Everest Trek Get Together No 5

Just back from a weekend in West Wales for the fifth biannual Everest Trek Reunion (photos on Flickr). A fab weekend with Hazel, Steffi, Dave and Jake featuring walking, eating and drinking and a stunningly sunny Saturday. I have returned with very sunburned arms.

Our usual Friday rendezvous routine worked smoothly – Hazel and I met at Paddington for the 3.45pm train to Swansea (4 bottles of wine made for a heavy daypack), Dave met us at Newport and we headed West coping with rain clouds and congestion (car crash x2 on the east bound carriageway) en route – but BBC Weather promised buckets of sunshine on Saturday.

Steffi’s Friday night curries were as much appreciated as ever although alcohol consumption was abstemious compared to last October. Jake arrived at 9.30pm and it was almost midnight before we settled into Steffi’s caravan. Too dark to see the changes to Newgale Beach wrought by the winter storms – the sand scoured down to reveal the remains of a petrified forest and the beach strewn with stones and rocks.

After tea and toast early on Saturday morning Jake-the-taxi drove us to St Davids (Tyddewi) where we caught the Strumble Shuttle Coastal Bus Service on to Porthgain, the Steffi plan being to pick up where we’d left off last time and to continue on along the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path (Llwybr Arfordir Sir Benfro) to St Davids. To make a full day of it, Steffi suggested taking in the whole headland between Whitesands Bay (Traeth Porth Mawr) and Caerfai Bay – a stretch we’d covered in our first reunion two years ago but in the opposite direction this time. And we promised Hazel that we wouldn’t be walking the final stretch from Solva to the ‘van.

Heading off after lunch on St Davids Head
Heading off after lunch on St Davids Head

A smashing day, including unexpected seal sightings (and possible pink parrot one too), beautiful flowers (bluebells, foxgloves and orchids, lilac Thrift, Sea Campion and Red Campion), the oft-mentioned Blue Lagoon at Abereiddy (Abereiddi), a picnic lunch on St Davids Head (Penmaen Dewi) overlooking Whitesands Bay, tourists piling onto the boats at St Justinans / St Davids RNLI Lifeboat Station to cross the sound to Ramsey Island (Ynys Dewi), and the slightly “scenic” route to the Caerfai car park to finish off with …

After an overcast start, the skies had cleared to a cloudless blue and the gorgeous afternoon light lasted just long enough to entice us to dine al fresco at The Harbour Inn in Solva (Solfach). Then back to the caravan to say farewell to Jake and a supper of Deer Flask tea and Dave’s fruit cake, white wine and cheese….

Sunday started slowly, with stiff joints and sore feet for some after yesterday’s 20 mile marathon. After a leisurely breakfast we managed the short stroll to the beach and back before Dave took us back to Martletwy for one of Maurice’s marvellous Sunday lunches.

Sunday lunch: toad in the hole never fails to please
Sunday lunch: toad in the hole never fails to please

Everest Trek Get Together No 4

Another smashing weekend walking, eating and drinking in West Wales with Hazel, Steffi and Dave.

Steffi welcomed us with a fine array of curries on Friday evening (accompanied by a glass or two – or more – of port) before Dave ferried us onwards to Newgale Beach.

On Saturday, under grey skies, we covered the portion of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path from Strumble Head to Porthgain, which provided plenty of seal sightings, afternoon tea with homemade cake at Melin Tregwynt Woollen Mill and a fine dinner at the end courtesy of the Sloop Inn.

Sunday started with a stroll along the beach and then back to Martletwy where we tucked into the usual slap up Sunday lunch provided by Maurice.

The train journey back from Newport was a bit painful – held up near the Severn Bridge station because the train rolled back (or some such) and we were sat near a quartet of increasingly merry football fans… BUT worth it for the weekend of seals, walking and great company.

Photos on Flickr, with a few highlights here:

Seal mum and pup
Seal mum and pup

Castlemorris characters
Castlemorris characters

Sunday lunch at Steffi's
Sunday lunch at Steffi’s

Everest Trek Get Together No 3

Another lovely weekend of walking, wine and fab food in great company, organised by Steffi (photos by me).

Friday: the now-familiar rendezvous with Dave at Newport train station, and home cooked curry bonanza chez Wood, and the final stretch of Dave driving to Newgale and the coast of far west Wales. Mike reprised his role as Jake’s stand-in.

Saturday: Dave drove us over the Preseli Hills to Newport (Pembrokeshire), where we parked at The Parrog and, armed with coffee from Morawelon cafe-bar-restaurant (we resisted the cake temptation), we caught the Poppit Rocket coast bus to Poppit Sands. Under blue skies, we walked along back from Poppit Sands to Newport along the Pembrokeshire Coast Path / Llwybr Arfordir Sir Benfro. The tough stretch coincided with a particularly brisk onshore ‘breeze’ – but rather that than offshore, given the sheer drops on our right – and we strolled the final section, around Newport Bay, along the Nevern estuary and back through woodland to Newport, in beautiful evening light. After a refreshing pint, we dined sumptuously at the lovely Golden Lion pub – looking rather underdressed in the restaurant but without comment.

Sunday: A stroll on Newgale Beach, followed by Maurice’s Sunday lunch feast. No more needs to be said!

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Everest Trek Reunion Weekend No 2

Another lovely weekend in Pembrokeshire, courtesy of Steffi again.

Friday afternoon train to Newport, rendezvous with Dave who drove us on to Steffi and Morris’s (Maurice’s?) for another slap up dinner (and a few bottles of red wine). Jake arrived from Bristol and we headed over to Newgale for a night in the ‘van.

Saturday (photos): Puffin Shuttle Coastal Bus to Marloes, then a stroll back along the Pembrokeshire Coast Path to Newgale. After a grey start, we spent most of the day walking under glorious blue skies, and it was warm enough to sit outside for our fab pub lunch at the The Castle in Little Haven.

Afternoon light, Newgale Beach

Beautiful late afternoon light over Newgale Beach and a magical sunset. Back to the ‘van for tea and cake, then cheese and wine, and au revoir to Jake.

Sunday (photos): back to Steffi’s and a stroll through Minwear Woods before a marvellous Morris Sunday lunch. Then back to the smoke….

Autumn light in Minwear Woods: Sunlit  staircase

Everest Trek Reunion Weekend No 1

Back from our Everest trek reunion weekend in Pembrokeshire, organised by Steffi (photos by me).

Saturday featured a mammoth 24+ mile walk along a section of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, making a figure of eight via St Davids, and stopping for a pint or two’s refreshment at the Ship Inn in super scenic Solva, before weaving our way back to the caravan, blessed with a beautiful sunset.

Sunday was more restful, with a stroll on the beach, and Sunday lunch courtesy of Maurice featuring Toad in the Hole with heaps of trimmings.

Then back to the smoke, courtesy of Dave the taxi and FGW from Newport.

Steffi, Hazel, Dave and me, shortly after "refreshments" at Solva, Pembrokeshire Coast Path
Steffi, Hazel, Dave and me, shortly after "refreshments" at Solva