Pembrokeshire Coast: Cardigan – St David’s Head

7th – 11th January 2022

Image from the Hiiker app

Day 38

Cardigan – Ceibwr Bay

8 miles/1652 ft total ascent

The sleeping pad had arrived by ten thirty and I was off again. I gave the Mountain Warehouse behemoth to a homeless man after awkwardly rambling about how I didn’t know if this was something he wanted or if it was too big for him to lug around, but that I knew the ground was cold and maybe…he took it very happily.

I crossed over into St. Dogmaels, to the stone that marked the start of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path. The Pembrokeshire Coast Path is one of the National Trails. Despite this whole blog being about trails that aren’t National Trails, it had seemed a bit ridiculous to cut out nearly 200 miles to stick so piously to a outline. Plus, with it being a National Trail there was a certain amount of assurance to its maintenance and navigation and that was no bad thing.

It is much loved, and those that have walked it speak incredibly highly of the experience. I was looking forward to an experience of my own.

So I was slightly put out that the very first part was a very long road walk up a lane. The path would sometimes try to be on the side of the lane but, after Poppit Sands, it was tarmac all the way up to the campsite at Cemaes Head. The sides blocked with trees and plants.

I would quickly stop my grumbles though, once I turned off the lane. Instantly, everything was wonderful. Big, wild, waving courses of wildplants and dark amber grasses whispering and moving all the way to the end of dramatic and coarse cliffs. I passed a disused coastguard hut, looking absolutely tiny against the huge expanse of the clifftop.

Soon after, I was already at the highest point of the Pembrokeshire Coast, but that absolutely did not mean that the worst of the ascent was already over. The total ascent of the Pembrokeshire Coast would equal that of Everest. I should have been grateful for the tarmac lane that had taken me most of the way upwards, because that wasn’t even the warm up.

Where Ceredigion had been rumpled, Pembrokeshire had been squeezed. Where the retreating glaciers had rounded Ceredigion, they had carved into Pembrokeshire. The amount of volcanic activity down here was significantly more than in its protected neighbour to the north, and that showed in the black splatters of rock spat out from the coast, stacking and cragging in jagged clusters. I wasn’t even seeing the full story here; at this point the sandstones and mudstones of Ceredigion were intermingled. It would be further along that the Ordovician stones completely took over with the dramatic fury of the magma and ash that had created the land.

The layers left by a succession of eruptions, then folded in the earthquakes, had been left exposed by the retreating glaciers in the sides of the cliffs like the layers in a pastry.

Hail started. This was new. I hadn’t had hail yet this trail. It hurt going straight into my face causing the hood-drawn and downwards facing, determined walk that, whilst defiant, wasn’t the most useful for seeing where I was going, or what was around me, or anything at all.

It stopped fairly soon, as if it had only happened to keep me on my toes and give me some variety with a different type of coldness.

The path ran like a heart monitor; in constant ups and downs. There would be virtually no flat section all the way down to St. Davids. Even after all I had gone through previously, this was hard going. Even after over four hundred miles of coastal walking and developing the most particular and specific type of fitness required, it wasn’t going to be an easy time. But none of that would matter, my miles would be far less along here, but everything else in the whole of the experience would be so much more.

Pembrokeshire is everything people say it is. It is incredible. Well… up to a point, but we’ll get there. Not yet though, right now it is exactly as enchanting as you’d expect from a place dubbed ‘The Land of Mystery’.

This dubbing is not a modern thing done for tourism, it is from a millennium ago and were the words of the anonymous writer of The Mabinogion; possibly the earliest collection of stories from the oral tradition in Great Britain. A variety of narrators cover all types of tale; from the humourous and fantastical, to the mythical and heroic, to the dark and cautionary. A lot of the stories probably originally date from pre-Christianity, though with the nature of stories passed through the generations via spoken word, anacronyms abound in the written collection.

Made up of four ‘branches’ and telling eleven tales, there are still superstitions carried out that are considered influenced by the collection. Robins are associated with death, and birds in general are often forbidden inside; even when printed on wallpaper.

This Land of Mystery was giving me a baptism of fire. However enchanted I was, I was also going slow. Sides of the great, wide, windswept coastal meadows, set about with the tumbledown of old walls, were covered in the knuckled down skeletons of bushes that, in a few months, would be covered in the purple glory of heather.

Speaking of ‘windswept’, I was wary of the winds. They were due to come in with a fair amount of vigour tonight from the south, so when I came to a semi circular bank in the land (presumably caused, at some time, by a landslip) that would protect me on all sides apart from the north, it seemed wise to stop there.

The slant of the base prevented me from setting up too close to the back of it, but it was tall enough, and the landscape around rugged enough, to mean that, from my pitch, a southerly, south westerly, or easterly blow was barely felt. I was very happy with it.

Pembrokeshire looked set to be magnificent. It had been a good day.

Day 39

Ceibwr Bay – Fishguard

20 miles/5059 ft total ascent

It had been a bad night.

At around three thirty in the morning, the wind changed. It no longer blew from the blocked area to the south, nor the sheltered east or west; it slammed in from the exposed north and my tent hadn’t stood a chance. The front pole sheared at the join and pierced and ripped the fly and the whole thing crumpled like a deflated ball.

I had sat inside, holding up the debris in the dark and the rain and the wind, waiting for the light and feeling completely and utterly devastated. That tent, Phat Aggie, had been with me all over the country in the last year. She had withstood Skye’s Trotternish Ridge and the coastlines of the Isle of Man, she had kept me safe in the mountains of Snowdonia and through downpours in the Lake District. We had woken up to see the sun rise over Lindisfarne and dawn hail on Kinder Scout. It was gut-wrenching. Like losing a friend and having nothing to blame but yourself. I had been so proud of her, but maybe my over-confidence had undone her. A Y-frame tent was always unlikely to be the recommended choice for a winter hike, but I had taken her anyway.

I didn’t know what was going to happen now. Surely a broken tent would spell the end of everything? I absolutely did not have the budget to stay in hotels all the way and, besides, that felt like it defeated so much of the purpose of this trail. I’d text my dad again, but after the whole sleeping pad thing, I didn’t have any hope that a new tent was next. In the brief moments of signal, I also searched for my route home. It would take nine hours and about six different changes on buses and trains, and everything felt completely and utterly lost.

When the first burst of light came, I tucked Phat Aggie away in her bag and went toward the lane at Ceibwr Bay to go in to Moylgrove and get the first bus that would take me, eventually, back to Aberystwyth so I could get home when my dad messaged back. I was going to get a new tent, it could be delivered tomorrow even though it was a Sunday, he just needed an address to send it to. I was completely overwhelmed. I felt I’d made a complete enough hash of absolutely everything that no one should have any faith in me ever again. But now I was going to get a chance to carry on and finish. And I could never be grateful enough.

Once at Moylgrove, I could get the bus going the other way. If I went to Fishguard directly, I could dry out the tent and mail it back before I got the new one tomorrow. I waited at the bus stop. I waited for half an hour past the time that the bus was meant to arrive. A woman stopped me saying that, in winter, the buses through here only ran on a Thursday and, if I wanted to be dropped at Newport village her and her friends could give me a lift?

With even more to be grateful for I got into the car. I squashed up beside two of her friends, my bag taking up pretty much all of the small boot space, and we set off.

“Oh I’m sorry, I’ll put my mask on”

“Please, don’t say you believe in all that”

Oh.

“Well I’m just going to put it on anyway”

It quickly transpired that everyone else in the car was in agreement that the whole pandemic had been a hoax, after all there was so much money being made out of the vaccines. And vaccines in general were just poison; there was nothing that ice bathing and meditation couldn’t fix.

Fucking hell. The last thing I needed right now was to be lectured to by a bunch of conspiracy theorists. Should I stop and be let out? I really didn’t want to. So I kept quiet, very, very glad that I had had both my vaccines and my booster knowing that there is absolutely no point arguing with these sorts of people; I’m about as likely to change their mind as they are to change mine. The only thing that might change their thinking would be a death in the ranks, and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

Ice bathing and meditation could apparently also cure everything from chronic mental illness to STIs. The way they were going on, it almost sounded like they thought STIs were a hoax as well. Were CONdoms a con as well? Masks were an assault on their autonomy. I could barely prevent myself from rolling my eyes. I wish all the problems in my life were so small that I had the entitlement and availability to even consider a piece of cloth on my face to be annoying, let alone a method of control, let alone an invasion of my human rights.

I almost ran from the car at Newport village, up to the bus stop where the more regular main service would stop by soon. I think I still had two lat tests, I should probably use them in the next couple days.

I had booked into a guesthouse in Fishguard. Fishguard looked like a nice place. In a sort of bougie way. There were all sorts of New Age shops and I started to figure out that maybe the place and the people were intertwined. Did a Land of Mystery also attract people that took stuff like a light interest in herbal medicine and aromatherapy too far?

Yes, I would discover, it absolutely did. Up in the Preseli Hills nearby was an off the grid settlement, the most successful and authentic of a number of these settlements around. The sort of place that many have a very idealised concept of whilst, in reality, amateurs building stawbale buildings creates a massive fire risk. Eco retreats, of various levels of professionalism and extremism, abounded throughout the area and, in the course of my reading, an awful lot of them came out of it sounding very much like cults. There’s a massive difference between enjoying mindful meditation, occasionally sageing your home and reading your horoscope, and the whole ‘abandon society, everything is a conspiracy, crystals cure cancer’ thing.

The whole experience was topped off when I arrived at the guesthouse and was mocked by the guesthouse owner for wearing a mask (as instructed by the Welsh government for communal indoor spaces!). If I hadn’t already had it arranged to get the new tent delivered here, I would have been out immediately. I just avoided him entirely for the rest of the time I was there.

Phat Aggie dried out and I had her mailed before the post office shut. I just needed to sit back and wait for the new tent to arrive and then I could get back to the coast and stop running into extremists. I couldn’t imagine the extremists outnumbered the more rational people, but it was just my luck that day that I ran into only them.

Day 41

Fishguard – Porth Globo

16 miles/1622 ft total ascent

Fishguard completely redeemed itself this morning. In an effort to get out of sight of the mask-mocking guesthouse owner while I waited for the new tent, I went to a café for breakfast. There was a big, severe sign outside telling everyone that they had to wear a mask when not sitting at a table in order to keep Fishguard safe and anyone putting up a stink about it could just get lost. Or words to that effect. I was happy to be back among rational, vaccinated people that just got on with things.

Rational, vaccinated people that made the best eggs benedict I have ever had as it would turn out. I have no idea what pigs that bacon was sourced from, but those are the only pigs I want any bacon from ever now. The hollandaise was so excellent, it would make it so easy to drink my bodyweight in butter. I know, I know, you’re not here to read about my breakfast, but these are my memories and I want to treasure them.

The waitresses were chatty and friendly, as were the other patrons. It had all the conviviality of a pub, but in a café. I think there should be more specific places like this. Pufés. Where you have the long, hardwood bar and the darts board and the quiz nights, but its all day breakfast and lots of hot drinks and is open until the early hours. Locals come for omelettes and get a round of tea in.

I kept an beady eye on the tracking of the DPD delivery man. I couldn’t quite believe that the good people at Wildbounds had arranged a next day Sunday delivery and kept expecting it to suddenly be cancelled. It wasn’t, and as he got closer and closer, I went and lurked by the guesthouse to intercept.

The tent arrived. It was a different one to Phat Aggie; it had a side opening, was slightly bigger throughout, and was a much more natural green colour than Aggie’s white. Conveniently, its bag was designed so that the poles got rolled up in the middle of the flys rather than being separate. I dubbed him Iron Claw.

I set off out of Fishguard. Here’s the thing; I did not go back to Ceibwr Bay, I carried on. So there is a whole eleven miles that I did not do. Think of that what you will and judge how you like; maybe I’ll go back one day and do them, maybe not, I’m at peace with it.

I went down to the lower town and walked along the harbour. It was a bright day, and people were already out for Sunday strolls. The path went comfortably up the cliffs on a very manicured walkway that eventually stopped and gave way to a grass path that lead onto the far less manicured point where the coastal meadow tumbled with gorse and the skeletons of bracken, densely packed like secrets. The beacon in the harbour was a small speck out behind the cliffs, and as I went onward, it disappeared completely.

Gorse appears to flower all year, giving rise to the saying that ‘when gorse is in bloom, kissing is in season’. However each individual species of gorse does have its particular time to flower, but they occur at different times from each other. Since gorse thickets normally contain growths of multiple species, there will always be one or two blooming their bright yellow flowers.

Whilst it is known as a very common wildflower, it’s also a very useful wildflower. The flowers used to be grown specifically for animal feed, but also can be used to make a dye or, perhaps more usefully in these 21st century post-pandemic times, a wine. The wood burns fantastically, and a dead bush standing is excellent firewood. The bushes are also, I can attest, excellent props to hold up a drying rainfly – though this is often much more effective at any other time than ‘midwinter’.

The orange and black of the cliffs, heavy headed with compact scrubs, juddering downwards, changed constantly. A few steps forward would reveal another stack out at the water, or a valley ahead. The whole route was covered with the sorts of oddities that would make a child’s imagination run wild – that gnarly stump was a crows nest, these stones were a castle, that cluster of bushes a fort.

The terrain carried on the wild undulations. Each climb or drop was short in isolation, but they were constant. Half an eye on the ground, and half ahead at all times. A footbridge crossed a valley, and up on the other side was a memorial stone.

An odd, bulky-backed monument, sitting on rubble, commemorated the last attempted invasion of Britain, and its defeat, in 1797 during the Napoleonic Wars. The four French warships carried 1,400 soldiers and were lead by Colonel Tate, an American, that had fought against the British in the American War of Independence. Troops from the Pembroke Yeomanry were sent from Stackpole, and were joined by the Newport Division. By sea, ships were mobilised from Milford Haven.

It was the lack of discipline in the French ranks that was their undoing, as numerous soldiers kept abandoning their posts and orders to go and loot the farmhouses once they came ashore. The ‘soldiers’, to be fair, were mainly convicts and deserters with little morale and not a lot to lose. The French numbers were down to only 600 by the time their opponents even arrived. It all ended in surrender without any blood spilt and the motley, unruly crew and their American colonel were given back to the French in a prisoner exchange.

A mournful cry echoed through the air, joined by another and another. It was a sound familiar from nights on the Raad ny Foillan, where the song of the seals would lull me to sleep and see me up in the morning. They heaped together here on the bay far, far below.

I had fully ambled today, I had not managed to cover much distance since my late start out of Fishguard, but I was just happy that I’d been able to keep moving. The dense gorse bushes would give me cover tonight as I set up in a gap in the thicket beside a fallen drywall.

This had been a good day. And, this time, it would be followed by a good night also.

Day 42

Porth Globo – Trefin

14 miles/3199 ft total ascent

It might be understandable that after the death of Phat Aggie I was now incredibly paranoid about the wind and its potential for destruction. Despite falling asleep very comfortably, any time the wind shook the tent a little, I was right up, bracing the sides with a racing heart, as if I was holding off the Viking invasion from inside a tiny fort.

Hopefully I’d calm down eventually.

The way on to Strumble Head was wide and wonderful. The high plains, so far above the sea, were mottled with gnarled thickets and running streams. I saw my first of the wild ponies, not as famous here as their Carneddau counterparts, and the herd is only small – around 30 – that graze up and down to St Davids Head.

The Pembrokeshire and Carneddau ponies likely came from the same original herd; the animals left that survived a cull ordered by Henry VIII. Their grazing has become integral to the preservation of the landscape, preventing overgrowth and allowing smaller species to survive. It’s, in part, thanks to their constant snacking that the ground nesting birds, lizards and insects are able to thrive.

You have to be pretty resilient to be a wild pony. The ones that stayed up in the mountains have it the hardest – one winter storm in 2013 wiped out half their numbers – but life is still a hard and exposed one here for the Pembrokeshire ponies. Alongside the wild ones are semi-wild ponies and horses that are owned by farmers, but pretty much left to their own devices. These animals are all frequently seen grazing, running and playing on the top of the cliffs.

One particular pony posed dramatically for me; handsome and black all over but for a star on his forehead and cuffs on his ankles. When I failed to capture his image due to the dim morning light and the void of his colouring, he ran off and I swear he was laughing – like he had known all along it was a fool’s errand and my failure was his amusement

Great fingers of rock reached out from the cliffs as I approached the lighthouse. Gripping into the sea as if they were trying to claw their way back underneath the waves. The Strumble Head lighthouse sat out in the grey-green water, a small white tower and the wink of its revolving light.

It was one of the last lighthouses to be built in Britain, in 1908, and the lantern inside it is still the original one. It’s been updated of course, to run the beam on electricity rather than paraffin. Inside the tower is inscribed a quotation from Psalm 127:

Except the Lord Build the house
They labour in vain that build it
Except the Lord keep the city
The Watchman waketh but in vain

Now, I’m in no way fluent in ‘Bible’ but that sounds confusing to me. It sounds like its saying all protections and precautions are useless, because only the Lord can protect you, which is incredibly sinister when placed on a building that is literally there to warn and protect people.*

I couldn’t dilly dally; whilst I wasn’t set to cover much in miles, if the roughness of the previous days walk was anything to go by those miles would end up being very long ones.

The sky soon turned moody and the drizzle started, transforming the drama of my surroundings from something restless to something maudlin. The earth soon dampened, making the narrower, cliff edge paths that were strewn with rocks amid slippery mud into much more nervous places. I was creeping so slowly over them that I was very grateful I wasn’t here at a busier time of year – I’d be holding loads of people up.

The brief road walk by the hostel came as a mild relief. This hostel, like so many others, has become a group only place in the ongoing aftermath of Covid. It sort of defeats the point of a hostel when it essentially becomes a holiday cottage. Many more now were just shut over winter completely – something expected from campsites and many B&Bs, but hostels had always historically remained open. It’s why when I see one that’s open and taking individuals I’ll grab it because its a rare thing that I can get indoor accommodation so cheap; there was one in Trefin tonight that I was aiming for.

I passed a cairn and took cover from the bluster and rain in a small shelter set right out at a point in the headland. The remaining walk to Abermawr was easier, it gave a better illusion at being flat and had far less death defying paths. It crossed over the top of a sandy beach, and then a shingle one, and then on from the village up onto the slopes of Mynydd Morfa before the rain dialled itself in and the dark grey of the sky reduced, giving me the conditions for a late lunch break.

The path continued to wind around the numerous headlands and down into small valleys, over little footbridges, and going up again. Without the rain it was an easier journey, my footing on even the more unstable parts a lot less nervous until I made it in to Abercastle.

Another small settlement, jammed between the cliffs. I passed the white washed and pebble dashed homes and made my way up to a series of tiny gates as I looked down on the white dots of the buildings I had just passed. Once the path descended, I was in Trefin.

The hostel owner helpfully told me that ‘if I wanted food, the pub is shut’ but kindly offered me all sorts of his own. I said I was ok, and I had lots of noodles. He’d set me up with eggs and bread and fruit anyway for the morning, which was unexpected and fantastic – eggs are definitely one of those things I end up missing, as well as toast. It was all wonderfully serendiptious.

He said that he had once raised money for charity with his mates by dragging a bed a few hundred miles into Bristol. They had raised £17,000. I guess next time I needed to pull a bed along. He made a donation to my fundraising and found me a lemonade. It was definitely a superior hospitality experience to the one before.

I was able to do some laundry, and then look over the next day. I was looking forward to tomorrow, it was meant to be an extraordinary stretch.

*I have been informed by people that do speak ‘Bible’ that it is referring to only buildings being built or inhabited by men with God in their hearts and minds benefitting from the protection of God. Guess that’s why Phat Aggie died then; cursed by having a grubby, godless athiest as a resident.

Day 42

Trefin – St David’s Head

12 miles/2781 ft total ascent

Pembrokeshire’s ancient history nestles in long grasses and on tall hills, as quiet as its own secrets and just as numerous. Strange cromlechs hold their stone platforms over rough legs, covering the burial chambers below, and the crumbled walls of once-great forts create hills of their own, woven around with wildflowers and anyone could be forgiven for not realising what they’re walking on. Stone circles jut up, windworn and battered through centuries of storms, stubbornly attesting to be just as ordinary a part of the landscape as the cliffs and the gorse and the sheep.

People settled in Pembrokeshire around 125,000 years ago, and its difficult terrain and remoteness meant that the population was undisturbed for a long time. There is next to no evidence of the Roman occupation, and whilst the Normans scattered their castles throughout the south, their influence was short lived. Henry Tudor was born at Pembroke Castle in 1457 and would eventually ride around the country, gathering his supporters, before heading to Bosworth Field and defeating Richard III to take the crown.

The reign of his grandaughter, Elizabeth, brought a previously unfamiliar prosperity to the rural places of Wales as the agricultural, mining and fishing industries became far more desirable for export..

But I’m getting ahead of myself, the first reminder I had of the ancient history of Pembrokeshire was the stone circle set in the cliffs above Trefin. This stone circle is wonderful but entirely misleading. It is a modern replica.

No worries though, there would plenty of the real stuff further ahead.

But first was a trip through the industrial history and heritage of the area as the crumbling ruins of a long abandoned mill sat, its roofless remains looking out in the morning from the edge of the sea. It had been in use for five hundred years, and now was left abandoned in a silent limbo.

Massive white blocks started appearing; navigational pillars like the White Ladies on Anglesey, guiding boats towards Porthgain where the massive rust-coloured ruins of the former brickworks rested, half camouflaged, against decaying, orange bracken of the cliff behind.

These brickworks used the waste from the slate industry to create dolerite, used for road stones. It’s existence as a place of industry was far less than the mill before; only forty years before the slate industry’s decline spelled its own end.

Passing under the giant shadow of the brickworks, I made my way up steep steps to the top of the cliff that cradled it and made my way over the stony paths and through the restless meadows, up and down and up and down.

The paths would get even rougher than they had been. The incredibly steep ascents were nowhere near as treacherous as many of the descents, and the ground underfoot could, at any point, be made up of sloppy mud, loose shale or just barely be a path; it would be a jutting rock pavement to scramble up, or get down on my arse and shuffle over.

Unlike the previous day, I did find myself holding others up. A very polite group of day hikers said very little to interrupt my attention, and then when I finally realised they were there, I arse-shuffled quickly to the side to let them pass. They bounded down, easily finding footholds and didn’t seem to find it a problem at all. It must be nice to have a sense of balance and spatial awareness and be able to ride bikes and skate and do ball sports and approach Yr Wyddfa over Crib Goch. I’d have so much fun if I didn’t have the balancing skills of a corkscrew.

There were often small scrambles. The sorts of scrambles that I think are just small-people scrambles where, maybe, tall people can just lunge over them but me and my fellow tiddlers end up heaving ourselves up and having a little dangle before getting over them. Is there anything about hiking that’s more difficult for tall people? There’s a lot that find one person tents quite squashed, and they can’t buy the short people sleeping bags and pads so I suppose it gets more expensive. Maybe forests are their foil? All those branches getting in their faces.

I remember crossing paths with a southbound couple on the Skye Trail as I headed northbound between Elgol and Sligachan having just forded a deep stream that had water up to my bum. I’d had to tenuously tiptoe my crossing of the fast flowing current in order to keep the base of my bag, where my sleeping bag was kept, dry. I warned them about it, and then turned around to watch them cross. It barely reached their knees. I felt a bit stupid.

It was lovely walking weather. In fact, it was meant to stay dry and relatively bright for a good few days now. There were a lot more people hiking around today than I had seen, possibly, hiking on the entirety of the rest of the previous trail. Which probably only meant about twenty people, but compared to my previous complete solitude it felt like a party. It was brilliant. Different snacks were exchanged, advice for routes ahead swapped; I kept being told the south side of the Pembrokeshire Coast was ‘very different’ to the north. I never asked what this meant, and it was only at the end of the day it crept back into my brain. What was different about it? Was it harder?

The hills crept closer and closer to the already wildly undulating cliffs, and the remains of what must have been an absolutely huge fort appeared in a mass of stone, mostly tumbled and settled in a pile on the ground. Amongst the rubble, a few stones still stood, some leaning on each other. The sort of thing you could easily just walk past, but then, the more you look, the more you see.

The hills were now part of the cliffs, and the final push today was rounding high around three flanks down to St. David’s Head, which was very busy as people, presumably, took their late afternoon strolls up from Whitesands Bay. On rounding the head, I passed the relics of yet another fort and chose to retreat, backwards, into the moorland covered in gorse and heather bushes until no one that might go along the path could see me.

It was a great idea, and there were numerous flattish spaces where Iron Claw would fit but I encountered a new problem. Bridleways lead up the sides of this moorland, towards the rocky hill behind, and the whole area was absolutely covered in horsepoo.

I was determined to have that view out and I spent a good while clearing my chosen spot free with my stick and boots. It was all bright and empty and new. And I bet that tomorrow, after I’d left, three horses would come along again to shit in it.

It was a still air though, and a dry sky, and was going to remain so. My chosen view looked out to Ramsey Island.

Ramsey Island had been the small monastery of St. Justinian and, at the time, was still connected to the mainland. Justinian had moved out there with a handful of monks because he thought St. David and his monks didn’t live austerely enough. If Justinian already sounds like a bit of a pompous arse, he also felt the landbridge gave those awfully frivolous St Davids monks too much access to him. Justinian beseeched God to make him and his loyal followers truly alone so they could worship him properly. God smashed up the landbridge into stacks and rocks meaning no one could cross over anymore. Those remaining pieces of rock are called, I kid you not, ‘The Bitches’.

Well, Justinian’s men clearly got sick of his whining and over-zealous piousness, rebelled and executed him. Justinian’s body managed to pick up the decapitated head and run back to the mainland before finally dying.

I bet that would have been a lot easier with a landbridge.

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