i guess this is the way it usually is in wales.  raining.  we were soooo lucky, all those sunny days hiking along the pembrokeshire path.

we got up on monday morning and were going to laze around.  there was an extraordinarily long infomercial on tv about…irons.  yeah, irons like you iron a shirt with.  boy, it must have been a great iron.

but we decided we didn’t want to sit around after all, we’d do a bit of hiking.  just a bit.

here’s the beautiful countryside outside our cabin.  unfortunately it wasn’t the view out our window, but still, we were right there in the middle of a whole lot of beauty.






and this is our little cabin, set back from the rolling hills.



we had breakfast in the main house, and chatted with a  nice irish family – i can’t remember how many young boys they had, but they all had bright red hair.  like Weasleys.  but none of them looked like they had any magical powers.

we decided to take a short hike.  The owner of Parsons Grove, a gracious woman, told us about a path we could take – but it was eight miles.  she gave us a detailed color map in a nice little plastic folder.  the map had the topography and also a sheet of directions.  this was well and good, but eight miles were more than we wanted to venture in the rain.  after studying the map we decided to try the route in the opposite direction from what she’d given us, i think because we’d only go part of the way and we could go up the Gray Hill, the highest point around.

here, i just took a picture of the map.


and here’s the first page of the detailed directions.j2

so we set out at the crack of 11:30…and quickly realized that we were going in the very wrong direction altogether. we hiked back and consulted with the owner, who pointed us in the right direction, and by noon sharp, we were at it.


kevin must have some photos of me in my pink frogtog rain gear, which i’m sure is just as funny as his minion-colored ones.  the women’s version, though, doesn’t have any pockets anywhere, which i didn’t like.  but they did keep us dry!

and i wasn’t going about to lose sight of kevin out there in the wilderness.  he’s the one in bright yellow.


before this point we had to walk on some roads for  a while, which was slightly unnerving because it was very twisty and turny with looming hedgerows and if a car had come along i don’t know if there would have been room to get over.  but there weren’t any cars, but if there had been one, we should have asked for a ride.

we finally located the actual path and pretty soon it sure seemed like total wilderness, with all the trees and the rain and so much MUD.


in some places the mud wasn’t quite so squishy and bog-like as it looks here, but in some places it was.


serious mud. there weren’t a lot of signposts and i kept thinking that we were just plain lost, but we did see this very friendly horse.  sensibly wearing a nice coat.


kevin kept getting out the map and studying it and i’m glad i found it the other day when i was trying to reduce the huge amount of stuff i’d kept from the trip, so you could see it.  i seriously doubt we’ll ever use it again, but you never know.  but probably not.

it felt like we were in uncharted territory, but occasionally we’d see a small amount of litter – a bottle, or piece of some wrapper or something. not a lot, but just enough to reassure me that we might find out way out again. and also annoyed at the litterers.

our destination was Gray Hill, where there would be a spectacular 360 degree view.

but first, we had to climb it.  i bet kevin didn’t get a photo of the event, because he was busy hoisting me up by the back of my pants onto the hill.  and of course i didn’t get a picture because i was pretty sure death was imminent.  it was a very vertical climb, and so wet, and it looked the most slippery stone imaginable.  but after kevin hoisted me up to the start, i began slowly making my way up.  trying to remember now, i just don’t know how i  did it.  well for one thing, i don’t think it was quite a slippery as it looked, plus i had my walking stick, plus i was going very very slowly.  and i never looked up, because when i did, there was nothing but more and more straight up to climb. in the rain.

whew.  it was definitely the hardest climb i’ve ever undertaken, but i do have to say it was worth it.  especially cause i didn’t die.



i think the rain had let up at this point, just a bit falling now.


there was something up there, maybe an old military thing?  maybe kevin will remember.


but then, how to get back down?  because there was 100% certainty that i’d definitely fall all the way down if we went back the way we came.  luckily there was another path, and this one was much more gradual, and through a lot of foliage, so it “wasn’t horrible,” i wrote in my journal.

we got to this field with sheep in it, and were able to enter through this gate, but i know at a few points we had to climb over other fences.


clearly people must not travel this route very much, because the sheep ran like crazy when they spotted us.


a lone bold sheep.


studying, studying, studying the directions.  i bet this was one of the gates we had to climb over.


this field was fine to walk through, no obstacles or anything.


but sadly, this is where my photos of this hike end.  i think it’s because i started to get more and more despondent as we descended.  i remember wading through some tall grass, trying to dodge huge mud pits, and walking past some cows and bulls who we hoped weren’t going to charge us.

we felt we could see parsons grove in the distance, and finally climbed one more fence, and i’m pretty sure we were on the property.  we hiked and hiked some more, and ended up in somebody’s back yard…and then, i’m pretty sure, somehow we took a horrible turn and ended up on another road, and more walking, walking, walking, down these roads and i had had to unzip the bottoms of my rain pants or otherwise my shoelaces came undone.  so rain had been pouring into my boots, and i squish-squish-squished along, tired and wet and tired.  and wet.

i wrote in my journal that we hiked from 12:00-3:30 but i can’t believe that’s how briefly we were out.  we were supposed to meet charles at Tintern Abbey at 5:30, and i know that by the time we finally staggered back to our cabin, we only had time to shower and change and walk out the door.

however much time it took, it was definitely our most arduous hike, even more than the 600 steps up in Glendalough ireland and the rocky descent.  i think the huge amounts of mud and the rain and the certainty that we’d never find out way back added to the fatigue.

plus at the end of the day it was very odd to hurry back out the door instead of collapsing in a heap, which is all i wanted to do.

but it was well worth it to rush away, as you can read about tomorrow.

ok then,

mrs. getting it all posted finally hughes.