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.

Snowdonia

Back from three days in Snowdonia, with Catherine and Hazel.

Thursday

An easy drive from Harpenden (M1 – M6 / M6 Toll – M56 – A55 – A5 – B4366 – old straight road – track) meant we reached Beudy Menai – our self catering cottage, a few miles outside Caernarfon – in just over 4 hours. Plenty of time for a glass of wine and some crisps to help us settle in….

Beudy Menai: Catherine at the cottage (on the left)

Friday

Better weather than anticipated, and just right for climbing Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa, 1085 m / 3560 ft).

The car park at Pen-y-Pass being full by 11am meant a slight deviation from the plan was required, but handily there were still plenty of spaces at the A498 roadside parking 5 mins drive downhill, and a 1.5km stone paved path brought us up through sheep grazing and back to Pen-y-Pass.

Miners’ Track up; Pyg Track down. Both routes sheltered from the winds coming inland from the Irish Sea. The cloud cleared just as we got to the summit ridge (Bwlch Glas).

Plenty of time at the top to take windswept photos at the trig point, and to admire the views from Hafod Eryri as we ate our sandwiches and wrote postcards.

MAGIC.

Snowdon: Summit (1085 m / 3560 ft)

Me, Hazel and Catherine at the Snowdon Summit trig point (1085 m / 3560 ft)

Snowdon: Ascent via the Miners' Track - the view north from Bwlch Glas

Back at base by 7pm. Shower, drinks, dinner, bed.

Saturday

Rain, and plenty of it. A leisurely morning then in to Caernarfon to visit the castle (excellent) and to stroll around town, lunching at the very friendly and efficient Wal.

Caernarfon Castle and the River Seiont

A drive down to Pwllheli and along the coast to Criccieth and Porthmadog, then back through the Snowdonia National Park (Parc Cenedlaethol Eryri) via Beddgelert and Llyn Cwellyn, with rivers running high and water cascading down the hillsides and across the road (A498 and A4085). Lots of low cloud and rain. No views.

Late dinner at the popular Gardd Fon waterfront pub / bistro in Y Felinheli.

Sunday

Up and out by 9.30am, retracing the roads back to Harpenden through sunshine and showers. Back at the Barbican by 2.30pm.

Photos

Snowdonia, July 2016 on Flickr.

Resources

Weather

Maps & Planning

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.