Fri 2 Oct: St David’s to New Quay, via Fishguard and Cardigan
I must explain why I favour The Coach House as THE place to stay for B&B in St David’s. As discovered last year, with Dave, Jeremy and Marylou, before setting off on the St David’s to Lowestoft ride, we discovered the most impressive breakfast menu by far. And it’s still just as good. Fancy some Welsh cockles & lava bread with eggs & bacon? Porage with caramelised banana? Perfectly poached eggs? Thank you Steve Lawton for a good night’s rest, great breakfast and the very welcome packed lunch (you’ve got serious competition here Wendy!).
Thankfully, the first few miles was downhill after breakfast, to the stunning setting of the St David’s Lifeboat House(s) at St Justinian’s, the rugged, most westerly part of Wales, overlooking the treacherous waters of Ramsey Sound and the island of Ramsay.
Great to meet up with Dai John (Cox’n) and Mike (mechanic) again. A lot has happened in the last 16 months. The current (2nd) boat house is still fully operational, but due to be decommissioned and sold off when the new (3rd) boat house is ready. I arrived in time to witness (and film) a significant moment, as the jack-up barge had just been re-floated and was about to be towed away. It’s four huge legs had been perched on the rocks whilst the new slipway was constructed beneath its platform. Mega boys’ toys. Sorry girls. Also some lovely pink thrift flowers quivering in the gentle sea breeze.
Meanwhile, back on the road. First 21 miles of moderately undulating roads to Fishguard. Alas, I had been forewarned that the Fishguard lifeboat & some of the crew would not be on-site to meet me. Their Trent Class all-weather boat is normally moored in Goodwick harbour, not in a boathouse, so needs to go elsewhere for the occasional bottom scrub. Apparently, Pwllheli in North Wales is the place to go for such essential attention. However, this did not deter three other hardy volunteers & senior ex-crew members from welcoming me with hot tea & much Lifeboat banter, plus a very interesting tour of the station and it’s other boat, another good old D-Class Inshore. Thanks Richard, Keith, and Dave ‘Doc’ Davies. Much appreciated.
Another 22miles to next stop at Cardigan. Well, not exactly. Cardigan Lifeboat Station is at least another couple of miles down river, at Poppit Sands. Thanks Raymond for being there to sign my chart. Another beautiful location for further exploration at a later date. Back up-river through Cardigan and onwards to New Quay, just 24 more miles to go. Note: As opposed to Newquay, Cornwall, today’s Welsh seaside town name has two separate words, New Quay or Cai Newydd. Beginning to notice the sudden drop in temperature when the late afternoon sun is hidden behind trees or tall hedgerows. Will soon need another base layer.
Good progress, managed to find a room with a New Quay harbour view at the Penwig, a really good inn with fine ale and excellent food plus a fascinating history of its association with Dylan Thomas, who frequented their bar during his Under Milk Wood writing period. Now there’s inspiration for you. Or me, is it?