Wed 30 Sep: Llanelli to Angle, via Burry Port & Tenby
With a generous top-up of Scott’s Porage Oats and deluxe packed lunch carefully squeezed into left pannier, fond farewells (thanks again Wendy & Steve) and a quick dash via Felinfoel (brewery famous for first ever canned beer, but draught Double Dragon still preferred), down my Grandpa’s old railway line (now a cycle path), onto the finest few miles of dedicated cycle path in the country. The Llanelli to Burry Port stretch of the Millennium Coastal Path, with its wide, smooth, red surface, is fast, safe and very scenic. No time today for nostalgic lingering over the historic past (the site of Llanelli Scarlets’ original Stradey Park, the docks and masses of long gone industrial activity).
Arrived Burry Port ILB Station, 6.2 miles in 20mins. What a welcome! Thanks Roger (LOM) for alerting so many volunteer crew. Five of them turned up! Many thanks to Andrew P, Byron W, Angharad W, Mal O’C and Chris(Eddie)E, for the cheery welcome & photo-shoot!
The next few miles through Pembrey was the last flat stretch for some time. The climb from Kidwelly was the first of many familiar (but not previously cycled) hills to come, over the next 44m to Tenby. Still not sure which is most painful – the long, ‘gentle’ climb that seems to last all morning, or the repeated short, very steep ups & downs that stretch the chain and melt the brake-blocks. Both types were on today’s route.
The ‘new’ (2006?) Tenby All-Weather Lifeboat house really is a stunner.
It dwarfs the old boathouse, now converted to a private dwelling (as seen on Grand Designs). Thank you Steve (mech) and Phil (Cox’n) for the coffee & chat, plus good route advice to the next destination.
From Tenby, another 21m via Pembroke and on to Angle ALB Station, right at the end of a peninsula that I’d never previously explored. After a brief busy spell of a few dozen Pembroke Dock workers’ cars going the other way at the end of a working day, all became very, very quiet. This southern Pembs peninsula is the area that Claire’s Whitta ancestors originated. Another beautiful, atmospheric area but almost eerily quiet. A close inspection on an OS map or Google Earth soon reveals why it may not have become a major tourist destination. A very large military firing range, a huge harbour that sees 20% of UK’s energy needs imported, in the form of oil and liquid gas in gigantic ‘Q’ Ships (from Qatar) plus the necessary massive Milford Haven refineries to process the fuel we burn. This may sound awful. But it is truly awesome too. When you reach the top of the climb going west from Pembroke, the panorama (not just the climb) takes your breath away. For a moment, it’s a scene from a Sci-Fi block-buster yet to be released.
Five miles later, it’s all behind me as I coast down to the tiny, peaceful village of Angle. My bed for the night is in the caravan at the bottom of the beer garden of The Hibernia Inn.
A perfect set up, as I get to know a number of the local RNLI crew, have an excellent meal (deep fried spicy whitebait followed by beef lasagne) and more than enough real ale. Plus a good night’s sleep.