I have just returned from 4 days in South West Wales, staying on the beautiful coastline in Pembrokeshire. Based in Saundersfoot there are endless blue-flag beaches, secret coves, ruins, old mines, ironworks.. you name it... not to mention some excellent pubs, restaurants and bars. I spent quite a lot of time in Tenby which I loved, both North and South beaches are breath-taking and full of surprises. On the first day of my visit I set off with capturing some long-exposure images with the famous pastel-coloured Georgian houses and lifeboat jetty in the background.. sat on the beach in glorious weather I unpacked and set-up... then realized I had left my release plate screwed onto my battery pack... which was back in Saundersfoot in the hotel.... not to be outdone I used the top of the tripod and prayed... this is why I don't subscribe to organised religion... nobody answered my prayers. Game over.
A day later I did however get to enjoy the wilderness of Glen Beach, a mere 2 minutes walk from my hotel, south of Saundersfoot harbour... there is a small path leading to the beach past a couple of waterfalls.. the scene in front of me was this: A rocky outcrop on either side of an ebbing tide, revealing a diagonal of rocks receding out to sea, perched on top of each outcrop was a jet-black cormorant... what a shot!, on an almost-deserted beach I set my gear up and focused... I was just about to trip the remote when two dog-walkers c/w with dog walked into my view, ruining the moment. With the cormorants disappearing as fast as my patience I stood looking in disbelief. That's what you get with some people, a lone figure.. a tripod and a camera, pointing out to sea... "Hey... let's walk into the shot.. I wonder what he's taking a picture of?" . No wonder I don't take photographs of people ( normally ) !!!.
Further north, a couple of miles you get to Amroth, there's not much here but it's very quaint.. and windy!!, the coastal path takes you back south to Wiseman's Bridge which has it's own pub on the edge of the beach, behind this is Stepaside.. where a once-thriving iron ore mining community lived. You can still see the huge remnants of the ironworks here through the woods, and further on into the old colliery. I was told by my older brother to look for the old tunnels which you can walk through to the beach. Unfortunately, after walking for ages I never did get to find them. The ironworks are not easy to photograph now.. mainly thanks to the Pleasant Valley caravan park which has sprung up right next to these old buildings. It was good to get out and walk here, I felt a million miles away from home... and I loved every minute of it.
Meanwhile, back in Tenby I was disappointed that the fabulous old fort on St Catherine's Island had been closed to the public just 2 weeks earlier. Sitting on top of this tidal rocky outcrop like a concrete and stone Alcatraz... what a pity I couldn't get past the locked iron gate up the precariously-looking steps to the top... rumour has it that it could open again... I will be down there like a shot when it does. I ended the trip driving further south past Lydstep and Manorbier although it's very difficult to access the beaches there.
An almost 5-hour drive back through the backbone of Wales, west of the black mountains in driving rain and thunder ended in a beautiful clear afternoon in Lancashire. I can't wait to go back there.