Everest Trek Get Together No 11

The latest in our bi-annual Pembrokeshire-get-togethers-with-a-walk.

Friday

The usual Paddington rendezvous with Hazel and Charles then out on an earlier than usual GWR train service to Newport where Dave was waiting for us. Two hours later, we drew up outside Mayhem. G&T in the new summer house (aka Winterfell) segued into refills with curry dinner. Uh oh.

No onward journey to the caravan – spare beds were available and the Saturday walk was on the southern section of the coast path – made for a boozy evening and a late night, finished off with a slice of Charles’ home made and aptly-named Decadent Chocolate and Banana Pie (as seen on David Rocco’s Dolce India).

Saturday

…. dawned grey and wet, as the tail ends of Hurricanes Lee and Maria made their way across the UK. Still, “it’s never to wet to walk”, so Dave drove us over to Freshwater East and the start of a new section of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path: Freshwater East Beach to Manorbier (and back).

Pembroke Coast Path, towards Manorbier
Pembroke Coast Path, towards Manorbier

The rain eased off for our outward walk … returning just as the church came into sight. So we dripped into the Beach Break Tea Rooms (and Gift Shop).

Restored by an excellent round of Welsh Caul / Haddock Chowder / Baked Potato followed by cups of tea / coffee / hot chocolate, we headed back out again under still cloudy skies – but thankfully the rain held off for the whole of our walk back to Freshwater East and its magnificent beach. Windy though.

Back at Freshwater East Beach
Back at Freshwater East Beach

The Freshwater East cafe / bar didn’t appeal, but The Cake Shop on Pembroke’s Main Street proved an excellent alternative. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a vast array of home made cakes and biscuits (their Facebook photos don’t lie!) …. extremely hard to choose what to have! After a lot of deliberating, (Christmas Fruit) Cake won out (and the rain resumed).

Back at Minwear Wood I had a nap while the others chatted over a glass or two of Prosecco. Then dinner – super tasty roast veg and ginger soup made by Steffi accompanied by Cardigan Bakery bread and a selection of Caws Cenarth Cheeses.

Early to bed. Despite the nap.

Sunday

No rain … well, not until we’d breakfasted and started to think about a stroll in the woods.

Plan B (really, Plan A!) was put into action: A tour round the Aisles of Aldi. On the shopping list for this visitation, this week’s special offer electric log stove to go into the Not-Just-Summer House (Steffi) and wine (everyone else). Some Christmas treats also made it into my basket; it’s never the wrong time of year for Christmas Cake and / or Stollen in my book.

The rain had clearly settled in for the day so once back at base we lent our selves to putting the stove together and helping Maurice and Charles prepare our Mexican lunch extravaganza. With a small glass of wine to set the mood and to help tidy up the left over nachos….

A leisurely lunch, lingering until 2.30pm before setting off on the journey home. “Dave’s Taxi” to Newport, GWR to Paddington and then negotiating the weekend engineering works on the tube.

Home by 8pm.

Everest Trek Get Together No 10

The Tenth Everest Trek Get Together snuck up on me…. earlier than usual, due to April / May’s Nepal trek which Steffi is coming on too.

Still, the usual routine ensured the weekend in Pembrokeshire went smoothly as usual – from the Friday rendezvous with Dave at Newport and curry extravaganza at Mayhem, to walking another section of the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path on Saturday and culminating with a Slap Up Sunday Lunch courtesy of Maurice and Marie on Sunday (and a visit to the aisles of Aldi en route). In fact, the main novelty was Russell’s presence.

Very very windy and muddy on Saturday, but thankfully the rain held off – which it hadn’t done last weekend when Steffi recce’d the route. A lovely bus driver for the Puffin Shuttle from Newgale to Marloes where we picked up the onwards bus to Dale for the walk around St Anns Head (aka Dale to Martin’s Haven and cutting back across the narrow peninsula to Dale). Lots of views of the tankers waiting to get into Milford Haven, and the Irish Ferry lurching its way towards Pembroke Dock. Plus Henry VII’s 1485 landing site.

Pembrokeshire Coast Path signage

Sandwich lunch back at Dale then a short hop on the bus to Marloes and back to Broad Haven, familiar faces at the wheels. Sensations crisps on special at the Londis compensated for the disappointing cake options at the Ocean Cafe, and another 7 miles brought us to sunset on Newgale Beach, and a nicely boozy evening back at the caravan.

Sunset over St Brides Bay, from path between Broad Haven and Newgale

The heavy rain in the evening and overnight didn’t deter Steffi, Dave and I from heading out on Sunday morning, leaning into the wind all the way to the northern end of Newgale beach and up onto the clifftops – until the wind whipped my hat from my head. Happily it was snagged on a nearby bramble patch. Back to base for a second breakfast with Hazel and Russell and leisurely packing up.

Haverfordwest Aldi supplied a few more bottles of wine for Sunday lunch – another feast all round. Not surprisingly, I slept for the drive back to Newport where we caught a quiet train back to London.

Sunday Lunch

Photos on Flickr: Pembrokeshire, March 2017.

Everest Trek Get Together No 9

A larger than usual contingent at the June 2016 Get Together as we were joined by Jim (who’s coming to Ladakh) and Charles (who did April’s Solu Khumbu trek with me and Steffi).

But otherwise “the usual” – aside from it being the weekend after Brexit.

Friday: Train to Newport for our onward “connection” to Newgale via Mayhem and curries.

Saturday: Pembrokeshire Coastal Path from Newgale to St David’s, with late elevenses in Solva and an even later lunch in the cathedral refectory before returning to Solva for a pint, halftime in the Wales v Northern Ireland game in Euro 2016 and the bus back to Newgale.

Hazel, Jim, Dave, Steffi and Charles, St David's Cathedral

The gents stopped off at The Duke of Edinburgh to catch the end of the football, leaving Steffi, Hazel and I ample time for a glass of wine by way of aperitif to a feast of antipasti, charcuterie and cheese.

Rain and cloud gave way to sun (and sunburn).

Sunday: Leisurely morning at the caravan (rain stopped play as far as a stroll on the beach went), then back to Minwear Wood for another fine Sunday lunch cooked up by Maurice.

Large G&Ts beforehand meant the three in the backseat snoozed our way through the drive back to Newport – but an adrenalin kick was provided by the need to run for the train…. success! And no sign of the Glastonbury crowds we thought might explain the absence of seat reservations.

Photos on Flickr: Pembrokeshire, June 2016.

Everest Trek Get Together No 8

Another “lucky Welsh weather” weekend in Pembrokeshire with Steffi, Dave and Hazel.

Friday ran according to the familiar pattern of train to Newport, rendezvous with Dave, Indian curries at Steffi’s then onwards to the caravan.

Saturday: a beautiful sunny start to our day of walking the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path around St Brides Bay from Marloes to Newgale with lunch half way along at The Swan Inn in Little Haven before a cloudier and hillier stretch back to Newgale arriving in time to watch most of South Africa vs Wales at The Duke (for Dave, primarily), then back to the caravan for cheese on toast and red wine.

Newgale beach sign

On Sunday a fine lunch prepared by Maurice, preceded by the usual tour d’Aldi and an unusual Canary Islands G&T, and then a very, very, long journey back on a train packed with rugby fans returning from Cardiff. You can’t win them all.

Everest Trek Get Together No 7

Another fab weekend in Pembrokeshire, enjoying better weather than London – and making the long awaited visit to the legendary Mrs Weston’s Tea Shop!

On Friday, Hazel and I followed our usual routine for the our journey west – taking the mid-afternoon train to Newport where we rendezvoused with Dave for the drive on to Steffi’s.

As is traditional, we prepared for Saturday’s stroll along the Pembroke Coast Path with a Friday night feast of Steffi-curries – and a snifter of whiskey to see us on our way to Newgale for a night in the ‘van. We slept well.

Saturday dawned sunny, and after a leisurely breakfast we set off, Dave at the wheel, destination: the National Trust car park at Stackpole Quay for a circular(ish) walk, combining the Pembroke Coast Path with the National Trust Stackpole Estate.

From Stackpole Quay we walked along the coastal path to Barafundle‘s beautiful beach and flower-filled woods, onwards to Stackpole Head for the nesting seabirds, rock windows and the eponymous stacks masquerading as wizard hats and seals. Next up Broadhaven South – another expanse of golden sands – although by now the sun had given way to sea mist, making for pleasant walking but gloomy-looking photos.

Pembroke Coast Path: Stackpole Loop - Barafundle Bay
Barafundle Bay

Crossing the Castlemartin firing range we arrived at the tiny chapel of St Govan’s, and then looped back towards Broadhaven turning off into the sand dunes and overgrowth to make our way to Bosherston Lakes. Lilies galore; people too. A lone swan gliding through the lily beds.

Pembroke Coast Path: Stackpole Loop - Bosherton Lakes - Lilies and Swan
Bosherton Lakes – Lilies and Swan

Emerging into the NT Car Park at Bosherston, we homed in on the holy grail of Mrs Weston’s Tea Shop, AKA (if all you have to go on are the signs) Ye Olde Worlde Cafe. If I tell you that panini and filter coffee are considered new-fangled additions to the menu, you’ll appreciate that the name is apt. Proper big tea pot of tea, with a large ceramic jug of hot water for topping up (itself topped up with alacrity), “two beans and cheese on toast” came just as hoped – not beans with a sprinkling of grated cheddar, but 1xbeans on toast and 1xcheese on toast. Plus an array of traditional condiments: salad cream, Branston pickle, English mustard. TAY-STEE.

Pembroke Coast Path: Stackpole Loop - Menu at Mrs Weston's, Bosherton
Mrs Weston’s Menu

We completed our loop back to Stackpole Quay across and alongside Bosherston Lakes and the Stackpole Deer Park, which we felt justified another cup of tea / coffee and giant slices of cake / scones at the Boathouse Tea Room before a final stroll to Stackpole’s stony beach for fossil fossicking.

Pembroke Coast Path: Stackpole Loop - Fossils
Fossils

Back at Newgale, we indulged in Mohitos and many rounds of Uno. As night fell on the longest day, the skies turned pink before giving way to a bright crescent moon, planets and stars.

The Longest Day comes to a close, Newgale
The Longest Day comes to a close, Newgale

Sunday – the traditions continued: a stroll along Newgale beach, heading south along the cliff path this time, before driving back to Steffi’s for one of Maurice’s Marvellous Sunday lunches. Hazel and I succumbed to the post-prandial snooze for most of the drive back to Newport as a result. Another tradition – sorry Dave!

Strolling back to Newgale
Newgale