Six Days in St David’s 2019

Sunday 19th May  Walked out to St David’s Head past Trwynhwrddyn and Porth Lleuog.  Paths edged by foxgloves, dog daises, campions, sea pinks and buttercups; lichen encrusted rocks on carpets of squill.  Distant horizon across a gently rolling grey-green sea; a soft susurrus floating up from the shore and the occasional muffled boom of waves filling a cave.  A solitary gannet searching for a shoal; fulmars soaring on straight still wings.

Monday 20th May  St David’s, a big village masquerading as a city.  Fine cathedral, pleasant central square (triangle), and lanes of holiday-let silent cottages.  Up to Abereiddy and the Blue Lagoon; down (125 steps) to Traeth Llyfn, wading round rocks where limpets have ground circles into the smooth black surfaces.  Layers of rock at all angles – illustrations for a geology text book.  Porthgain: whitebait at The Sloop

Tuesday 21st May  Walked from Nine Wells past Porth y Rhaw and east along the cliffs.  A rough grassy mound needs the archaeologist’s eye and the poet’s imagination to turn it into the ancient fort it’s supposed to be.  Lying on the grass watching, counting, the beauty and horror of contrails.  Picnic at Caerfai Bay; dogs exercising their owners.  St David’s Cathedral: alabaster figure of Lady Maidstone looking like Oscar Wilde.  Sunset at Whitesands Bay.

Wednesday 22nd May  St Non’s Bay and chapel ruins; for St Non, mother of St David born here in a thunder storm.  Lit candle in the new chapel – 1930s Gothic.  Valerian flourishing in the unpromising aridity of drystone walls.  Cooking ratatouille.  Brief visits to St Justinians (oystercatcher piping) and Solva (laughter from the Harbour Inn).

Thursday 23rd May  Druidston via Solva, Newgale and Nolton Haven.  Past Malator, house in earth house architectural style; built for Bob Marshall-Andrews, design by Future Systems. Lunch at Druidston Hotel.  Beach: clambering across barnacle encrusted rocks waiting for sandy leads left by ebbing tide.  Found a sea hare.  Wind orchestrating the sea into the sound of surf.  Sounds the sea makes: breathing, signing, whispering, lapping slapping, crashing, roaring, booming.

Friday 24th May  Night punctuated by the Cathedral clock – twelve, two, four.  Cloudy dawn, mist over Carn Llidi.  To Solva Woollen Mill, Whitchurch; moved here in from St David’s in 1907; ancient noisy machinery; 10 foot overshot water wheel being repaired; ingenious, now defunct, sock knitting machine.  Lazy afternoon overlooking the Cathedral; low clouds like islands out to sea, mystical maritime Brigadoons. Evening walk by the Alun; song thrush calling time.

Photos: 1. Caerfai Bay, Pembrokeshire, May 2019; 2. Druidston Haven, Pembrokeshire, May 2019; 3. Whitesands Bay, Pembrokeshire, May 2019; 4. Urn, Lady Maidstone’s Dog, St David’s Cathedral, May 2019; 5. Caerfai Bay, Pembrokeshire, May 2019; 6.Solva Woollen Mill, Whitchurch, Pembrokeshire, May 2019

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