Thurs 1 Oct: Angle to St David’s, via Little & Broad Haven
The spectacular full ‘super’ moon of the last couple of days brings with it the super-high/low tides. So today’s planned early visit to Angle Lifeboat Station must (as explained in great detail in the pub last night) wait until after 10 a.m. This is because the access road from the village includes part of the shingle beach which, although still accessible at a normal high tide, is today under an extra metre-or-so of sea water. Unless there’s an emergency (i.e. a lifeboat ‘shout’, which would place the importance of my visit in the ‘GET OUT OF THE ******* WAY’ category), there’s no way Lewis (Cox’n) will allow the inside of his LandRover to get wet by wading through the surf.
Having waited for the allotted time, I gingerly pedalled through the seaweed & shingle to the boathouse. Another very impressive, modern lifeboat station. Thanks again Lew and Richard (mechanic). Such a different perspective from Angle, with a huge deep sea harbour and all it’s goings-on under the watchful eye of the RNLI.
One of the curious crew’s parting questions for me as I saddled-up for departure was “how many punctures have you had on this trip?” My fate-tempting, honest reply was “None yet!”
Less than 5 minutes after departure, leaving the village of Angle, my rear tyre was flat. Bike quickly unloaded, flipped upside down onto bars & saddle, rear wheel off, tyre un-beaded, tube out, cause discovered (not the thin rusty nail it first appeared to be, but a sharp, long hawthorn spike) and removed, new tube fitted (patch the old tube later), all re-assembled and inflated.
Ten minutes later, at the top of the climb from the village, all was not right. Rear tyre very soft again. Stop. Need a drink. Water bottles? S**t! Left at the scene of puncture No.1, at the bottom of the hill. Repeat most of above procedure, no puncture found in new tube. Faulty valve? Yes. Repair first punctured tube & re-fit. Another 15 mins later, all ok. Freewheel down hill, pick up bottles. Drink one. Cycle back up hill and this time, keep going.
My chain-oiled hands remained black much longer than my mood. Natural though it may seem for me, it’s hard to stay as grumpy as I was on such a glorious day, making great headway once more through beautiful, peaceful Pembrokeshire. The Cornish-style white-knuckle 25% descent into Little Haven was a pleasing mix of fear and fun.
Thank you Andy ( L&B Haven LOM) for the hand-washing facilities and welcome coffee. Andy’s is a typical beach access Inshore D-class lifeboat, the workhorse of the RNLI, responsible for hundreds of lives saved around the coast every year. As I huff&puff up the opposite 25% climb out of Little Haven, a moment’s pause to remember why we need these amazing volunteers who, at the drop of a hat (or bleep of a pager), will be there for you when you suddenly realise you’ve misjudged the power of the sea.
A quick lunch stop at Broad Haven, where I met the very kind Mr Harry Payne. Thanks for the spontaneous RNLI donation Harry. Sorry I didn’t share my lunch with your very attentive, lean looking greyhound.
A few more old favourite coastal hills (now seen as killer climbs) through Haroldston, Nolton, Newgale, Druidston and Solva. I re-name this part of Wales as Ffordd Dipper Mawr, or for the non Welsh speakers, Roller Coaster Way).
Arrived in St David’s, Britain’s smallest Cathedral City, not long before sunset, just in time to check in to the Coach House, shower & change and down to The Bishop’s for food, beer (Felinfoel Double Dragon on tap!), and the second half of the rugby. Come on Wales!