Porthgain and Strumble Head, Pembrokeshire

My first full day in Pembrokeshire and already I’ve decided its very Cornwall-esque, one could even call it the Cornwall of Wales. Those of you who have been reading my blog will perhaps know that Cornwall holds a dear place in my heart; and the windy roads, the smell of bracken mixed with sea-salt and the feel of warm cliff-rock beneath my fingertips really awoke a longing to return to Cornwall. Someday maybe, but for now Pembrokeshire will have to do.

We started our day with a lazy walk around the nearby Porthgain (means fair port in Welsh; Porth is actually the same in both Cornish and Welsh). Now a tiny seaside village, Porthgain was once a busy harbour, thriving off of various industries such as slate and brick-making. Nowadays though, the air is thick with the smell of fish and chips and the old brick-making factory is now a restaurant for hungry tourists.

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These brick hoppers, disused and weathered, are now Scheduled Ancient Monuments
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Old quarry-works lie abandoned along the cliff tops

After exploring the cliffs, we headed onwards, up the coast, to Strumble Head. Fortunately, the cloud had lifted and we were greeted with the sight of beautiful clear-blue ocean. While taking this all in, I suddenly realised this was the first time that I had been seeing the sea since February, having been living in a land-locked country for so long, and for someone who’s spent their life on both the English and the Welsh coast, that’s a pretty weird thought.

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Strumble Lighthouse was one of the last to be built in the UK

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Strumble Head was lovely, though the lighthouse itself is out of bounds. A grey seal took one look at us and darted away and up the shoreline before I could even get my camera out. We did see plenty of jellyfish though our binoculars; large blooms of them, drifting with the tide. As the oceans around Britain heat up, jellyfish are becoming increasingly common. Unfortunate for me, as I hate jellyfish!

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As beautiful as it looks though, the coast is treacherous. A list of ship wrecks occupies a space in one of the lookouts, though I did find out a curious bit of history detailing how this stretch of coastline saw the last invasion of Britain. In 1797, revolutionary French forces, hoping to stir up a revolt among the Welsh, landed at Fishguard. Lasting two days, the invaders were soundly beaten when local Welsh militias arrived and the French fleet was wrecked upon the rocks of Strumble Head.

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Following this, we drove a bit further inwards and then walked to the top of Garn Fawr, a hill that once served as the site of an old Iron Age fort. The view from the summit stretched all the way down to St David’s Head and up the length of Cardigan Bay.

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The warm air rises, carrying faint cloud over the summit of Garn Fawr
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Pembrokeshire

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5 Comments

  1. So nice to see you back blogging. I used to vacation at my step grandparents house at Starling Park (Pop was head of the hospital there then) in Carmarthenshire when I was young. Many beautiful places there. I was sent to the local shop with a shopping list in Welsh as they spoke no English.

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