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Journeying along the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path

Journeying along the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path

Thursday 23rd May 2024
By Gill Page and David Gleed

Birdsong and an array of wildflowers accompanied our journey along part of the breathtaking Pembrokeshire Coast Path in the far west of Wales. And when the path dipped to sea-level; a remarkable cave through a tidal island (yes, literally from one side to the other!), a rock among the waves, as big as a Church building, with shape to match (spire, chancel and nave!) and a myriad of other fascinating floral and fauna, and all against a backdrop of some of the most stunning sea views imaginable!

A group of freshwater lakes, the Lily Ponds near Bosherston provided a calm, gentle experience as we strolled along. A carpet of lilies covers the man-made ponds with the flowers just beginning to break through. Then onto one of the most beautiful sandy beaches in Wales, Broadhaven South. Our lunch stop.

The weather, always something to be mindful of on a coastal adventure, was mostly bright and sunny although the rain did appear and one day hung around into the evening. It was perhaps the wind, however, that posed the greatest challenge. The little open boats that ply to and from Caldey Island, a key destination on our pilgrim journey, find it all but impossible to dock on the island when the wind is blowing from the east... And it blew from the east on several days! Shuffling our itinerary to ensure we reach these awesome places is all part of the Journeying Way and eventually on Thursday morning as we were making breakfast, word came through that the boats would be running that day!

The Island of Caldey lies a mile out from picturesque Tenby harbour. Today the Island is home to a small community of Cistercian monks. Joining one of their several daily church services (the Office of None), was a highlight; psalms, chanting, prayer, a moving, beautiful 20 minutes.
We walked to the lighthouse on the island and the heavens opened! Luckily there are some very old church and farm buildings to take shelter in.

One evening we joined a short Prayer Walk from the Fisherman's Chapel in Tenby harbour. Gathering first as a group we then went our separate ways along a trail with various stopping points, where a thought or reflection was posed, before quietly moving on - there was no hurry. We gathered once more in the chapel at the close. Prayer walking is simply you and God on a journey - an opportunity to ask God what he wants of you and offering yourself to God.

Alone with none but you my God
I journey on my way
What need I fear when you are near
O lord of night and day?
More secure I am within your hand
Than if a crowd did round me stand.

(St Columba)

A comfortable house just outside Tenby's 13th century town walls, provided our base for the week. We self-catered as a group and enjoyed some hearty meals together, as well as that special communion so often found when you are sharing the cooking or doing the washing up.

What did our pilgrim-guests say?
'Lovely holy days'
'Lovely walks, good company, beautiful beaches, wild flowers in profusion... a smile on the soul!'
'Sharing the fun, fellowship, laughter, the stunning and beautiful Pembrokeshire coast. What more could anyone wish for'.
'I enjoyed our worship times'.