Day 5 – Hills and bays

I didn’t know quite what to expect from my hotel choice last night. As usual I booked through Booking.com as being the easiest way of getting a bed for the night at a keen price and to have the ability to cancel up to 48 hours in advance. This stood me in great stead when I had to cancel my trip in August due to the weather. Anyway the OYO Lamphey House hotel is the former village rectory and has been tastefully converted to a hotel. OYO are an Indian hotel chain and when I asked for somewhere to store my bike overnight I received a fairly irrelevant reply insisting that the hotel would do everything to look after me.

I pitched up at about 6pm after a hard day and was booked in by a charming girl who helped me with my luggage and told me where to stow the bike. The room was small but perfectly adequate, the shower was good and the bed was comfortable. I did the usual offices and came downstairs to find the place was heaving with diners and I couldn’t get a table until 8pm but I ordered a pint of Brains and sat in the Conservatory trying to download the pictures of the day until I was seated. The calamari with garlic mayonnaise was excellent and the burger was ok without being great. This morning I ordered scrambled eggs on toast with a sausage and both were delicious. So, having had reservations about the hotel I can find little to dislike apart from the WiFi which was very poor. I had to go downstairs to publish the blog and even then had problems. So a nice surprise.

I set off at about 9.15 and immediately went wrong, ending up on a different road to the one I had planned but it took me to Freshwater East,

Freshwater East

down a long steep hill, so I knew to expect something similar the other side and, sadly, I wasn’t surprised to get into a punchy climb for about a mile . The sun was shining but there was a distinctly chilly wind blowing from the east. It was a great sailing breeze but not ideal for cycling for the half day that I spent going east. I was a bit surprised to look at Gary Garmin to find that I had only travelled 4 miles and already climbed over 500 feet so it was clearly going to be a taxing day. I headed towards the south coast at Bosherston but gibbed out and turned back north up a grass track which finally hit a metalled road before taking me back onto the road I had left 3 miles before

I was now in the middle of the Castlemartin MOD ranges, about 6000 acres of artillery training ground. Red flags were flying but I was able to cycle through without problem looking across at some spectacular scenery on the south coast

Looking north I saw the incongruous sight of chimneys sticking up behind the hills, The Valero refinery, mostly hidden by the contours but which I would see in greater detail when I turned back towards Pembroke.

I was making for Angle, the most westerly point on its eponymous peninsula but on the way I swooped down the hill to Freshwater West, an

area of large sand dunes with a sandy beach that had attracted several people. The road was, in places, covered with drifting sand which made it difficult to cycle but I was soon through it and up another steep climb. I stopped just short of the summit at a war memorial overlooking the beach

Freshwater West

Onwards to Angle which has a beach on the West side which was busy and a harbour on the East that is also the RNLI station. The tide was right out in the bay, looking across Milford Haven to the Gas plant in the distance.

Angle Bay

Yet another hill out of Angle and back on the road I had come in on, now into the teeth of a significant breeze. I made the mistake of turning off the B road and down some lesser lanes only to find a couple of hard climbs. I passed a group of about 15 walkers in the middle of the road who made way for me when I dinged my bell. At the second climb I had to GOAP, something I did several times today with hills reminiscent of Cornwall.

There is a long hill down into Pembroke Town with the magnificent castle at the bottom. I was able to cycle all the way round it before picking up the main road to Pembroke Dock which was busy but had a dedicated cycle track beside it.

Yet another climb out of Pembroke and down to Pembroke Dock. I spotted an Aldi at the bottom and went in to buy lunch. A couple of scotch eggs, a tub of chocolate brownies, 5 plums and a litre of fizzy flavoured water set me back the princely sum of £2.39, less than half the price of the M&S meal deal in Clevedon. I ate most of it in the car park and was then surprised by a significant hill up to the Cleddau bridge that crosses its eponymous river.

View from Cleddau bridge

The bridge has an excellent cycleway which continues on over the bridge over Westfield Pill. At that point I foolishly decided to go down to sea level in Neyland, which then involved further climbing up to the Dragon LNG plant at Waterston. This was the pattern of the day, up and down like a fiddler’s elbow, extremely tiring and not helping the saddle sore that has appeared.

I got a little lost in the middle of Milford Haven town but eventually found a cycleway up through the trees that cloaked the side of the Hubberston Pill valley. The gates at either end were barely wide enough for my handlebars but I squeezed through only to find another climb which had me off the bike and pushing. Down to sea level again at Herbrandston and finally up to a more or less level road through Marloes and to Wooltack point. The road finishes at a NT carpark and the adventurers can walk up the hill for what must be a spectacular view of Milford Haven. I’m afraid I didn’t join them.

It was getting quite late as I set off east, once again into the breeze. I had intended to go down to Broadhaven bay and back to my hotel in Haverfordwest but my energy deserted me and I took a slightly shorter and straighter route which was, nonetheless, undulating and extremely tiring before I arrived at about 6pm. You can see from the elevation graph below just how hilly it has been.

I’ve got a slightly shorter journey tomorrow but plenty of hills.

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