Wales Coast Path Run – Pembroke to Milford Haven
Coast Path Vital Stats
Pembroke to Milford Haven
- Distance: 12.37 miles
- Elevation Gain Today: 429m
- Highest Elevation: 64m
- Time: 2:06:26
- Av. Pace: 10:13 mins/mile
- Calories: 1389
Totals to Date
- Total Distance: 945.88 miles
- Total Time: 177:34:08
- Total Elevation Gain: 28173
- Total Calories: 89495
- Distance to go: 154 miles
Phew, back on the coast path at last. The hiatus this time had been mainly due to logistics. The previous sections I’d done since my heart attack had been completed with Anna as back-up in the car. Anna didn’t really fancy a long day in the car. So the only way to continue with progress would have been for us to have a weekend in Pembrokeshire. We hadn’t got around to that for a while so my Coast Path runs had been somewhat on hold.
However, I finally decided that maybe I was up to doing it all on my own, and Anna seemed happy for me to do so. This meant it was time to plan a long day out, driving all the way to Milford Haven, and battling with public transport to get to Pembroke. Once there I could run along the Coast Path back to the car in Milford Haven and then make the long drive home. The run itself would only be a round 12 miles. That’s not that far and it’s a long drive and a long day for a shortish run but probably all I could manage these days. I might try to build back up to closer to 20 miles but I don’t think I’ll be going much further than that again – not with the driving and public transport as well.
The drive to Milford Haven took about 2 hours 15 minutes and it was through thick mist and fog the whole way. It wasn’t too wet though and the wind didn’t seem as strong as forecast. Temperatures were good for running too at around 8ºC. If this misty murkiness remained all day I wouldn’t be able to see much though.
I found a suitable parking spot on Mackerel Quay in Milford Haven. The mist wasn’t too bad here and I could just make out the outline of the coast on the opposite side of the estuary along with the huge jetties with oil tankers moored alongside. I’d already run along that side and today would be heading around to the northern shores of the estuary and running halfway along it.
I walked up the hill, found a bus stop and hoped it was the right one. I was out of data on my phone so couldn’t check. It felt right though and I did check with the first bus that came along. Apparently, a bus to Pembroke would be along in about 40 minutes’ time. Fortunately, I had a nice warm coat to put on while I waited.
The bus turned up just a few minutes late and I spent the next hour or so going all over the place and feeling a little sick. I actually got off a little early and made my own way to Pembroke in the end rather than doing yet another random loop around some housing estates!
Out of Pembroke
I walked down to the castle, overlapped a little with the end of my last Coast Path run and got ready to go. I reluctantly took my warm jacket off while my watch found GPS. I then trotted off below the walls of the castle and around the moat.
I crossed the bridge, ran along the other side of the water and then up through some house-lined streets into Pembroke. I was then directed off up a muddy slope and into a little woodland. The paths were slick with mud and I had occasional glimpses of the river below. It was still a misty murky day out there and there would be no sign of the sun. I soon warmed up enough to take my running trousers off but kept my windproof jacket and a couple of layers on underneath that.
The trail weaved through the back streets of Pembroke and through bits of woodland and other muddy trails. It climbed up to the top where an old fort emerged out of the mist and I could just about make out the waters of Milford Haven below. Coupled with the dreary weather, it wasn’t the most uplifting of places!
I then dropped down through the woods and through more streets of Pembroke which took me along a larger fort and then out around the far side of Pembroke, From here I was taken up onto the busy road that led to the Cleddau Bridge.
Unfortunately, the views from the bridge were non-existent today. The wind was howling through the structure and buffeting me from the side as I crossed. I did take a photo and then just settled into some fairly monotonous plodding across the bridge and alongside the busy road. At least the pace on this easy terrain was a little quicker. It was nice to finally switch off, clear my mind and think of very little too. The views down onto Neyland Marina from the next bridge weren’t that exciting today either. It can look lovely in the sunshine from here.
Neyland to Milford Haven
Once off this bridge, I took a sharp left-hand turn through some muddy woodland paths and then out into the back roads around Neyland. I passed a pretty church and ran through some fields of sheep. There was also a field full of cows, including a huge bull. Fortunately, they were all lying down and seemed fairly uninterested in my passing. There were daffodils here and there and willows dripping with catkins.
A strange sound could be heard off to my right but I wasn’t sure what it was and could see little through the mist. Then suddenly as I was pretty much right under it a huge blade of a wind turbine whizzed past with a low whooshing sound, then another and another. Huge wind turbines lined the path for a while and then gave way to a massive solar farm. I took a turn around one of the fences that surrounded these green energy producers and came across a somewhat vertigo-inducing bridge. There was no warning, I was suddenly standing on a flimsy bit of metal mesh looking at the road far below me while the bridge swayed in the wind. That was a little unexpected and stopped me in my tracks at first. I crossed the bridge and continued on the other side, only to have a few more mesh bridges to cross arrays of pipelines.
Occasionally I would get glimpses through the hedgerows down to the waters where huge docks and what I presume are oil and gas refining hardware lined the shore. There’s a lot of heavy industry all along the shores of the Milford Haven estuary. Despite running in amongst it from time to time, there were plenty of sections where you simply wouldn’t know it was there as well.
The signs today were mainly little acorns rather than the Wales Coast Path signs, but they kept me on track through numerous fields, gates, woodlands and twists and turns.
As I approached Milford Haven I emerged out onto a little backwater of the estuary called Castle Pill. The tide was low so I could run along the pebbly shore rather than taking the track up through the woodland.
I crossed the bridge at the end and then ran through one final little woodland before heading out into the back streets of Milford Haven and then out onto “The Rath” that curves around the coastline and took me back to where I’d caught the bus earlier in the morning.
I headed back to the car – job done!
Well, it wasn’t quite job done as I now had to get changed and make the long drive home. I felt fine though so once I’d got warm and dry I jumped in the car and headed off. I stopped off at MacDonalds in Haverfordwest and then arrived home around 4:30pm. Another long day out and only 12 miles of the coast path covered, but it’s all good progress and I’m beginning to think that maybe I will eventually finish it off. The next section is a little difficult though as there are no buses between Dale and Milford Haven so I may have to persuade Anna to help out.