Day 27.  Wales – Talgarth to St Davids on the Pembrokeshire Coast

Welsh countryside near Hay-On-Wye

The Castle Hotel at Talgarth is a funny little place, we sleep well, Genelle thinks the floor slopes a bit, that could be right, and the shower is weird. I hear a scream from the bathroom when she goes in for a shower and she comes out mumbling something unintelligible. I go in and now see what she was grumbling about. The water temperature control is also part of the pressure control, to get it warm I have twist it through from high pressure (drill a hole in you type pressure) to low/ middling pressure. Its hard to explain but unfortunatley she has to come in a save me, as in turn it on and then turn it off, I’ve got water running everywhere, on the floor down the walls. Anyway the shower tried to kill me but it didn’t succeed.

Breakfast downstairs is a continental breakfast but its ok, we fuel up the bodies and walk up to Talgarths shops for a look. Its a pretty little village but not very touristy.

Todays Track

We get on the road to Hay-On-Wye. I think the Hay area is on the Wye River, thus Hay-On-Wye. The weather is cloudy, rain threatens and the views over the hills and hedgerowed paddocks is beautiful, reminds me of Ireland, or as nephew TMM (remember him – The Maintenance Man) calls it West England OR is it that he calls England East Ireland? I dunno, can’t remember. The Welsh appear more conducive towards the English than the Scots or the Irish (in the Republic) as well the Catholic part of Northern Ireland, but my guess is they love nothing better than to beat England when rugby tests come around.

A fuel stop, to top up the Merc, 77 euro’s and we’re full, the car is a hybrid using some battery to make it go but I’m not sure how all that works but it sure is a lovely thing to drive. I chat to an old guy at the fuel pump waiting to top a 5 litre fuel container up for a mower or whipper snipper, or maybe a hedge trimmer, he has a Skoda wagon that he says has a boot big enough to ut a body in, he has a smile on his face and I think he’s joking.

Hay-On-Wye (Welsh Y Gelli Gandryll) is renowned as a book town, there are lots of book shops selling new and second hand books, and the signs posted around the town talk about the Hay Festival which is a literary festival held in July each year where the small community of about 1900 people get about 80,000 visitors over the 10 days of the festival. We found a free park and wander the streets, I look at book shops, Paul looks at second hand record shops, Liz looks at art galleries and The Navigator looks at jewellery and clothes shops, who’d a though that would happen? I love this little place and would like to stay here but the accomodation is expensive and we must move on.

Back on the road the next stop is Carmarthen, the rain has started to pour down as we head to this bigger town on the River Twyi of about 14,000 people. This place had Merlin of King Arthurs wizard legend as one of its most famous inhabitants, in fact the Welsh name of “Caerfyrddin” means Merlin’s Fort. Its quite a pretty town but its raining so much that we decide to keep going to Tenby which is a seaside resort town which the Welsh love, sort of their version of Port Macquarie or Coffs Harbour. The weather has closed in more and its hard to see anything much but what we can see looks very pretty. A lunch at a pub outside Carmarthen fills us up and we continue on to Pembroke Dock on the A477 heading into county Pembrokshire towards St Davids.

The weather remains closed in when we get to St David’s Cathedral to have a look before it closes for the day. St David’s is called a city but its not really a city, its a congregation of villages and small towns. The cathedral is on the Pembrokeshire peninsular, jutting out into the Atlantic built on the site of a 6th century monastery set up by St David. The cathedral, built about 1180, has been a site of worship and pilgrimage for over 800 years, it says in the church that for pilgrims 2 trips to St Davids = 1 pilgrimage to the Holy Lands. St David’s ethos was “Be Joyful, keep the faith, and do the little things…..” , I think he was on the money.

Liz and Genelle booked some accomodation via Booking.Com caled hen Ffermdy at Llangloffan, Castlemorris just north of St Davids. Its in the country, up some skinny laneways through a tunnel of trees in a little community. Adrian and Sue are our hosts, late 40ish couple, Adrian from the area originally and Sue originally from Scotland. They bought the place a while ago and are doing it up, its 5 acres and once part of a larger farm. The rooms are beautifully done, our hosts are lovely and Adrian spend 13 months in Australia in the mid 2000’s living in Sydney and remarkably knows where Dubbo is as one of his Aussie mates parents own a farm at Coonabarabran where he’s been to visit. He’s a rugby tragic, which is not just a Kiwi tradition, rugby is also very strongly entrenched in the Welsh psyche as well. A quote i heard goes something like ” You never beat Wales, even if you’re ahead on the scoreboard”. He’s a chatty bloke, and knowledgable and we feel very comforatble here, comfortable enough that we decide to stay an extra night and rest up a bit.

The rain continues, so after a short rest we head to Portgain on the water for some dinner at the Sloop Inn. Theres a story about a railway line that was once planned to come to Portgain but is was mainly known as slate quarry, brick kiln and fishing port. The drive down the skinny lane to the village is a little hairy but we don’t meet any other vehicles so the Merc is safe from scrapes form blackberry bushes beside the lane. The Sloop In is a great little pub, the Harbour once came right up to the front of the pub but not anymore, they filled it in with slate and brick dust. The meal is great, and so is the Guiness that paul has the lager that I have.

Blue Tits in the Hen Ffermdy garden (that is what they called)

Another long day and retire to the comfortable bed. I’m looking forward to the day off to rest and explore this area a bit more tomorrow.

Wela’i di Wedyn (See you later in Welsh) – Pauolo

Hen Ffermedy – the B&B photos


2 thoughts on “Day 27.  Wales – Talgarth to St Davids on the Pembrokeshire Coast

  1. Lyn s says:

    I’ve been to the rugby in Cardiff it was a amazing experience! Singing unbelievable they certainly are tragics and support anyone but English 😂 hi to all


    • Thanks Lyn, our host played for an England Universities rep side, played for London Welsh as well as Wasps but health issues put an end to hos playing days. But, his and his wife’s bookshelves are full of rugby books, cooking books, design books. Hes also in a choir that sings at St Davids a hard drinking social choir, he said sort of like a rugby team!


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