Wales Coast Path Run – Newgale to Porth Clais
Coast Path Vital Stats
Newgale to Porth Clais
- Distance: 12.26 miles
- Elevation Gain Today: 697m
- Highest Elevation: 84m
- Time: 2:14:28
- Av. Pace: 10:58 mins/mile
- Calories: 11752
Totals to Date
- Total Distance: 996.09 miles
- Total Time: 186:44:52
- Total Elevation Gain: 30482m
- Total Calories: 95395
- Distance to go: 105 miles
I continued to tick off the miles on my mission to run around the entire periphery of Wales on Monday with a nice run between Newgale and Porth Clais. This section was on typical rugged Pembrokeshire Coast Path and had good public transport links between them.
I left home early so as to get to St David’s for the 8:35 bus to Newgale. It was dark for the start of the drive and I wasn’t really sure what the weather had in store for me so I had shorts and a base layer on, but also had waterproofs and an extra fleece with me too.
I parked near to the cathedral and then walked up to the bus stop. It was a chilly morning with a stiff wind and clouds scuttling across a fresh blue sky. Showers looked imminent but for now, it was dry.
At the bus stop I was soon greeted by the usual interesting people that frequent the buses. As I stood there a guy (who I later found out was Martin) had just come out of the shop opposite and was talking loudly to everyone he saw. And I mean everyone. It took him a while just to cross the road and get to the bus stop as he had so many people to speak to. He seemed to know them all by first name and knew quite a bit about them too. Each one was greeted loudly by name and then asked a question. The questions were about football, rugby, their sister, their mother, work, various ailments that they were suffering from or a myriad of other things.
When he finally got to the bus stop and came across me, someone he didn’t know, he said “Hello Buddy, I’m Martin” and offered a hand for shaking. He then asked me where I was from and a couple of other questions and then said “Sorry Buddy, I’ve got to talk to John” and then shouted across the road “Hey John, Did you see the film last night?”. He then crossed the road to talk to John and about another 10 people who happened to pull up in their cars or walk by.
By the time he got back to the bus stop, there was a little old lady waiting there with me. She looked at me and rolled her eyes and was then drawn into conversation with Martin. It didn’t last long of course as other people came along who he proceeded to talk to. As he crossed the road once more to talk to Dave, or Bob, or Mary she looked at me, sighed and said “he knows EVERYONE”. I’d kind of gathered that for myself so just laughed and she continued “You wait til he gets on the bus!”
Sure enough once on the bus to Newgale he did know everyone there as well. He first had a chat to the bus driver and had a conversation about everyone else who had ever driven this particular bus (he knew them all). Then as we stopped at each bus stop someone new that he was acquainted with would get on. He’d move seats to go and have a chat with them. This happened at every bus stop. It made the bus journey feel quite short to be fair and I was soon getting off at a windswept Newgale. I was a little disappointed that I didn’t get a “Goodby Buddy” from Martin but he was deep in conversation about the football at the time!
Newgale to Solva
Newgale was looking grey, wild and deserted. There was no one about, the waves were rolling into the beach powered by a strong SW wind and the road was flooded in places. The bus dropped me off by the camp site so I made my way up the hill a little. I was heading in the opposite direction to what I needed so that I could get to the exact spot in the car park where I ended my last Coast Path run. Ensuring I’d overlapped, I took off a couple of layers of clothing and headed off jogging down to the seafront again and along the road behind the seawall.
At the far end of the beach, it was out onto the Coast Path proper and up the hill with views across the beach of Newgale.
More layers came off once I was climbing. Despite the wind, it wasn’t that cold so shorts and a long-sleeved base layer top were the order of the day. It was a little chilly on the more exposed clifftop, but the convoluted nature of the path meant that there were plenty of areas of shelter too.
From the tops I could see the coast ahead of me. The sun was rising higher in the sky and heading my way.
The section of Coast Path between Newgale and Solva was your typical fare, lots of ups and down, lots of mud and rocks, a few interesting features such as a flat-roofed eco-house and little stream crossings at the bottoms of the descents. The descents were obviously followed by steep climbs, many of them up steps.
The wind was a constant feature today and I was looking suitably windswept in response. Who knew such a small amount of hair could look quite so ruffled!
After about an hour of running I’d covered 5 miles of this slow terrain and rounded the corner into the shelter of the Solva inlet. Here I entered a small woodland and was briefly out of the wind as I ran along one side of the harbour, across the bridge and back out along the other.
Solva to Porth Clais
There was a steep climb out of Solva and now the sun was glistening off the waters with some strength. The threat of showers was never far away. I passed a lovely looking house on top of the cliff which had amazing views out over the Solva inlet.
From here it was much of the same. Rugged coastal path, clifftop views and plenty of twists turns, descents and climbs. It was notable that the Old Red Sandstone cliffs that had dominated the Dale Peninsula and southern coastline of St Brides Bay had now given way to older Cambrian sediments with a light grey colour. The paths I was running along today were more rocky thanks to this change in geology, but there was still plenty of mud, it was just no longer red.
I passed the remnants of a hill fort near Caerfai Bay.
I’d actually walked and ran along these parts of the coast path before whilst staying at nearby St Davids or camping at Caerfai Bay. That didn’t matter though as the ever-changing weather and seasons always make things look a little different. The steep climb out of Caerfai Bay didn’t even seem too bad today.
I was soon picking my way along the rocky path towards Port Clais and my destination for the day. There were a few more ups and down to remote coves and plenty of lovely coastal views and all the while the path was easy to follow.
Unfortunately, as I approached Porth Clais my phone decided to show an error saying ‘iPhone is currently unavailable, try again in 15 minutes’. I didn’t have the patience to wait 15 minutes to take a photo so that was the end of the photos for today. I’ll be back in Porth Clais to start the next leg of the run soon so I’ll get some photos then.
I’d barely seen anyone all day but as I came into Porth Clais there were a few people out walking. I emerged off the coast path onto the road and headed uphill towards St Davids where the car was waiting.
Another lovely day on the Coast Path and I’m another 12 miles closer to the end. All in all, it was a very nice section of Wales today. I can’t wait for the next one.