing, just about 15 miles of the official trail in the southern part. I probably could have done more, but I really did want to take all the routes down to the beaches that I could. Often, I ran into no one. I'd be really happy if you used my rock formation photo in your class. That was one of my favorite views, because it was simply astonishing, but I have others, including some closeups of that formation, which I've been meaning to post. Let me know what you think of those!